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Member Reports from project nightflight

Jan 25

M46/M47 in Binoculars

Stargazing with binoculars is a speedy way to see celestial objects in awesome detail. project nightflight has developed an astrophotography and image processing technique to show some deep-sky objects as they appear in binoculars. This way we would like to encourage stargazers to use their binoculars for finding their way around in the nightsky. For the simulation images we use HDR imaging technology and a special filter to make the final image look almost exactly as seen through a binocular. The field of view of our binocular simulations spans six degrees, which represents the typical 8x30 or 10x50 binos used... Read More...

Dec 27

The Star of New Year's Eve

Fireworks and celebrations, that's what many people associate with the coming of the New Year. But as the countdown is peaking and expectations are running high, there is yet another show going on in the sky. The brightest star visible from Earth reaches its highest point of its apparent path across the night sky. Sirius culminates around midnight on New Year's Eve. This is a phantastic coincidence. And, of course, this happens every year at midnight as the old year ends and the next year begins and is visible from almost everywhere on Earth. So, if the skies are clear... Read More...

Dec 05

Perseus Double Cluster in Binoculars

It's that season again. And with the long and chilly winter nights awesome binocular objects start populating the northern hemisphere night skies. One of the most beautiful is unquestionably the famous Double Cluster. Also known as h & Chi Persei or NGC 869 and NGC 884, these two adjadent star clusters herald the cold winter months in the norhern hemisphere. They are high up in the sky already in the early evening and easy to find between the two constellations Cassiopeia and Perseus. From a dark observing site, they are easily visible with the unaided eye, but in binoculars or... Read More...

Sep 20

Brand New Star Walk Website

The Grossmugl Star Walk is an astronomical edutainment trail near a small village in Austria, Europe. The "Sternenweg Grossmugl", as it is called in Austria, is a self-guided tour encouraging astronomical observations with the unaided eye. Nine displays along the trail explain general astronomical topics in an easy-to-read way. On a 90 minutes' walk, visitors learn how to spot star colors, artificial satellites, the Milky Way and other objects in the night sky. The 1.5-km-long tour is free of charge, open all year round day and night and available without booking or reservation. Since the opening in 2014, nature lovers,... Read More...

Sep 13

Calima Sunset

Some sunsets on the Canary Islands are eerily subdued. They look as if the sun were hiding behind a thin veil of gauze. This situation is known by the designation Calima, its Spanish name, which has crossed the language barriers as the weather condition crosses the borders of countries and sometimes even continents. What causes this meteorological phenomenon? The Calima emanates from the endless dunes of the Sahara desert, where storms of enormous proportions lift tiny particles of sand into high layers of the atmosphere. The Sirocco wind then carries these fine dust grains over the western Maghreb countries and... Read More...

Aug 16

Stargazing Sites on La Palma Island

Stargazing on La Palma Island is one of the finest astronomical experiences possible. The small volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean is part of the European country Spain, has a modern airport, very nice accommodations, good infrastructure and offers impressively dark skies. Due to a very restrictive lighting policy, outdoor lights on La Palma are well shielded and the nighttime sky still looks how it should: dark and full of stars. First time visitors to La Palma are often overwhelmed by the pristine skies of the island. For those who want to enjoy the full show, we compiled a list... Read More...

Jul 18

Summer Milky Way

Now is the time to go out at night and see the splendid Summer Milky Way. These days it stretches across the whole sky already by the end of the evening twilight. Our interactive full-sphere image shows how this looks from a truly dark observing site. The bright galactic center hovers above the pitch black volcanic landscape of La Palma island. The full band of the Milky Way is clearly visible as it crosses the zenith. Where the sky above the horizon isn't illuminated by the faint orange glow of Los Llanos the Aridane it sparkles with iridescent green airglow.... Read More...

Apr 23

Austrian Science Night 2016

Every year, more than 100.000 visitors participate in Austria's annual Science Night. During this special night, thousands of scientists present their work to the public at more than 250 locations like university institutes, museums and private research facilities. The Austrian Science Night is one of Europe's largest science events for the public. This year, outdoor temperatures were favorable and the sky was at least partly clear. That is why the Science Night motivated a lot of people to come to the Vienna Observatory, home of Vienna's Astrophysical Institute. The 360 degree panorama captured the atmosphere on the east terrace of... Read More...

Apr 08

360 Degree Full-Sphere Astrophotos

Recently a new camera hit the market that will set off a small revolution in astronomy and astrophotography. It is an innovative panorama camera that records a 360 degree full-sphere panorama with only one single shot. We tested the Theta S for astronomical usage and it turned out quite well. The sample image above captured the atmosphere of an observing session on april 2, 2016, at a wind farm near Vienna. Just click the image to start the player. View the sphere full screen, pan around, zoom in and out, let it autorotate... What's more, the full-sphere camera can be... Read More...

