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Modine-Benstead Observatory
USA

This is the Modine-Benstead Observatory in Union Grove, Wisconsin on June 25, 2016, 23:44. Many thanks to the Racine Astronomical Society for their hospitality and warm welcome, giving us a tour of the observatory and allowing us to shoot some night photography from the grounds when we crashed a member’s night meeting unannounced. I was in Wisconsin on family vacation and my cousin and I decided to do some impromptu night photography with some friends. Looking for the darkest skies we could find within a half hour drive or so, we wound up at the observatory and were very happy to be welcomed by other night sky enthusiasts!

There are two domed telescopes at the observatory: a 16-inch Newtonian-Cassegrain reflecting telescope designed and built by club members on a custom German equatorial mount with an attached 6-inch refractor as a guide scope, and a 14-inch Celestron Schmitt Cassegrain reflecting telescope on a Lomansdy German equatorial mount. The larger telescope weighs 2 tons and was fabricated by local industries and manufacturers. You can read more about the history of the observatory on the club’s website: http://www.rasastro.org/club.htm 

This 360 panorama was taken from the roof. The Milky Way is faintly visible over the red glow of club members observing Mars and Saturn through their personal telescopes. The green streak above is a firefly.

Camera settings: 10.5mm, f/4, ISO 2500, 30 seconds.

Stitching data: 1 row of 8 images plus a dedicated zenith shot of the sky.

Equipment used: Nikon D810, Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye, MeFOTO RoadTrip tripod, and Really Right Stuff MPR nodal slide. Edited with Lightroom. Stitched with PTGui Pro.

Copyright: Aaron Priest
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 9914x4957
Taken: 26/06/2016
Uploaded: 11/07/2016
Updated: 14/07/2016
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Tags: astronomy; astrophotography; milky way; night sky; observatory; telescope
More About USA

The United States is one of the most diverse countries on earth, jam packed full of amazing sights from St. Patrick's cathedral in New York to Mount Hollywood California.The Northeast region is where it all started. Thirteen British colonies fought the American Revolution from here and won their independence in the first successful colonial rebellion in history. Take a look at these rolling hills carpeted with foliage along the Hudson river here, north of New York City.The American south is known for its polite people and slow pace of life. Probably they move slowly because it's so hot. Southerners tend not to trust people from "up north" because they talk too fast. Here's a cemetery in Georgia where you can find graves of soldiers from the Civil War.The West Coast is sort of like another country that exists to make the east coast jealous. California is full of nothing but grizzly old miners digging for gold, a few gangster rappers, and then actors. That is to say, the West Coast functions as the imagination of the US, like a weird little brother who teases everybody then gets famous for making freaky art.The central part of the country is flat farmland all the way over to the Rocky Mountains. Up in the northwest corner you can find creative people in places like Portland and Seattle, along with awesome snowboarding and good beer. Text by Steve Smith.