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Comet Neowise

 

 

Comet Neowise (C/2020 F3) was a spectacular comet for those in the northern hemisphere.  But only after it had faded significantly in late July had it finally travelled south enough to be visible for those of us in the southern hemisphere.

 

This video shows the "nightly" progression of the comet across the southern sky and is compiled from (generally) the first start up image each night from my timelapse365.com project from 29 July to 13 August 2020. 

 

There are a number of nights that were missed due to inclement weather (which is why the "smooth" movement jumps), and the image from 10 August is from about 5 minutes later than it should have been due to cloud, which is why the comet seems out of place too far to the left.

 

1,000 Meteors

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) - 12 September 2020

Category Winner - Animated Sequences Scientific - David Malin Awards 2020

 

 

This video, at 15 frames per second, presents a diverse range of 1,000+ meteors (plus a lightning sprite) selected from 372 nights of imaging.  It is organised by local sidereal time and therefore also displays all of the northern night sky constellations as seen over a full 12 month period.  All frames are processed identically to show the dramatically varying sky conditions in colour, brightness and seeing conditions.

 

A few things to keep an eye out for:

  • 0:35 - A cute triplet of parallel meteors
  • 0:40 thru 0:55 - The "star" obviously jumping back and forward towards the centre of the frame is Uranus.  Dwarf planet Vesta does a similar dance, albeit less obvious, over a wider area to the right and slightly higher than Uranus.  This movement is an artifact of 1) compiling the images via Local Sidereal Time; combined with 2) both Uranus and Vesta being in both pro-grade and retro-grade motion over the period.
  • 1:00 - Lightning sprite is middle of the frame faint above the trees

 

Midnight Montage

Highly Commended - Widefield - David Malin Awards 2020 *

 

Midnight Montage

 

This montage represents the discrete images generated at midnight AEST between 5 April 2019 through 13 August 2020 shot every night, precipitation permitting, on a custom developed remotely controlled dark sky wide field time lapse system.  386 midnight images were captured across 497 total nights (77.6%).

 

Items to note:
  • 29 nights per row versus the lunar orbit of 29.5 days sees the shifting of the lunar illumination to the right for each row, as well as the shift of the Moon to the left (because it is rising earlier) in the same column for each successive row.
  • The shift to the left of the constellations between successive rows as the Earth orbits the Sun and the constellations in the night sky rises approximately 114 minutes (≅ 2 hours) earlier each row (29 day “moon-th”).
  • The rapid change of the altitude of the Moon night to night, and month to month, caused by the inclination of the moons orbit and the rapid orbit of the Moon around the Earth once per “moon-th"
  • All frames processed identically (with the exception of reduction of exposure around full moon) and the colour variations are real due to atmospheric and other conditions.  Orange (start of row 4).  Green oxygen glow (start of row 13).
  • Every image is date labelled in lower left corner.
Click to browse the full 12.8 gigapixel version.
David Malin Award version with 2 less "moon-ths".

Keogram Montage

Highly Commended - Widefield - David Malin Awards 2020 *

 

Midnight Montage

 

A keogram is a time-versus-latitude plot created from the individual images captured during the night and are a good method of summarising each night, with cloud and changing sky conditions apparent.

 

This montage represents the keograms generated between 5 April 2019 through 13 August 2020 shot every night, precipitation permitting, on a custom developed remotely controlled dark sky wide field time lapse system.  414 keogram images were generated across 497 total nights (83.2%). 

 

Items to note:
  • Each keogram takes the centre two columns of pixels from each individual image taken over the night with columns from each successive image stacked to the right of the existing columns.  So the centre of the first image taken on the night is on the far left of each keogram, and the centre of the last image taken on the night is on the far right of the keogram, with those in between from all other shots on the night thus representing time.
  • The positioning of each keogram is adjusted to centre on midnight in order that each individual keogram is comparable.
  • 29 nights per row of keograms, versus the lunar orbit of 29.5 days sees the shifting of the lunar illumination to the right for each row, as well as the shift of the Moon to the left (because it is rising earlier) in the same column keogram for each successive row.
  • The shift to the left of the constellations between successive rows as the Earth orbits the Sun and the constellations in the night sky rises approximately 114 minutes (≅ 2 hours) earlier each row (29 day “moon-th”).
  • The rapid change of the altitude of the Moon night to night, and month to month, caused by the inclination of the moons orbit and the rapid orbit of the Moon around the Earth once per “moon-th”, as well as the tilt of the earth.
  • X axis of each keogram represents time, and varies due to seasonal length of night (and late startup or premature shutdown due to weather conditions).  Maximum night Winter solstice approx 2,004 images (row 3 & 16) and minimum night Summer solstice (row 9) approx 1,164 images.
  • All frames processed identically (with the exception of reduction of exposure around full moon) and the colour variations are real due to atmospheric and other conditions.  Orange (start of row 4), green oxygen glow (start of row 13), red from nearby bushfires (end of row 9).
  • The north alignment of the camera effectively makes this a “transit” image as the stars cross the meridian, so whilst constellations are identifiable, they appear distorted to a single photographic image as the arc across the sky has been straightened as they are recorded only as the cross a fixed line in the sky.
  • Every keogram is date labelled in lower left corner.
  • A minor pixel defect approximately 1/3 from the top becomes evident with the same pixels from each image displayed side by side.  
Click to browse the full 8.6 gigapixel version.
David Malin Award version with 2 less "moon-ths".

