The satellite weather image started to look promising around 8pm on the last Monday in January 2011 and I made a snap decision to go my favourite spot in Flinders to do a panning time lapse as well as some observing with my telescope. After 1.5-hour drive, I set up the camera to continuously take an image every 30 seconds and enjoyed a long deep sky observing session. The highlight of the night were spectacular galaxies near Large Magellanic Cloud (in southern constellations Dorado and Volans).

I also noticed quite a few meteors in the southern sky and remembered Alpha Crucids  meteor shower was around this time of the year. It is named after the brightest star in Southern Cross constellation (Crux). I looked it up and it is active in the second half of January.  Below is one of the brighter meteors I was lucky to capture on camera (in the upper left part of the frame).
A spear above the Elephant Rock


In the time-lapse below there are three galaxies (Magellanic Clouds and our own Milky Way) and shape of an elephant can be seen with some imagination in the rock formation on the left.

Meteors last a very short time and only appear in one frame. However trails from satellites and air-planes span across a few frames and most of the “shooting stars” in this time lapse are actually satellites or air-planes.

At the end of observing a friend of mine lent me his Pentax K-x DSLR and I put it into the focuser of my telescope. So here is my first ever image of a deep sky object through a telescope.

My first astro-photo.
By all standards it is an average image of the Keyhole Nebula, however I had great fun taking it. My telescope is on a Dobsonian mount which is not considered suitable for astro-photography because it does not compensate for the Earth rotation. But given the large 22″ mirror and high camera sensitivity at ISO6400 I was able to limit the exposure to 6 seconds and avoid star trails. The result is not bad for such a short exposure time.

More images from Flinders
Show on the Map

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7 Comments for this entry

  1. Paul Jiang.:

    I see our Milky WAy, the Large Magellanic Cloud and a Meteorite over the sky, i like them , what a amazing and clear image that i show !

  2. Paul L White (ex-BBC TV):

    Very many congratulations on the fantastic Southern Ocean Sky video shown on APOD today (4th July 2011). I wonder if you had considered marketing your wonderful work. I imagine many enthusiastic amateurs, and fans with more knowledge of astronomy than me, would love to display the whole sequence on their large HD widescreen TVs (up to 72 inch screens and beyond these days). I know that I would… perhaps you already have an HD Blue-Ray DVD available. If so,would you please let me know and I will be one of the first in the queue.

    I am a retired TV director from Britain now living in Canada, but the skies you have shown are familiar to me as I lived in New Zealand for 5 years in the late 1960s. I was also at sea for 8 years in the Northern and Southern hemispheres and learned to love and watch the glorious night skies all over the World.

    • CWPoole:

      yes – i would love to have a blueray or dvd of the sky videos. Maybe all they need is to be slowed down a bit to stretch out the time.

  3. Lisa:

    Love your work so much, some it reminds me of Van Gogh’s work, I would love to

    Beautiful

    x

  4. Janet:

    Your pics are so beautiful Alex. They totally convey the serene feeling of looking up at the night sky.

    Hope you don’t mind I used a wee thumbnail of this pic to link to your site: http://www.homemakers.com/blog/brightside/2011/08/10/beautiful-star-images-heavenly-happiness/

    • terrastro:

      Not at all. Thanks!

  5. Auke Slotegraaf:

    Beautiful, and beautifully edited.

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