It Is Special

Ostensively on the “advice” of Soham Chowdhury, I went out for some astrophotography yesterday, after a really long break.

And the sky, didn’t at all disappoint me.

My Production Line Is Still Highly Inefficient!

Yes, that’s the word for it: highly inefficient. I have often mentioned before why it is so.

Every time I go out for astrophotography, I take at least 3-4 photographs. I end up with only one, most of the cases.

It’s the same with all photography of mine: I end up with barely 20% of all the photographs I’ve taken.

It was not at all different this time. I took 4 pics, but was satisfied finally with only one.

The Story

As mentioned before, I did this ostensibly on the “advice” of Soham. My first step, as always, was to look out of my window. After the first day of the week spent in school, it felt really wonderful to spot stars right outside my window.

The view out of my window. Interesting to get so many stars after a really long time.                     Image Credit: Sagnik Sarkar

The (Special) Free Hand Mount

Whenever I take astrophotographs from my room, I “mount” the camera on my window sill, of course by hand. I lean the camera upwards towards the sky, and use the tilted LCD Screen as the “supporting tripod”.

I quickly realized that I could not identify much of the constellations out here, because I am thoroughly unfamiliar with this part of the sky.

What I Could Identify

  • At first glance, the Pleiades Open Cluster, a cluster of five stars, is visible in the extreme upper-centre of the image. I’m never ever mistaken with this.
  • The presence of Pleiades indicates that a part of the constellation Taurus has to be in the image.
  • The constellation Cetus is very easily identified by its kite-like shape.
  • A part of the “The River”, Eridanus, the longest but also the faintest constellation, is visible towards the extreme left boundary. It pans right from top to bottom. And it’s only a part that is visible here!
The annotated version of my image, obtained from

I was very pleased to get the Ecliptic in my image, albeit unknowingly.

The Specialities

That big line running right through the centre of the image (left to right) is the Ecliptic of the Earth, overlayed on the sky.

The Ecliptic is the path of the Sun in the sky. The constellations lying across the Ecliptic are known as the zodiac constellations. Aries is one among them.

Technical Details

For those who are interested in technical details, typical examples being me and Soham Chowdhury, I’ve got something to please you.

Date & Time
Date: February 03, 2014
Time: 19:41 IST (14:11 UTC)

Camera: Sony NEX-3
F-Ratio: f/5.6
Focal Length: 18 mm
Exposure: 30"
ISO: 200

Post Processing
Calibration: DeepSkyStacker
Histogram Stretching: Adobe Photoshop
Finishing Touches: Adobe Lightroom

Astrometry Details
For those who still aren't satisfied, here's some more fodder for you:

You know what's there? More astrometry details. Oh, yes!
The FOV (Field of View) of my image, for those who are interested.

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