Monday, August 29, 2011

An Evening on Kitt Peak

The monsoon season has taken  break in Tucson, the first time we've seen cloudless skies since we've been back from the Midwest a month ago!  Melinda needed to work, and since it was Sunday, I needed to be at work the next day, but the potential for stars called!  I had the idea for another time lapse sequence, so got up about sunset, and headed for the actual peak of Kitt Peak.  Arriving about sunset, there was a rush to get set up - the hard part was humping up camera gear, tripod, tracking mount and a car battery to power the whole thing up a primitive steep route through rocks and brush.  It was singularly about the hardest thing I've done the last few years.  I was able to take my first test exposures just as the stars were coming out. 

Setting up for the standard sequence I've followed the last few series, with the Canon XSi at ISO 1600, I used a Nikon 16mm fisheye at F/2.8, taking 45 second exposures every 50 seconds.  The Milky Way appeared out of the twilight and over the course of the next 3.5 hours appeared to flow past the Observatory domes and 4-meter telescope.  It will take a bit to put the clip together, but shown is a single frame.  Even in the total darkness, all domes are visible, even Baboquivari 15 miles to the south.

Not wanting to climb down in the dark, knowing that my flashlight would be visible in the exposures, I hung out watching the sky, looking for meteors and satellites.  It reminded me of a very similar night 30-some odd years ago when I was living atop the mountain.  On a night off a friend and I hung out atop the peak, again watching the stars go by.  The camera nut I was, I recall taking pictures atop the peak way back then.  I don't recall the scramble up the slope being as tough as it was last night though!

1 comment:

15512 said...

Stellar Greetings 124075!
This is 15512 down here near Hereford, just a few 'clicks' from JBO, which we will always remember as Dave's and keep in our hearts. I have been enjoying the blogs for some time now, and the time-lapse sequences that you've just posted are tremendous- we look forward to more, as time allows. Me and another (38203) hope to make some down here this fall. Thanks to both of you Ketelsen's and take care.