Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Northern Lights - WHAT Lights?

Thank you John (IIPhotography), for letting me in on the Northern Lights get-together in Caledon last night. Although it was a 'bust' as far as a light show goes (I guess we have to pay McGuinty another new "it's-a-fee-not-a-tax" to see the lights in Ontario?), I enjoyed meeting the group and learned a few things at the same time.

As Mark (Marked Imagery) posted on Twitter, no lights were visible and rather than give in to discouragement, I began 'picking-off' stars, just for giggles. There was one particularly bright star to the south of us and so I began shooting it with various exposures - even changing the lens to verify what I was seeing. This star (or was it a planet?) had smaller 'lights' around it. At first I thought it was some form of reflection, or focal problem with my lens, similar to a shot John and I had checked out earlier in the evening. However, whatever this is, it really is out there. The proof is in a number of shots. The shot posted here was taken with a Sigma 70-300mm APO lens and cropped to about the center third of the original frame. The very same photo was taken with my Sigma 14-200mm, without a filter on the lens (except, no shooting star trail in the bottom-left third of the frame).

If anyone sees this and knows what star or planet it is, please let me know. Robbie and I pondered over it for quite a bit. Are those moons surrounding it?
I hope that if the group gets together again tonight (Wed), they have more success. Skies are supposed to clear again around midnight, which is a good time to shoot stars in Caledon.

Thanks again for including me, John.

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