Interesting Photo of the Day: Are These Shooting Stars or Satellites?

Dubai-based landscape and astrophotographer Siddharth Prem captured this beautiful photograph of the Northern Lights and several others during his travels in Lofoten, Norway—sparking a debate about whether the light streaks near the top center of the image are shooting stars or satellites:

northern lights satellite shooting star aurora starry sky astrophotography night long exposure

“Waves In The Sky” by Siddharth Prem (Click image to see full size.)

Prem initially labeled the light streaks as “shooting stars,” but several experienced night photographers on Reddit quickly stepped with a clarification: the uniformity of the streaks and their parallel direction in relation to one another indicates that they are satellites. Shooting stars notoriously fade in and out.

Prem captured the 30-second exposure using a Canon 6D and 16-35mm f/4 wide angle lens set at f/4. He edited the image in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom.

“I’ve always been fascinated with space and astronomy,” wrote Prem on his website. “The moment I realized I could learn my way around the night sky with a DSLR [and] long exposures, it sparked my interest in photography.”

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3 responses to “Interesting Photo of the Day: Are These Shooting Stars or Satellites?”

  1. Brien Hawkes says:

    0ne Word. “outstanding”.

  2. ernaldo says:

    Meteors, satellites would have been a long continuous, or dotty line….

  3. Dominic Philippa says:

    These are trails of a passenger jet. The straight line, and the saturation of the trail mean that it was a strong light for the duration of the exposure. Its too late for a satellite to be illuminated by the sun at a position below the horizon. And shooting stars are too quick and would not have enough exposure on this frame I think, plus shooting stars usually have a downward trajectory.

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