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Summer is Approaching

In the northern hemisphere, when you start seeing the Milky Way crawl over the eastern horizon in the middle of the night, you know summer is approaching.

Below are a couple images of the Milky Way rising over GMARS. The first is an 8-panel mosaic taken at GMARS around 12:30AM on May 28th. The far left end of the image is looking northeast, and the far right end is looking southeast. From left to right, the light pollution domes are Las Vegas, Joshua Tree & Twentynine Palms, and the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs, et al) on the far right. Also on the far right is Mars, nearing opposition.

The second image is similar, but taken the following night from a different part of GMARS and uses 15 individual frames to create the mosaic. Notice the difference in green airglow from the first night to the second night.

Images like these aren't terribly difficult to take. You just need a tripod, a decent DSLR and a good editing program like Photoshop. Rather than trying to describe the equipment and steps here, I'll simply point you to one of the best websites out there for tripod-based astrophotography, In particular, check out this article on stitching individual images into one larger image for nice wide views.

The Milky Way over Goat Mountain and GMARS
A Canon EOS 6D and Rokinon ED 14mm lens were used to capture 8 frames for this mosaic.
Each frame: 20-seconds, ISO6400, f/4.0
Another view: Milky Way over GMARS
This image is from the telescope field at GMARS. Same image details as above but with 15 frames.
The southern portion of the Milky Way is full of nebulae and star clusters. Below is one of the many nebulae in the Sagittarius and Scorpius region, the Swan Nebula.

M17, the Swan or Omega Nebula
AGO 10" f/3.9 Newtonian Telescope, FLI ML11002-C camera, single 10-minute exposure.


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Star parties are a great way to experience that time of day. Here are a couple aerial shots as star party guests at GMARS gather and get ready for an evening of observing and imaging.

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