Saturday, 29 June 2013

Why we don't image below 30 degrees

We generally don't take images with Galaxy Cam lower than 30 degrees above the horizon. The reason for this is that on some nights there can be a lot of haze (and this is difficult to reliably detect). A picture I took last night with my camera demonstrates the effect this has on seeing.

As you can see, while the milky way is extremely clear higher in the sky, haze, probably illuminated by the towns and cities at the edge of the island, is completely obscuring the stars near to the horizon. The bright blob in the bottom centre is where a car turned on its headlights towards the end of the exposure.

This was the haziest night I have seen this trip, but it is not uncommon. Trying to image faint objects through this is pointless, which is why, with the exception of planets, we don't take images below 30 degrees.

60 second exposure with my digital camera