Miscellaneous Night Sky Photography

The COVID-19 charts were up late today, but there was a good reason: I stayed up all night hoping to do some Milky Way photography, and then slept in until 11 after I got home. So how did I do?

Badly. The whole trip was a complete bust. I tried a new spot on Palomar Mountain and there was just too much light there. Also, the sky was cloudy despite my astro-app telling me the sky would be clear. And even if it had been clear, it just wasn’t a good night for viewing. I could barely even see the Milky Way, let alone photograph it.

So instead I switched gears and took pictures of the clouds. My original goal had been to take multiple shots of the Milky Way and stitch them together, thus getting a single image that showed it from end to end. Instead, I did this for the sky as I found it. This one is eight frames stitched together:

August 15, 2020 — Near Palomar Mountain, California

This picture has a certain charm, but it’s very long and thin, which wasn’t my intention. I did take a series of pictures with the camera pointed higher, but I somehow screwed up the middle batch and this was enough to cause Photoshop to choke when it tried to merge them. So the bottom series of photos is all I have.

A few miles away I took this picture of a cityscape. Unfortunately, I don’t really know just what city this is. Judging from the position of Venus, my best guess is Warner Springs:

August 15, 2020 — Near Palomar Mountain, California

This is three photos stitched together. I took a second series with a different exposure to get a better rendition of the cityscape, but for some reason Photoshop wouldn’t merge them. They were nearly identical to the first set, so I don’t know what happened.

One of these days I need to get a better idea of what the Photomerge function needs to work properly. It almost randomly seems to work on some sets of images and choke on others. When it fails, I always check the images to see if there’s plenty of overlap, and there always is. So what’s up?

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate