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Celestial Treats Shine Over Jack-o'-Lanterns in Stellar Halloween Photos

Halloween Pumpkins
Star trails swirl over three smiling jack-o'-lanterns in this night-sky photo by amateur astronomer Gowrishankar L. (Image credit: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/gowrishankar83">Gowrishankar L.</a>)

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]

Star trails swirl over three smiling jack-o'-lanterns in this night-sky photo by amateur astronomer Gowrishankar L. (Image credit: Gowrishankar L.)

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.

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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Hanneke Weitering

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time Hanneke likes to explore the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.