Here Are Some Stars to Take Our Minds Off Donald Trump

I feel like I need a breather from the “real” world I allegedly inhabit at the moment. So here are some stars:

I have no real excuse for posting this, but it is the result of an experiment and all experimental results should be published, right? Last night I went out to a semi-dark area for one final practice session with my tracking mount before I head off to northern California. I decided to see how well the tracker works with the lens at full zoom, and this is the result. The lens is zoomed out to 220 mm (600 mm equivalent) and the exposure time is about a minute. I have no idea what part of the sky this is. I just pointed the camera upward and took pictures at a few different spots.

Anyway, the tracking is not bad! There’s very little apparent motion even at full zoom. However, one minute is as far as it can go. I tried a frame at two minutes and it was clearly streaky.

Four of the stars have little plumes. Can anyone tell me what these are? Something real, or just artifacts of the camera? They all point in precisely the same direction, which makes me think they’re artifacts of some kind, especially since they don’t show up in an identical picture with a shorter exposure:

This picture has an exposure time of 9 seconds and there are no plumes. The arrow points to the star at the very bottom of the upper picture, which has a noticeable plume there. Any ideas what this is?

UDPATE: A reader suggests the plumes are vibrations from bumping the camera at the beginning or end of the exposure. That’s entirely plausible given my general ham-handedness around delicate equipment.

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.

payment methods

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.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate