Apart from trying to take pictures of things on Earth every once in a while, I have always been fascinated by the idea of pointing a camera to the sky and capturing photons that have travel unimaginable distances. However, I have always lived in cities and never had my own telescope, so I had to start playing with camera lenses first.
In March 2013, Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) came close to Earth (1 AU away), and became visible from the Northern Hemisphere later that month. The comet had a visual magnitude of about 3 by then, which meant it was visible with the naked eye in areas with low light pollution levels. Although I was living in Madrid at the time, the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC, where I did my Ph.D.) is located far away from the city, and we were lucky enough to find PANSTARRS in between the clouds. By chance, that day I found out that the Center for Astrobiology (one of the institutes in the European Space Astronomy Centre) had a 9.25” Celestron telescope, and they kindle let me play with it. After a couple of days, I managed to get a better look at PANSTARRS.
Although the camera was not great (I used my old reflex camera), the images were much better than I expected, and it was more than enough to get me started: I spent several nights during my Ph.D. at ESAC trying to capture other objects in the sky. Here are some of the pictures I took (click on the images to enlarge them).
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.