Bushfire Skies

Highly Commended - Nightscapes - David Malin Awards 2020

 

 

Bushfire Skies

 

The raging summer bushfires came uncomfortably close turning the sky red as the fires lit up cloud.  

 

Dancing Clouds

Honorable Mention - Animated Sequences Aesthetic - David Malin Awards 2020

 

Clouds are the bane of the optical astronomers life.  But they can also be very majestic and unique in the way they form and dissipate, and travel in multiple directions simultaneously, as shown in this sequence of three clips.
 

Spacecraft

Honorable Mention - Animated Sequences Scientific - David Malin Awards 2020

 

 

This video is a compilation of some interesting spacecraft events captured in the night sky and includes:

  • SpaceX Falcon Heavy propulsive passivation manoeuvre - the final orbit adjustment of the upper stage, as well as passivation of the rocket by venting of all remaining fuel.
  • Chandrayaan-2 lunar orbit injection burn
  • SpaceX Starlink - a number of examples of the Starlink constellation clusters 

 

Cosmic Ray

Highly Commended - Deep Sky - David Malin Awards 2020

Bushfire Skies

 

The image shows (what is most likely) a cosmic ray over the background sea of noise captured by a DSLR image sensor.  Whilst normal processing is designed to reject and/or minimise such sources of noise, this image has been processed to preserve these cosmic events.

 

2,283 x ISO 100 30 second exposure blank frames were shot with a Canon 5D Mark III (RAW) with the lens cap on in a darkened room.   The typical debayering process was bypassed and the images converted to a linear RGB image in Pixinsight.  A “Max” integration and “Average” integration of all frames was undertaken, with the “Max” integration treated as a light frame, and the “Average” integration as a dark frame and subtracted in order to remove persistent hot pixels.  The resulting frame was then examined to identify extreme pixel values (at or near saturation), with two such cluster of pixels identified.  Identification of the individual frame with the same extreme pixel values was undertaken to ensure that the extreme cluster of pixel values were in a single frame and not an artefact of the “Max” integration across multiple frames.  Both identified cluster of pixels were traced to discrete frames suggestive of a single source event.  The image presented is one of those frames, with an auto stretch applied to display the cosmic ray signal above the random sensor noise and shows the RGGB bayer colour filter pattern on the sensor.

 

Bolivar Peninsular Lighthouse

 

Persistent Meteor Train

 

Capertee Valley

Honorable Mention - Animated Sequences Aesthetic - David Malin Awards 2018

 

The timelapse focuses on the beautiful Capertee Valley - the widest in the world - north west of Lithgow.
Shooting from the western escarpment, the shooting was planned to co-ordinate with near "1st quarter" moon to allow the valley and cliffs to be moon lit at the start of the evening before the moon set around the time of the Milky Way rising.
Featuring a striking meteor which had a persistent meteor train visible for over an hour.
A variety of cameras and lenses were used to shoot the footage including:
Canon 5D Mark IV with Sigma 14mm f/1.8 lens
Sony A7S with Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 lens
DJI Mavic Pro

Southern Celestial Pole around a Fleurs Radio Telescope

Honorable Mention - Wide-field - David Malin Awards 2018

 

The southern celestial pole rotates around the receive of a dish from the former Chris Cross radio telescope originally sited at the Fleurs field station, but now at the “Wiruna” property of the Astronomical Society of NSW.
Crux stands prominently above the dish.
Sony A7 mirrorless camera with Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMA Asperical lens
Processed as star trails in StarStax and Photoshop

60 frames of 30s each @ f/2.8, ISO 2500 

Sprite and Orion

Honorable Mention - Wide-field - David Malin Awards 2018

 

A time-lapse of the lightning storms on the horizon captured three lightning sprites over a period of 15 minutes during late twilight in summer.  Orion is in the top right.
Sony A7S, Sigma 14mm F1.8 DG HSM, 20s, f/1.8, ISO3200.  Approximate 55% crop of the full image. 

