Galaxy images by Russell Croman. NGC 2903 on the left, NGC 891 on the right. Click for bigger versions.
Hello there 2010. Sorry for the absence of posts : I went into a sort of Christmas wasteland, followed seamlessly by a teaching panic. Strangely, even when there was nothing to read, the blog was being checked out 2-300 times a day. Aint you people got stuff to do ? (The Dec 16 peak was 2794. By the way have no idea what these numbers really mean.)
So later today I will be delighting a hundred and fifty fresh young things with Lecture One in Discovering Astronomy 1G. Before it all gets a bit serious, I shall be going for shameless entertainment, running Andy’s Whirlwind Tour of the Entire Universe. Its a few years since I have done this gig, so I have been roaming the Internut updating my picture collection. The three core websites for pretty pix are I guess Hubblesite , and the public Chandra and ESO sites. However, the most striking and interesting thing I came across is the existence of some amazingly impressive amateur astrophotography sites.
A few weeks back I wrote a post plugging Damian Peach and his amazingly sharp pictures using “lucky” imaging. This only works for very bright objects like planets. But amateurs are taking amazing deep sky pictures too. Some of them have 20inch telescopes as well as good CCD cameras; there are well designed filters, and excellent software. Some of them are lucky enough to live in Arizona, which helps. Finally of course their key weapons are patience and dedication; making excellent images is what they are all about. Of course some of them are professional photographers at the same time as being amateur astronomers.
Above are two galaxy pictures from Russell Croman, and below is a short list of some of my favourite web sites. Do respect the copyrights (I make sure they are properly credited in my lectures.) I note that they nearly all seem to be Americans or Brits. Surely our Euro cousins must be doing this stuff too ?
Russell Croman, in Texas
Jonathan Fay at Bear Creek Observatory
Damian Peach, Buckinghamshire
Phillip Perkins, Wiltshire
David Nash, Cambridgeshire
Bob and Janice Fera, California
George Creaney, Las Vegas
Nick Szymanek, well known tube driver
Akiro Fujii via David Malin
There’s Anthony Ayiomamitis in Greece:
who has a penchant for time-lapse photography of the solar analemma with ancient Greek ruins in the foreground:
Some of the American amateurs whose work often appears in Astronomy Picture of the Day include:
Robert Gendler : http://www.robgendlerastropics.com/
Noel Carboni : http://ncarboni.home.att.net/Astrophotography.html
I love those analemmas ! Grooooooovy.
Last month I put a bit of effort into nominating the best Swedish astronomy pictures of 2009 and discovered that the amateurs had wiped the floor with the professionals. Despite all that access to ESO and all (and those nice pictures my actual research group could have published if we didn’t think graphs and text were more fun).