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by SantaFeJoe on Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:12 pm
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Fascinating image taken over around a year and a half and stitched together from around 4000 shots. Downloadable image link in text.

https://petapixel.com/2019/04/30/this-1060-hour-photo-of-a-galaxy-was-shot-by-amateur-astrophotographers/

Joe
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.  -Pablo Picasso
 

by richard bledsoe on Sun May 05, 2019 9:19 am
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
Fascinating image taken over around a year and a half and stitched together from around 4000 shots. Downloadable image link in text.

https://petapixel.com/2019/04/30/this-1060-hour-photo-of-a-galaxy-was-shot-by-amateur-astrophotographers/

Joe




Good on you for posting this. This photo is amazing!
 

by Brian Stirling on Wed May 15, 2019 9:25 pm
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As much as the technology for the major observatories has advanced in the last 30 some years the capabilities for amateurs has probably advanced even more.  Not that the telescope itself (OTA) has advanced all that much -- its the other areas that have changed dramatically.  Back in the 80;'s when I first got into it an amateur like myself with better than average kit with an 8 inch SCT OTA, and equatorial mount with wedge for polar alignment, and an electrically driven RA axis, but still shooting film of 400ASA or 1600ASA -- some pushing that (hyperizing) with forming gas, was never going to capture the kind of images that amateurs can now capture today.  Most of the changes are computer related.

Today we have GoTo mounts that make getting a decent polar alignment easier and finding objects much easier.  The newer mounts are 2-axis and when combined with a dedicated camera for tracking and the software that goes with it you can track with arcsec accuracy for hours -- not counting rotation issues.  But the really big improvement are in the cameras themselves and the image processing software.  Being able to get nice clean images at ISO1600 or more and then stacking dozens or hundreds of images to capture detail once only possible at the great observatories.  

One area of incredible improvement is the image processing of video of planetary objects.  With such hardware/software you can capture 10000 frames of Jupiter and the the software evaluates all the frames for detail and marks, say, 40% as bad.  It then takes the good frames and breaks them down into smaller sub-frames and grades them for detail and then assembles the best sub-frames from the best frames to produce near observatory grade images.  I'd argue that a well kitted amateur of today with tools like these are about equal to the best observatory images of about 1980 and perhaps even 1990.  

As far as I'm concerned the most important advance in astronomy for amateurs are the advances I've described above and at the professional level the LIGO instruments are the most important advances since Hubble.  


Brian
 

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