Pleiades and Mars

Mars was passing fairly close to the Pleiades this year so a clear night gave an opportunity for a photograph, and a test of my new alt-az drive as a static camera mount.

I was just using my normal “portrait” lens, a 35mm f/1.8 lens I obtained last year and have since been using almost all the time as I like it so much on my Nikon D3100 DX format camera. A 35mm lens is more or less the equivalent of a standard 50mm focal length lens on the old 35mm “full frame” format. Mars looks big simply because it’s bright; using this lens the actual image size of Mars would be similar to that of the stars.

Exposure was 0.5s at full apertuire; I was still relying on autofocus of the Moon to set the focus before changing to manual for a star field. The header image is an extract from the full frame image, which includes Aldebaran and the Hyades as well.

Full frame image

This was taken with the Moon not too far away, so the sky was not particularly dark; not that it ever is in the city! I am encouraged to take some more photos and stack images to see fainter stuff.