Capertee Fireball

Highly Commended - Wide-field - David Malin Awards 2018

 

 

This meteor was captured at Capertee Valley and generated a meteor train that was persistent for over 1 hour.

 

Sony A7, Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM lens, 20 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600 

Great American Total Solar Eclipse 2017

 

This image attempts to accurately portray the view of the total solar eclipse as experienced in Natrona, Wyoming in August 2018.  
After the surreal light as T2 approached, totality is more akin to the sudden on set of mid twilight, with an all around sunset on the horizon, rather than being plunged into darkness as is often portrayed.  
Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, 1/30 sec @ f/4, ISO 4000 

Milky Way Orb

 

A diffusion filter helps to bring out the colour of the stars in the Milky Way by preventing over-sauration of individual pixels from the normally pin point stars.
Saturn and Mars can be see in between the gaps in the horse shoe orb sculpture in the foreground.
Canon 5D Mark III , Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC lens, Kenko diffusion filter, 20sec, f/1.4, ISO1600 

Dark Skies of Sydney

18 May 2018

 

 

The skies of Sydney are dark of stars, with only a handful of brighter stars showing up as star trails in this shot to the south west from the MLC centre.
This was shot through the office window and some reflections from the window glass are evident in the ghosting around brighter lights (eg the “Westfield” sign).  Other artifacts include lights on building cranes that moved in the wind during the night evident as the red lights on the lower right.
294 shots from 18 May 2018 on a Canon 7D with a Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens [ 2 and 2.5 sec exposures, f/2.8, ISO 1600 ] were stacked using a “Max” blend in Imagemagick.  The bright sky glow was reduced in Lightroom using contrast adjustments to make the sky more "black".

Wiruna Fireball - 2016

 

 

This was by far the biggest fireball I have ever seen, just after 9pm high in the sky to the North East on 9 October 2015 from the ASNSW's Wiruna dark sky property at Ilford, NSW.

 

Not only did I get to witness the fireball visually, I had a DSLR shooting a time-lapse pointed in that direction which captured the fireball almost perfectly framed - the photo is uncropped.

 

The photo is a composite of two 30 second exposures, with the gap between the two segments partially real and partially due to the short gap between the two photos. 

 

About four minutes after witnessing the fireball and had all sat down from our excitement, we heard a sonic boom. Based on the propagation speed of sound, this would have placed the explosion at around 80km.

 

Canon 5D Mark III, Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 2500, 2 x 30 sec exposure, ISO 2500, f/2.8 - "Lighten" blend in Photoshop

 

Riverina Skies

Honorable Mention - Animated Sequences Aesthetic - David Malin Awards 2015

 

 

The Riverina area is one of the most productive agricultural areas in NSW with crops including canola and wheat.  This sequence captures a variety of agricultural scenes under the Riverina night skies.

 

Footage is from a variety of cameras including Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 5D Mark III, Sony A7S with Samyang 24mm f1/4 and Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lenses.

Panning motion on some footage via Alpine Labs Radian.

 

Point Perpendicular

Honorable Mention - Animated Sequences Aesthetic - David Malin Awards 2015

 

 

The objective was to over exaggerate the size of the rising full moon and this was achieved by including a "foreground" object, the Point Perpendicular lighthouse, which was approximately 9.9km away across Jervis Bay from the calculated position at Hyams Beach, thus reducing its relative size.

 

The planning for the sequence highlighted to me the difficulty for these types of "rising" alignments - my planned calculated position was just 80m further north but was blocked by thick scrub and bush - this location would have seen the graze of the cliff and lighthouse as I had originally envisaged. 

 

Canon 7D with Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM and Canon 5D Mark III with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

 

Huntsman Dark Nebula

Highly Commended - Wide Field - David Malin Awards 2015 

 

 

A huntsman spider climbed up the tripod and camera and settled motionless on the camera lens for approximately 2 minutes during an unattended timelapse sequence and has cast a new spider shaped “dark nebula” over the Milky Way.

 

Sony A7 with Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC, 30 sec @ f/2.8

 

 

ISS shadow transit of full moon

4 May 2015

 

 

The International Space Station transits the full moon from approximately 11 o’clock to 2 o’clock.  The ISS is 109m x 73m and was shot at a distance of 1,236km along a narrow (12km) path that passed through the Sydney CBD.  It traversed the moon in under 1.5 seconds and was completely unsighted as it was in earths shadow at the time, so it was shot solely based on predicted time.  

