This really is one of the best astronomical photographs I have ever come across. It is amazing even before you notice that the sea is glowing with bioluminescent algae.
Congratulations Sim on taking this fantastic photograph and allowing me to share it and thanks Mark for sending it my way.
To celebrate this great pic, I thought a little quiz would be fun. Or to be more precise, several shades of the same question…
To make this more interesting I’m going to give you the opportunity to test yourselves at the level you feel most comfortable with. Anyone who has been on my Beginner’s Guide to Natural Navigation course or read The Natural Navigator book, should be able to crack this at one level at least.
Depending on your level of confidence try one of the questions below, A is very difficult, B slightly easier etc. (Don’t read them all first though as there are clues in B, C and D which make it a little easier.)
A) Just by studying this photograph, can you work out which way we are looking in this photo and the latitude the picture was taken at?
B) The photograph was taken in the northern hemisphere. Can you work out which way we are looking in this photo and the latitude the picture was taken?
B) The photograph was taken on the east coast of Masirah Island, Oman, latitude 20 degrees north, what direction are we looking in the picture?
D) The picture was taken on the east coast of Masirah Island, Oman, latitude 20 degrees north. During the time lapse needed to take the photograph the stars rotated clockwise. What direction are we looking in the picture?
A big thank you to Sim and Mark, for respectively having taken this picture and sending it my way. It’s a cracker and deserves to win an award in my opinion. I’m not the sort of person to sit back and wait for other people to realise that an award should be given to someone, so I hereby award Sim with the inaugural The Natural Navigator Astronomical Photograph of the Year award 2011!
Look away now if you don’t want the answer yet…
We are looking SSE. The south celestial pole is to just below the bottom right of the picture. The stars we are looking at are those between Achernar (bright streak on right) and the constellation Lepus (left of picture). Well done to all who got it.
If you want to see some pretty thorough workings, then this is not a bad place to find them: