Happy Halloween! These stargazing jack-o'-lanterns are a sign that at least one astrophotographer is getting into the holiday spirit.
New York City-based amateur astronomer Gowrishankar ("Gowri") Lakshminarayanan photographed these smiling pumpkins under the night sky at North-South Lake Campground near Haines Falls, New York. (Want more space pumpkins? Check out our awesome space Halloween pumpkin gallery!)
In one shot, you can see several constellations and asterisms, including the Big Dipper and Little Dipper. The outline of Draco the dragon is visible directly behind the pumpkins as it rises over the horizon in the Draco constellation. In the upper left is the constellation Cepheus. [Halloween Night Sky 2017: Don't Miss These Celestial Treats]
Another shot shows the circular motion of the stars as they swirl overhead in the sky. Over the course of the night, the stars appear to circle around the celestial North Pole, which is very close to the North Star, Polaris. This effect is a result of Earth's rotation. [The Best Space Halloween Costumes of 2017!]
To create this stellar view, Gowri captured 30 photos of the night sky, pointing his camera toward the north. All 30 photos were taken with a 30-second exposure time, with another 30 seconds in between each shot. When Gowri later stacked all of the frames in Photoshop, the star trails appeared as short, dashed lines around Polaris.
Gowri shot the images using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR camera and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L lens with a 2x extender.