On the new year's night of 2009, I went out to take some pictures, instead of a usual party. The place I chose was Patara Beach by the Mediterranean Sea, a desert-like land about 18 km long and a couple kilometers wide. This beach is also one of few in Turkey where sea turtles (Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas) lay eggs.
I took 6 pictures in the first hour of 2009 to make this composite showing the winter stars, Milky Way, associated clusters and nebulae at their highest. I used my Hutech modified Canon EOS 5D at ISO 3200 and a 35 mm f/2 lens at f/2.8. For the bottom pair of the 2x3 matrix, I made 60-second exposures to control the sharpness of the foreground. The others are 75-second exposures. Which I used my wooden equatorial hand drive to take them all. Canopus, the reason I name this land of visibility as "Canopia", is easily visible about a degree over the Mediterranean Sea. It took many hours to get this final result with first PtGui and then Adobe Photoshop. One thing that got my attention was the reds visible around Naos (Zeta Pup), NGC2451, Regor (Gamma Vel) and Suhail (Lambda Vel). I thought that was only the result of atmospheric extinction. But other parts of the sky equally high above the horizon do not have as much reds. Then I remembered something,
checked some maps and pictures. The positions of these reds coincide with the Gum Nebula, Vela SNR, which only partially rises from this location. I cannot be sure, but probably this super-clear atmosphere made the nebula recordable in the picture.