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Just acquired an Epson printer/scanner from an op shop, and was delighted to find it has film scanning capability. Quality’s not quite as good as a dedicated unit, but pretty good all the same. So, I’ve been going back through some old negs and slides, and here’s one of the first through.

The Coal Sack is a dark dust cloud near the Southern Cross. It obscures the light of the Milky Way beyond it, giving rise to the appearance of a hole in the mass of background stars. Called the Coal Sack by early European astronomers, it is also known as the head of the Emu according to Aboriginal sky lore.

This image is a time exposure (approximately 10 minutes), and shows the stars trailing across the film as they apparently revolve around the South Celestial Pole – although it is actually the Earth’s rotation on its axis that gives the appearance of the stars’ movement. It is easy to see in this image that the stars are a variety of colours, from bluish to yellowish; the bluer the star, the hotter it is. Also visible are a few pink areas in the Milky Way, where new stars may be forming in the glowing nebulae of hydrogen gas.

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Image Copyright Duncan Waldron © 2008
This image may not be reproduced without permission
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Tags

astronomy, celestial, coal sack, constellation, crux, milky way, night, sky, southern cross, star

Comments

  • redcow
    redcowalmost 6 years ago

    this is cool but i feel dizzy !

  • I prescribe browsing the rest of my portfolio, and buying a calming image ;-)

    – Duncan Waldron

  • redcow
    redcowalmost 6 years ago

    I might just try that : )

  • D Byrne
    D Byrnealmost 6 years ago

    nice one

  • Matsumoto
    Matsumotoalmost 6 years ago

    Any idea what the amperture was?

  • I generally close down 1-2 stops from max aperture, so probably f2 or 2.8. I’ve enhanced this slightly with various bits of processing – the Milky Way wasn’t so evident in the original:

    – Duncan Waldron

  • Nikki Trexel
    Nikki Trexelover 5 years ago

    beautiful..i like that it is pure unadulterated startrail – no pesty foreground or clouds or moon to distract. :)

  • Thanks for that Nikki (I was an astronomer before I became a photographer, so I don’t even think of these as photos without foregrounds, and if you want stars, you don’t want the Moon & clouds!). Sometimes I do use a foreground though :)

    – Duncan Waldron

  • OldBirch
    OldBirchabout 5 years ago

    Love the explanation.
    You were an astronomer! Wow! In high school, that was my dream…until I found out there was one job opening per year…

  • I was an amateur photographer, which led me to want to photograph the things I was seeing through the ‘scope; after that, I worked as a photographer at an observatory – the best of both worlds :) It was great fortune that a job came up just as I was finishing my phot’ course.

    – Duncan Waldron

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