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    Re: Navigation stars and a SpaceX Mockship
    From: Murray Buckman
    Date: 2020 Oct 22, 11:55 -0700

    I too "cheated" to get the solution, at least in a way.

    As part of my interest in photography I sometimes go to dark places on a dark nights and photograph the Milky Way.  I have done this in both the northern and southern hemispheres.  Over time I have taken an interest in what I can see in the resulting images.

    In the subject image it looked like a band of the Milky Way was running through it.  The stars were not immediately obvious to me and I wondered whether the two very bright objects might be planets but, if not, Sirius was one of my guesses as it is a star I am familiar with and I am also familiar with its relationship to the Milky Way.  So I had a look through my various Milky Way images.

    Most often I shoot the glamourous end of the Milky Way, with all its spendour.  But occaisionally I photograph the unfashionable low-rent end of the galaxy.  Attached is a photo (8 images, 20 seconds, ISO3200, 14mm f2.8 on a crop sensor Canon 7d Mk2), taken in the wee small hours of February 28, 2017 at about 37 2.4 S 175 17.8 E.  It is not great editing - because I don't put much effort into the unspectacular end of the galaxy and this image had both light polution and some pre-dawn light.  But Sirius is bright near the horizon and Canopus is prominent on the left.

    I turned the SpaceX image upside down and we had a match.  The key identifier was the triangle of stars featuring both Sirius and Adhara. From there is was just a matter of checking the neighbourhood for the other navigation stars in the vicinity in the northern hemisphere image.  After that, identification was easy.

    As an aside, although I have lived most of my adult life in the northern hemisphere, I spent the first 24 years of my life in New Zealand, and learned my celestial navigation and layout of the sky during that period.  I still get confused with the northern sky.  Part of it is fundamentally unfamiliar to me, and those parts that are familiar are, well, upside down.


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