I have been taking a bit of a break from astrophotography in the last few weeks, finally Winter has hit so it’s family holiday time. A regular family holiday spot for us is Pemberton in the south-west of Western Australia. As a family of photographers the area has endless photography opportunities. Many hours spent kneeling or lying on dirt to photograph interesting fungus and orchids! I’m yet to successfully incorporate macros subjects in astrophotography though! (there’s always a next challenge, right?)
This trip to Pemberton was a family holiday and so I only ventured outside briefly a couple of times for astrophotography. We happened to be staying around the corner from the Pemberton train station. What an amazing site for photography! It’s like someone installed a movie set with all the props and lighting, just waiting for photographers to arrive. My only challenge was ignoring the spooky nature of it to try and get some creativity and freedom flowing. I barely scratched the surface. Of course the challenge in Pemberton is often the weather – you can easily be there a week and have cloud every night, and you can see even in these photos evidence of encroaching cloud and fog which I only just beat.
Anyway, after much messing around on the computer, here’s some fun pics from the two nights.
Pemberton steam train at the Pemberton train station with the southerm Ilky Way above (including the Large Magellanic Cloud).
Pemberton Tramway Co with the Southern Milky Way.
Pemberton train station at night with the southern sky above.
A moment under the southern skies
A moment under the Southern Skies. The processed result of images taken on the 8th September.
This is a wide field nightscape astro photo featuring the Milky Way. It centers on the Southern Celestial Pole and so includes also: The Southern Cross and Pointers, Small Magellanic Cloud, Large Magellanic Cloud, Eta Carina (just barely above the south-west horizon) and other features of the southern night sky. There is even a meteor! The meteor is from one of the frames only and was a very quick bright one.
In a rare almost never seen before appearance, I am actually in the photograph too , standing on the ridge near the tree.
Dark southern skies and rich green airglow in the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.
From the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia another night of fantastic dark clear skies. From my experience February tends to have quite a few nights compared to the rest of the year exhibiting green air glow and last night was just one time. Beautiful rich green across the sky was visible even in short exposures.
This photograph features the familiar Southern Cross and Pointers (alpha and beta Centauri) quite prominently along with the Milky Way and Small Magellanic Cloud (right). The Eta Carina nebula is also visible (top of Milky Way).
Perth Observatory Astrograph Telescope with the Southern Cross, Coalsack and Eta Carina Nebula visible through the roof.
It’s so much fun to be involved at the Perth Observatory (where I volunteer with the Perth Observatory Volunteer Group), and it’s nice as a little reward for the hundreds of hours volunteering every year to have the pleasure of photographing on-site now and then (although it is hard to fit around the things to do!). Last night I enjoyed some late night photography after a tour and this photograph of the historic Astrograph Telescope is one of the highlights from the evening.
Visible through the opening of the dome is the Southern Cross, Coalsack (dark nebula) and Eta Carina nebula. Good timing to nab them through the roof!
Dreamy Rock Pools
This photograph has a couple of different types of “clouds” and while astronomers typically dislike clouds here they work to create a dreamy nightscape.
The Magellanic Clouds, a set of companion galaxies to our Milky Way are visible in the night sky. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) on the right and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) slightly left and lower than the LMC. Across the night sky span thin layers of cirrus cloud, creating the dreamy look. The moon (not visible in frame) gives the sky a blue colour.