Milkyway in Singapore

Date: June 2, 2020

These few days, if the sky is clear, we can see Milkyway. Yes, see it in Singapore.

Some people did take a photo of the milkyway above the HDB blocks, it was impressive. For me, I don’t want to go out during the CB especially during late night early morning. So, I will try to see it from my roof top.

This is taken from my roof top. It was taken by both Jay and me. We used Fujiflim X-H1 and X-T2 cameras. We have two Star Trackers, i.e. MSM (Move Shoot Move) & iOptron Sky Watcher. We uses Fujiflim lens such as 10-24mm, 16mm f/1.4, 33mm f/2, Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D, Samyang 8mm f/2.8 Fish eye lens, Samyang 10mm f/2.8 lens. We also have filters such as Ice Lipo, Hoya Intensifier and Rollei Astroklar filters to try to cut down the light pollution.

By Kenneth – Fujiflim X-H1 + Samyang 10mm f/2.8 – ISO200 – 20secs @4:36am

My block is facing North. I can see East and West. So, my star tracker can point to the True North if the magnetic field is behaving themselves. We used the Photo Pills, Compass Deluxe and good old magnetic compass to calibrate and position the star trackers. It is challenging, as the “True North” keep changing on these iPhones app and even the real compass. Some time it is pointing at JB the causeway bridge direction, some times it points to the Mindef hill there (which is wrong).

So, Jay likes to shoot long exposures. I simply shoot half of my stocks withing the 500 rules. For example, Fujifilm 16mm f/1.4 lens, after a few days of playing with it, the best is to keep it within 20secs at f1.4 and ISO200. That is what I like my pictures the best. Jay likes to take with higher ISO, higher aperture and longer exposure. But I must give it to him, some of the photos are really great in my opinion for a boy who is 13-14 years old.

I caught him wake up at 3:50am in the morning sitting at his workstation there. He said he got nose bleeds. But I know he woke up to work on the 3D prints for the Nintendo Switch Auto-Button clicker (which is another projects he likes to do).

So, I dragged him up to the roof top. So, he bo-pian, take the photo together with me on June 1.

Wow, we were surprise by the clear sky early morning at 3:55am. And we can see a lot of stars. And the perfect eye-sight boy can see the Milky Way. I wearing specs can see a little. So, without furthur waiting, both of us quickly setup our gears.

In the sky, we can see Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto mingled together.

So, we quickly identify where is the Milkyway.

The milkyway is on top of our roof top. We looked for the Sagittarius constellation. And we found how to frame our shots.

The milkyway usually will rise at night from the east side of our place, and then it goes behind our roof, then, around 2-5am, it swing out from the roof and go up high at the west side.

Here are the rest of the photos we took. Of cours,e we must post process these photos to tone down the brightness, and bring up the colors.

Enjoy the rest of the photos here …. We will try to do it again when we see clear skies. That means, I have to set alarm at 3am. But usually the clouds will give away whether you have a clear sky at 3am.

By Jay – Fujifilm X-T2 + Fujifilm 16mm f/1.4 – ISO1600 – f/1.4 – 18secs @4:08am
By Kenneth – Fujiflim X-H1 + Samyang 10mm f/2.8 – ISO200 – 20secs @4:36am
By Kenneth – Fujiflim X-H1 + Samyang 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye – ISO200 – 30secs @ 4:56am

In above photos, you can clearly see how bad the light pollution in Singapore. Just behind the left roof top, is the water tanker area of my condo. And there are a lot of lights there. I don’t know why they must light up so bright? To prevent the plane to crash into the roof top of the condo? I don’t know. So, most of my photos have a lot of lights at the bottom.

You can see the milkyway but I can’t boost the photo too much as the lights below is very distrurbing. And the learning curve of post-processing using Photoshops is way too steep, so I only uses Lightroom basic tools to process my photos.

Well, I am still learning how to take Astro-Photographs. And I am still learning how to post process it too. I am very happy with myself already.

By Kenneth – Fujiflim X-H1 + Samyang 8mm f/2.8 – ISO800 – 25secs @5:04am

And I tried to apply some of the Lightroom presents on milkyway which I learned from the “Learn” Interactive Tutorial section of Lightroom (not Lightroom CC).

By Kenneth – Fujiflim X-H1 + Fujiflim 16mm f/1.4 – ISO200 – 16secs @5:18am
By Kenneth – Fujiflim X-H1 + Fujiflim 16mm f/1.4 – ISO200 – 16secs @4:10am
By Jay – Fujiflim X-T2 + Fujiflim 10-24mm @10mm – ISO200 – f/4.0 – 33secs @3:54am
By Jay – Fujiflim X-T2 + Fujiflim 10-24mm @10mm – ISO200 – f/4.0 – 51secs @3:58am
By Jay – Fujiflim X-T2 + Fujiflim 10-24mm @10mm – ISO200 – f/4.0 – 60secs @3:59am
By Jay – Fujiflim 10-24mm @10mm – ISO200 – f/4.0 – 91secs @4:01am

Finally he got some of the milkyway colors by exposing 91secs. Can see a bit of star trails but the milkyway has appeared.

By Jay – Fujiflim X-T2 + Fujiflim 16mm f/1.4 – ISO200 – 31secs @4:05am
By Jay – Fujifilm X-T2 + Fujifilm 16mm f/1.4 – ISO200 – 16secs @4:07am

That concludes the father and son astropohotography sessions.

Remember, let the kids learn how to take proper photos (not just using iPhone) during their younger years will benefit them for a long long time forever. hahaha

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