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Venus and Orion dominate the western sky!

A familiar sight, but I was trying out a new lens (in reality an old Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro, the original without optical stabilisation) on my Canon camera. I was also trying out my Star Adventurer which I hadn't used for months, as it had been for major surgery to Dark Frame, down in Hampshire. I struggled to remember how to operate it, but managed a total of 149 seconds of data, with shutter speeds varying between 4 and 20 seconds, along with ten dark frames. They were then combined in Deep Sky Stacker and edited in Photoshop.

You might have read in the Sky at Night magazine an article which showed how to create a starburst using Venus. Once we had a clear night, I took up the challenge and created this in camera, using an aperture of f11. I hope that I am as lucky when Venus is close to the Pleiades in a few days time.

This image of the western evening sky was only achieved with the aid of Photoshop, the problem being that the correct exposure for the bright crescent moon would be far too short to capture detail in the rest of the night sky, so a composite of two images, using different settings, was the obvious option.

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