Nightscapes - Robert Arn
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Stealing a View at Piracy Point

This is the first in a series taken on a week-long adventure starting with the ALCON conference at Bryce Canyon National Park, the moving to Red Canyon, Zion National Park, and finally Death Valley National Park.

What could be more disappointing that gathering 400+ amateur astronomers in one of the darkest locations in the continental US only to have a huge storm pass overhead. Thankfully this storm had come and gone by the time night rolled around, but it still gave quite a show during astronomical twilight - a period of time when the sun is between 12 and 18 degrees BELOW the horizon. To the human eye, this is the time of night where a lot of stars start to make their appearance and the sky begins to turn to black. However, to a camera, this is the time where the sky appears a brilliant shade of blue, the stars shine bright, and the glow of the Milky Way can be seen.

On this moon-less night, that is exactly the case. The intense thunderstorm was captured during astronomical twilight, leaving a calm view of the Milky Way in its wake. Just as the storm was passing by, one more object streaked across the sky - an Iridium Flare.

Location: Piracy Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Date: 2011-06-29
Camera: Canon XSi (modified)
Lens: Sigma 20mm f/1.8
Mount: Still Tripod, Astrotrac
Landscape/Clouds: 11x30 seconds f/2.8 ISO 1600
Milky Way: 10x2 minutes f/2.8 ISO 1600
Lightning: 8x10 seconds f/2.8 ISO 1600
Flare: 1x30 seconds f/2.8 ISO 1600
Processing: Photoshop, Topaz DeNoise 5