Lake Tyrrel Star Party

October 8th, 2010

Recently I read about a new star party in the North West Victoria – the “Lake Tyrrel Star Party”. At the star party on Saturday there were great lectures about Mars by Dr Victor Gostin, “Aboriginal Skies” by Paul Curnow and the “Night Sky of the Boorong” by John Morieson.

Lake Tyrrel under the Stars Lake Tyrrel is a special place – the area was once home to Boorong people and the name “Tyrrel” is the Boorong word for sky and space. When there is water in the lake and the night is cloudless and still, the whole night sky can be seen reflected in the water.

The Boorong identified a significant number of stars and constellations. The constellations are based on both stars and dark patches in the sky, like “Bunya” the possum that sits on top of the tree (Southern Cross) or “Tchingal” – the giant emu that eats people (the bright band of central Milky Way represents the Emu’s body, and the Coal Sack dark nebula is the head with the beak).

The Boorong clan no longer exists as a separate entity, but their descendants live in north-west Victoria and throughout Victoria.

I found the good spot on the Eastern side of the lake where the water was shallow and recessed producing mirror-like surface. So I set up the camera on the tripod and went back to the star party at the lake viewing platform to share the views of the excellent dark sky through my telescope.

After the sunset, Venus sets at the Western horizon. According to Boorong Venus is the sister of the Sun.
Venus - Sister of the Sun

A little later we were treated with a magnificent view ofย  Zodiacal Light – the sunlight scattered by space dust in our Solar System. The triangle of faint glow was pointing at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.
Zodiacal Light at Lake Tyrrel

Then came Jupiter and the sunrise. You can see it all its glory in the time lapse animation below.ย  The animation is made from 1090 30-second still exposures.

I could not resist making the star trails image with nice reflections in the water.ย  The star arcs represent 100 minutes of Earth rotation.
Reflected star trails

It was very enjoyable trip, the people of Sea Lake are just wonderful and the skies are truly dark.

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4 Comments for this entry

  1. Luke Healey:

    Hi there,

    I am intrigued by night photography of the stars and am trying to find some time to get out and take some shots of star trails. I am after a similar effect to that of your photo “02-startrails.jpg” of Lake Tyrrel. I was wondering if you were able to share what sort of settings you used for this photo? I am not sure if you used a number of 15 (or so) second shots and stacked them together or a different technique. I am also assuming a relatively low ISO and a relatively low Aperture.

    Any advice would be much appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚


    • terrastro:

      Thanks, Luke.

      They were 30 second shots at ISO 3200 and f/2.8 stacked later in software

  2. Luke Healey:

    Oh, and spectacular shots by the way ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. renate:

    hi terrastro – this was my first but not last visit on this site – what a beautiful world, and thanks for letting us share these secrets of nature. I should love to purchase a “screen saver” for my pc, for example the dancing waves… Anyway, it’s wonderful to watch again,

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