Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Simple Night with the Starry Sky

I have been reducing my equipments since now I know what I love to do and what I want to do. The sky is very nice these days and so I picked up my stuff and went for a short observation session.

My destination is Pak Tam Chung, not exactly a dark site but it's readily accessible with or even without a private car. By public transportation, I got there at around 1 hour and another hour for coming back, with a total cost of $40 HKD.

I packed everything inside my Fastpack 350 basically. I've my Takahashi TG-SP II, my 450D together with a Samyang 8mm f3.5 and a 50mm f1.8. I didn't bring a lot of lenses since I want to relax and enjoy! Other than that, I placed my Gitzo G106 in a small bag and carry it along side. Oh yes, I also have a couple of star atlas and also my Canon 10x30 IS for visual observation and scanning.

Polar alignment the TG-SP II is not very easy but it does not require great accuracy since I will only use a 50mm lens or a fisheye. That little polar scope works even with one of the cables plugged in, if you plug it both, the objective is obstructed by too much so that you cannot even see Polaris.

Here're the results basically, with a 50mm f1.8 lens, four shots stacked:-

Taken with the fisheye, while the sky was not yet dark, 4 shots stacked. Using a fisheye is harder than imagine in Hong Kong, you will have aeroplane in each shot basically, and you will to keep exposure short and you need luck!

Another one taken with the fisheye, I've to skip a few shots to avoid the aeroplane tracks:-

A picture of myself in front of the fisheye:-

An accidental Iridium flare.

The bus station is just 2 minutes away, I was the only one on the bus in the return trip.

Finally, the Samyang 8mm f3.5 was quite nice, stop it down by one-stop (f5.6 in the next click stop, so it's more than one stop), and stars were basically pinpoint. No focusing required with the huge depth of field, you can trust that infinity mark since the tolerance is huge.

I did scan the milkyway and the whole sky especially the Scorpius area. I didn't check my star charts since I just want to relax, and I just point to what I can remember, and also to scan around like a kid for anything interesting.

This is a convenient place such that kids could go without problem, guess what, I arrived home at 10:00pm... I started packing up my stuff at 9:00pm, and next time, I can pack at 9:05pm or even 9:10pm and I still won't miss the bus.

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