Capturing photons
September 20, 2012 12:05 PM   Subscribe

posted by mule98J at 12:38 PM on September 20, 2012

Dropping in a short few minute BBC video that includes an explanation of some of these pictures.
posted by Wolfster at 12:41 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Suddenly I want to learn deep space photography...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:00 PM on September 20, 2012

Thanks, that's lovely. I really like that M51 shot.

I've done a bit of really basic astrophotography with my 2.1 (!) megapixel camera, but I've never gotten much more than the brightest stars in a constellation. This kind of thing reminds that, at some point, I should get a barn door mount.
posted by jiawen at 1:35 PM on September 20, 2012

These are absolutely cracking photos. I say that as a professional spoilt by the luxuries of truly large telescopes, and as an 'amateur' who gets his own telescope out and struggles to come close to the perfection these people achieve. I can't even come close despite having the professional knowledge that let me hit this game properly running.

That said, part of the reason for this competition is to encourage more people to try it - and it really is easy to get great results*. If you can invest a little in it (more time than money perhaps) it's well worth trying, as the junior and newcomer results show. If you can, WinnipegDragon (and others) definitely give it a go. I was also just emailing my Dad who was asking how they got such good results, and what equipment they needed. I had to say the equipment would be at the good end of consumer telescopes for a large part, but really it's patience, practice and sheer talent that lets them knock them out of the park like that. Especially clear in the Earth and Space and People and Space categories I think, which are obviously less reliant on having a telescope.

General advice if you'd want to start is to see if you can find a local astronomy society. They'll help get you going with some starter advice.

*it's just a little hard to get quite so close to that absolute perfection!
posted by edd at 1:47 PM on September 20, 2012

Ceci *est* une pipe
posted by homunculus at 4:15 PM on September 20, 2012

it's not too hard to get started in this... if you have reasonably dark skies and a wide angle camera lens, you can take 20-30 second exposures quite easily without a barn door tracker or equatorial mount. use high iso, like 800 or 1600.

there's software called "deep sky stacker" that lets you stack these to reduce the shot noise.
posted by joeblough at 6:26 PM on September 20, 2012

oh, here's a nice video from the bay area local PBS station:

rba is one of the top amateur astrophotographers, as you might be able to tell :)
posted by joeblough at 6:42 PM on September 20, 2012

whoops, forgot this was mefi

posted by joeblough at 6:43 PM on September 20, 2012

*stares up at the sky in awe*
posted by BlueHorse at 6:53 PM on September 20, 2012

Well, there are always going to be farther and farther objects being discovered, until although there will eventually be a final limit when we get up to objects that are more then 13.whatever billion light years away when any objects out there would be as old as the earliest stars in the universe

UDFy-38135539 was the farthest for a while, but replaced a little later by this one the first was 13.1 billion years old and the older one was 150 million years older.
posted by delmoi at 7:37 PM on September 20, 2012

I love astronomy photos. They make me feel so small.
posted by The Girl Who Ate Boston at 8:44 PM on September 20, 2012

They make me feel so small.

Indeed. Nothing says "I feel like an insignificant blob of matter on a teeny planet at the edge of a giant universe" like this type of photography. Helps put my petty troubles into perspective.
posted by ambrosia at 1:54 PM on September 24, 2012

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