SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket “ruined” astrophotographer’s photo

Astrophotographer Joshua Defibo made a difficult journey to the highest point in Vermont — the peak of Mount Mansfield (1,340 m) — to get some night photos. The photographer planned to capture beautiful images of the Milky Way, but accidentally photographed the take-off of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, suddenly caught in the camera lens.

Photo of the flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket against the background of the night sky. Photo: Joshua Defibo

“The funny thing about this picture is that I don’t plan to take a picture of the rocket. I didn’t even know it was recently launched,” says Joshua.

Joshua explained that the photo was taken about an hour after sunset on September 24. He was preparing to photograph the Milky Way galaxy over the mountains behind the Vermont city of Burlington in the background. 

“When I was composing the photo, I saw a strange glow in the sky. At first I had no idea what it was. It occurred to me that it could be aliens. But then the rocket and its contrail materialized and “ruined” my photo. It was only when I showed the photo to my friends that I found out that it was a SpaceX rocket that launched the same evening,” said the astrophotographer.

SpaceX Falcon 9 on the background of the night sky. Photo: Joshua Defibo

Joshua said he took an eight-second exposure on his Canon EOS R, which had a Sigma ART f/1.4 20mm lens attached to it. He also used an iFootage Gazelle TC7 tripod with a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head.

Local TV station WCAX encouraged Defibo to share the photo due to the fact that it showed the antenna arrays of the channel located at the top of the mountain. Therefore, at first Joshua did not plan to share the picture. But after much persuasion, in the end, he posted the photo online. More about Defibo’s work can be found on Instagram and on its website.

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