From spotting Venus to meteor showers – five incredible events to see in the night sky this summer
- Credit: Archant
Cheshire astrophotographer Nigel Ball’s stunning work has earned him the Fellowship of the Royal Astronomical Society. He’s here to help you catch a falling star on camera
Lockdown has significantly reduced the amount of air pollution and the stars are shining brighter. Now is a great time to practice night photography and it’s warmer out there too. Why not have a go?
Five incredible sights in the night sky this summer
1. The summer months are the time to catch a glimpse of a phenomenon known as noctilucent clouds. These are ice crystals in the upper atmosphere that are illuminated by the sun just after sunset and just before sunrise. They have an icy blue colouration that makes then easily distinguishable from cirrus clouds.
2. July 5: Watch the penumbral lunar eclipse, starting 11.07pm and lasting 2hours 45minutes
3. July 22: There’s a chance to see Mercury just before sunrise in the east
4. August 11-12: Look out for thousands of shooting stars in the Perseid meteor shower. The best time to spot it is before dawn on August 13
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5. Late August: Can you spot Venus – visible just before dawn in the east
How to photograph the night sky
You’ll need a camera capable of manual exposure. Basic camera settings are aperture of your lens to the maximum opening, lowest f-number on the dial, exposure to 20 seconds, ISO to 1600.
Focusing is the most important thing to do. Set the lens to manual mode, and focus on a distant object, a streetlight, electricity pylon something that is far off. Do this during the day and then be careful not to knock the focus ring.
These pictures follow the night sky along the North Wales coast. Last year Nigel released Casgliad Llyn, a collection of images portraying the beauty by day and night of the Lynn Peninsula.
Nigel Ball lives just outside Nantwich and specialises in images of the night sky. He was awarded Fellowship of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2013 for his services to astrophotography and public outreach work. He provides talks, one-to-one tuition and runs regular workshops throughout Cheshire and North Wales.
In conjunction with Cheshire Life magazine, Nigel is offering a 30% discount on all prints ordered from his website and the first five people to order will also receive a free one hour’s tuition online. To take advantage of this offer use the promo code CHESHLIFE