The winter Milky Way above Muránska Planina

Zbojská, Muránska Planina

After a pretty boring winter stay at our chalet, I decided to go out to nature. After all, we were staying close to one of the darkest places in Slovakia, the Muránska Planina national park. And so, during night, we went out with our car. The closer we got, the less promising it looked… first some pretty dense high clouds appeared, but just an hour or so from our destination, fog started to appear, and it always got denser and denser. However, just a few minutes away from the destination, the fog started to magically disappear, and it revealed something spectacular – the cosmos, with thousands of stars, the Milky Way and many nebulae. I was pleasantly surprised that even the Barnard’s loop nebula was faintly visible on the camera display. It wouldn’t be far off to say that that night was amazing.

Po pomerne nudnej zimnej dovolenke na našej chate som sa rozhodol ísť do prírody. Bývali sme tam predsa neďaleko jedného z najtmavších miest na Slovensku, národného parku Muránska Planina. A tak sme počas noci vyrazili s autom. Čím bližšie sme sa dostali, tým menej sľubne to vyzeralo… Najskôr sa objavila vcelku hustá vysoká oblačnosť, ale približne hodinu od našej destinácie sa objavila aj hmla, ktorá sa neustále zhusťovala. Našťastie len pár minút od destinácie hmla magicky zmizla, a ukázala nám niečo dychberúce – kozmos, s tisíckami hviezd, Mliečnou Dráhou a mnoho hmlovinami. Bol som príjemne prekvapený že sa na displeji kamery objavil dokonca i Barnardov oblúk. Nebolo by ďaleko od pravdy povedať, že tá noc bola úžasná.

Canon 6D, Samyang 14mm f1.4 @ f2, 15X27s pano from tripod, ISO6400

Geminids in Domaniža

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This year, the Geminid meteor shower observation in Slovakia was surprisingly successful. After all, what could be better than a clear moonless night with more than a hundred interplanetary rocks flying through the Earth’s atmosphere, shining brightly and colorfully? There’s exactly 4 meteors in this picture, can you find them? Taken near the Domaniža village in Slovakia. Also visible is the relatively strong orange airglow.

Tento rok bolo pozorovanie Geminidov na Slovensku prekvapivo úspešné. Predsa čo môže byť lepšie než bezoblačná a bezmesačná noc s viac než stovkou medziplanetárnych kameňov prelietajúcich zemskou atmosférou, svietiacich jasne a farebne? Na snímku sú štyri meteory, dokážete ich nájsť? Odfotené v Domaniži na Slovensku. Taktiež viditeľné je pomerne silné oranžové airglow.

Canon 6D, Sigma f3.5 24mm, 20s, ISO6400

A Hole into the Autumn Sky

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The most amazing part of the night sky, the summer Milky Way, is slowly setting behind the horizon leaving the sky to the autumn and winter Milky Way, which are considered a lot more boring. However, on the autumn sky, you will find to bright galaxies, the M31 and M33 galaxies and on the winter sky, many emission nebulae are present.

Taken on 1st September, Canon 6D unmod., Sigma 24-70mm @ 24mm, 29x10s pano from tripod, ISO8000, f2.8

Low Tatras, Slovakia

Winter is Coming

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To be honest, I am already a bit bored with the summer sky and short nights. But winter is slowly comming, and it’s bringing longer nights and the winter sky with it. I unfortunately shot each field in this panorama for only about 1 minute, so the foreground is really noisy and dark.

Taken on 1st September 2017, Canon 6D unmod., Sigma 24-70mm @ 24mm, 46x15s panorama from tripod, ISO8000, f2.8

Quiet Perseids

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A night during the perseid shower, lots of stars above, astronomers on the ground and… bad luck! Yes, meteor showers are always nice to look at, but bad luck is bad luck. I made so many images, hundreds of them, yet during all of the clear nights, I only got two nice meteors. Among the objects on the image are the Lagoon nebula, the Trifid nebula, the Omega nebula, the Eagle nebula, the North American nebula, the Sagittarius Star Cloud and the Andromeda galaxy.

Taken on 14th August 2017, Canon 6D unmod., Sigma 24-70mm @ 24mm, 30x15s panorama from tripod, ISO8000, f2.8

Vrchteplá, Slovakia

A Nighttime Green Flash

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A light-polluted view of the Milky Way arch from the Vrchteplá village. Why so many tents? Periodically, just as the Perseid meteor shower, an astronomical expedition is organised by AKJB and PEAK under the Vrchteplá SNP memorial, visible under the centre of this photo. Unfortunately, only two meteors flew inside my field of view, one being a beautiful green perseid and one being a fast, small and boring sporadic meteor. Also visible is the beautiful North America nebula and the M24 star cloud.

Taken on 13th August 2017, Canon 6D unmod., Sigma 24-70 mm @ 24mm, 17x15s panorama from tripod, ISO8000, f2.8

Vrchteplá, Slovakia

The Tropic of Turtles

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Each year, hundreds of turtles visit a small island located nearby the tropic of cancer, Boa Vista, to lay their eggs. I visited it at the same time of the year for a different intent, astrophotography. Looking for a way to transport across the island to get some of the best views of the night sky in the world, I found an excursion to see the turtles, which seemed to be the most pleasing way. Right when we arrived at the turtle reservation, I got out of the car and immediately started photographing the night sky. The turtles were amazing! I have never even thought of seeing these beautiful animals laying their eggs, it surely was an exciting night. Among the visible objects are some small emission nebulae. To name a few, the Eagle nebula, the Omega nebula, the Lagoon nebula, the Trifid nebula and the Cat’s Paw nebula. The brightest globular star cluster of the entire night sky, Omega Centauri, is also visible. Some say that some of the most beautiful open star clusters are located in the constellation of Scorpius, the brightest of these are the Ptolemy and Butterfly open clusters, both of them being visible in this photograph. The most colorful and arguably the most beautiful part of the night sky, a beautiful mix of yellow/blue reflection, red emission and some dark nebulae, the Antares-Rho Ophiuchi region is present too. Seemingly inside this cloud complex, one of the brightest globular star clusters is located, the Messier 4 globular cluster. Just above the Milky Way centre, the Dark Horse nebula is obscuring the Central Bulge. In its “heart”, the ringed planet Saturn is present. And one of the interesting objects among others is the Alpha Centauri triple system, the closest star system to the Earth and also the third-brightest one. To the bottom of the image, faint green-red airglow is visible.

Taken on 20th July 2017, Canon 6D unmod., Sigma 24-70 mm @ 24 mm, 13x15s panorama from tripod, ISO8000, f2.8

Curral Velho, Boa Vista, Cape Verde

When the lights turn off…

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Light pollution is a very serious problem that we should finally face, but instead, nearly everyone ignores it. Even when the street lights are turned off, one still can’t make out the details of the Milky Way, visible only after post-processing. In dark sites, like the Boa Vista island or the Canary Islands, the night sky is however filled with stars and the Milky Way is clearly visible even if looked at directly.

Taken on 17th July 2017, Canon 6D unmodified, Sigma 24-70 mm @ 24 mm, 6x10s panorama from tripod, ISO8000, f2.8

Plevník-Drienové, Slovakia