Amateur Photographer Shoots Largest Ever True Color Photo of the Night Sky

What you see above is the largest true-color photograph of the night sky ever created, shot by 28-year-old amateur astrophotographer Nick Risinger using six astronomical cameras. It’s not just the view of the sky from one location, but is instead a 360-panoramic view of the sky taken by trekking 60,000 miles across the western United States and South Africa starting in March 2010. The final image is composed of 37,000 separate photographs. Check out the massive zoomable high-definition version of the photo here.

Photopic Sky Survey (via Wired)

Thanks for the tip Udi!

  • RyanMc


  • [email protected]

    Absolutely incredible!

  • Will

    Absolutely incredible!

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  • Anonymous


  • Lmanu

    Amazing, so glad I found this.

  • Anonymous

    Magnificent. Going to see if my daughter can print this for me. It is awe inspiring.

  • Esmpage06

    cor. ab.fab.

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  • Jackandjill

    Doesn’t seem like “amateur” work to me : p

  • Dan

    This photo is truly mind-boggling. Knowing that there are billions and billions of stars is one thing, but zooming in more and more to see just the ones visible in this photo really brings it home.

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  • Bwlebla

    60000miles? Earths circumference is only 24000miles. That’s allot of traveling.

  • Twitter Admin Pro

    Wow, that’s incredible!

  • Rob

    If you didn’t click the link and look around in the 360 degree view, you’re missing out. ┬áStunning work.

  • Chandni

    astounding! Does anyone else see a face in the center of the photo in pink ?

  • Ramesh Prabhu

    Holy wow! 37000 separate images put together as one? I can’t quite come up with an apt term to describe this. So I’ll just go with… awesomelyfrigginbrilliant!

  • Nenita Aranas

    Wow!!!! most beautiful view I have ever seen in my whole life is the view of the star in the dark night and clear sky <3 beautiful amazing view! <3

  • yup

    Quite wonderful, but considering the expense, time and the six astronomical cameras that are used…I wouldn’t consider him an amateur. An amateur would have used his cell phone.

  • Jason Rosenbaum

    My God… it’s full of stars.

  • chin

    Yeah, considering the carbon footprint for 1 photo..

  • Tiffany Perkins

    OMG!! So amazing!!! I’m kind of wigging out over this.

  • Ernie

    It’s not. Nevermind the fact that he’s being paid for the work (if he did, indeed even do it himself, which I find highly doubtful), but the fact that achieving this level of awesomeness in astrophotography takes much more than just an FLI Microline camera and a little bit of skill.

    You can easily get this data from a number of professional observatories who have done all-sky surveys (including some done from space), and believe me, they *all* have cameras that are bigger than 16 megapixels. So even if this person did do all the photography themselves, he doesn’t have the “Largest ever true color photo of the night sky” title. Not even close.

  • Jon Peckham


  • Shawn Slattery

    Wow, just like a pro!

  • Ambrish Kochikar

    unreal! bravo for being the first human to accomplish this. what a treasure!

  • Ron Harris


  • Fellow Photog

    Or how bout you support his work by purchasing a copy rather than “stealing” one?

  • Annette Kennealy

    This is OUTRAGEOUSLY FANTASTICAL !!!!!! The most wonderful image I have EVER seen …

  • Philo Janus

    Uh, they may have higher-resolution cameras, but have they taken 37,000 photos from across the world and stitched them together? I know there’s overlap, but we’re talking about half a petapixel…

  • Philo Janus

    If he took six months, then he actually traveled 186,000,000 miles… [grin]

  • ErnestPayne

    Good idea. I will ask my daughter to see if she can figure out how to do it. Thanks.

  • bruceb64


  • seansebastian

    I’d like to know how people find the time or the money to do something like this.

  • Bang Stick

    1. Gov’t or private grants of some kind.

    2. Born with a silver spoon

  • Max Hodges

    My God, it’s full of stars!

  • Ernie

    Well, mostly it’s automated, to be honest. With the right equipment (admittedly, not cheap, but instead of millions of dollars, it’s tens of thousands), you’d basically have to pick two different sites, in the northern and southern hemispheres, where you can reasonably expect to get clear night skies for about 100 days out of the year, at each site. Then transport your equipment to those sites (each one would have to be permanent enough that you can leave it in place for months at a time), and start the process on every clear night you can get. You can even sleep through most of it. Sorting the photos would probably take the most time, but looking at the detail put into it, it looks like mostly he just threw out any pictures with clouds, and scheduled them to be re-taken on another night.

    Interestingly enough, you can technically do this through the internet. There are several places around the world that sell telescope time to amateurs. Usually on higher-end amateur-level equipment, but automated in much the same way.

  • Nerdherder

    Obigatory photo shop post is. Ignored by the majority f poster as a was fortld

  • Kora Kaos

    Can I get a rotating version of this for a screensaver somehow?

  • Mike

    My mind is now blown. wow!

  • Teefer Tiger

    Whose is the red face coming out at the top centre? ;-)

  • Jess Ishnala

    Yeah, as if someone can claim to own the night sky…

  • Eluwien

    As if you’re buying the night sky, and not the value adding effort of photographer trekking through US taking 37k photos and stitching them together.

  • Geijo


  • Jon Gibson

    LOL…. you better have a LOT of blank ink. and a large format printer… and about a mile of paper.

  • Ricardo Kutz

    It’s oh no, NO NO… IT’S. THE.. IT’S SATAN HIMSELF !!!! arrrrghh… run away ! run away !

  • verse402

    Ummm… What makes this photog an “Amateur”? If they are an amateur I must just be a 2 year old playing with my Moms camera phone. That is amazing work and dedication from a so-called amateur.

  • GodIsNotGreat

    Can anyone spot the Andromeda Galaxy heading strait for us?

  • Laurensius Then

    Space photo always captures our imagination. It is trully mankind’s final frontier.