Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Geminids - Chilean Style by Yuri Beletsky

Geminid Meteor shower over the Chilean Atacama desert ~ © Yuri Beletsky
A few days ago, Yuri Beletsky was able to capture the maximum of the Geminid Meteor shower over the Chilean Atacama desert. Despite the full Moon, the Geminids were spectacular. In the foreground you can see the landscape of Chilean Atacama desert as well the telescopes of Las Campanas Observatory. In the far distance, one can see the cloud cover over the ocean.

Technical Misspeak: Most of call it the "Geminids Meteor shower" —however, the Germinids are a meteor shower! There are a few times each year when the  number of these so-called "shooting stars" increases dramatically, and the Geminids is one of those.

Equipment and Technique: Yuri used a Canon 6D body and an adapted Nikkor 14-24mm for the shot. The total exposure time was 4 hours, where each individual exposure was set at 10 to 20 seconds (depending on the brightness of the sky).

Yuri Beletsky
Born in Belarus, Yuri now lives in Chile where he works as an astronomer at Las Campanas observatory of Carnegie Institution of Washington. Yuri has been an enthusiastic amateur stargazer since childhood. During his spare time at the observatory, Yuri likes take wide-field panoramic images of the Milky Way and other natural phenomena. Short snapshots deliver fascinating views of the surrounding landscape at dusk or dawn, while longer exposures produce breathtaking pictures of the starry sky. Images obtained by Yuri have been featured on popular websites, and in press releases, books and magazines. He continually shares his passions for astronomy and astrophotography with people around the world. You can see more of Yuri Beletsky's photography at his 500px website.

Best Air in the World: The dark skies above the Atacama Desert provide a unique opportunity to reveal the majesty of our cosmos. Las Campanas, which hosts two 6.5-m Magellan telescopes, is one of four large observatories located in Chile's Atacama desert, the driest place on Earth. The conditions are excellent for astronomy because of the exceptional quality of the atmosphere. Not only are there more than 300 clear nights per year here, but due to very low turbulence of the air, they can obtain very sharp images, which is impossible to get in other places. That is why Chile is often called as "astronomical paradise" or "astronomical capital" of the world.

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