Looking up at the night sky, we see the stars follow specific paths as our planet rotates around its axis, while also orbiting the sun. And, while the stars are too far away for the human eye to distinguish their colors, a camera can spot things that otherwise would remain hidden.
One such example is the splendid photo captured by professional photographer Miguel Claro and which reveals the colorful trails of the stars as they swirl around Polaris in the night sky.
Also known as the North Star, Polaris is the brightest and outermost star in the constellation of Ursa Minor (the “Little Bear”), sometimes called the Little Dipper, Space noted a while back.
The reason why the stars seem to spin around Polaris in the newly released photo has to do with Earth’s own rotation movement, Claro wrote in an article for Space.
“Each star trail shows the path a star takes as its position in the night sky changes due to Earth’s rotation and the resulting rotation of the celestial sphere,” the photographer explained.
Taken in the Nature Park of Noudar, located within the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Portugal, the snapshot unveils the multitude of colors that accentuate the star trails and which usually go undetected by star gazers.
“We can see a lot of different colors in the star trails, like blue, white, yellow and orange. Each color is directly related to the type and temperature of each star,” wrote Claro, noting that the blue rings around Polaris signal the trail of the hottest stars, whereas the orange-reddish trails alert us to the presence of cooler stars.
— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) August 26, 2018
This dazzling photo is a composite of several long-exposure images, each lasting for about 30 seconds and together spanning four hours of observation.
“To capture this view, I used a Canon 6D DSLR camera with an ISO setting of 1250. This medium-value ISO is better for preserving the color of the stars,” Claro pointed out.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, this type of long exposures requires a very stable camera and as little shaking as possible, which can be achieved by using a steady tripod and a self-timer or a shutter release cable.
Although many people believe that Polaris is the brightest star in the sky, the truth is that it only has a medium luminosity, shining at a magnitude of 2.0. According to Space, the North Star ranks as the 48th brightest star and is almost 4,000 times more luminous than the sun.
Located 434 light-years away from Earth, Polaris is a pulsating Cepheid star, just like the ones astronomers use to measure the Hubble constant and calculate how fast the universe is expanding. These stars dim and brighten in a very predictable manner, which can help scientists gauge how far they are in the cosmos in relation to Earth, the Inquisitr recently reported.