This photo is what you get when you point a massive 4.1 meter telescope (VISTA in Chile) at an unremarkable patch of night sky and capture six thousand separate exposures that provide an effective “shutter speed” of 55 hours. It’s an image that contains more than 200,000 individual galaxies, each containing countless stars and planets (to put the image into perspective, the famous Hubble Ultra-Deep Field contains “only” around 10,000 galaxies). And get this: this view only shows a tiny 0.004% of the entire sky!
NASA has released a gigantic catalog of the night sky that contains more than 563 million stars, galaxies, asteroids, planets, and objects. The images were captured by the infrared cameras of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, which has been collecting data for the past two years. After capturing more than 2.7 million images of the sky, NASA created an epic panorama showing the entire sky by stitching together 18,000 of those images. You can view the panorama in a zoomable browser here or download the 180MP/73.5MB photograph here.
Mapping the Infrared Universe: The Entire WISE Sky (via Quesabesde)
Reddit user tirceol‘s father is an amateur astronomer who captures some amazing photographs of space from his front yard by hooking up a camera to his telescope’s eyepiece. He uses everything from a webcam to a Meade camera to capture the images, which are sometimes composites created using multiple photos. The above image shows the Andromeda galaxy 2.5 million light years away.
Babak Tafreshi of The World at Night created this beautiful time-lapse video of star gazers looking into the heavens while the stars sweep across the night sky. Check out Tafreshi’s beautiful astrophotography here.
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.
For his project titled “Unrealistic Scenes“, photographer Nathan Spotts composited his own landscape photographs with digital artwork of planets floating in the starry night sky.
I’ve always been captivated by the beauty of our world, and often dream of the things that lay just beyond what we can see. I wanted to create images of scenes that are not-quite real, but that almost could be.
Here’s an amazing time-lapse video that was made using time-lapse photography shot over six months in the beautiful state of Oregon. This interview quote by Ben Canales gives a glimpse into how much dedication this kind of project requires:
The actual filming takes 2-4 hours to record a good night time-lapse of the stars moving, and then pack up, hike out, and drive home the next day. That is only the work done in the field! Then there are hours and hours of processing, editing, and polishing the final video sequence to get only six seconds of final video.
It is not an exaggeration to say one short, final clip may represent 20-30 hours of planning, driving, hiking, shooting, and processing — all that for mere seconds of video playback. It is a ridiculous labor of love.
Hundreds of hours of work for a four-minute video that has already been viewed over a hundred thousand times. Be sure to watch it full screen and in HD!
European Southern Observatory photo ambassador Yuri Beletsky shot a series of epic photos showing astronomers shooting powerful laser beams into the night sky. The photo above showing a laser beam pointed at the center of our galaxy was voted as last year’s Picture of the Year over at Wikipedia.
Photographer Yasuaki Segawa captured this incredible photograph of the Milky Way rising above the ocean, as seen from Taketomi Island, Japan. In addition to the uber-sharp stars, reflections of two bright stars can be seen in the waters. Segawa used a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24mm f/1.4 lens, and composited 5 separate photos to make this image (allowing him to expose the sky and the foreground separately). He also compensated for star rotation to sharpen the sky and prevent star trails. A higher-res version can be found here.
You’ve seen photos of star trails, and time-lapse videos of stars, but how about a combination of the two? Olivier Martel created this beautiful 18-second video using a technique we’ve never seen before: stacking star trail photos into a time-lapse video showing the trails forming.
After capturing roughly 500 photos (25s, f/3.5, ISO1600) from midnight to 5am in Quebec, Canada, he used a popular star trail stacking program called Starstax. In addition to stacking all the images into one, he had the program save the intermediate images at each step. He then turned those images into the stunning video seen above. The finished (and fully stacked) image can be seen here.