The Sky at Night

September has sucked so far when it comes to the night skies. For that matter, pretty much most all August has been the same way.

Between all the fires we’ve had an almost constant haze in the sky. During many of the evenings it’s been cloudy as well as smokey, especially of late. During the week I’d see many opportunities to go get some lovely sunsets if I’d been able to get to the right places at the right times. The problem, as often as not, has been that the sky would start breaking up just before sunset. That’s not enough time for me to get to where I need to be to get some great photographs. And tonight, we’ve had flash flood warnings.

Yes, I know…I could just as well have gone to my desired site and waited to see what actually happens at sunset.

Yet, as often as not, the skies have cleared up reasonably well after sunset so that only with a low angle does the smokey haze interfere with photos. That would actually work well for sunsets, and sunrises. Of course, as mentioned in my last blog post, it’s a crap shoot whether it’ll clear up or not when I need it to.

That’s been my astrophotography life over the last month.

The sky at night has not been my friend lately.

It’s sometimes even more frustrating than it needs to be.

I’ve mentioned Stellarium, Photographer’s Ephemeris, and Pentax Tether on my laptop and desktops. Sky Eye, Mobile Observatory, Moon Phase, and Meteor Shower on my Galaxy Nexus. All of these are tools I use in planning or in the field.

And of course, there’s so much on the WWW for astrophotography and astronomy.

There are, though, a few sites I go to regularly. One of the most used is the monthly summary of what’s coming provided by The One Minute Astronomer. Each month he provides a list of dates and what to look for in that month: upcoming astronomical events, beautiful sights, interesting fun things to look for. This is one of my main tools for determining what I want to photograph that month, or to look for with my telescope. Or just go out and enjoy.

Under the Stars is another site I like to check out. One of the reasons I enjoy that site is he often shares the camera parameters for the pictures he presents. For me, his site is one more for learning and getting astrophotography ideas.

The third web resource I’d like to share with you tonight is the Digital Photography School. It is just one of many great resources online that has a a wide range of content, hints, tips, examples, and so on. I think you’ll enjoy it if you’re into any kind of photography.

I hope these resources are helpful and engage your interests. But whether they do or not…go outside at night every so often and just look up. I do.

There’s so much to enjoy out there in the sky at night.

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