Solargraph | Solstice to Solstice

My long time-exposure is finally finished. It lasted 6 months starting near the Winter Solstice in December 2019 until the Summer Solstice in June 2020. Done in three parts, sunrise solargraphs were merged into this one image. Previous solargraph posts are found here.

Sunrises between Winter and Summer Solstices

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Starlink 6 Train

Two nights ago the Starlink 6 train of satellites launched by SpaceX passed directly over our location at magnitude 0.8. Clouds were a problem. We were able to see about 10 of them briefly in a small gap between the clouds. Last night they passed again, but farther to the south and only 36˚ up from the horizon. The sky conditions were better but worsening. They were to be at magnitude 3.2 which is not very bright in our urban setting.

NightCap on the iPad does a good job capturing night time events. I set it for ISS passes and hoped for the best. We stood in a relatively dark place down the street while the iPad recorded a 6 min time exposure. We watched in amazement as the entire train of 60 Starlink satellites passed right-to-left across the part of the sky still clear. They were quite dim but we easily saw them pass. The clouds were steadily encroaching from the right.

The photographic results were a disappointment. The satellites passed under the Moon and barely under Canis Minor in the center before they became visible to us. Their trails are hidden behind the narrow cloud streak the goes from below Canis Minor and off the left side of the frame. Perfect placement for not being visible in the photo. I tried everything in Photoshop to adjust the image and make them visible. Nothing worked. But, we did escape from house confinement for a while and enjoyed the warm spring evening.

Taken with NightCap | ISS mode | 356 sec exposure

Daytime View of Venus

The evening views of Venus high in the western sky have been beautiful. It shines bright and strong reflecting sunlight from its dense atmosphere. Today, the sky here was exceptionally clear and blue offering an opportunity to view bright Venus in the daytime. Software said it would be passing due south at about 3:40 pm and be elevated 75˚ above the horizon. I mounted the camera on a tripod and positioned myself below the edge of the roofline which points south. It was easy to find the bright speck of light from Venus against the blue sky.

Next, I put the camera in video mode and slowly panned upward along the edge of the roofline seen at the right edge. This 10 sec clip shows the planet moving from top to bottom slightly right of center. If you are viewing with a mobile phone, it might not be visible. It clearly shows on a computer monitor. That roaring sound is not Venus. It is the neighbor mowing his lawn. 🙂

Morning Planets at a Safe Distance

Jupiter took the lead guiding this trio across the morning sky. It is upper right at 6 am with Saturn and Mars close behind. Saturn is on top.

Three of the four Galilean Moons of Jupiter were visible at full zoom. A brisk breeze added a little camera shake. From left to right are Ganymede, Europa, and Io. Callisto was almost emerging on the upper right limb of Jupiter.

Saturn appeared as a tiny oval above Mars. It has been several days since we had a clear morning. It was a good start to the day.

Snowflake Trails

Three days into spring and it snowed. Curious, I set the iPad in a window facing a neighbor’s house. Using the NightCap app, it captured a 33 sec exposure in Light Trails mode. The fast shutter speed showed the paths of many individual flakes. Click for best view embiggened.

Taken with NightCap Light Trails mode, 33.27 second exposure, 1/110s shutter speed.