Saturday, November 17, 2007
One thing that has been denied to me for too long was a glimpse of the night sky unblocked by light pollution. While it can be fun to hang out in the brighter than the noonday sun lighting of Shinjuku and Shibuya, the omnipresent neon glare doesn't do astronomers any favors.
Luckily for me, my grand parents ranch is two miles from the nearest town, and tiny Hopland isn't exactly a metroplex on the Tokyo scale. Combine distance with a new moon, and for the first time in ages I had a night sky that was perfect for star gazing.
My total count of "interesting objects" for my time in California came up with a single satellite and a grand five shooting stars! One of those was a pretty large fireball that left a trail across the night sky. I was one thrilled little sky junky that night.
Of course I also had the opportunity to dust off my little used tripod and try some night shots. Unfortunately I don't have a remote, so I was limited to 30 second exposures, which isn't really enough time to get good detail. Luckily, photoshop came to the rescue, and with some enhancement and modification I got some interesting detail out of a couple of my sky shots.
I also tried some interesting lighting schemes with my grandfathers giant flashlight. I was shocked that my attempt to write "Hi!" with light was actually legible, but the standout it my "close encounters" aliens swooping down to abduct a deer on the hillside. Even though I was merely holding the light over my head, it looks a lot like a beam shooting down from the heavens!