Taylor Park Night Sky

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

This is a 61 shot stack..... that is; 61 separate photographs all taken using the features of my Nikon D5100. Settings are ISO 250 10mm and 30 second exposure at f7.1. Each shot was taken every 35 seconds (to allow 5 seconds for data write to the memory disk).

All shots were taken in RAW and any adjustments (lens correction etc) were applied equally to each shot. The first shot was brightened to give the mountain and foreground detail.

The 61 RAWs were then exported into JPGs and added as layers in GIMP - a free and easier to use Photoshop equivalent. These layers were combined using 'Lighten Only' into one flat image which you see above.

The long trail from bottom right to mid left is an airplane as is the short rising trail bottom right. The 'flash' center right is a meteor and its lingering footprint can be seen in a second exposure above it.

Finally the blurred marks across the image are clouds.

Show more
Show less
Save Cancel Want to use bold, italic, links?

Comments (11)

© KennyW on July 3, 2014

I really must have a go at this 'black art' This is fantastic. So what's the long line running from bottom right? There's also another short line bottom right which is not in line.you must post how you did it.

I suppose this means you dusted off the cobwebs from your tripod?

Best regards


David Brown Photogra… on July 3, 2014

Kenny old son, I welcome your interest and want to say I am here for you if you want to try this. You have my Email address so just shout if you have questions.

I have written a pretty thorough description of what when and how above. I hope I did a good job and you can follow it.

Good luck.


© Tom Cooper on July 11, 2014

There's a lot in this. It looks like there are actually two plane tracks that meet at the end. Then there is a meteor trail, and the object below the meteor may be a satellite. You have good colors in the star trails, and even the clouds left trails.

David Brown Photogra… on July 11, 2014

I see what you mean Tom - but I think its one track moving from right to left. But either of us could be right.

The rest you have exactly correct.

Best wishes and many thanks


kenfowkes on July 11, 2014

Well that's an inspiring shot. Inspiring me to further consider getting a super wide angle lens! I wonder what happened when the plane crossed under the north star. It looks like it sped up, or maybe turned off some lights?

© Tom Cooper on July 12, 2014

There are a number of things that make me think it is two separate aircraft. #1 Commercial aircraft follow standard routes (Google "Victor Airway" and "Jet routes"), It is not unusual to see aircraft after aircraft in the same line in the sky all day (and all night) long. #2 The clouds are probably old contrails from the passages of previous aircraft in the same place. #3 Under the north star, four interesting things appear to happen at one time. First, there is a gap (which could be caused by a cloud). Second, the tracks change direction slightly. Third, the rate of flashes changes. Fourth, the two tracks do not meet at a common point if extended (the right-hand part touches the left-hand part from underneath). I had to check with a straightedge, because concentric circles like that can create a well-known optical illusion causing straight lines to appear to bend.

All of which is purely academic and makes no difference on what the really photo is and shows.

David Brown Photogra… on July 12, 2014

Thank you Tom for your very careful analysis which made me go investigate this.

First the short plane bottom right occurs right at the beginning and is heading down below the horizon and is two 30 second frames.

Now the big controversial light trail.......

This is one aircraft flying away from the camera AND left to right. The entire left half of the trail.... that is; left of frame to north star is one 30 second exposure. The right hand half of the shot consists of 4 x 30 second exposures and here the plane is flying further away from the camera, so the gap between light flashes (because that what we are looking at here) are smaller and smaller... so the flashes are closer together.

When I exported the shots from RAW to JPG for stacking I applied lens adjustment equally to each one..... BUT Its not beyond the realm of possibility that there is some curvature distortion here and the North Star just happens to appear dead center (ish).

Finally..... the clouds are actually clouds and not contrails. They are little fluffy blobs that are slow moving from left to right (like the big plane).

I'll post a composite proof on G+ in a few minutes. You know where I live :-)

Many many thanks for giving me something to do whilst on bear-watch. Its like Baywatch but only involves a bird feeder.


© Tom Cooper on July 12, 2014

I used the coordinates of the photo and the time from the metadata, and then went to Heavens Above to check on whether the bright flash could have been an Iridium flare. They back-predict a really bright flare (WOW! Magnitude -6.7!) at that location less than 20 minutes before the photo time (which comes from just one of the images). The actual time of the flare could be off several minutes and could have been located a mile or more away, so the actual time and and actual brightness could vary.

pedrocut on July 16, 2014

Sneck Lifter!

All the best Peter

((Ospr3y)) on July 17, 2014

Wicked awesome shot!

David Brown Photogra… on July 18, 2014

Thank you Peter - I'll take that as a compliment as well as a popular beer from my once local brewery.

Likewise Liam - I assume wicked awesome is a good thing :-)

Thank you my friends........

Oh... Tom Cooper ...... thanks to you, we went out last night exactly on cue and saw an -8.1 flash at 22:13 from an Iridium we learned about through Heavens-Above!!! We even worked out the azimuth/attitude stuff out!!


Sign up to comment. Sign in if you already did it.

Photo details

  • Uploaded on July 3, 2014
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by David Brown Photogra…
    • Taken on 2014/06/06 22:41:12
    • Exposure: 30.000s
    • Focal Length: 10.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/7.100
    • ISO Speed: ISO250
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash