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    Star photo plate solver
    From: Paul Hirose
    Date: 2024 Jun 18, 21:14 -0700

    I tried the astrometry.net online "plate solver" with one of my own DSLR
    photos. It got a solution in about one minute. I.e., it identified the
    RA / dec at image center, image scale, and orientation. This was my
    first time and I didn't want it to take too long, so I helped the
    software with approximate RA and dec. Note that most submissions to the
    site are much smaller fields, typically arc minutes rather than degrees.
    Constellation stick figures are not appended to such images.
    The photo was taken some years ago with a Nikon D90 and zoom lens set to
    about 24 mm (moderate wide angle), f/4.8 and 10 s exposure at ISO 1600.
    Slight trailing of stars is noticeable. The shot is toward the west in
    the evening and clearly the sky is not yet fully dark. The diagonal
    streak across the image is a contrail, and the "UFO" at bottom is the
    crossarm of a power pole.
    Despite not pushing the limit of the camera, the modestly priced lens,
    and the amount of light still in the sky, close examination of the
    Pleiades (just above the crossarm) shows stars well beyond what a naked
    eye can see under a dark sky.
    A plate solver could be useful for star identification in a photographic
    lunar distance measurement if the solver is not bothered by the Moon.
    However, I haven't tried that.
    Paul Hirose

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