Mar 21

Planetary Filters for Small Telescopes

Color filters are of great help when observing the planets with a telescope. They help discern small and low-contrast features on the planetary discs. But there are so many color filters available that one can easily get lost. Even the manufacturers' recommendations are of no great help, since they are mostly for larger apertures of eight inch and more. Here we present a recommended filter set that matches perfectly with a small telescope. The filters #8 light yellow, #21 orange, #80A blue and Baader Neodymium are an ideal combination for planetary observing with a small refractor, Maksutov or Newtonian telescope.... Read More...

Jan 24

Sirius Rising Above Grossmugl Star Walk

For the remaining weeks of winter Sirius dominates the evening sky. Being the brightest of all stars in our night sky, it rises around nightfall this time of the year. The image, shot on January 22, 2016, shows Sirius rising above the Leeberg tumulus, a 2500 years old ancient burial mound at the endpoint of the Grossmugl Star Walk. The Grossmugl Star Walk is located in Austria, Europe, only half an hour's drive from Vienna. The star walk installation is a self-guided 1.5km long astronomical edutainment trail aimed at the general public. Its goal is to raise awareness for the... Read More...

Jan 10

Hidden Hydrogen Marvel Sh2-27

Near the head of the constellation Scorpius glows an immense red gas bubble like a celestial ghost. It has a diameter of 10 degrees, which corresponds to the size of a fist held at arm's length. The innocuous name of this vast expanse of hydrogen gas is Sharpless 2-27. In spite of its enormous size it is invisible to human eyes and even astrophotography almost always fails to capture it. Only a handful of photographs exist of this large but elusive object, because the nebula is way too large for any telescope and it has an extremely low surface brightness.... Read More...

Dec 24

Position Angle Scales for Telescopes

Got a telescope for Christmas? Here's a gadget you can easily make yourself that greatly improves the usefulness of your new instrument: A position angle scale that shows you the celestial directions in your eyepiece. When viewing the heavens through the eyepiece of a telescope, one can get lost easily. Where the heck is southeast in the field of view? Does Jupiter rotate from left to right or from right to left? Which way does the tail of that comet point? And where can the elusive companion of this double star be expected? These are some of the questions that... Read More...

Nov 30

Untracked DSLR Astrophotography

For astrophotography with a DSLR it is common practice to set the camera on top of an equatorial mount or other tracking device. This way, Earth's rotation gets compensated and long exposures of star fields and the Milky Way become possible. After a series of experiments we are now able to present a simple method for DSLR astrophotography where an equatorial mount or a sky tracker is no longer necessary to capture stunning pictures of the Milky Way or bright deep-sky objects. All that is needed is one of the newer DSLR models that allows high ISO settings, a tripod... Read More...

Nov 15

Presentation at Natural History Museum Vienna

project nightflight had been invited by the Natural History Museum Vienna to give a presentation about their work on the evening of November 11, 2015. For this occasion, the members of the astrophotography group designed a special multi-media presentation focusing on the beauty of the night sky. The event was very well attended, an audience of about 200 came to the worldwide renowned museum to experience the starry sky in colorful nightscapes and deep-sky images. Professor Dr. Christian Koeberl, director general of the museum, welcomed the audience and pointed out how important it is to reduce and prevent light pollution,... Read More...

Oct 06

Star Walk Installation

In 2014, project nightflight opened the first permanent star walk installation worldwide in Austria, Europe. The Grossmugl Star Walk is a self-guided tour encouraging astronomical observations with the unaided eye. Nine displays along the trail explain general astronomical topics in an easy-to-read way. On a 90 minutes' walk, visitors learn how to spot star colors, artificial satellites, the Milky Way and other objects in the night sky. The 1.5-km-long tour is free of charge, open all year round day and night and available without booking or reservation. The "Sternenweg Großmugl" was designed by project nightflight and built in close collaboration... Read More...

Aug 11

Sounds of the Night

With Sounds of the Night we present a new category of astro images: nightscapes accompanied by natural sounds of the night, recorded during the imaging session. The sound of ocean waves, crickets chirping, nocturnal birds and many other nighttime sounds bring the pictures alive. If you watch the audio pictures, you will most likely notice a much stronger effect than traditional astrophotos cause. This happens because the audio pictures reach two channels of human perception. The visual channel is backed up by sounds, which easily triggers memories from first-hand experiences. Imagination then completes the illusion and the picture becomes the... Read More...