For my story, I need to know the following:
I have a (long exposure) analog (as in "not digital") picture of the night sky taken on a random planet somewhere in the Milky Way galaxy. I know it is theoretically possible, but can the coordinates of the planet (or at least the solar system) practically be determined with present astronomical knowledge and present or foreseeable near-future technology?
- The picture is taken with a quality camera with long (>minute) exposure on the most sensitive commercially available (as: it can be bought in stores) film.
- The camera is available and is in the same condition as when the picture was taken. (So lenses, aperture, etc. can be examined in a laboratory.) Also all its settings are untouched.
- I know a very good estimate (minutes resolution) of when the picture was taken. (In "real" time. Either no time dilation is in effect or the time frame is corrected with the time dilation.)
- I have detailed information of the atmospheric compounds of the planet. (In sake of simplicity lets assume it is Earth-like.)
- The picture could have been taken anywhere in the galaxy. (No light-cones/no information principle is in effect.)
- Only present astronomical knowledge can be used. (No pictures from outside the galaxy or from other stellar points.)
- Only present or possible near-future technology can be used. (Limited processing power, no sci-fi technology, only Earth-mounted/space telescopes etc.)
- The result is extremely important, so for a limited time (Hours, maybe days... You can't use all computers on Earth for decades.) Every available resource on Earth can be used.
The story will take place on an (late XX.- early XXI. century) Earth-like planet (not Earth) but I skipped that part for simplicity's sake.
Edit2: (Thanks to Scott Downey)
We have a nice approximation of the rotating speed and no real info of the latitude. The photographer appeared by irregular means (like teleportation) and have only spent a few minutes on the planet surface.