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A Telescope Tracks Orion the Hunter in Starry Time-Lapse Video

Miguel Claro is a professional photographer, author and science communicator based in Lisbon, Portugal, who creates spectacular images of the night sky. As a European Southern Observatory photo ambassador, a member of The World At Night and the official astrophotographer of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve, he specializes in astronomical skyscapes that connect Earth and the night sky. Join Miguel here as he takes us through his photograph "Cumeada Observatory and the Winter Sky." 

After astronomical twilight has ended, a motorized, retractable, "roll-off-roof" observatory opens a window to the universe, with the winter sky glistening behind a group of telescopes. 

Many of these advanced optical instruments are built for stargazing and astrophotography purposes at Cumeada Observatory, the headquarters of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve in Reguengos de Monsaraz, Portugal. The recovered building is an old primary school rehabilitated by the Municipality of Reguengos de Monsaraz to house the official observatory of the Dark Sky Alqueva Reserve. 

A time-lapse sequence shows the sky on a clear night at the observatory. Several airplanes can also be seen darting through the sky while part of the Orion constellation moves in the background, and a telescope built for astrophotography is tracking one of the most photographed objects in the sky, the beautiful Orion Nebula. To locate the Orion constellation in the video, just look at the same region of the sky where the telescope is pointing, and you will find it! [Gallery: The Splendor of the Orion Nebula]

Inside the observatory, the main telescopes in the foreground are, at left, a Celestron C14 Edge HD (XLT), and in the opposite direction, at right, a Takahashi FSQ-106ED refractor scope on an EM200 auto-guided mount. Behind it is a Lunt LS100THa solar telescope next to a Dobsonian telescope, Orion SkyQuest XX16g GoTo.

To capture these images, I used a Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera set to record 30-second exposures with the ISO set to 3200 and a 8-15mm fisheye lens set to 13 millimeters at f/4. I captured the photos in sequence mode over the course of a few hours, and the movie is the result of several shots animated in Final Cut Pro with a rate of 30 frames per second.

Editor's note: If you captured an amazing astronomy photo and would like to share it with Space.com for a story or gallery, send images and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com

To see more of Claro's amazing astrophotography, visit his website, www.miguelclaro.com. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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