Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Star Trail Image Gallery

One of the most basic types of astrophotography and yet equally stunning is that involving star trails, particularly around the celestial poles or immediately due east or west. In addition to capturing the motion of stars around the north pole which are circumpolar and, hence, never rise or set, we also have the ability to capture seasonal constellations and stars in such photos, thus allowing for different opportunities during different seasons. Star trail photos also provide direct evidence that our planet rotates and does so at a rate of 15° per hour. Furthermore, by studying the arc for a particular star, especially as far away from the pole as possible, one can indirectly estimate the length of the (total) exposure which often ranges from seven to eight hours in duration and is totally dependent on the end of astronomical twilight one evening and its onset the following morning.

Many star photos are centered on Polaris, a double star system which represents our quickest means to locating the north celestial pole, for it lies less than 1.0° from it, and is an excellent starting point for the polar alignment of a telescope (and finding your way home if you are lost!). Due to the extended length of the typical exposures involved, the best film for such work is Kodak Elite Chrome (ISO 100) whose reciprocity failure is nearly zero or Fujichrome Velvia and Provia (ISO 50 and 100) emulsions with equally impressive curves! With respect to equipment, it is rudimentary, for a camera with extended exposure capibility is required along with a firm tripod and shutter release and locking cable. It is also preferable that the camera used have a mechanical shutter so that battery consumption and power does not become an issue during mid-exposure. The final requirement is a location with dark skies - the darker the better so that the trails and their colouration will be as bright and contrasty as possible - with, preferably, an interesting foreground which can be used to enrich the final result.

Note: One of the major islands in the Saronic Gulf to the west of Athens is Aegina and whose history dates back well over 2500 years. For example, its naval forces helped in the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC and where Greek naval forces led by Themistocles successfully managed to turn back the Persian naval forces led by Xerxes I. Similarly, the stunning Temple of Aphaia (490-480 BC) lies to the northeast whereas many other sites involving remnants of both ancient Greece and the Byzantine era are interspersed throughout the island. With respect to agriculture, Aegina is best known for its rich production of pistachio nuts. The stunning four-meter bronze sculpture below was created by the well-known sculptor Christos Karpalou (1909-1993) and since 1995 sits across the road from where the museum housing hundreds of his works lies. Known as "The Statue of Mother" ("Το Άγαλμα της Μάνας"), the statue overlooks the sea and symbolizes the Greek mother who awaits for the safe return of her (navy) son from abroad. A smaller replica of this work graces the grave of the sculptor's mother at the primary cemetery on the island.


Image Details
Mother
Imaging Details
Proper Star Name:
Polaris

Bayer Letter:
α Ursae Minoris

Tycho Catalog:
TYC 4628-237-1

SAO Catalog:
SAO 308

Luminosity
2290 +/- 282 x Sun

Distance:
431 +/- 26 light yrs

RA / Dec:
02h 53m 42s /
+89° 19' 52"


B-V Color Index:
+0.570 mag

Magnitude:
1.98
Date:
June 27-28, 2020
22:26 - 03:53 UT+3


Location:
Aegina, Greece

Equipment:
Canon EOS 6D
Baader BCF2 Filter
Canon EOS EF 28mm/f1.8 USM
    @ f8.0


Exposures:
327 min (427 x 45 sec) (RGB)
009 min (012 x 45 sec) (Dark)
ISO 800
JPG Fine Image Format
5472x3648 Image Size
Custom White Balance
Manual Mode
Continuous Servo Mode


Software:
Sequator V1.4
Photoshop CS5


Processing:
Dark Frame Reduction
Layers and Lighten
Resampling
Unsharp Masking
JPG Compression