It’s really been a long time since I last set my hand in astrophotography.
December 27, 2013: that’s what the date of my last astrophotograph that I shared with friends shows. We’ve already passed over to a new year 2014, but it seems like that did stop me from taking part in further astrophotography. For the new year, of course.
It would be wrong to say I was loathe with my camera though. I had actually attempted many times, but the results were far too disheartening to even add them to my collection.
Frankly speaking though, I had taken a good-for-nothing astrophotograph earlier this year, which was good enough to keep, at least. It’s obvious that I chose not to share it.
Then Why The Failure?
It’s not that the conditions aren’t suiting me. The atmospheric seeing is supposed to be, and is excellent in winter, and cloud cover is practically zero. But something still stopped me: dust.
Suspended Particulate Matter (scientists’ jargon for dust suspended in the atmosphere) makes life hell for astrophotographers in developing areas such as Salt Lake and Newtown, which are right on the boundary of the city, Kolkata. A lot of construction work goes on in this area, and therefore, a lot of dust is created and spreads out.
SPM and PM 2.5 concentration is above average in my area (thank goodness, not RSPM!). Thanks to that, the wonderful atmosphere is subject to “local atmospheric instability” due to SPM! What a wonderful way to destroy opportunities for astrophotography!
Then What The Hell Caught Me?
To say the truth, that day’s conditions were much better than other fays. And yes, the presence of Taurus and Orion directly in front of my eyes made the temptation a bit too unbearable.
The (Intended) Consequence
This photo was all that I managed to get, after quite a lot of dirty post-processing. And let me just point out, the centre of the frame was about 75 degrees altitude, which is very near the zenith.
Notwithstanding the high altitude, LP is inherent in this image, reflected off SPM particles in the atmosphere. The constellations are wonderful, the star bright; but the dust, poured water over everything.
This drab shot was all I sadly, and quite dishearteningly, managed!
EXIF Data Date: January 23, 2014 Time: 21:43 IST (16:13 UTC) F-Ratio: f/3.5 Exposure: 30" ISO: 200 Focal Length: 18 mm Location Latitude: 22 deg 35' 11" N Longitude: 88 deg 27' 36" E