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: With a coastline which measures 13,676 kilometers, Greece has the largest coastline in Europe and the eleventh largest in the world. As a result, the number of shipwrecks above and below sea level which characterize the extended greek coastline and waters should come as no surprise.

The shipwreck below involves the general cargo ship "Dimitrios" which finally run aground at its current location on December 23rd, 1981 roughly 3.8 kilometers northeast of Gytheio and on the sandy beach of Valtaki in southern Greece. The ship was originally docked at the port of Gytheio following unexpected and serious health problems involving its captain but a variety of problems with the unpaid crew and the insurance company thereafter led to its eventual confiscation by port authorities. Consequent mechanical problems and the influx of water into the ship's hull led to port authorities deeming the ship unsafe and who requested that it be transported to open waters. Following two heavy storms while in open waters, the cargo ship finally reached its current location and where it has remained since late 1981. Built in Denmark in 1950 and originally named Cornilia, the cargo ship measures 66.71 meters in length and 10.09 meters in width and had a gross tonnage of 965 tons. The cargo vessel was later renamed Klintholm and finally Dimitrios.

Image Details
Marooned at Gytheio
Imaging Details
Proper Star Name:

Bayer Letter:
Ursae Minoris

Tycho Catalog:
TYC 4628-237-1

SAO Catalog:
SAO 308

2290 +/- 282 x Sun

431 +/- 26 light yrs

RA / Dec:
02h 39m 31s /
+89 17' 39"

B-V Color Index:
+0.570 mag

July 28-29, 2017
22:20 - 04:35 UT+3

Valtaki Beach,
Gytheio, Greece

Canon EOS 6D
Baader BCF2 Filter
Canon EOS EF 28mm/f1.8 USM
    @ f3.5

375 min (186 x 120 sec) (RGB)
012 min (006 x 120 sec) (Dark)
ISO 1000
JPG Fine Image Format
5472x3648 Image Size
Custom White Balance
Manual Mode
Continuous Servo Mode

Startrails V2.3
Photoshop CS5

Dark Frame Reduction
Layers and Lighten
Unsharp Masking
JPG Compression