Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

What a night and what a beautiful eclipse!

I've seen a couple of total lunar eclipses before but this is the most beautiful one so far. I went 250 km east of Östersund where the weather forecast looked much better and I did get clear skies throughout the entire night.

Here are a couple of photos of the eclipse, I will probably update this post with more photos later on.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Total Lunar Eclipse

We're closing in on one of the astronomical highlights of this year. Early in the morning on the 28th of September we will be able to see a total lunar eclipse (Swedish summer time). Totality starts at 04:10 and ends at 05:28. The partial eclipse starts at 03:06 and ends at 06:28 so it will be a long night for all you eclipse chasers.

This years eclipse is a bit special since it occurs during a so called supermoon. A supermoon is when the full moon coincides with its closest approach to the Earth.

This is a collage of a total lunar eclipse I photographed on the 28th of October back in 2004. It shows the partial eclipse growing into a total lunar eclipse. This eclipse also occurred early in the morning here in Sweden, these photos was taken between 04:00 and 05:00.

So let us hope for clear skies on the morning of the 28th of September. What better way to start a week than with a total lunar eclipse :-)

Friday, September 11, 2015

The size of the Andromeda Galaxy

It was quite some time since I photographed the Andromeda galaxy so last night I had another go at it. For this photo I used a total exposure time of 75 minutes to bring out the details in the galaxy.

It is the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way with a distance of 2.5 million light-years. Just stop and think for that a minute, the light has traveled 2.5 million years before it arrived to Earth. Since the speed of light is ~300 000 km per second, we can quite easily come to the conclusion that the Andromeda galaxy is extremely far away.

But, since it at the same time is extremely big, its size in the sky is as big as 6 full moons placed next to each other.

In this photo I took last night I've included the size of the Moon as it appears in the sky, just so that you can get an idea on how big the Andromeda galaxy really is in the sky. Since the light from the galaxy also is very faint due to the long distance, we can just barley see the galaxy with the naked eye. But if we could see it in its full glory, this is how big it would look compared to the Moon. Quite a view.

Nikon D810A, Nikon AF-S 300mm/f2.8, 75 minute exposure, ISO 1600

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Aurora road

The aurora season continues to deliver amazing auroras. A few nights ago we had another fantastic show with lots of activity both along the horizon and with a beautiful corona. Here is one shot taken when the aurora was very active and colorful.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Beneath the Milky Way

This weekend I was visiting one of my neighbors at their summer house. It's located in a really remote location with a wonderful dark sky. During the weekend I captured this image of their house beneath the Milky Way.

It's quite amazing to think that this little house is circling around in a giant galaxy filled with billions of stars.

Nikon D810A, ISO 6400, 30 sec. 14 mm f/2.8

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Flaming Aurora

On the 26th of August in 2015 there was a fantastic Aurora display over great parts of the northern hemisphere.

Here in Östersund, Sweden, we got some really nice northern lights throughout the night. This was one of the most flaming and pulsating auroras I've seen. For several minutes I just lay on the ground watching the corona shift color and shape very rapidly. The real time footage you see of the corona in this video is a good representation of what I saw.

Sit back and enjoy 3 minutes of aurora magic.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Astronomical nights arrives

Last night we experienced the first astronomical night here in Östersund, Sweden. Astronomical night is defined as when the geometric center of the sun is 18º or more below the horizon. Astronomical nights is something we astrophotographers want since then we can do really long exposures without the catching any light from the Sun.

September and October is also the high season for shooting the Milky Way. It's high in the sky and stretches over the entire sky from south west to north east around midnight.

Here's a shot I took a week ago when the sky still wasn't completely black. What you're seeing is our own galaxy The Milky Way rising from the horizon, filled with billion of stars, nebula's and interstellar dust blocking the light from distant stars creating these darker areas you're seeing.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Planning and shooting the full moon of August

So, did you see it? Last night's full moon? It was as beautiful as always to see the full moon slowly rise above the horizon. I never get tired of seeing the Moon and Sun rise and set. These events are always a joy to watch and you never know what will happen regarding the light and other optical phenomena. Last night was no exception.

So, this time I had planned a location in forehand to get a shot with the moon above a big residential building called Fagerskrapan about 3 km away. According to my calculations the full moon should be visible around 20:12 - 20:15 Swedish summer time and at 20:14 it popped up right about where I expected it to, about three degrees to the left of Fagerskrapan.

Nikon D800E 1/180 sec, ISO 200, 600mm f/4.0

Then just three minutes later the Moon was closing in on the building and I noticed I had to move a bit to get it closer to the roof of the building. When doing these final adjustments you don't need to move much. Perhaps I moved about 20-30 meters away from my original spot.

Nikon D800E 1/180 sec, ISO 200, 600mm f/4.0

As the Moon got even closer to the building I went from 600 mm to 1,000 mm in focal length to get a more dramatic perspective of the scene.

Nikon D800E 1/90 sec, ISO 400, 1,000mm f/6.7

Now it was all about waiting for the right moment and and keep shooting. At a focal length of 1,000 mm the Moon moves pretty fast over the sky.

Nikon D800E 1/180 sec, ISO 400, 1,000mm f/6.7

One minute later I took this shot when the Moon was connected to Fagerskrapan by the big antenna on the roof. I shot it in portrait mode and have then cropped it to a square format. I like the fact that this antenna are connecting the two objects.

So in all it took the Moon about 6 minutes to make the trip from horizon and to the top of the building. That's not much so if you try to capture a moon or sunrise you need good preparations and planing in forehand.

Finally I realized that I might get a photo of a clock and the Moon exactly when it was at 100% which occurred at 20:38 Swedish summer time. This wasn't something I've planned but I realized it in the last few minutes and I soon realized that from my current location I wasn't able to get that shot, but it would be close.

Nikon D800E 1/125 sec, ISO 400, 1,000mm f/6.7

So this last photo was taken at 20:29 so 9 minutes to early. Had I waited for another 9 minutes the Moon had been long gone from that church tower, close but no cigar. The good side of the is that now I got another shot to do at another full moon :-)

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