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LADEE Launch

September 7th, 2013 · 2 Comments · General

I snuck out last night around 1130 to see if I could get a shot of a rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Island facility of a package being sent to the moon.

LADEE, or Lunar Atmosphere Dust and Environment Explorer blasted off into the night sky without a problem.

The problems were on my end.  I was a tad late getting to my “dark place”, about a 30 minute drive from my house.  I arrived with only about 2 minutes to set up, which included getting the tripod set, the camera lens, focus and  settings squared away,  figuring out the directional orientation and all that jazz.  My shutter remote had died a few weeks ago, so I had to us the max exposure setting on the camera, which was only a 30 second exposure.

Having done all that, I saw this reddish/orange point of light, so hit the shutter and hoped for the best.  It didn’t turn out that bad, just not the full arcing departure shot I had hoped for.  I’ll get a new remote shutter device soon, and wait for the next Wallops shot to see if I can get that iconic image of an full ascent shot as the vehicle departs for the cosmos.

BTW, the horizontal line is an airliner headed to Dulles.

FYI, I was out in Aden, Virginia.  The test shot I took first was oriented a bit more east/northeast, pointed back toward Woodbridge and the Washington DC area.  The 30 second test shot exposure was indeed at 1125 pm, and even as dark as it seemed, the exposure brought out all the lights from the metro areas to the E/ENE.  I’ll have to work better at finding a REAL darker place if I want to take any sky shots in that direction.


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