Friday, November 9, 2012

Orion Nebula, Jupiter's moons, and the Pleiades on an early Winter morning

At around 5:00am ET on November 6, 2012 I was taking my new puppy out to piddle. When I looked up, I saw a brilliant clear sky with Orion, Taurus, and the Pleiades just over the roof of my apartment complex. It was about 30 degrees out, but I figured since I was up I'd jump on the opportunity. I went back inside to get my Canon with 300mm lens to take my first night sky photos since September.

My biggest problem the last time I tried using the Canon was the inability to focus on the stars. Through trial and error, I know it's possible to get the focus right after shooting a picture, viewing it and zooming to see the result. Luckily, I had a 25% moon that allowed me to auto-focus at a good distance, so these steps were not required.

I snapped a few pictures at a lower ISO and longer exposure time, and noticed since the zoom was so tight, the stars would form trails much sooner than in a wider frame. I cranked the ISO up to 1600 and reduced the shutter time to just 3.2 seconds. This gave me almost round stars (rather than lines) and a clearer view of the nebula clouds.

orion nebula with canon Canon Digital Rebel XT 300mm
Orion Nebula, ISO 1600, 3.2 sec, 300mm

orion nebula taurus and pleiades with Canon PowerShot A3100IS
Orion Nebula, Jupiter, and the Pleiades, ISO 400, 10 sec

Pleiades with Canon Digital Rebel XT 300mm
Pleiades, ISO 1600, 3.2 sec, 300mm

Jupiter with Canon Digital Rebel XT 300mm
Jupiter and 3 moons, ISO 1600, 3.2 sec, 300mm
orion nebula instagram
Crop of the Orion Nebula with HDR and filter on Instagram

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