 

Canon SX60HS point and shoot camera - video 1080p 60fps - 1365mm equivalent focal length, Canon 7D Mark II DSLR with Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM - 640mm equivalent focal length

 

Kalaya

Honorable Mention - Animated Sequences Aesthetic - David Malin Awards 2014

 

 

Kalaya is an aboriginal word for Emu.

 

For the past few years, I have envisaged shooting the Milky Way, and specifically the aboriginal “Emu”, rising above Uluru and Kata Tjuta - a blending of iconic ancient aboriginal landscape with ancient skies.  In May 2014 I finally had the opportunity.

 

The Directors Edition is the footage at normal speed, whilst the David Malin Awards version has sections of footage sped up to meet the two minute time limit on entries.

 

Emu in the Sky

 

The Australian aboriginal have their own "constellations" in the sky, with the "Emu" representing the dark nebula across the plain of our Milky Way galaxy.  
The head of the "Emu" is the Coalsack nebula adjacent to the Southern Cross (Crux), with the body and legs represented by the dark nebula through the core of the Milky Way around Scorpius.
 
This image, taken from a time-lapse sequence, illustrates the Milky Way, and specifically the aboriginal “Emu” rising above Uluru in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Canon 5D Mark II, Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens, 20 sec exposure, f/2.8, ISO 5000

Fairweather Lane, Marrar

 

A 360 degree full sky view of the Milky Way rising over Fairweather Lane, Marrar in the Riverina.
Canon 5D Mark III, Samyang 14mm f/2.8, 24 images stitched in software to create the 360 degree full sky image, 13 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400

Tempus Velocitas is a compilation of astronomy timelapses that I've shot over the past few years.

 

This compilation represents in the order of 58,000 individual images spanning approximately 240 hours of the night sky all compressed down to 31 minutes.

 

 

There is also a shorter Tempus Velocitas Celeritas  originally presented at the South Pacific Star Party 2014.

 

Baily Beads Montage

 

A montage of 6 images showing the progression of Baily Beads taken over 7 seconds around 3rd contact during the Total Solar Eclipse 14 November 2012 from Maitland Downs, QLD.
Canon EOS 7D DSLR, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, 1/2500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, 400mm

 

Total Solar Eclipse 2012 Holy Grail

 

 

 

TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE - 13 November 2012 @ 10pm thru 14 November 2012 @ 7.15am from Maitland Downs, QLD.
Canon 5D Mark II DSLR, Canon EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, 27mm @ f/2.8, 21 exposure stops - 15 sec ISO 3200 to 1/8000 ISO 200
Frame rate slowed around Totality

Total Solar Eclipse 2012 Corona Explorer

 

Total Solar Eclipse 14 November 2012 from Maitland Downs, QLD.
30 images from 10 exposure ranges (ISO 200 1/2500 sec to ISO 800 1/20 sec)
manually aligned and stacked and merged to a single 32 bit HDR image

Total Solar Eclipse 2012 Shadow Cone

 

Total Solar Eclipse 14 November 2012 from Maitland Downs, QLD.
Canon 5D Mark III DSLR, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens, 50mm @ f/4 (then cropped), 3 sec interval

 

Partial Solar Eclipse

 

10 May 2013.  Ilford, NSW @ South Pacific Star Party
A Partial Solar Eclipse was visible from New South Wales.  Not in the same league as a Total Solar Eclipse, but still very cool.
Orion ED-80 (600mm focal length) with Solar Filter, Canon EOS 7D DSLR, Meade LX-80 (AltAz) mount, 10 sec interval

 ISS shadow transit of moon

4 April 2012

 

The International Space Station transits the Moon in this composite image of 12 images, with a callout showing an enlarged view of the ISS.
Taken from Sydney Botanic Gardens near the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday 4 April 2012 at 5.20pm approximately 20 minutes before sunset.
The site was chosen as it was approximately 1.5km from the centre line of the transit and had an unobstructed view of the moon which was relatively low in alititude.  The ISS transit was only visible in a narrow 12km path.
The ISS is approximately 1,070km away in this shot, with the moon was approximately 368,000km away.
Meade ETX-125 OTA, Canon 5D Mark III camera, Manfrotto tripod with Wimberley gimbal head

 

Comet Lovejoy & ISS - December 2011

Honorable Mention - Animated Sequences - David Malin Awards 2012

 

This time-lapse was shot from approximately 9.15pm through to 5.00am on 23/24 December 2011 near Coolamon, NSW.  It consists of 1,576 individual 15 second exposures.
The International Space Station joins Comet Lovejoy late in the sequence.
Canon 7D camera, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L lens, 15s exposure, f/2.8, 17mm, ISO 5000