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In dire need of help with Nikon D80 and taking photograph of a constellation

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I've got an assignment for my Astronomy course, which requires taking a photograph of a constellation and completing a bunch of questions. I can't for the life of me get the D80 to even barely capture a star. Now the photo doesn't have to be high quality, it can include motion blur or minor things like that, AS LONG AS the constellation is recognizable, ie. there is a pattern or at least half a pattern. So i dont need the stars to be clear or anything, they just need to show up on the picture.

I tried the shutter speed at 1/30, 1/15, 1/60
Manual/Auto focus
Long Exposure
Exposure of .5/1/2/3/5/8/13 seconds, none of them even show a faint light.

The area I am taking the pics from is in backyard, which is not too close to a street lamp, which is about 40 meters away, but again, these do not need to be high quality photos of stars or anything, they just need to provide a pattern that indicates i took a photo of that specific constellation
Also the constellation is about 80-85 degrees up, so almost overhead, and i tried taking the photo in 100% clear sky as well (now the stars are less visible as there's a little bit of snowing, but the stars are still quite visible, but I know the camera may have trouble in comparison to human eye)

Any help is deeply appreciated
Thanks!
Corsair Lagoon
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Corsair Lagoon
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post #2 of 3
First off, you have to be able to see the constellation with your eyes.
It helps to have no clouds or moon.
Open aperture all the way. F/2.8 or wider if you can.
Around 20-30 second exposure should get you a good image.
Manual focus at infinity.
ISO 1600
Shoot in manual.

Any city light will greatly effect the image.
use the self timer mode if you do not have a remote or shutter release cable.
Tripod.
Wider than 50mm if possible.
Most primes take poor star pictures.
Edited by micro5797 - 11/23/13 at 9:27pm
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
thanks for the info
I found an area about 10 min from my house that looks like its a few km^2 of grassland, so I will try to go there and take the pic to limit light pollution.
Corsair Lagoon
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Corsair Lagoon
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 2500k 4.6GHz ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3  EVGA GTX 680 SuperClocked 2GB +25,+295 Corsair Vengaence 16GB (4x4GB) 1600 8-8-8-24 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucial M4 128GB Hitachi Desktar 750GB 7200RPM Corsair H60 Windows 7 64-bit Professional 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
ASUS VE278Q 27" 1080P LED LCD  Razer Arctosa Corsair HX750 Corsair Graphite 600T Black (w/ window upgrade) 
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