Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Central Park Dark #6

Central Park Dark #6
Originally uploaded by 100five.
Update: 100five was kind enough to allow me to post a marked up copy of his photo shown to the right. Click on it to visit his Flickr page.

Picture Title: Central Park Dark #6
Photographer: 100five

via this post of Extra, Extra found on gothamist.com, 100five's photo of Bethesda Fountain provides a stellar background of the northern Spring sky. Bethesda Terrace is south of Great Lawn, the location where the New Year fireworks are launched.

This shot captures the sky from north to east-northeast, that is from Ursa Minor in the north to the tail of Leo, with stars as dim as magnitude 6. From TotL's perspective this is looking into the corridor. I'm guessing that the picture was taken between 6:30 ~ 7:00 pm on 11 March 2007, much closer to 7, like 6:52pm.

I have prepared a markup but 100five's creative commons license does not allow derivatives. Perhaps, 100five will allow it after asking :^D. This markup assist in identifying the visible constellations. Compare with the original.

A good tour to describe most of what is visible in this photo.

One can see the following constellations and asterisms:

Ursa Minor, more commonly known by its asterism name, Little Dipper to left of Bethesda Fountain. Typically, only Polaris, Kochab, and Pherkad are easily visible. It takes a keen eye to see the other stars. Team TotL uses the Little Dipper as one of the constellations to determine naked eye limiting magnitude (NELM).

Draco, to the left of fountain and curves from the horizon up and around the Little Dipper.

Ursa Major Two asterisms are found in Ursa Major, the popular Big Dipper and the bear's three paws, each consisting of a pair of stars, collectively known as the Three Leaps of the Gazelle.

Leo Minor
Canes Venatici

Two plane trails are also visible: one to the right of the fountain's cherubs base and the other below Regulus in the upper right corner.