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(Telegraph)   The best images from the 2009 Astronomy Photographer Of The Year winner. My god, they're full of stars   (telegraph.co.uk) divider line 42
    More: Cool, Hubble Space Telescope, Martin Pugh, amateurs, astronomers, images, gods  
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7695 clicks; posted to Geek » on 18 Sep 2009 at 12:14 PM (4 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2009-09-18 11:22:03 AM
It's a streetlight.
 
2009-09-18 11:31:24 AM
What?? No photos of the Snuffleupagus Nebula?

i161.photobucket.com
 
zez
2009-09-18 12:24:25 PM
How "amateur" are you really if you have a telescope like that?
 
2009-09-18 12:28:30 PM
zez: How "amateur" are you really if you have a telescope like that?

Very. Astronomy like photography is a very expensive hobby where amateurs can have over $30k in equipment and still be amateurs.

I love this stuff.

To think that you are looking at stars, only to realize you are looking at billion of stars. And when you zoom up to a galaxy like Andromeda, you get the immaculate details of the galaxy, only to realize there is billion more tiny galaxies behind it you can look at.
 
2009-09-18 12:31:29 PM
i.telegraph.co.uk

Looks like the head of a fire-breathing dragon to me. Cool photos subby. +1 for the find.
 
2009-09-18 12:33:01 PM
zez: How "amateur" are you really if you have a telescope like that?

I work in the amateur telescope biz and am getting a kick etc.

Some of the people who buy this stuff have 10k plus in it, and can take great images, but they are redneck yokels who believe that what they are imaging is 6k years old, and don't really understand what they are looking at.

So yeah, they are amateur
 
2009-09-18 12:37:52 PM
Golden Ace: Looks like the head of a fire-breathing dragon to me. Cool photos subby. +1 for the find.

The top part looks like a fish going after a worm
 
2009-09-18 12:38:12 PM
Nice photos, but are there too many things in the sky to give nice names to? It's seems like most cool-looking things in the sky are NGC(insert number here) or M(insert number here). We need cute names for these things!
 
2009-09-18 12:42:13 PM
i.telegraph.co.uk

That's an amazing pic of M78. His pic of NGC 1365 is pretty sweet, too.

zez: How "amateur" are you really if you have a telescope like that?


It's not really the telescope, in many cases. (I didn't read all the picture captions, but even £20,000 probably isn't much for equipment, and the scope was probably the least-expensive part of that, unless he's using a high-end Astro-Physics or Takahashi-style refractor.) A lot of these guys are using pretty low-budget scopes.

It's the cameras and the processing that are usually the key elements.
 
2009-09-18 12:42:33 PM
I have two questions:

1) If I buy a good enough telescope I can really see these things? I always just assumed that they were composites of various spectrums done by computers
2) How powerful of a telescope do you need to see this stuff?
 
2009-09-18 12:48:44 PM
El Chode: I have two questions:

1) If I buy a good enough telescope I can really see these things? I always just assumed that they were composites of various spectrums done by computers
2) How powerful of a telescope do you need to see this stuff?


You can find a lot of these objects in 10 x 50 binoculars under good sky conditions. Unless you can swap you eyes for CCD cameras, though, you won't see the details and the colors no matter how big a scope you have.

What an object looks like in a telescope, and in a picture, are usually very different. But nothing can replace the view in an eyepiece. A globular cluster, or the Swan Nebula, or the Whirlpool Galaxy, is a great sight in a telescope, provided you don't expect a photograph. Knowing what it is that you're seeing--thirty-million-year-old light from a galaxy, in some cases--adds to the awe. An 8-inch telescope can keep you busy for a lifetime (even if you don't have hot neighbors).
 
2009-09-18 12:52:08 PM
"The Running Chicken Nebula"

i.telegraph.co.uk

"The North America Nebula"

i.telegraph.co.uk

Named by people who've never seen a chicken or a North America, I guess.
 
