Stars

Stars, star clusters, galactic nebulae and galaxies are famous photography targets of amateur astronomers. With today's capabilities of digital imaging an amateur astronomer is capable of making better pictures than the best professional observatories some decades ago. Have a look at Astronomical Image Data Archive (AIDA) for a bigger selection of astrophotography. January 1993 to May 2018, 44 photos.

Orion: The constellation Orion. The camera was guided with a telescope and during exposure time I defocused it. With this trick one can see the constellation and the different colours of the stars. Otherwise the stars would be burned out and appear white.

Plejades: Pleiyades - the seven stars. Other common names are: Subaru, gummi bear or baby buggy. The asterism looks a little like Ursa Maior. This was one of the first tries with a Lichtenknecker Flatfield Camera and is very out of focus. All stars are rings. Focusing f/3.5 is not very easy. — Minolta XD-7, Lichtenknecker FFC, f=500m f/3.5, Fujichrome RH 400, somewhere in 1997

Orion nebula: Messier 42, the Orion nebula. — 3.5/500mm Flatfield-Kamera, January 1997

h+Chi Persei: The double star cluster h and Chi Persei in constellation Perseus

Rising Orion: Star trails of the rising constellation Orion. This picture was taken in 1998 while we were waiting for the big Leonid meteor shower which came one year later.

Orion and Matterhorn: The constellation Orion is setting behind the famous mount Matterhorn. Picture taken from Gornergrat with the dome of the observatory in the foreground.

Orion above Chur: Rising Orion above the city Chur, taken from the 18th floor of a building. Just for imagination what light pollution means. — Nikon D70, 24-85mm Zoom lens, 30s @ ISO 1600, 10 December 2004

Milky way Lukmanierpass: The milky way on Lukmanierpass. The foreground has been flashed to achieve mor depth on the picture. — Nikon D70, 120s at ISO 1600, 24mm at f/4.5, 11. Dezember 2004, 22:27 MEZ

Mailand from Lukmanierpass: View from Lukmanierpass towards south. One can see the light dome above Milano. They belong to the cities with the biggest light pollution in europe. — Nikon D70, 180s at ISO 1600, 24mm at f/4.5, 11. Dezember 2004, 23:51 MEZ

Starry night: The starry sky above Lukmanierpass. The trees have ben flashed with internal flash of the D70. Interestingly the sky has a yellow-brown colour while the colours from the flash are correct. This is caused by different colour temperatures. Unfortunately I did not take this picture in NEF format and hence cannot modify the white balance. — Nikon D70, 120s at ISO1600, 24mm mit f/4.5, white balance sun, 12. December 2004, 02:25 MEZ

Sarnen from Glaubenbergpass: View from Hotel Langis on Glaubenbergpass towards Sarnen down in the valley, covered by fog sea. The light dome behind the mountens is caused by Milano's light pollution. — Nikon D70, AF-S 24-85mm lens, f=24mm, f/5, 300s at ISO 800, white balance tungsten, graduation curve adjusted, 6 February 2005

Stargazers at Hotel Langis: Trails of stargazers at Hotel Langis on Glaubenbergpass. — Nikon D70, AF-S 24-85mm, f=24mm, f/5, 190s at ISO 800, white balance tungsten, graduation curve adjusted, 6 February 2005

Polar star above fir: The polar star above a fir tree. — Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 28-70mm, f=28mm, f/2.8, 960s, ISO 100, white balance 3000K, Glaubenbergpass, 22. April 2006. Nikon D200, 959 s, F/2.8, 28 mm, ISO 100, Saturday, April 22, 2006 00:02:19

Antares Region: The region around the brigt star Antares in the constellation Scorpius. The red stripe across the image was caused by an airplane.

Milky way Cygnus: The milky way in the constellation Cygnus.

Milky way Scutum: The milky way with the Scutum star cloud.

Milky way: Milky way at the spring telescope meeting on Hasliberg

Star trails: Trails of stars above trees and mountains. I set the white balance to 3000K because then the night sky appears blue, which is not scientifically correct but looks more natural ;-) If the white balance is set to sunglight then the night sky appears brown. I recommend using NEF for all night scenes or under illumination circumstances which are unclear. — Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 28-70mm, f=28mm, f/2.8, 480s, ISO 200, white balance 3000K, Glaubenbergpass, 22. April 2006

Circumpolar Starns: Circumpolar stars with clouds on Mirasteilas 2006 in Falera. — Nikon D200, Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm 1:4, f=12mm, f/4, 30min, ISO 100, colour temperature 3000K, 24 September 2006

