Lastovo 2009

Reprots from visits of Lastovo Island in 2009:

1) Expedition of Dark Sky Slovenia to Lastovo Island, Croatia – May 2009

2) Symposium 2009 – September 2009

2nd Symposium for Dark-sky Parks and 2nd Dark-sky Camp
Lastovo, September 14. – 18. 9. 2009

report prepared by Herman Mikuž

Some 40 participants from 10 countries attended symoposium which took place in Hotel Solitudo in Pasadur. List of participants and programme are available at darksky parks webpage.

Weather and sky conditions were quite unstable this year. The first four days were under constant influence of jugo (Southern wind) that constantly brings clouds and occasional showers. However, on Sept. 17th afternoon, the air circulation changed to NW and the sky cleared completely until the evening. At 21h30, I arrived at Heliodrome and since the sky was clear I made some SQM measurements. The average sky brightness was 21.53 magnitude. Soon after arrival the conditions worsened because of fog condensation just around the level of heliodrome. Most observers then moved to lower locations where the sky was still clear.

I moved quite far away to another location about 2 km East of Lastovo village. The sky there was perfectly clear. Unfortunately the air was also very wet and dew started to deposit on all exposed surfaces. At around midnight, the SQM showed sky brightness of 21.60 magnitude.

The next two nights were also mostly clear, but also wet, with measured sky brightness between 21.5-21.6 magnitude. Most of astronomy oriented atendees spent all nights outside on their most favourite dark places. On September 19 evening, we organized a boat excursion to one of nearest Lastovnjaci islands – Lukovac, just east of Lastovo. We left Pasadur already at twilight and around 21h arrived to Lukovac. This small rocky island has no pier, so landing in darkness was quite an achievement. We then moved to the top of the island and obtained some nice all-sky images as well as enjoyed the dark sky overhead. The SQM measured sky brightness was about 21.45 magnitude. Thanks to the well experience of sailor, we returned back safely.

Because the sky over Lastovo is really dark – much darker than anywere in continental Europe, we enjoyed night time observations, both naked eye and with telescopes. Observers with telescopes located at heliodrome often reported seeing of 1 arc second and even less. Such superb conditions were ideal to make high resolution images of Jupiter.

But probably the most impressive for observers and night sky lovers were observations of astronomical phenomena like Zodiacal band, Gegenschein, Zodiacal light and Airglow. Phenomena that were once well visible over most of Europe are now (because of expansion of light pollution) visible only from remote place like Lastovo. Some best images recording this rare phenomena are shown below and on links that you can follow. 

All images were taken from location about 2 km East of Lastovo village.


Wide field view obtained from a fixed tripod on 2009 September 17, 23h00UT, with Canon EOS 20D at ISO 1600 and Peleng 8mm, f/4 fisheye lens. Exposure time was 2 minutes with dark image subtracted. A faint Zodiacal band is visible accross the image from Pleiades (upper left) to Capricornus with bright planet Jupiter (lower right). Slightly brighter patch of Gegenschein is visible just SE of western Pisces. Just over the S horizon is light pollution from Italian Adriatic coast, about 180 km away. Copyright © 2009 by H. Mikuž


Wide field guided exposure obtained on 2009 September 18, 21h15UT, with Canon EOS 20D at ISO 1600 and Peleng 8mm, f/4 fisheye lens. Exposure time was 3 minutes with dark image subtracted. There were some clouds over the horizon, reflecting artificial light from Korčula (SE), Dubrovnik (E) and Italian coast (S). Faint greenish airglow band is visible around the sky at elevation abot 30o. It comes from excited oxygen atoms in Earth’s upper atmosphere at elevations 80km and higher. Such airglow emission is visible only at very dark locations. Gegenschein is visible just SE of western Pisces. Copyright © 2009 by H. Mikuž

 
Wide field guided exposure obtained on 2009 September 18, 21h31UT, with Canon 40D at ISO 800, 10mm f/3.5 lens. Exposure time was 4 minutes. Faint greenish airglow band is covering the southern Milky Way. Copyright © 2009 by Gregor Kervina.



Summer Milky Way from Cepheus to Aquilla. Bright star on right is Vega. Just midway from image center to upper margin are Deneb and North American Nebula. Image was obtained on 2009 September 18, 22h30UT, with Canon EOS 20D at ISO 1600 and 17mm, f/4.5 lens. Exposure time was 3 minutes with dark image subtracted. Copyright © 2009 by H. Mikuž


Wide field view obtained from a fixed tripod on 2009 September 18, 23h58UT, with Canon EOS 20D at ISO 1600 and Peleng 8mm, f/4 fisheye lens. Exposure time was 4 minutes with dark image subtracted. A faint Zodiacal band is visible from Taurus toward western Pisces with slightly brighter spot of Gegenschein. Thin clouds are present over the southern sky up to Gegenschein, most probably illuminated from artificial sources along the Italian Adriatic coast, about 180 km away. Copyright © 2009 by H. Mikuž


 
Allsky images obtained from Island Gornji Lukovac on Sept. 19, 2009 with Canon 5D and 8mm, f/3.5 Sigma fisheye lens. Exposure time was 3 minutes at ISO 1000. Left: standard allsky image. LP from nearby Korčula Island is visible in N and NW direction. Bright blue source in visible in NE. Right: View toward the south reveal the light pollution from Italian coast, 180km away. Some pollution from Lastovo village is visible in SW direction. Copyright © 2009 by A. Mohar.


Bright band of Zodiacal light was visible in the early morning of 2009 September 19, extending from just rising head of Leo up to constellation Gemini where it meets the bright arc of winter Milky Way. Venus is just rising together with Regulus (just below). Planet Mars is in the middle of Gemini constellation. Wide field guided image was obtained on 2009 September 19, 2h57UT, with Canon EOS 20D at ISO 1600 and Peleng 8mm, f/4 fisheye lens. Exposure time was 2 minutes with dark image subtracted. Copyright © 2009 by H. Mikuž


Bright band of Zodiacal light was visible in the early morning of 2009 September 19, extending from just rising head of Leo up to constellation Gemini where it meets the bright arc of winter Milky Way. Venus is just rising together with Regulus (just below). Planet Mars is in the middle of Gemini constellation. Wide field image was obtained from a fixed tripod on 2009 September 19, 3h09UT, with Canon EOS 20D at ISO 1600 and Peleng 8mm, f/4 fisheye lens. Exposure time was 2 minutes with dark image subtracted. Copyright © 2009 by H. Mikuž

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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