Zodiacal Light

March 2, 2002

Looking to the west - Zodiacal light.  Taken at ~8:15 p.m.


October 27, 2001


October 17, 2001

This was my first attempt at photographing zodiacal light.  The light, directly east, was easy to pick out in the pre-dawn darkness.  I took photographs from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m.  Towards 6:30 a.m., the planet Venus appeared above the eastern horizon, and about 15 minutes later, there was too much light in the sky to see the zodiacal light.  By the way, there was no moonlight, and no northern lights to brighten the sky.  I did observe about 8 meteors during the time and this was without constant observation of the sky.  All but one seemed to originate from the Orionids radiant.

I had much better luck in taking photographs with the 28 mm lens (as compared to the 50 mm lens ).  UPDATE: Some have requested more information regarding camera settings.  I use Fuji Superia 800 print film, a Pentax ZX-M camera, with tripod and cable release shutter.  I used two lens - a 28 mm Pentax with a 2.8 aperature, and a 50 mm Pentax with a 1.4 aperature.  Exposure times (with wide open aperatures on both lens) were anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes.  However, I found that the Zodiacal light is bright enough that it washes out a lot of detail when using a 50 mm lens with an aperature of 1.4.  Thus, I had better luck with the 28 mm lens at a 2.8 aperature.  Next time I take photos with the 50 mm lens, I will use a different aperature, or reduce the time of exposure.

The first and last photos on this page were  taken with a 28 mm lens, while the middle photo was taken with a 50 mm lens.  I like the vertical photos taken with the 28 mm lens, because it shows the Zodiacal light better.

Most of the photographs had different shades of color horizontally in the background - as you can see in this photo, and on the bottom photo on this page.  I don't know what this is from.  You can see it more around the windmill.

This photograph was taken at approximately 6:25 a.m.  The bright light to the left of the silo and to the right of the top of the barn is the planet Venus.  It was a beautiful sight as it rose above the horizon.  The planet "sparkled" quite often with a bright orange color.

Photograph taken sometime between 5:30 and 6:30 a.m.

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