Astrophoto: Beautiful Encounter with the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Article written: 14 Mar , 2014
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015

There is so much going on in this picture – taken by astrophotographer Giuseppe Petricca — it’s hard to know where to start. Of course, there’s the famous Leaning Tower in Pisa, Italy. But one evening earlier this week, a “beautiful encounter” happened, said Petricca via email.

“A wonderful -7.5 magnitude Iridium Flare, clearly visible even in the light polluted sky of the city center, photographed from the famous Miracle Square, with the Leaning Tower as a special guest,” he said. “But I was lucky, because two airplanes crossed the portion I was photographing, and a second Iridium satellite was really near the bright one, but this second one did not create a flare.”

Also visible in the background is the dim but beautiful Ursa Minor, culminating with the North Star, Polaris, high corner in the top left corner.


The picture is an 8 second exoposure, f4.0, ISO 100 taken with a Nikon Coolpix P90 Bridge on a tripod.

“I was planning to do this shot for two or three days, and luckily the clouds gave way to clear sky just in time,” said Petricca.

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Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.


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