Mysterious red streak in astro frame?

Started Feb 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Mysterious red streak in astro frame?
Feb 2, 2013

I have just encountered an impossible problem, with this red result (astro pictures):

Nikon D800, 70-200mm lens at 200mn, ISO 3200, f/2.8, 20 seconds (yeah, I know, which is too much motion for 200mm). AF and VR were turned off.

What could cause this red streak? It is always in the same place in all frames, and it was in ALL of the 200mm pictures, regardless of where aimed.  However, it was in NONE of the 14mm lens pictures in same situation. That seems to rule out sensor?

The camera finder eyepiece was not closed to block it off, but it was at an astronomy club dark site, there were NO external lights, period (and there was no one else even there then). And of course, the mirror was up anyway, so viewfinder seems out.  Yes, my own red flashlight was off during all exposures. And again, of course it was always the same red streak anyway.

What could cause this? I have tried to duplicate it at home (ISO 3200, 20 seconds, f/22 in a dark room), and cannot duplicate it now.

Only thing unusual was (lens foot did not fit tripod mount) so camera was mounted, and heavy lens was supported only by its mount (generally aimed up). Temperature was 40 degrees F, that does not seem unusual.

Nikon D800
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