Starfields & skylarks – a night of imaging on Dartmoor

Capturing the night skies from the UK can often be a frustrating experience. You can spend ages setting up your scopes and cameras, carefully perfecting the mount’s tracking and getting everything in focus, but just as you’re ready to image the clouds have appeared.

Sometimes though it all comes together and you get a magical evening under the stars. For me, Friday night — on Dartmoor — was one of those precious nights.

I started taking images just before midnight. By the time I had finished, the sky towards the east was brightening and some very eager skylarks were beginning the dawn chorus. Below are a few shots I captured that night.

Seeing the Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae again reminded me that we have lots to look forward to over the coming summer months.

UPDATE 09.06.2011 — Here’s a short, admittedly poor quality, recording I made of the skylarks.

The Lagoon (bottom) & Trifid Nebulae. Taken with a Canon 550D on a William Optics 66mm refractor, autoguided by a Sky-Watcher SynGuider & an 80mm refractor. Credit: Will Gater
The crescent Moon over Haytor Rocks. Credit: Will Gater
Venus sparkles in the eastern sky as dawn breaks. Credit: Will Gater

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