I’ve been especially fascinated by astronomy recently, even more so than usual. My affliction is not helped any by the ascension of Venus into the night sky – for the next few months, it promises to be the brightest object after the sun and the moon, and you can see it in the south-west both before and after sunset. It’s really something to behold.

Anyway, I had this terrific idea. I’ve read that the reason people can’t see nebulae and most stellar objects with the naked eyes (beside light pollution and atmospheric interferance, of course) is that they’re just so faint. You have to have a super long exposure for enough light to come from one spot and show you all of the nifty features of the night sky. Of course, if you try to have a super-long exposure, you end up with a bunch of streaks as the stars move across the sky.

So I figured what I would do is take a bunch of relatively short exposure photographs (2″ each), and drop them on top of each other in photoshop. That would be like a long exposure (I’m only patient enough for about 50 shots, twenty of which may be usable, for a total of 40″ of exposure). Maybe all kinds of fancy things would show up then, even with a silly little camera like mine.

I decided to go in the backyard, since there’s much less light from the house or the street back there, but back there, I have the problem of trees. I love trees, mind you, but they’re not too handy for stargazing. I tried to point at the clearest spot I could that included at least one star for lining up all of the shots, and …

Star

Yeah, basically nothing. You can see that one star -really- well now, and if you look carefully, you can see some dark streaks – those are shadows from tree branches. Oh well. Maybe I’ll have to try again pointing at Orion or something.

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