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Milky Way from La Palma

Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:13 pm

Hi all,

Just returned from a week in La Palma (badly planned, because the Moon was waxing towards full!) and got to tell you that the skies there have to be seen to be believed! I have never in my life seen the Milky Way so tangible. Attached is a single 3 minute exposure with a Canon 40D and 18 - 55 mm kit lens (which isn't wonderful quality I'm afraid). Camera was set to ISO 1600 and guiding was with an Astrotrac. I had a short window of dark sky between the Moon setting and the Sun rising!

Cheers,

Tim.

RE: Milky Way from La Palma

Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:20 pm

That is a fantastic shot, excellent sky there.

RE: Milky Way from La Palma

Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:36 pm

Wow, that bit of Sagittarius is horizon hugging in the UK....

RE: Milky Way from La Palma

Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:53 pm

Thanks very much Sinbad and Brian. Yes, Brian, it was great to be able to see the really good bits of the Milky Way at a reasonable altitude and I must say it felt a bit odd pointing the polar axis of the Astrotrac at such a low angle as well!

The shot was taken from the garden of the villa we rented, which was on the NW side of the island and about 2000 ft ASL on the side of a gorge. You can see that the little bit of tree which appears in the bottom right corner of the shot has the characteristic orange-brown of sodium lamp affliction. The reason for that is that there was a road a few hundred feet above us which had the odd sodium lamp along its length. The lamps were full cut-off but of course were shining DOWN on my site, hence the light pollution. It didn't materially affect the sky though. Next visit there will be better planned so that I can actually spend some time taking images rather than squeezing a few hurried shots in before the Sun rose! I will likely camp up on the Roque de los Muchachos too, where the observatories are located and where there are NO pesky street lights!!

Cheers,

Tim.

RE: Milky Way from La Palma

Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:46 am

Very Nice Tim :)

Peter...

RE: Milky Way from La Palma

Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:20 am

amazing!..would make agood location for some telescope then! ;-))

RE: Milky Way from La Palma

Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:36 am

Thanks for the kind comments guys. Yes, it sure would be nice to have a permanent base there. I believe the island is fairly strict in its light pollution control, obviously because a number of observatories are located there. You can see how crowded it is on the top of the volcano here!

Cheers,

Tim.

RE: Milky Way from La Palma

Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:26 am

hi tim, love your image mate.yes going to a proper dark sky and looking at the milky way is truely amazing, something you dont forget,i just wish i took my astro trac when i went away though i only just had it at the time and had no insurence so left it at home[:@]

RE: Milky Way from La Palma

Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:16 am

That's a shame Darkside. I've been quite impressed with the Astrotrac, after some initial problems. I did just manage to get the tripod, Astrotrac, cameras, chargers and laptop all within the weight limit for my flight but I couldn't have taken much more without paying for extra baggage (which is ridiculously expensive!). The only problem I had out in La Palma with the Astrotrac was that there were so many stars it took me a minute to orient myself and reliably identify Polaris!!

Cheers,

Tim.

RE: Milky Way from La Palma

Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:20 pm

Lovely shot. Something I can only dream of in the UK.
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