Light Pollution: View from Ahornalp towards north into Berner Mittelland. The haze in the sky increases the waste of light and energy into the night sky. The chain of hills on the horizon is the Jura. Nikon D200, 960 s, F/3.5, 24 mm, ISO 100, Saturday, May 19, 2007 00:43:40

Telescope Meeting: Trails of stars and astronomers during a telescope meeting on the Ahornalp. The bright wall of the restaurant wasn't that bright in reality. It was lit by a dim light through the curtains of a parked caravan. The sculpture on the left and the roots on the right were lit by a blue LED. Nikon D200, 960 s, F/4.0, 17 mm, ISO 100, Saturday, May 19, 2007 02:17:31

High Current Pylon: Circumpolar stars above a high current pylon on Glaubenberg nearby Sarnen in canton Obwalden. The bright light pollution on the horizon is caused by the area Zurich-Aarau-Lucerne. I used a flash to illuminate the foreground. Next time I should use a warm color filter to match the color temperature of the night sky. Or use a second exposure to process differently. It's way too blue. Nikon D200, 1800 s, F/4.0, 13 mm, ISO 100, Saturday, February 9, 2008 22:02:20

Snowcat: Circumpolar stars above a snowcat on Glaubenberg nearby Sarnen in canton Obwalden. The foregroundwas illuminated by a flash. Nikon D200, 900 s, F/4.0, 13 mm, ISO 200, Saturday, February 9, 2008 22:40:00

Snowcat: Circumpolar stars above a snowcat on Glaubenberg nearby Sarnen in canton Obwalden. The foregroundwas illuminated by a flash. Nikon D200, 480 s, F/4.5, 12 mm, ISO 200, Saturday, February 9, 2008 23:15:03

Circumpolar Stars: This picture of circumpolar stars is made of 112 single exposures of 30 seconds each with an interval of 40 seconds. ISO was set to 3200 and colour temperatore to 3200K. From the lower part a timelapse on YouTubewas created. I realized afterwards that there is no movie format for portrait mode. Nikon D3, 30 s, F/4.0, 19 mm, ISO 3200, Saturday, May 23, 2009 00:37:05

Starparty Gurnigel 2009: Star trails above the tank shooting place on Gurnigel during a star party. It's a composite of 100 pictures with 25 seconds exposure time and an interval of 30 seconds. Sensor sensitivity set to ISO 6400. Color temperature 3200 Kelvin. Total of 272 images were used to create a timelapse. The sensitivity is too high and the sensor noise too strong. Nikon D3, 25 s, F/4.0, 17 mm, ISO 6400, Sunday, August 23, 2009 00:25:14

Mirasteilas Falera 2009: Star trails above the observing site Chinginas nearby the Mirasteilas Observatory in Falera. This picture is a combination of 74 single exposures with 25 seconds exposure time and an interval of 30 seconds. Sensor sensitivity set to ISO 3200. Colour temperature set to 3200 Kelvin. Section of a timelapse movie consisting 414 single images. Nikon D3, 25 s, F/2.8, 17 mm, ISO 3200, Friday, September 18, 2009 22:36:09

Setting Orion: Setting constellation Orion with the bright star Sirius, shot from Glaubenberg in canton Obwalden. Nikon D3, 30 s, F/3.2, 17 mm, ISO 3200, Saturday, February 5, 2011 00:53:29

Light Pollution with Meteor: A meteor caused the earth's atmosphere to glow for a fraction of a second. Underneath the shooting star are brightly illuminated clouds caused by light pollution of the italian city Milano. Single exposure of a timelapse movie. Milano has the highest light pollution of all Europe. Electricity is way too cheap. Nikon D3, 29 s, F/3.5, 17 mm, ISO 3200, Saturday, February 5, 2011 22:00:06

Polar Star: The star polaris, also called northern polar star above firs. The stars are rotating 15 °/h counter-clockwise around the north celestial pole. The brightest star near the north celestial pole is currently Polaris. In 12'000 years it will be Vega. Tha'ts due to the precession of the earth's rotational axis. Combination of 15 exposures with 4 minutes exposure time at ISO 400 each. Nikon D3, 240 s, F/3.5, 17 mm, ISO 400, Sunday, February 6, 2011 01:55:25

Moon in branch gap: The setting moon is located in the gap on a fir tree. Starparty at Ahornalp in Emmental, canton Berne. Nikon D3, 15 s, F/2.8, 25 mm, ISO 1600, Friday, May 6, 2011 22:02:39

