It’s cosmic dust. Really!?! It’s what coalesces to form stars. It’s a mere two light years away? Spectacular! In the face of the universe and awesome, I am humbled. There is too much light pollution where I live to capture the stars at night. I gave up the attempt long ago. I dabble in an occasional shot of the moon. We have a beach cam. I sign in to get a shot of the dawn. Most mornings it is too cloudy or no clouds – boring, mission failure. Webb telescope: forecast – cloudy today.


Well, sometimes I surprise even myself. We are in the wilds of Maine. The sky was clear and cold. It was dark as only a place can be without light pollution. Point and shoot. I did not have a tripod and was too cold to just stand around. I let the camera go automatic. The Sony could not compensate. The Nikon went wild. Who knew? I am a casual Astro-photographer which means I have no expectation and whatever comes is a gift and bonus. Press the shutter and voila! So, I ended with a 1.6 second exposure handheld. I must have a steady hand. Ha ha! It came out rather good. No complaint! One night only. The next was cloudy with rain. Sometimes it is once and only…. it looks lots better enlarged on a big screen. Gee, there are a lot of stars in the sky.


I’m no astronomer. I can hardly pick out the north star. Morning star? Well, I got some celestial bodies, stars and/or planets. I just stuck the camera up against the window. Click. For those of us too lazy to control all aspects of exposure, “Program” mode is good. Very good. Night shots are hard. There are extremes in exposure that challenge any sensor. When I shot film it was nearly impossible to get a proper night exposure. I let the Sony RX100 just go do its programed exposure. Look what I got! I did not persist. I am resigned to poor astrophotography images. Eh? Colleen?

Meanwhile, the moon came out pretty nice. Focus is hard. There are no real hard contrasting edges. The moon is very bright. I got the sensor to fool itself. The clouds and the houses made for an interesting tableau. Auto – program, it worked for me. The sensor has some magical algorithms for night shots. No, I will not be getting a telescope anytime soon.


A NIRCam composite image of Jupiter with three filters, F360M (red), F212N (yellow-green) and F150W2 (cyan), with alignment due to the planet’s rotation.Credit…NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Judy Schmidt

Colleen was distraught when she ordered a telescope and it failed to arrive. She had plotted and planned for me to become an astro photographer. I had no real desire to do so. Really! I do not have the desire nor do I have the equipment. And I could never do better than the Webb telescope. I am content to admire and enjoy the efforts of others.

I like an image to be uniquely my own. Sure, there are thousands of sunrises and sunsets. But, the one I take is mine in that time and that spot. A picture of the Grand Canyon or of Niagara Falls had been done but a selfie adds a personal touch. So, no Colleen, I am content to admire the work of the Webb telescope without taking a picture that I can never match.