Mystery solved.

I finally figured out what’s behind those mysterious white dots on my photos of the recent solar eclipse, done with the help of some astronomy apps on my phone along with a little time traveling.

I started with Google Sky Map and set the date to August 21 at 2:57pm, which was during the peak of the eclipse. I located the sun and lo and behold, there’s a bright star near it, the star of Regulus.

For a second opinion, I launched Star Chart and it too confirmed what Google Sky Map told me, right there in the constellation of Leo.

This is why I keep these apps handy. Google Sky Map is small and loads quickly for a simple view of the night sky. Star Chart has a more detailed view along with more detailed information than you can shake a telescope at.

Strange white dots from outer space.

I was reviewing the photos I took of the recent solar eclipse when I noticed something interesting. Visible in some of the pictures is a white dot near the sun. During the peak of the eclipse there are two dots visible.

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I’m really curious what those white dots are. I’m guessing they could be stars or neighboring planets. Whatever they are, they’re shining bright enough to be seen in the afternoon sky. Time to consult my astronomy apps to see if I can identify what they are.

Watching the Geminid meteor shower.

I stayed up late last night to watch the spectacular Geminid meteor shower that unfolded in the night sky. The weather conditions were perfect for me to sit outside on my patio and enjoy the show. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to see anything but that uncertainty got erased when I saw a short streak of light across the sky. A few minutes would pass before I saw another streak, and then another. Watching this all take place was beyond spectacular.

Photographing the meteor shower on the other hand proved very tricky. I had my camera and tripod set up outside to try getting some pictures of the meteor streaks. Because it was very dark I opted to use time exposure for taking the pictures. I set my camera’s shutter to stay open for 15 seconds to let in as much light as possible and to hopefully capture one of the meteor streaks. I took 147 pictures in all and none of them captured the elusive targets. However, I did capture a light trail left by a passing plane. I had to settle for this picture as the highlight of the night.

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