2009-09-18 12:52:32 PM
Uncontrollable Hideous Drooling.


i.telegraph.co.uk
 
2009-09-18 01:00:10 PM
GypsyJoker: El Chode: I have two questions:

1) If I buy a good enough telescope I can really see these things? I always just assumed that they were composites of various spectrums done by computers
2) How powerful of a telescope do you need to see this stuff?

You can find a lot of these objects in 10 x 50 binoculars under good sky conditions. Unless you can swap you eyes for CCD cameras, though, you won't see the details and the colors no matter how big a scope you have.

What an object looks like in a telescope, and in a picture, are usually very different. But nothing can replace the view in an eyepiece. A globular cluster, or the Swan Nebula, or the Whirlpool Galaxy, is a great sight in a telescope, provided you don't expect a photograph. Knowing what it is that you're seeing--thirty-million-year-old light from a galaxy, in some cases--adds to the awe. An 8-inch telescope can keep you busy for a lifetime (even if you don't have hot neighbors).


Well, for one, I live in North New Jersey, so I'm not seeing much besides brown haze with binoculars

But down the shore last summer I used a telescope with probably an 8" opening to check out an extremely bright object in the sky that turned out to be Jupiter, and to me it was the difference between seeing the Mona Lisa in a text book and seeing it in person, even if it is behind glass. It was enough to resolve the spot, though it didn't look nearly as red as I expected.

Still, I've always wondered if what I'm looking at in books and online is actually "seeable" or just a composite of colors assigned to Hydrogen, Sulfer, etc.

I'd cream myself if I ever had a 'scope good enough to see a globular cluster.
 
2009-09-18 01:01:50 PM
El Chode: I have two questions:

1) If I buy a good enough telescope I can really see these things? I always just assumed that they were composites of various spectrums done by computers
2) How powerful of a telescope do you need to see this stuff?


"Power" (magnification) isn't the prime denominator, light gathering (aperture) is much more important.
 
2009-09-18 02:25:38 PM
OK I count of Fark experts for many things... here's one.

If I wanted to print 36" x 48" prints of these things *assuming i bought a large format printer* what they of resolution would a shot like this need to have to look decent at a size like that? What kind of software allows you to handle supersize shots like that? I assume if you had the .TIFF files like you can get at the NASA site you might be able to strech them that large...

Seriously, I would simple LOVE to do my basement walls in shots like these. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 
2009-09-18 02:27:43 PM
El Chode:
Well, for one, I live in North New Jersey, so I'm not seeing much besides brown haze with binoculars

But down the shore last summer I used a telescope with probably an 8" opening to check out an extremely bright object in the sky that turned out to be Jupiter, and to me it was the difference between seeing the Mona Lisa in a text book and seeing it in person, even if it is behind glass. It was enough to resolve the spot, though it didn't look nearly as red as I expected.

Still, I've always wondered if what I'm looking at in books and online is actually "seeable" or just a composite of colors assigned to Hydrogen, Sulfer, etc.

I'd cream myself if I ever had a 'scope good enough to see a globular cluster.

I have an 8 inch Dobbie as my primary telescope. The first time I showed my relatives Jupiter they had a similar reaction to you. A big 'Wow'. There are differences between some of the pictures and what you really see I've found, but it's still amazing.

The size of scope I have is pretty good for seeing things, although Light Pollution is murder :( I can see the Andromeda Galaxy, but it's pretty much just a blurry blob. Despite the light pollution though, I can see plenty of goblular clusters, some pretty clearly.

/8 inch Dobsonians can run about $300. I got one with a computer on it to help find things in light pollution, so it ran about $600.
// BTW, imho, Saturn is MUCH more impressive then Jupiter :)
 
2009-09-18 02:33:19 PM
OrangeDuster: "The Running Chicken Nebula"



"The North America Nebula"



Named by people who've never seen a chicken or a North America, I guess.


I'm not sure about the running chicken, but the north america nebula really does look like north america in a decently sized scope. The pictures bring out a lot of extra details in the dark dust lanes, and that's why it doesn't look particularly like the continent you're used to.

