Astrophoto: Star Trails Over Kitt Peak

by Nancy Atkinson on December 5, 2013

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262 images combined to create star trails in this image taken of Kitt Peak in November 2013. Credit and copyright: Robert Sparks.

262 images combined to create star trails in this image taken of Kitt Peak in November 2013. Credit and copyright: Robert Sparks.

Our pal Rob Sparks said he had always wanted to try creating a star trails picture and this is his first attempt. Very nice! Of course, he had a great view of the telescopes on Kitt Peak in Arizona as a stunning foreground, (the lights of Tucson are to the right) but had to deal with a “nearly full Moon that night which illuminated the observatory and limited the exposure times,” Rob said on Flickr. “However, I am reasonably happy for a first try.”

We’re happy, too, as this is a lovely image. Thanks for sharing Rob!

You can read more details about the image on Rob’s website, The Half-Astrophysicist.

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About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Rob Sparks December 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Thanks for featuring my photo…I had a “fat fingers” moment when writing…it was 262 photos. Not a big deal but I know someone here will look at that, do the math and realize it had to be more photos than I originally said :-)

NancyAtkinson December 6, 2013 at 9:15 AM

I changed the caption to reflect the correct number. Thanks for the update!

Skipdallas December 6, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Tucson is almost due East of Kitt Peak. This photo is oriented on Polaris (North Star). The lights in the background are more likely Casa Grande, or from businesses on the I-10 and I-8 corridor. Maybe even Phoenix.
For a first time making a “Star Trail” photo, It is very good.
Thanks Rob!

Rob Sparks December 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Kitt Peak is southwest of Tucson. This is a very wide angle lens so I am catching the northwest side of Tucson there (maybe technically Marana/Oro Valley) so I guess that’s not too far off the I-10 corridor. There is definitely some sky glow from Phoenix and Casa Grande to the north.

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