5/6/2016 Since I was a young boy, I have always been interested in most things having to do with nature and the outdoors. I would sometimes grab a tent and spend a night out camping, alone or with my friend. It was great laying on our backs out in a field or maybe the front yard, gazing up into the night sky, hoping to see a shooting star flash by, or maybe a satellite. I saved up my money for quite some time in order to buy a telescope I had my eye on in the Sears catalogue. When it was finally delivered, it remained cloudy for a week! Finally it cleared up and I was able to see 5 or 6 moons of Jupiter and the elliptical shape of the rings of Saturn. That was so cool.
This interest in the heavens has remained with me, so I thought why not try my hand at astrophotography. First I had to learn the basics, and then just go out and try my best at learning the rest through trial and error. A few days back, the skies were clear and the moon was not out, so I drove to Hoshinomura,( village of stars) the nearest place with low levels of light pollution, where I would hopefully be able to see the Milky Way. It did start to rise above the horizon at around midnight, and at 2:00, I began shooting photos, experimenting with ISO, etcetera. The Milky Way pictures were taken at aperture 2.8, ISO 1600, 30 second exposures. Mars was the same aperature, ISO 3200, 13 second exposure.
In one picture there is a meteor trail, and I thought it might possibly be a Scorpiid meteor, as it was coming out the constellation Scorpio, and the Scorpiid meteor shower was active. I overlaid the constellation and labeled some planets and the star Antares. Mars is brighter than Saturn (and will almost equal Jupiter’s magnitude on May 22) because it is almost at it’s closest point to Earth, (opposition) this year. About 75 million kilometers. In 2018, it will be even closer at 56 million kilometers. The star Antares, which means anti mars because of its reddish color, is a red supergiant nearing the end of its life. It’s radius is greater than the distance to Mars, which means that if it were in the same position as the sun, it’s surface would engulf Mars! It will go supernova eventually, becoming as bright as our own galaxy. Antares is also known as ‘the heart of the scorpion as it’s pinkish red, and in the body of Scorpio. The Milky Way at Hoshinomura