Sirius and Long Exposure Photography!

Long exposure of Sirius with purposeful tripod vibration (found here)

This is very cool – both photographers and astronomers will like this :)

Above, you see an image (a picture) of the brightest star in the sky (besides the Sun), Sirius.  Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major (The Greater Dog) – it is the eye of the dog.  It’s the namesake of SiriusXM Radio (see the (apparently former) logo).  It’s also the namesake of Sirius Black of Harry Potter fame!  What does Sirius Black turn into??  A dog!  A big black one!

Anyway, Sirius is seriously twinkle-y – stars twinkle due to the atmosphere (the atmosphere bubbles and boils and causes light to bend) – if you were in a spacecraft above the atmosphere, you wouldn’t see twinkle-y stars.  The photographer used the fact that the twinkling can change the color of the light that hits your eye (or the camera) because different colors are easier to bend than others (red is easiest, blue is hardest).

The image is a 5 second exposure with a telephoto lens and the tripod was specifically vibrated and taken by astronomer David Lynch.

I was made aware of this picture by Dr. Phil Plait, “The Bad Astronomer” – formerly an astronomy professor, now an author and blogger for Discover Magazine (a fave magazine of mine).


About drgrundstrom

They call me the Dancing Astrophysicist. I love to teach people about the Universe and all the things within it and I love to dance (partner and solo)!

Posted on January 27, 2012, in Observables and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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