Saturday, 28 January 2012

City Astronomy

Dutch Astronaut André Kuipers took an image of the Netherlands (and Belgium) from space.

I live in the centre of the red cross hair: one of the most light polluted areas of the Netherlands. The bright yellow spots are caused by assimilation lights of greenhouses.

What does this mean for (amateur) astronomy? Well, kids who grow up in this part of the Netherlands cannot experience the splendour of the milky way. Most kids don't even know the existence of it, until they go on a holiday to a "dark" place. It also means that taking a picture of the Orion constellation with an exposure time of 2 minutes will lead to an overexposed image. The image below was exposed for 10 seconds at ISO 1600 with a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L USM lens at 25 mm f/5.6.

The only celestial objects in the sky that don't get disturbed by light pollution are the moon and planets. The following picture was taken on the same evening (January 27, 2012) at the public astronomical observatory of Rijswijk, located on top of a 12 storey high apartment building. You can see Jupiter on the top left and the moon and Venus at the lower right. On the foreground, a fellow astronomer is taking pictures of this conjunction. The high antennas are lightning rods. Exposed for 2.5 seconds with the same camera and lens at 24 mm f/5.6 and ISO 1600.

When the moon set, it disappeared in the clouds. Again taken with the same camera, but with a Mamiya 210 mm Sekor-C f/4 lens. Exposed for 4 seconds at f/8 and ISO 1600.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Maurice.

    Going through my bookmarks I've found your blog again. Nice to see the great astro photos that can be made from Zoetermeer. Hopefully this year I'll start observing more as I used to.

    You might want to check the small astronomy community forming on Google+.
    This guy is really doing some great stuff with Google Hangouts: