There’s some dazzle about the heavens. The vastness of space acts as the perfect canvas for space photography to happen.
Provided you have the right equipment, you can capture the essence of different celestial bodies, faraway galaxies, interesting phenomena like eclipses, and so much more.
Notably, it was always this easy. During the nascent years of astrophotography, taking shots of our universe was a sophisticated undertaking.
Early space explorers had to deal with a myriad of challenges like radiation just to capture the perfect shot of the cosmos. The process was so hard that it was nigh impossible for photographers to tell whether their shots would make the cover of National Geographic or simply find their way into a nearby trash bin. The key determinant? The negatives.
Interestingly, mankind’s first expedition to space was not captured in photographic memory. Yuri Gagarin achieved a milestone event that was never recorded by lenses. Having seemingly taken cues from the experience, astronauts made sure that the first moon landing was recorded live back to earth.
Today, space photography is a breeze. So enhanced is the tech available that we at AstroReality have been able to map the heavens onto 3D printed models. By making use of augmented reality, we are able to provide an engaging experience of what lies in the great beyond.
It would be remiss if we didn’t raise a toast to the pioneers of space photography who paved the way for us to thrive in contemporary times. Here’s our review of the movers and shakers in space photography.
This particular shot quickly made its way into history books as the very first picture depicting the fragility of Earth from space and its distinct uniqueness. It was able to spark debates and get the conversation going about mankind’s place in the universe and the need to conserve the environment.
Given the magnitude of the moment, the photo quickly became one of the most reproduced photographs in the world.
As is the case with every great achievement, this particular narrative has an interesting backstory. Three astronauts aboard the Apollo 8, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman came back from the very first voyage around the Moon with this picturesque image.
Given the media attention and the manner in which the photograph was received by the masses, a debate emerged on just who among the astronauts had captured the incredible photo. While NASA records show that it was Frank Borman who pressed the shutter button, Anders has always maintained it was he and not Borman who captured the magnificence of earth from way up.
Thankfully, they’re probably all just joshing around since Anders claim to the picture is backed up by the third astronaut, Jim Lovell.
It’s just one of those interesting stories that let you know all you need to know about mankind’s need to explore the heavens and leave an imprint in history books.
Having pointed that out, it’s also worth noting that the camera operators had to save weight and permit more rock samples to make their way back to planet Earth. For this to happen, it meant that only the detachable sections of cameras, containing the actual film content, could be retained. This means that the cameras and lenses which took the shot had to be left back gathering moon dust until the very next lunar expedition happened.
To really get a gist of how impressive the feat was, it’s worth documenting that Damian captured the pictures of Jupiter with an Earth-bound Celestron 14-inch telescope while in Barbados.
When compared to NASA’s 1970 pictures of Jupiter and its moons, there’s a clear winner. While the Pioneer spacecraft had picturesque takes of the biggest planet in our solar system, Damian Peach had the upper hand because he made use of tiny webcam-like cameras robust enough to capture thousands of photos all in a couple of minutes. Using imaging software, he was able to filter out the blurry images and remain with only the sharpest ones.
To achieve maximum resolution, Peach creatively captured the moons separately then added them to this composite image. Legendary.
Caption: Fabrizio Melandri had his crowning moment on May 10, 2013, when he was able to capture the magnificence of the eclipsed sun rising over desolate regions of Western Australia.
Alt Text: The ring of fire eclipse
The photo was made possible thanks to its distance away from the Earth. Unable to cover the entire solar disk, the end result was a horn-shaped sun. The feat is even all the more remarkable because he used a Nikon D7000 and 700mm telephoto lens to capture the brilliance of the “ring of fire” eclipse.
These filters played a crucial role in depicting just how magically grandiose space can seem. They were able to do so by blocking out light pollution emanating from the glow of the moon. Since only specific wavelengths were permitted to get to the camera sensor, plenty more detail was able to be seen.
This splendor of space photography was captured by Rober Franke, an Arizona photographer after he spent about 25 hours taking exposures with a 12.5-inch Ritchey-Chrétien telescope.
As part of the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant that exploded some 8,000 years ago, the Witch’s Broom continues to inspire space aficionados up to date.
Constitutionally, there are about 1,000 young stars that exist in the region. Having said that, it’s worth remembering that the “young” tag translates to about 100 million years of age. While this seems like eons ago, it’s relatively recent times when you compare it to the age of other stars.
Rogelio Bernal Andreo, a Californian who engages in space photography, was able to take numerous galaxy photos before settling on a single image. In sum total, he spent about 57 hours working on the exposure and made use of an SBIG STL-11000 camera and a 4-inch Takahashi FSQ-106 telescope.
Incidentally, the California Nebula has given the moniker thanks to the great similarity to the American State.
In 1995, Bill Snyder, an enthusiast of space photography based in Pennsylvania was able to recreate the magnificence of the Pillars of Creation which first came into the limelight thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope.
He successfully managed to recreate the shot in full detail using wide-angle photos after spending 20 hours of exposure right from his favorite spot in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. For the shot to come to life, he used two telescopes, a 17-inch PlaneWave, and a 5.1-inch TMB.
Space photography has come a long way. From early beginnings when having the cameras onboard a spacecraft was challenging enough, we can now shot surreal shots of the cosmos right from the earth.
Astronauts are also able to take majestic pictures of Earth while out in space without much of a hassle. All of this is thanks to the great advancement in technology.
At AstroReality, we share the same vision that the early pioneers had about shaping our perception of the universe. Our 3D printed and AR enhanced replicas like the Solar System Mini Set would offer plenty for you to ponder over whenever you’re looking for a dose of inspiration.