Photographing the stars

Uploaded by montanastateu on 21.10.2011

So how do you photograph the stars? The first thing that your gonna need
is you gotta figure out what thing your gonna take a photograph of.
And for me,
I love the Horsehead Nebula, one because it looks like a horse and two it's been my
favorite object since I was a kid.
So we have an object, the next thing that we have to do is we need a telescope.
Its gotta be in a dark sky in order to see the object that your looking at really well.
It's got to be on a mount and that mount has to track because the earth rotates.
The stars move,they appear to move to us so it's gotta track for that.
And so you have to have a really high end telescope because if you take an off
the shelf telescope, its not going to give you a really good view of what you're
looking at. We take you know, fifteen, twenty, thirty minute exposures. We take
sixty to ninety hour's worth of data. You know, give or take a few here and there.
I'm gonna spend twenty, thirty hours worth of data processing. And then blend
the photos together so it makes a really nice, crisp, clean image.
I might be controlling one telescope in New Mexico, while that night or that early
morning Im controlling a telescope in Australia to make one final product.
If it was easy, everyone would do it.
There's maybe a couple dozen people in the world that know how to do this kind
of thing to this degree. I'm able to work with people from around the world. I work
with Rob Gendler, he's pretty much the person that made digital astro
photography famous.
And so I am able to learn from him, pick up you know various techniques
along the way, implement that in what I do and put that out on the internet. You
know very rarely do I do an image on my own anymore, it's more of a
collaboration. I was working on the James Webb Space Telescope.
That's the telescope that is going to replace Hubble and its gonna a hundred times
more powerful,
than hubble was.
For me to be sponsored by Montana Spacegrant, that made a world of difference.
I mean they have been supportive all the way.
You know it's a really cool relationship that students, through the Spacegrant,
Here at MSU have.
And you know is just enabled me to persue my dreams.