Sad Astrophotography Update

On Saturday I posted a picture of my first try at photographing the sky with a tracking mount that allows long exposures. It came out great! “I wonder if I had beginner’s luck with my celestial pole centering?” I mused.

Ahem. As I mentioned on Saturday, the tracker has to be aimed precisely at the north celestial pole, which is offset slightly from Polaris. I thought I knew the correct offset, but I didn’t realize that it changes with the hour. Nor did I realize that everything is upside-down and backward in the polarscope. In other words, I was basically throwing darts when I lined up the scope and I just got lucky. So last night I bravely left my front yard and went out to an area that’s mildly dark to try again under more realistic conditions. This time I used an app to tell me the proper offset, and everything seemed fine when I sighted Polaris. But here’s what I got:

I tried again and got the same results. You don’t really need a pixel crop to see how bad this is, but here’s one anyway:

What happened? Did I miss Polaris completely? Maybe I mistakenly had the scope centered on that star just above Polaris (Delta in the Little Dipper?). That’s quite possible. More practice needed!

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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

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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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