Sunday, December 15, 2013

Star Trail Thumbprint with Star Labels

Do you recognize these stars just by looking at their trails? (Answer below)

381 images stacked from my Geminid meteor shower watch

Because the position of stars relative to each other is fixed (unless you want to get technical) the streaks made with a fixed camera on a rotating Earth will appear the same year after year. In this sense, star trail paths are like a stellar thumbprint in the sky.

As I'm learning to recognize more and more constellations and stars, looking at things a new way is still a fun challenge. I've labeled the most recognizable stars in this field - with the wild card Jupiter which does change its position relative to the other stars over time. It was a little tricky, but after labeling a few it became super easy to see some common landmarks (skymarks?), such as Orion's belt and the Pleiades.

Did you recognize the stars without their labels?

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