Monday, 25 March 2019

New Star Tracker

Got my new MoveShootMove star tracker from China this week.
Just need a clear night to test it now!
Currently the moon is up with the Milky Way, so no chance of MW shots, but I'm on the lookout for a clear night so I can do some testing of the alignment laser and the unit itself.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

First Milky Way shoot of 2019

I didn't do much Milky Way shooting last year, mainly as the hours are so inconvenient and the weather didn't co-operate.
March 2-15 is the first window of opportunity to see the MW this year, but the weather closed in for the week.
A forecast break in the clouds for this Monday night and I knew I had to give it a go.
I decided on a 1h15m drive down to Hengistbury Head- a location I'd been to a couple of weeks previously.
A 2am alarm call got me there for 0330 and setup on the dunes looking out to sea.
There was quite a bit of cloud, but it seemed to slowly be clearing. Sure enough, soon after 4am, the Milky Way was there in all most of it's glory.
At this time of year, it is still very low on the horizon and a bank of cloud obscured some of the core.
I'm happy with the image though, although it's still a bit grainy/muddy for my liking. I would like to be able to get a crisper image, but for that I think I need a kit upgrade.
The occasional flash of lightning out to see kept me on my toes, and I've caught one in the image. Also saw a bonus shooting star.
Decided not to stay for the sunrise (although it looked like it was going to be a good one) and was home for 7am.
All in all an enjoyable night, and I'm looking forward to clearer nights so I can get some more practice in. Still early in the season....

4 mins @ f4.0, ISO800 for the sky, using my home-made tracker
Same settings for the foreground shot, but without the tracker
Room for improvement:
The 4min exposure has some star-trailing showing. I think I need to sort out the tracking rate. Maybe slightly less than 1 revolution per 2 minutes? Or maybe better alignment with the Pole star?
Would also be nice to try a Sony camera and/or a decent Sigma f1.4 lens to improve the quality of the image.