Here's my best effort so far, but keep in mind that this was taken with research grade equipment (we were bored and the rest of our observing was done for the night). This probably took us an hour to image and a few days to compose correctly. I'm always amazed at the guys who take multiple days to image things, it seems impossibly difficult.
farm4.static.flickr.com

That's M27, the Dumbbell nebula.
 
2009-09-18 02:33:54 PM
Fizpez:

At 300 dpi, you'd need a 10000 x 15000 pixel image. You might be able to get away with a lower dpi, though.
 
2009-09-18 02:48:14 PM
Kittypie070: Uncontrollable Hideous Drooling.

THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!!!
 
2009-09-18 02:52:35 PM
plamadude30k:
Here's my best effort so far, but keep in mind that this was taken with research grade equipment (we were bored and the rest of our observing was done for the night). This probably took us an hour to image and a few days to compose correctly. I'm always amazed at the guys who take multiple days to image things, it seems impossibly difficult.


That's M27, the Dumbbell nebula.


That's a really nice shot. And I've seen a lot of pics of the Dumbbell.
 
2009-09-18 03:04:37 PM
Mr_H:
I have an 8 inch Dobbie as my primary telescope. The first time I showed my relatives Jupiter they had a similar reaction to you. A big 'Wow'. There are differences between some of the pictures and what you really see I've found, but it's still amazing.

The size of scope I have is pretty good for seeing things, although Light Pollution is murder :( I can see the Andromeda Galaxy, but it's pretty much just a blurry blob. Despite the light pollution though, I can see plenty of goblular clusters, some pretty clearly.

/8 inch Dobsonians can run about $300. I got one with a computer on it to help find things in light pollution, so it ran about $600.
// BTW, imho, Saturn is MUCH more impressive then Jupiter :)


The thing about M31 is that the core pretty much looks the same, regardless of your optics. It's tracing out the arms (and finding star clusters and dust lanes in them) and the companion galaxies that are really helped by extra aperture. (I've seen a couple of M31's globular clusters in larger optics.) The core pretty much looks like a standard elliptical galaxy in and of itself. Obviously, you get a little more detail in a larger scope.

My best views of the Andromeda Galaxy have usually come in smaller optics, where you can appreciate how huge the thing really is: 11 x 80 binocs work well, and a 70mm refractor with a Nagler eyepiece does a great job. Tracing the extent of the galaxy is always the best part of observing it. Dark skies are always a must, though.

For globulars in an 8" scope, don't miss the "Double Globular" right off the tip of Sagittarius' Teapot-- two small NGC globs in the same medium-power field. I used to pick them up from the Cincinnati suburbs, so you can probably get them from anywhere but a large city. They'll be faint, but it's cool to see two of them so close together.
 
2009-09-18 03:19:21 PM
GypsyJoker: :)

The thing about M31 is that the core pretty much looks the same, regardless of your optics. It's tracing out the arms (and finding star clusters and dust lanes in them) and the companion galaxies that are really helped by extra aperture. (I've seen a couple of M31's globular clusters in larger optics.) The core pretty much looks like a standard elliptical galaxy in and of itself. Obviously, you get a little more detail in a larger scope.

My best views of the Andromeda Galaxy have usually come in smaller optics, where you can appreciate how huge the thing really is: 11 x 80 binocs work well, and a 70mm refractor with a Nagler eyepiece does a great job. Tracing the extent of the galaxy is always the best part of observing it. Dark skies are always a must, though.

For globulars in an 8" scope, don't miss the "Double Globular" right off the tip of Sagittarius' Teapot-- two small NGC globs in the same medium-power field. I used to pick them up from the Cincinnati suburbs, so you can probably get them from anywhere but a large city. They'll be faint, but it's cool to see two of them so close together.


Hmm....I'd never thought about getting out my smaller telescope for to look for M31 for some reason (4.5 inch scope). I'll have to break them both out this weekend and see if I can't see more.

