Southern Skies Star Party of 2011
Although the night sky visible from the Northern Hemisphere holds many wonderous sights, the Southern Hemisphere heavens contain astonishing objects and vistas that can only be seen from dark skies south of the Equator.
The Southern Skies Star Party (SSSP) is an annual event that brings amateur astronomers to the Southern Hemisphere where they can observe and photograph some of the greatest treasures of the night sky. The event is held during New Moon around the Summer Solstice each year. Located on the shore of Lake Titicaca at an altitude of 12,300 feet, Bolivia's Inca Utama Resort hosts the SSSP. The hotel features a roll-off roof observatory with 22" and two 10" telescopes for visiting astronomers to use. AC and battery power are provided to those who bring their own equipment. And the hotel dining room is open all night to warm up and have a hot cup of coffee.
Since the first SSSP in 1996, I have traveled to this event a number of times. Most recently, I attended the SSSP in June 2011 and spent a week imaging the night sky using a portable astronomical mount (Celestron CG-5), a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i), and a bag of Nikkor prime lenses. The images below are the result of this trip.
Click on each thumbnail below to see a larger image and description.