National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

The Winter Sky Waxing late over the 50-cm Telescope for Public Outreach


The Winter Sky Waxing late over the 50-cm Telescope for Public Outreach

One winter night, not a single cloud could be seen in the sky above Mitaka Campus. Peeking out of the small dome is a 50-cm reflector telescope. It quietly watches the stars revolving as time passes. “The 50-cm Telescope for Public Outreach” is used not just for scientific observations of asteroids and comets; at Regular Stargazing Parties held twice each month it delivers the light from distant celestial objects directly to the eyes of the guests. Please come wearing warm clothes to enjoy winter’s clear night skies. Today as well the cold, clear, quiet night is waxing late.

Seasonal Constellations Exiting the Stage

North is to the right side of this photo and the North Star is located in the direction of the center of the arcs traced by the stars. Because this is facing the western direction, what was photographed was constellations which have passed their best season to be seen and are now exiting the stage. Right above the 50-cm Telescope Dome, the light trail sinking behind the tree line which is brighter than the others around it is the 1st magnitude star Deneb. This picture was taken in January, the middle of winter, but during the twilight hours the summer constellation Cygnus (the Swan) makes its final appearance as a cross sticking up from the horizon. The constellation Pegasus, which galloped high in the night sky during autumn, also trots down aiming for the west. By now, the glorious winter constellations must be painted in the southern sky.

*This image is a composite combining the motion of the stars taken over a period of approximately 100 minutes and an image of earthbound objects.

Text by: Seiichiro Naito (NAOJ Public Relations Center)
Translation by: Ramsey Lundock (NAOJ)

Image Data

CameraNikon D600
LensAF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED (picture taken at 21 mm)
Date19:01 January 13, 2014 (earthbound objects); 19:02 to 20:46 January 13, 2015 (night sky)
ExposureF5, 20 seconds, ISO1250 (earthbound objects); F5, 10 seconds, ISO1250 (night sky, 565 frame composite)
PhotographerShogo Nagayama
CopyrightNational Astronomical Observatory of Japan


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