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My travels in Sweden:
Sagittarius star party 2018


The starparty Sagittarius at Öland, an island of Sweden

  1. Day 2: Sagittarius astronomy meeting
  2. Day 3: Geology guided tour
  3. Day 1 and 4: Other things to see from Stockholm to Öland

Sagittarius, Öland Star Party 2018

Me and my girlfriend had thought about to take a travel to Öland and visit the star party Sagittarius that is held every year. For some reasons we haven't done that yet until now. This year we decided to go for a visit and at the same time visit other things that we want to see. From Stockholm where we live to Öland it's about 400 km. Öland is Sweden's second largest island.

All amateur astronomers in Sweden like the island Öland, because it's one of the darker places we have.

More info about Öland from Wikipedia:

This year the meeting is held from 8 to 12 of August, 2018. And of course the Perseid Meteor Shower was the big thing to watch.

More info about Perseids from Wikipedia:

We also have the planets Mars and Jupiter to see. Mars is very close to us now but low in the horizon.

Grönhögen camping:

The first thing we did after we had arrived to Öland was to visit some of our friends who stayed at Grönhögen Camping. Small houses that can take up to four people.

Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

After a short talk we took the car to our place, we had rent a room on the Eastern coast of Öland. We went back to this place a couple of hours later.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

Evening closing in and all astronomers are ready to go!


Eketorp fort:

The Sagittarius members had rented the parking lot at Eketorp fort. The old reconstructed fort from the iron age is a must to see.

More info about Eketorp from Wikipedia:

Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

10 August, 7:30 pm UT:

Now all the equipment has to be put together and calibrated. It's very strange for us to do this in warm weather, normally when you observe in Sweden it is very cold, from 0 to -20 Celsius degrees.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

An alone EQ5 mount waiting for its telescope and the owner.

We only brought our DSLR / Mirrorless cameras and tripods. I did set it up for time lapse photographing and my girlfriend did starscapes.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

There is always something interesting to discuss:
Is my Dobson telescope better then that APO refractor?
Which camera should I have?
How do I get the front lens free from dew?
What exposure time is best to use?
You can discuss this for a whole lifetime and newer get the answer.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

7:40 pm UT:

The sun sets, now it's time to start up the cameras or doing visual observations. Some people had brought very impressive equipment, big Dobson telescopes and computer controlled mounts with telescopes.


Observatory visit:

Before I started up my equipment I visited the observatory that Jörgen had invited us to. Not very far away.

Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

This observatory have a doom that cover the telescope, Jörgen also told us that maybe they in future will do it more advanced and have it remote controlled.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

With the lid open we could watch the sky from inside of the observatory, what did we see? Clouds! But at the horizon there was a gap in the clouds and we could see the planets Mars and Jupiter.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

Jörgen tells us more about the equipment, as usual when you have advanced technique there is always something that goes wrong. Jörgen is also the director of the G.A.F (Grönhögen Astronomi Förening) club, it's GAF who hold the Sagittarius meeting.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

The telescope is a Meade 12" Schmidt Cassegrain, very compact for it's opening. It can be setup both for planetary mode with a small and fast CMOS camera or in Deep Sky mode with a camera with a big area sensor.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

From the opening in the doom we could see Mars close to the horizon and Jupiter halfway up. As you see Mars is very red.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

There are a lot of engineering to get this complicated observatory to work.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

The opening of your eye is just a tiny few mm, a telescope like this has an opening of 300 mm. It collects more then 3000 times more light compared to the naked eye.


Sagittarius star party at Öland, Sweden 2018

Now we had to rush back to our equipment and start the cameras. I have a Canon 6D full frame camera and a 16 mm fish eye lens. I want to have as wide view as I can get, with this equipment it covers 180 degrees, you never know where the meteors show up. Gunilla has a Canon M mirror less camera with a 22 mm wide angle lens. The meteor shower appears to come from Perseus constellation in North-East direction and normally you point the camera 90 degree away from this point. Here it is pointed to the North, later I swing it around towards the South.

Here is the time lapse video from the meteor shower:

Click on the boxed button lower right in the video window to get it in full screen.

See also this six selected photos from the time lapse sequence:

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With my new experiences of the dark sky at Öland I have to change the exposure setup. At the summer house 30 km on the East side of Stockholm I normally use these camera settings:

  • Camera Canon 6D
  • Exposure 20 seconds
  • ISO 800
  • Vivitar 16 mm f/2.8 lens
  • Aperture value f/4

That give me a reasonable dark background sky. At Öland these figures give me a totally black sky background, I can't have longer camera exposure time when camera is mounted on a tripod, it will give star trails. My optic is not sharp enough to work at f/2.8. At Öland I increased the ISO to 1600 but don't want have an even higher setting, it will limited the dynamic range and blow out the colors of the meteors even more.

By the way, when doing time lapse movies I normally use the jpg format, if I change to raw I of course will have better dynamics out from the camera.

Maybe you want to participate in Sagittarius next year? Here is the contact information:

It's in Swedish, but there is a button on the main page to translate it to different languages.

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Geology guided tour at Öland

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