I’m often asked how I am able to take high-quality images of the solar system using my iPhone. In short, the quality of today’s smartphone cameras makes it possible to take very respectable images of the Moon and planets through a telescope with your phone – but it takes some work.
“Earthquake astrophotography light painting.” How’s that for a novel photography technique? It sounds strange, it’s an apt description of how photographer Andrew Dare captured the squiggly photo above (on right). Dare was photographing the night sky with long exposures when an earthquake struck while his shutter was open.
Behold, a photograph of the moon. Can you see it? No, it’s not that tiny bright crescent you see… The moon is that faint giant crescent. That tiny one to its left is Venus. Hungarian astrophotographer Iván Éder captured this beautiful photograph back in 2004 from Budapest, Hungary.
Time-lapse photography has become more and more popular in recent months, and even though you can find cheap intervalometer solutions to take care of the basic triggering of your camera, there really isn’t anything outside of the DIY category that will allow you to add smooth motion to your time-lapse on the cheap. Fortunately, innovations happen every day, and a new intervalometer and motion control unit over on Kickstarter is just the innovation to solve this problem. Read more…
Canon has announced the new 60Da, a DSLR geared towards astrophotographers and the successor to the 20Da. So what’s different about this camera? A “modified infrared filter and a low-noise sensor with heightened hydrogen-alpha sensitivity” which allows it to capture photos of “‘red hydrogen emission’ nebulae and other cosmic phenomena”:
The improved infrared-blocking filter is a modification suited specifically toward astronomy enthusiasts to achieve a hydrogen-alpha light sensitivity that is approximately three times higher than that of a normal Canon DSLR camera. This produces a 20-percent higher transmittance of Hydrogen Alpha line, or H α wavelength, allowing astronomers to capture crisp, clear images of reddish, diffuse nebulae.
The basic specs remain unchanged from the original 60D: an 18MP APS-C sensor, 9-point AF, and a 3-inch articulated screen. Also included with the camera is a remote controller adapter and an AC adapter kit. Stargazers will be able to snag one later this month for $1,499.
Time-lapse photographer Randy Halverson (whose time-lapse of lightning storms we featured last year) is back again with another epic time-lapse film. This one is packed with shots of some of the most beautiful things you can point your camera at in the night sky: the Milky Way, auroras, and shooting stars. It’s composed of thousands of 15-30 second exposures captured with a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 60D at ISO 1600-6400, f/2.8, and 3 second intervals. Keep your eyes peeled at 53 seconds: you get to see a shooting star with a Persistent Train, which is the ionized gas left behind as the meteor burns up in our atmosphere!
Captured on April 1, 1995 by the Hubble Telescope, the photograph Pillars of Creation is one of the most famous space images ever made. Here’s a crazy fact though: did you know that the “pillars” seen in the photo were already long gone by the time the image was captured? Astronomers have concluded that the pillars — which measure up to 4 light years in length — were destroyed about 6,000 years ago by the shock wave from a supernova. Because of how long it takes light to travel across such vast distances, we can currently see the shock waves approaching the pillars but won’t actually see their destruction for another thousand years or so!
(via Wikipedia via Photographs on the Brain)
NASA photographer Lauren Harnett captured this photograph of the International Space Station passing in front of the moon. What’s amazing is that it didn’t require any fancy astronomy equipment — Harnett was shooting from a parking lot using a Nikon D3S, 600mm lens, 2x teleconverter, heavy duty tripod and sandbag, and a remote shutter release. She shot at 1/1600, f/8, and ISO 2500 in burst mode, and then combined the resulting photographs into this one image.
Space Station Crossing Face of Moon (Thanks Warren!)
Image credit: Photograph by Lauren Harnett/NASA
Astrophotographer Stéphane Guisard captured this time-lapse video showing Comet Lovejoy rising above the Andes mountains like a giant paintbrush stroke across the sky. Guisard shot four different sequences with four different lenses to zoom into the scene.
While most 14-year-old boys are hooked on things like video games, Laurent V. Joli-Coeur is busy using astronomy and photography for crazy science projects. A few months ago, he had the crazy idea of photographing a shadow caused by Jupiter’s light. He then spent 7 hours building an instrument to do so, and used a Nikon D700 and 60mm Macro lens lent to him by Nikon to capture the image:
I took three photographs to prove that Jupiter could indeed cast a shadow. The first one, a five minute exposure at ISO1600 with an in-camera dark subtraction, was taken to photograph a shadow: the results were conclusive. Indeed, after stretching the image in Pixinsight, the gnomon’s shadow was clearly visible on the projection screen (a gnomon is the object that creates the shadow on a sundial). However, this wasn’t enough to prove it was Jupiter’s. The second exposure was taken to prove that the light causing the shadow came from the sky, not from the instrument itself: I slightly moved the mount in right ascension, expecting the shadow to move sideways… And it did. The third and final exposure was taken in a region of the sky far away from Jupiter. As the last image showed no sign of the gnomon’s shadow, I concluded that the only possible explanation for the shadow in the first two images was Jupiter!
As far as Joli-Coeur knows, it’s the first photo of a shadow cast by Jupiter ever made. You can find a more detailed account of his experiment on his blog.
The Quest for Jupiter’s Shadow (via Bad Astronomy)