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?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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