Seeing Stars

I wasn’t going to do another post today, but after I’d had supper, it dawned on me that the moon hadn’t risen, and so I was privy to a dark desert sky (i.e. no light pollution).  This seemed too good an opportunity to miss, as one of the things I’d wanted to do whilst in the desert was to enjoy the Southern Sky properly (as lots of the constellations visible here are not visible in the UK).  So, what did I do?  I decided to think along the lines of carpe diem, (or more accurately in this case, carpe noctem).

I am fortunate enough to own an excellent piece of software called Starry Night Pro, which simulates the night sky from anywhere on Earth (amongst many many other things).  Given that my phone has GPS, all I had to do was type this into the program, to get the exact night sky from where the camp is, displayed on my laptop.  Clicking a few buttons to highlight where each constellation was, and to project the equatorial coordinate system, I was ready to go, and I ventured out into the night with my laptop (not too far though, only behind the containers, but I had to be very careful not to trip over the large satellite dish/pile of drill cores)!

First, and most easy to find was Crux, and moving away from that, I quickly clocked Triangulum Australe, Pavo, Centaurus, Octans, Scorpius, Corona Australisand Libra.  I was also aiming to find the Small Magellanic Cloud, and I think I saw it, but I’m not 100% sure (and the moon had started to rise at this point, making life rather difficult).  It was a blue moon a couple of days ago which, owing to the fact that it is a full moon, totally ruins the darkness of the sky.

Anyway, I decided to rush out with my camera to try to nab a cheeky photo of the sky.  Yes, I know it’s a bit rubbish, but hey, I don’t have a tripod, so I had to hold the camera by hand (hence the slight blurring), and I don’t own/know how to use Photoshop or any photo editing stuff (hey, I’m a lazy git purist, I like my photos with warts and all)!

In this image, we can see very clearly Crux towards the bottom centre.  The two bright stars above it belong to Centaurus, while to the left of them we can see Triangulum Australis.  Above that lies Ara.  The Milky Way is also visible as the fuzzy vertical stripe through the centre of the image.

In this image, we can see very clearly Crux towards the bottom centre. The two bright stars above it belong to Centaurus, while to the left of them we can see Triangulum Australis. Above that lies Ara. The Milky Way is also visible as the fuzzy vertical stripe through the centre of the image.  The fuzzy patch to the left is just a normal cloud.

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