You wouldnt happen to know the numbers of that Double Glob would you? I can't seem to locate it on my searches.
 
2009-09-18 03:39:07 PM
We want hi-res version.

Now.
 
2009-09-18 03:44:40 PM
Mr_H:
Hmm....I'd never thought about getting out my smaller telescope for to look for M31 for some reason (4.5 inch scope). I'll have to break them both out this weekend and see if I can't see more.

You wouldnt happen to know the numbers of that Double Glob would you? I can't seem to locate it on my searches.


*digs out Uranometria*

It's NGC 6522 and NGC 6528. 6522 is quite a bit larger.

They're not quite 1/2˚ north of Gamma Sagittarii.
 
2009-09-18 03:52:00 PM
El Chode: ...

Well, for one, I live in North New Jersey, so I'm not seeing much besides brown haze with binoculars

But down the shore last summer I used a telescope with probably an 8" opening to check out an extremely bright object in the sky that turned out to be Jupiter, and to me it was the difference between seeing the Mona Lisa in a text book and seeing it in person, even if it is behind glass. It was enough to resolve the spot, though it didn't look nearly as red as I expected.

Still, I've always wondered if what I'm looking at in books and online is actually "seeable" or just a composite of colors assigned to Hydrogen, Sulfer, etc.

I'd cream myself if I ever had a 'scope good enough to see a globular cluster.


To get a decent idea of what things will look like through a smaller telescope, and just to find things around the sky, I can't get enough of Turn Left at Orion (new window). It gives good, clear directions for how to find things in the sky, what it looks like in a finderscope and through the telescope itself. Most of the items in it are visible from Northern NJ from a back yard near the George Washington bridge, where one of the authors lives/lived. Truly an incredible book.

/Saw cloud lines in Jupiter a couple weeks ago for the first time; fell out of my chair.
//It's not what you see that makes your jaw drop, it's what you're looking at.
 
2009-09-18 04:04:22 PM
GypsyJoker:
*digs out Uranometria*

It's NGC 6522 and NGC 6528. 6522 is quite a bit larger.

They're not quite 1/2˚ north of Gamma Sagittarii.


Thanks, looks a lil low in the horizon for me, but I'll keep my eye out.
 
2009-09-18 04:23:16 PM
El Chode: Still, I've always wondered if what I'm looking at in books and online is actually "seeable" or just a composite of colors assigned to Hydrogen, Sulfer, etc.

Usually what you see in textbooks/online is somewhat artificial. Thats not to say that things cant look good with your eye through a telescope, but usually a heck of a lot of image processing goes on before you get the really sexy pictures.

The basic thing is that astronomy cameras (CCDs) dont take color pictures. You take black and white pictures through a filter (for example, a red, green or blue filter, or a filter that only lets in light from specific electron transitions) and later assign them a color. You can do things "honestly" by using a red, green and blue filter and then assigning the images the appropriate color and combining them, but usually you mess with the ratios and whatnot to make things look pretty.

Even NASA will really mess around with things to highlight the contrast in colors and make things look prettier. Jupiter, for example, doesnt have nearly the color contrast between bands in with your naked eye (even if you were in orbit around it) that most pictures would seem to indicate.

Especially nowadays, a lot of textbooks have pictures from non optical telescopes. Obviously everything there is artificial since the human eye cant even see those colors. Thats where you will see things like assigning a specific silicon X-Ray transition as "red" or whatever.
 
2009-09-18 04:31:06 PM
Mr_H: GypsyJoker:
*digs out Uranometria*

It's NGC 6522 and NGC 6528. 6522 is quite a bit larger.

They're not quite 1/2˚ north of Gamma Sagittarii.

Thanks, looks a lil low in the horizon for me, but I'll keep my eye out.


Yeah, it might be pretty low this time of year. I haven't been observing since last month; I observed them then, but a month does make a lot of difference.

