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Since Earth rotates around its axis, everything in outher space appears to move across the night sky. The stars and other objects in outer space appear to rotate around the Earth's poles. Stars that are far from the poles may rise and set over the local horizon; other stars closer to the poles never set for some location. When a camera is setup on a tripod and making a long exposure, the stars will appear as trails in the frame.

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Observing tips

To photograph star trails yourself, you need a camera that can do long time exposures. The longer the better, in general; an exposure of several hours will show long star trails even when using a wide-angle lens. Use a slow film such as 100 ISO and small aperture, f/11 or f/16 or so, so that the film will not fog much. A dark location is best.