Nightfall 2011

Every year for the past 29 years there has been one of the best astronomy gatherings in the western United States.  Nightfall happens in the fall at the Palm Canyon Resort in Borrego Springs, CA.  This year all the rooms in the hotel sold out as well as all the RV spaces.  Three other hotels in the area took the overflow.  Borrego Springs was the first city in California to be designated an official dark sky city.  This means that the city actively works to keep light pollution to a minimum which makes the observing unbeleivable. There are both visual and astrophoto areas set aside so that any stray light from a computer won’t ruin the observer’s night vision.  These are a few photos I took with my new Canon G12 (yeah birthday presents!).  As you can see, you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment to enjoy photographing the sky.  This first picture is a palm at the very western edge of the resort facing the San Diego metro area.

This photo is  an ocotillo plant facing east.  You can see the Pleadies on the lower left side and Jupiter on the upper right side of the plant.

A couple of palm trees frames the Pleadies nicely with Jupiter off to the side.

All of the photos were 15 second exposures with a little light painting from a green flashlight.