Astrophotography

Mosaic of the Milky Way.
Click on the image and see if you can find Andromeda.

Apart from trying to take pictures of things on Earth every once in a while, I love the idea of pointing a camera to the sky and capturing photons that have traveled unimaginable distances. Although I have never had a telescope myself, every now and then I get to point the camera at clear skies (or even better, use a telescope as a lense!). Here are some results of those experiments


In March 2013, Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) got close to Earth and became visible with the naked eye from the Northern hemisphere. Luckily, I was working on my PhD at the European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC) at the time, where the Center for Astrobiology (one of the institutes in the ESAC complex) had a 9.25” Celestron telescope and kindly let me play with it.

PANSTARRS, 2 minutes exposure

Animation of PANSTARRS moving through the sky. If you don´t see it moving, click on the image!


After the PANSTARRS experience, I started using the telescope to try capture other objects in the sky. Here are some of the pictures I took (click on the images to enlarge them).

M5 globular cluster

M13, Hercules globular cluster

M17, Omega Nebula

M27, Dumbbell Nebula

Orion Nebula

Moon terminator


However, my best astrophotography attempt so far happended during a remote observing run with the Discovery Channel Telescope, in Arizona. This is a 4.3 meter telescope that is typically used for science observations, but at the very end of the night the clouds came in and covered our target. While waiting, I decided to target some beautiful objects in the night sky. The colors in the images are the result of combining observations at different wavelengths.


Horsehead Nebula


 M81


Flame Nebula

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