New Month and new things to snap / video

If like me you have become a fan of looking up at the Moon, planets, stars, galaxies and all that other stuff up there, the month of March gives a wonderful opportunity to discover and get imagery.

For example, according to PhotoPills (read on if you don;t what PhotoPills is) in March, The Zodiacal Light, the Milky Way and Galactic Centre, Venus at greatest eastern elongation, the Full Moon, the conjunction of Venus and Mars, the March equinox, the conjunction of the Moon and Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, the Messier Marathon, Sunrises, Sunsets, Star Trails and more will be available to shoot.

Here is some more info:

Two invaluable things you need to get the best, especially for the beginner (of which I classifiy mysself one) are a pair of apps designed specifically for these purposes.

PhotoPills I reviewed a few weeks back, and for working out what to photo / video and when, assist in setting up equipment and a zillion other reasons is definately a must. It is available for both Android and iOS and if you missed it first time around, here is a video explaining PhotoPills far better than I can in words.

To get Photopills, go to the App Store or Play Store, or mouse over to https://www.photopills.com/ for more info

The second app, and one I have been using for some years is Stellarium and this is truly an amazing piece of software. Even more amazing is that is free.

To digress a little, my favourite set of books is “The Foundation Series” by Isaac Asimov, and in there Asimov describes what he called “The Galactic Lens”, a 3D view of the known galaxy available from any point. At the time of writing, to acheive such a thing was mind boggling and probably beyond the comprehension of anyone to actually implement due to the massive processing power and memory needed by the scales of the time. Remember back then, what few “computers” they had were all driven by valves, not chips (Look up “vacuum valve” kiddies on that new fangled Goggle search thingy) and memory was measured in bytes not gigabytes or terabytes. Hard to fathom I know, but its true.

In essence, Stellarium is the Galactic Lens, but not just giving a view of the galaxy(ies), also housing a complete database on every object known in the sky above (see the screen shot above. In this one, one of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites has been selected, but you could click on any star, planet, meteorite, comet, moon etc and get the relevent information).

With Stellarium you set a home point and immediatelyy have access to the night (or day) sky in real time. There are heaps of features available and I am still learning. To get it, and its available for Windows, MacOS and LINUX, and in a mobile form for iOS and Android, go to www.stellarium.org.

If you have been put off thinking getting those fantastic star trails, images of deep space objects or even sharp photos or videos Saturn, Mars, Jupiter etc is all too hard, think again. Better still, give it a crack. You do NOT need fancy expensive equipment!

 

 

 

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