Fireflies and the Southern Stars

December 26, 2013


Photographer: Sebastian Guillermaz; Sebastian's Web site
Summary Authors: Sebastian Guillermaz; Jim Foster

On this photo, thousands of fireflies are flashing on and off over a field near Mercedes, Argentina. They're effectively competing with the starry springtime sky, which here includes the Southern Cross (Crux) at right center, the Carina Nebula at lower center and just above it the Theta Carinae Cluster (Southern Pleiades). Click here to see an annotated sky map. Fireflies or lightning bugs (Family Lampyridae) emit light in the 510-670 nm (yellow) portion of the visible spectrum, using bioluminescence to either attract a mate or in some case to attract prey. Several of the brighter stars on this image, for example Alpha Crucis and Mimosa in the Southern Cross, appear bluish white, emitting most of their light in the shorter wavelengths of the spectrum. Photo taken on November 6, 2013.

Photo details: Camera Model: Canon EOS 60D; Focal Length: 50mm; Exposure Time: 15.000 s; ISO equiv: 1600; Software: Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Windows).