Flintstone Stargazing

September 28, 2007

M9 – with airplanes, no less!

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Messier Objects, Observation Journal — Tags: — Ed @ 10:59 pm

M9 on 9/28/07

My Messier album collection is marching on tonight. I was able to get some good viewing in before the Moon rose and the clouds appeared. While taking this image of M9, I had time to visually look at the little dipper (not the big dipper), which enables you to get some idea what magnitude of stars are visible to you because (as described here) the bowl of the dipper contains 4 stars of magnitude 2, 3, 4.3 and 5. If you can see all four, you’ve got pretty good skies. I was able to make out 3 easily and eventually the fourth star was visible as well.

While my camera was taking 15 second exposures of M9 to stack, I noticed a strange diagonal line through the default stacked image (I restacked them later to remove it). When I looked at the individual exposures, I found this in the 7th 15 second frame:

M9 - A plane flies through
M9 – a plane flies through

The reddish line is the airplane’s normal operating lights, the white spots are a light on the bottom of the plane that flashes periodically. Then, in the 11th 15 second frame (60 seconds later), this is what I found:

M9 - Another plane flies through
M9 – another plane flies through

What are the odds that two planes would fly through this shot a minute apart and would be within a couple arcseconds of difference? Crazy!


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