For another smaller but underrated glob, try NGC 6229 in Hercules. (While you're looking for M13 and M92, that is.)
 
2009-09-18 05:42:01 PM
OrangeDuster: "The Running Chicken Nebula"



"The North America Nebula"



Named by people who've never seen a chicken or a North America, I guess.


can't speak for the chicken one, but can you see NA now?
www.phys.ncku.edu.tw
 
2009-09-18 07:23:20 PM
Does anyone else see a skull in image 14?
 
2009-09-18 07:29:23 PM
logan1x: Does anyone else see a skull in image 14?

Don't really see one there, but I do here:

www.gemini.edu

/Skull Nebula (NGC 246)
 
2009-09-18 09:17:58 PM
ElCommunisto: It's not what you see that makes your jaw drop, it's what you're looking at.

I may steal that quote, if you don't mind.
 
2009-09-18 10:02:06 PM
Ironclad2: ElCommunisto: It's not what you see that makes your jaw drop, it's what you're looking at.

I may steal that quote, if you don't mind.


Seconded.
 
2009-09-18 11:09:33 PM
dwyw: can't speak for the chicken one, but can you see NA now?

Yes, that's slightly more clearer. I can see the resemblance in that one, not so much the original.
 
2009-09-19 12:13:53 AM
i486.photobucket.com
Hey, cool! Sarah Jessica Parker's an astronaut. I didn't know that.
 
2009-09-19 12:18:35 AM
Thanks for the info everyone. Someday when I'm out of student debt I'm going to built my own telescope and then put it on a rocket that I'll take to some faraway place,a nd then I'll post them here to fark
 
2009-09-19 02:02:42 AM
GypsyJoker: Ironclad2: ElCommunisto: It's not what you see that makes your jaw drop, it's what you're looking at.

I may steal that quote, if you don't mind.

Seconded.


Go right ahead. :)

El Chode: Thanks for the info everyone. Someday when I'm out of student debt I'm going to built my own telescope and then put it on a rocket that I'll take to some faraway place,a nd then I'll post them here to fark

Check craigslist. You can probably find someone selling one on the cheap, and it'll give you a better measuring stick to find out if you're really interested in dropping the big bucks on a larger scope. Not sure about rockets though, might have to troll through the classifieds for that.
 
2009-09-19 10:24:51 AM
zez: How "amateur" are you really if you have a telescope like that?

If you're not getting paid to do it, then you're an amateur by definition. It doesn't mean you suck, just that you're not a "professional".
 
2009-09-19 11:53:48 AM
El Chode: Thanks for the info everyone. Someday when I'm out of student debt I'm going to built my own telescope and then put it on a rocket that I'll take to some faraway place,a nd then I'll post them here to fark

My advice, FWIW: find a nearby star party or astronomy club. Hang out with them for a while. They'll let you look through their scopes, and you'll not only get a chance to see what's on the market, you might be able to get a good deal on a used scope from someone looking to upgrade his own gear. Plus, you'll get to see some really cool stuff through their equipment!

/astronomy club president
 
2009-09-19 12:07:20 PM
Grand Poohbah: Obligatory.

And classic... first thing I thought of.

//golf clap.
 
2009-09-21 03:43:27 AM
El Chode: I have two questions:

1) If I buy a good enough telescope I can really see these things? I always just assumed that they were composites of various spectrums done by computers
2) How powerful of a telescope do you need to see this stuff?


Quite simply, no , what you see "live" thru the scope will never look anything like what you see in pictures. Even in very large aperature scopes with high quality optics, most nebulas etc. look sort of like frozen whisps of smoke. The limiting factors is the human eye itself. Great images of deep-sky objects require long exposures and filters and some post-processing to really capture all of the details.

However, there are plenty of things that DO look awesome when looking through the scope. You can get a decent 6" reflector with a nice equatorial mount for not too much money these days. Add a decent collection of high quality eyepieces to that and you'll be able to observe just about anything thats worth actually seeing with your own eye up to the scope.
 
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