The Great Aurora Display of 2024

After experiencing the 2001 and 2003 (more) aurora displays, I was always on alert when larger CMEs (Coronal masse ejections) were heading towards earth, but in the last 21 years I was not able to see another Aurora display at home. So I got pretty excited when huge sunspot AR 3664 sent some CMEs toward earth. When checking the aurora forecast in the afternoon, mid-latitude Auroras were deemed extremely likely, so I packed up some cameras and headed to a place with a good view towards the north.

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Milky Way above Piz Buin

I had to wait quite a bit for the clouds to reveal this view of Vorarlberg’s highest peak, the Piz Buin (3312m). The image was taken at an elevation of 2650m in the Silvretta mountain range in Vorarlberg, Austria.

Nikon Z6, 20mm f/1.8, 15s at f/2.2, ISO3200

The Great Conjunction

This december Jupiter and Saturns position in the sky are very close. This is a very rare event. I hiked above the fog to capture it before clouds rolled in for the next few days.

Wide angle image showing the fog covered Rhine Valley in Vorarlberg, the moon to the left and right above the clouds to the right Jupier and the much fainter Saturn.
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Taurus Molecular Cloud with 85mm

Taurus Molecular Cloud, California Nebula NGC1499 and Plejades M45, 120x30s, ISO3200, Nikon Z6, Nikkor S 85mm f/1.8 at f/1.8 processed in Fitswork, Photoshop, Lightroom

I tried to use a break in the clouds to photograph a long-time favourit of mine, the Taurus Molecular Cloud TMC. The conditions were far from optimal with some slight fog and clouds passing through, but after throwing away quite a few frames, I ended up with this version.

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Comet 64P/Swift-Gehrels

I was actually heading to bed when I noticed, that the sky cleared up enough to try to photograph Comet 64P/Swift-Gehrels.

As I wanted to create an image that included the Andromeda Galaxy, I used the 70-200 zoom and set it at about 130mm.

Comet 64P/Swift-Gehrels, 33x30s exposures, AF-Nikkor 70-200 f/4, at 130mm, ISO 2500, Nikon D750, Vixen Polarie.

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First signs of summer: Milky Way

Last night at 1:15 A.M. I decided, that I cannot let this beautifully clear night pass without some astrophotography. I drove up to Farnach, which is only 7.5km away, but provides some nice dark skies above the brightly lit Rhine Valley.

I set up the Vixen Polarie and took pictures using 20mm, 85mm and 300mm lenses.

The summer milky way and the multitude of nebula and clusters hidden in it, never cease to impress me. When I went to bed some hours later, dawn was already breaking. Read More