Fireflies and Star Trails in Italy

August 05, 2021


Photographer: Elena Paschetto

Summary Author: Elena Paschetto; Cadan Cummings

This composite image consisting of 197 long-exposure photos features star trails and fireflies taken on a summer night in Sanfront, Italy. Fireflies emit light in the 510-610 nm portion of the visible spectrum. This bioluminescent light is used by fireflies, or lightning bugs, to attract mates. Bioluminescence is produced when calcium, oxygen, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and a chemical luciferin combine in the presence of the enzyme luciferase. The resulting chemical reaction creates an excited energy state that emits light and slowly dims as the reaction uses up its available ATP and oxygen. There are approximately 2,000 firefly species in the family Lampyridae worldwide. Some types of fireflies are crepuscular and prefer to only come out at dusk / dawn to limit the chance of being eaten by nocturnal predators, while others choose to fly around later at night in complete darkness. As a result, fireflies pair well with night sky viewing since you can watch in wonderment the blinking light of the fireflies and the counterclockwise motion of the stars across the sky. Photos taken on June 12, 2021.

Photo data: Canon EOS 80D; Wide-angle Lens, 14mm, ISO 800, f/3.5, 10 second exposure, 197 photos processed using StarStaX

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