Very Long Exposure Photography

Since diving into astrophotography last year, I’ve discovered that I love the concept of time-lapse, and not just with respect to astronomy.  It’s amazing to see the changes that can occur over long periods of time, and time-lapse photography is a way to record the changes and see how they unfold.  In astronomy the best time-lapses give you a sense of the Earth’s motion through space, show satellites zipping overhead, and show aurora dance along with weather patterns. Large amounts of time with slow incremental changes produce incredible results when it comes to time lapses. Science communication is about how to...

Fake Saturn

I love false-colour images.  They reveal detail that you can’t see in real life, but they also highlight things in an artistic way.  For me it’s an excellent marriage of art and science, and as a communicator it helps me get concepts across in an accessible way.  So when I saw the APOD image of Saturn from earlier this week, I had to discuss it. Saturn never has looked this way, and it never will.  The colours are vivid and unrealistic, but they show the differences in three distinct but close wavelengths of light on the electromagnetic spectrum.  All of...

Flight of the Ionic Phoenix

I’ve spent the last couple of days as a zombie due to the time change, but now that I feel like myself, I’ve got some catch-up posts to do.  The first one has to do with today’s APOD. Can you spot the phoenix shape? It doesn’t mean anything special, it’s just the way our brains see the patterns of light from this gorgeous aurora in Iceland.  Ionization of atmospheric gases from charged solar particles doesn’t sound as glamorous as ‘phoenix aurora,’ but I still appreciate the scientific beauty of it.  Human beings are excellent at pattern recognition, and so we...

The Expanse of Time – Galaxies, Evolution, Lifetimes

Have you ever seen those amazing composite images that people will post, showing the same picture every day or every year for a long period of time.  We see how children age, how people transform their bodies, and how their day to day experiences, though seemingly small, add up to incredible changes as the years go by.  I personally love time-lapse photography, representing a long period of time in a shorter instance.  For me the beauty is showing those changes that are subtle in human experience and communicating them in a way that shows how significant they are when we...

A Hunter and Lions

I love living in Canada.  We have skies that can be free of light pollution with only a short trip outside the cities, and vast areas of land where you can really get away and enjoy the majesty of the cosmos.  I occasionally peruse the Canadian made Skynews magazine, and one of my favourite parts is the section where they showcase the work of Canadian astrophotographers.  It gives me hope as an amateur astrophotographer myself to eventually get to that level.  One of the local Astronomy clubs I visited recently is the North York Astronomical Association, a group of amateur astronomers...

‘Tis the Season..For the Orion Nebula

It’s that wonderful time of year again, when Halloween passes, and Christmas commercials dictate the airwaves.  I’m still in the tolerant stages of hearing bells ringing in commercials, where they remind me that the northern hemisphere is once again treated to a familiar sight.  The return of the Orion nebula! In reality, it didn’t go anywhere.  Earth’s predictable motion around the Sun means that Northern Hemisphere observers see the sky gradually appear to move a bit further West each night.  This is the time of year when Orion rises around 9pm, making it easily visible by midnight.  I consider midnight...

Thanksgiving Astrophotography

In the midst of cooked turkey and a plethora of sides, I have been reaping the benefits of clear skies and doing my best to learn the skills of astrophotography.  I spent a good 6 hours from sunset to just past midnight this past Sunday to see what kinds of shots I could get, and document the latest photos and tricks I’ve learned. I’ll start with my latest time lapse video, since that is what I took first.  I started as the sun was about to set, and kept the exposure time very low, along with the ISO.  I also...

Astrophotography – New Timelapses and Planet Shots!

I’m addicted.  I love astrophotography.  I find myself spending a lot of time working no the photos, being outside trying to get the perfect shot, learning how to use my camera and other equipment, and putting together a wish list of equipment that will let me do even more!  I went outside before sunrise yesterday and managed to snap an hour’s worth of images, adding to an hour from the night before, where I attempted some star trails over the city of Toronto.  All I’ve done so far today is play with the photos and learn to make them look...

Astrophotography in 2015

I made a big purchase this year, one that I have wanted to make for a long time.  I bought a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) – A Canon Rebel T3i.  The only reason I did this was for astrophotography.  I like photography in general – the idea of getting the perfect shot, cleaning up an image, enhancing details that were not there before. But after a trip to Europe where I felt I took too many photos, I decided that I didn’t want to experience my life through the lens of a camera, especially in an age where...

Stunning Astronomical Images & What They Teach Us

Today I found a few nice images that I wanted to talk about, and each one revealed something different about the object that was being imaged.  I thought it would be a good chance to show everyone how astronomy is really the study of patterns of light, speaking from a minimalist perspective.  We learn literally everything about the Universe beyond the solar system from the photons we see.  From photons we can deduce the mass, distance, density, composition, behaviour, formation, and evolution of the cosmos.  Pretty stellar! (pun intended)  Here are some recent images and what we learn from them....