Astro Bob blog: Mosquitos thick as the starry skyA very nice photo of this morning's moon-Pleiades gathering plus a glimpse at the galaxy passing overhead in a sky near you.
By: Bob King, Duluth News Tribune
Mosquitos thick as the starry sky
The moon and Seven Sisters (Pleiades) star cluster at 2:48 this morning. Details: 800mm lens at f/8, 5-second exposure. Credit: Lyle Anderson
What were you doing at 2:48 a.m. this morning? Probably sleeping, right? Me too. Good thing a few people were up watching and photographing the moon-Pleiades pairing. Thanks Lyle for sending us such a nice photo. After seeing your pictures, I wish I'd been out to catch the show.
It looks like a meteor shooting up from the horizon, but it's really the space station disappearing into Earth's shadow. Details: 35mm lens at f/2.8, ISO 800 and 30-second exposure. Photo: Bob King
This is the last week for evening passes of the International Space Station (ISS) for our region before a couple weeks of daylight-only passes and its return to the morning sky. I was out Tuesday night and and barely got the camera out in time to photograph a fine pass of the space station. As you can tell in the photo, the ISS was brilliant at first but soon faded as it entered the Earth's shadow. Although difficult to see, the narrow, dim end of the trail is colored reddish-orange from the setting sun -- one of 16 sunsets the astronauts see in a day as they orbit the planet once every 90 minutes.
The Milky Way from Cygnus (top) through Aquila cuts a stunning starry path across the sky Tuesday night. Details: 16mm lens at f/2.8, ISO 800, 4-minute exposure on a tracking mount. Photo: Bob King
After the station faded away and twilight ended, I was taken aback by how rich and bright the Milky Way appeared. I'd driven a half hour north of Duluth to where the sky was very dark and the mosquitos thick. I paid for my photos in blood.
Tomorrow I'll share more images of that night as we learn to identify the brightest star clouds of summer and get a feel for the shape of our galaxy.