Monday, August 15, 2011


Interesting pre-dawn shoot at the Southern Africa Large Telescope a the SA Astronomical Observatory near Sutherland.

Photo  taken over a 10 minute exposure at 5 mins 20 secs. Shutter button was pressed at approximately 6 a.m. This was about 1 hour 45 minutes prior to sunrise, but the reflected glow from the eastern horizon bounces off the side of the SALT scope.  Later, during the exposure, a vehicle occupied by off-duty astronomers pulled up alongside and spoiled the lower half of the picture with red and orange light from their brake lights and flashers. Fortunately this did not affect the upper area of the image, where the main action is. The lens flare near dead centre however comes from that vehicle.

Astronomers posted at SALT and the other SAAO scopes are not only permanent staff but also come from all over the world to do observations and research. SALT is one of only two such facilities in the world. The other unit is at Austin, Texas.

Yes - and it was cold. Especially the chill factor (-5 degrees guesstimate)

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