Hello! For my first blog post for Almanac.com, I thought that I would take a minute to introduce myself. My name is David Rankin. I'm a photographer from Southern Utah with a special interest in exploring the night sky via long-exposure digital photography.
The camera is able to capture space in a way that our eyes can not. I hope to entertain in the coming months with informative posts about what it means to be an astrophotographer and what objects lie just beyond the reach of the naked eye during any given season.
Exploring Orion, Episode 1
As the heat from summer sizzles off and the cooler months rush in, the constellation Orion starts to work its way up high into the southern sky. The giant hunter in Greek mythology makes his debut every fall appearing earlier and earlier as we grind further into the colder months of winter. Orion is one of those easy, you-don’t-need-a-degree-in-astrophysics-to-spot constellations. Every star shines bright, clearly outlining the familiar shape that the Greeks were quick to mythologize those many years ago. You can clearly make it out in the photograph below.
Orion and a Geminid Meteor
Click here to enlarge this picture!
Credit: astrophotographer David Rankin
Technical mumbo jumbo: Shot with a Canon Rebel XSi, 18–55mm lens; single 61-second exposure, ISO 1600
I enjoy seeing Orion each fall. When you see Orion high in the sky, there are a few things you know. You know that it is cold, as if that weren't obvious enough. You know that the end of another year is closing in, and the time for renewal is upon us. For me, Orion brings to mind family gatherings, insane holiday shopping, crappy winter driving, good food, good drink, fall colors, snow, failed resolutions, and many more things. What does the annual return of this constellation symbolize for you?
I'll be exploring more of Orion in the coming weeks. The entire area is an astronomical hodgepodge of bright stars, nebulae, and amazing stories. I will dismantle this mysterious constellation, exploring each part like a mad scientist suffering from an acute sense of humor and the ability to interpret space in a fun way. Stay tuned for some breathtaking photographs and great stories from deep within the universe.
Episode 2 explore a hidden Halloween marvel made from interstellar dust and bent light. See a witch in the stars!
Photographer / Astrophotographer from Southern Utah. Works for the National Park Service.