Mountainbike with Polaris: A mountain bike on top of car's roof is rising up from the light pollution. Above it the star are circling around the polar star. Starparty at Ahornalp in Emmental, canton Berne. Nikon D3, 961 s, F/5.6, 17 mm, ISO 200, Friday, May 6, 2011 23:49:39

Tree with polar star: A tree is groung out of the yellow light pollution and growing towards the celestial north pole which is circled by the circumpolar stars. Starparty at Ahornalp in Emmental, canton Berne. Nikon D3, 240 s, F/4.0, 17 mm, ISO 200, Saturday, May 7, 2011 00:30:27

Big and Little Dipper: The constallations Big Dipper (left) and Little Dipper (right). During the exposure the camera lens was set to defocus so that around the brightest stars a halo showing their colour appears. Starparty at Ahornalp in Emmental, canton Berne. Nikon D3, 30 s, F/3.2, 25 mm, ISO 3200, Saturday, May 7, 2011 01:19:31

Milky Way above Telescopes: View towards the galactic center of our Milky Way galaxy. The dark stripes are intergalactic dust ... or maybe soot from a Volkswagen Diesel? Starparty at Ahornalp in Emmental, canton Berne. Nikon D3, 30 s, F/2.8, 17 mm, ISO 6400, Saturday, May 7, 2011 02:25:17

Milky Way and Light Pollution: View towards the galactic center of our Milky Way galaxy. The dark stripes are intergalactic dust and the yellow dome on the left hand side is light pollution, probably from the city Lucerne. Starparty at Ahornalp in Emmental, canton Berne. Nikon D3, 60 s, F/3.2, 17 mm, ISO 1600, Saturday, May 7, 2011 02:48:31

Milky Way above Lake Davos: Oh my god, is that an awful light pollution from the lights on the road to Davos. It would be so nice in the mountains if there wasn't that light pollution. The night was clear and the Milky Way was straigt up. It would have been a great picture with the reflections on the calm surface of the lake. But no, the municipal works service of canton Grisons wasted a lot of money for a total useless lighting on a road. Nikon D3, 30 s, F/4.0, 17 mm, ISO 3200, Friday, March 16, 2012 22:27:22

Star Trails above Lake Davos: The lights of the houses are reflecting on the calm surface of Lake Davos. The next day we went diving in that lake. Nikon D3, 480 s, F/2.8, 17 mm, ISO 200, Friday, March 16, 2012 22:59:46

Star Party 2012: Amateur astronomers on the tank shooting place on Gurnigel during a star party. In the foreground is a large dobsonian. Visible on the horizon is the Gantrisch mountain chain with the light pollution of Thun. Single exposure of a timelapse movie. Nikon D3, 30 s, F/3.5, 17 mm, ISO 3200, Saturday, August 18, 2012 22:54:59

Star Party 2012: Amateur astronomers on the tank shooting place on Gurnigel during a star party. In the foreground is a large dobsonian. Visible on the horizon is the Gantrisch mountain chain with the light pollution of Thun. A car was driving across the place. One should avoid that. If you know that you'll leave early, please park your car near the entry or further away near the restaurant. Single exposure of a timelapse movie. Nikon D3, 30 s, F/3.5, 17 mm, ISO 3200, Saturday, August 18, 2012 23:13:41

Milky Way with Shooting Star: Single frame of a timelapse sequence with 600 pictures of 30 seconds exposure time each at ISO 3200 and f/2.8 aperture. With higher ISO the Nikon D3 has too much noise. Nikon D3, 30 s, F/2.8, 17 mm, ISO 3200, Friday, August 2, 2013 02:08:23

Milky Way above Telescopes: The milky way rises above the hazy sea of light pollution. Some illuminated cirrus clouds are blocking the celestial view. In the front some amateur astronomers with telescopes have been caught in the act. Spring telescope meeting at Ahornalp. Nikon D850, 20 s, F/2.8, 17 mm, ISO 3200, Saturday, May 19, 2018 01:07:12

Milky Way above Light Pollution: The milky way rises above the hazy sea of light pollution. Spring telescope meeting at Ahornalp. Nikon D850, 15 s, F/3.5, 17 mm, ISO 6400, Saturday, May 19, 2018 02:09:09

Milky Way above Tree: The milky way rises above the hazy sea of light pollution. The light pollution is caused by Lucerne. The tree was lit for a few seconds with the display of an iPhone. I should use slightly orange instead of pure white instead to get a warmer tone. Spring telescope meeting at Ahornalp. Nikon D850, 15 s, F/3.5, 17 mm, ISO 6400, Saturday, May 19, 2018 02:16:37