Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Observers at the Edge

Here's an image of my posse at the recent trip to Lassen Natl. Park.  Beset by smoke and clouds for days we were treated to an exceptional sky on our last night.  From this vantage point in the parking lot it looked like we were perched at the edge of the earth - looking out into the vastness of space.  The Milky Way had that sugary texture one sees in very dark skies.  Inky dark lanes run throughout.  So remarkable to us and yet only a few generations past were skies like this commonplace for most peoples on earth.
The "teapot" pouring star clouds right down the barrel of that Schmidt-Cassegrain
Two observers using the large Schmidt-Cass (one at scope, the other hidden at right using charts).  One imager huddled over laptop with his refractor illuminated by the glow of red LEDs.  My gear is hidden in the background but you can see my laptop silhouetted against the horizon.

We often have to remind each other to take our eyes off our equipment and just - look.  All too rare and never enough time to let the experience soak in.  That's why we have to go out and do it again.  And again.

Observers at the Edge

Taken at Bumpass Hell parking lot, Lassen Natl. Park,   August 18, 2012
Canon T2i (stock), Canon EF-L 24 mm @f2.0
Manfroto Tripod (stationary), set inches off the ground
Composite of two frames, one focused on stars, one on 
Each exposure 10s @ ISO 3200
vignetting and lens correction in Lightroom 4
Composited in Photoshop
final adjustments and noise reduction in Pixinsight

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