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An Airplane Flyby of a Crescent Moonrise

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On July 27th, I was out taking photos and filming the moonrise behind a tower called Arctura here in Östersund, Sweden.

My setup was two cameras: a Nikon D500 with my Nikon AF-S 600mm f/4 D IF-ED II lens filming in 4K and my Nikon D850 with a Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR and Nikon AF-S TC-20E III teleconverter for still photos. When filming in 4K with my Nikon D500, I have a 2.25 crop factor so using it with my 600mm lens gives me an focal length equivalent of 1350mm.

Here’s a photo of my setup with the Nikon D500 on the left and the Nikon D850 on the right.

A couple of minutes into the moonrise, I noticed a very thin cloud in the preview of my still photos. I knew the sky was clear just minutes before so it caught my attention. A few seconds later a saw a small flashing light and realized that this was an airplane flying through my view. I quickly glanced at the LCD of my Nikon D500 and was happy to see that the airplane was inside my framing of the movie. Sometimes you just get lucky.

Upon returning home, I did some research into what flight it was, and it turned out to be a Boeing 787 Dreamliner flying from JFK in New York to Baku in Azerbaijan.

Here’s a screenshot from Flightradar24 showing the flight. Down to the left in the map, you can see the city of Östersund where I was located. I measured the distance to around 200km (124.27 miles) between me and the airplane.

Here’s a short movie showing the flyby as recorded by my Nikon D500. The movie is in real-time during the flyby, but otherwise it’s sped up to shorten the final movie.


About the author: Göran Strand is a professional photographer from Östersund, Sweden, with a passion for astronomy. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Strand’s work on his website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. This article was also published here.

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