Shooting Stars – Part 2
Had a great day yesterday filming with the BBC. We started out in GSC‘s planetarium, filming for a couple of hours as I “tought” the presenter Katie Knapman how to find her way around the sky. Filming in the planetarium was tricky, but the cameraman Rob’s normal job is filming the Sky at Night, so he was an dab hand.
The presenter was very enthusiastic, either genuinely so or good at faking it. After two and a half hours we were ready to head off to Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park. I always enjoy the drive south, but the prospect of a very clear sky made me more excited than normal.
Stepping out of the car at Clatteringshaws Loch car park, I was greeted by a stunning view of thousands of stars overhead. The sky was more or less cloudless, but the local landowners had been burning back the heather all day, and so a faint haze of smoke make everything a little bit less dark and clear than it might have been.
We had to wait for half an hour or so until the end of astronomical twilight in order to get a properly dark sky, so in the meantine, and as the film crew faffed about with their equipment, I shot a few pics of the night sky. It was the first time that I’de ever used my DSLR Nikon D50 and my new tripod to image the night sky, so I only got a few good pics (see above).
Best of all though, the International Space Station was due to pass overhead again, and this time I was prepared for it. On cue it began increasing in brightness, heading towards Orion from the west. I took a two minute exposure of the ISS moving through Taurus and Orion, which turned out rather well, with the exception that the stars are a bit blurry as a result of the Earth’s (and my camera’s) rotation.