What is Astrophotography

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Have you ever wondered what the universe looks like?

Astrophotography is an art form that records solar system- a photography involving astronomical objects and events. The Sun, Moon, and planets and galaxies were used to be invisible to the eyes of humans. But as astrophotography is developed, these objects are visually detected in details through a telescope.

When it’s first taken?

The first astronomical object was successfully taken in 1840 by John William Draper. He managed to photograph the Moon using 12 inch telescope with 20 minutes exposures. After the historical event, successful images of comets, Jupiter planet, and even spectrum of nebula were successfully taken by some famous photographers such as Henry Draper, Jules Janssen, and W. Huggins.

The early use of astrophotography

As the object of astrophotography is very unique, it requires specialized techniques and equipment. And because the Earth’s rotation, the camera must be able to identify the object location accurately.

In 1950, the pioneer of astrophotography catalogs, the Palomar Sky Surveys, used photographic plates to capture map of the sky. Coated with light-sensitive emulsion, a glass plate will be less prone to distortion and may capture wide-area image. Some of astronomical discoveries such as cosmic radiation and asteroids were also made using this technique.

With the development of film quality, astrophotography was introduced to film-hypering- a process of placing a film in a vacuum chamber. Hydrogen will then replace the water and air to minimize the reciprocity failure and boost the speed to get a short exposure time.

Astrophotography today

The improvement of telescope functions has brought astrophotography to the next level. Digital technology has also enabled amateurs to have a hobby in photographing the sky. Many studies and web pages dedicated to astrophotography have exposed different kinds of effects, filters, and wavelengths that were once belong to professionals.

Today, the fascinating astrophotography is a serious tool to unlock the secret of universe. It uses software to pile up raw data and combine them into one big amazing image. The advanced technology and internet have produced specific types of telescope mounts that are computer controlled. The idea enables photographers to adjust the telescope from distant dark location.

Remote telescope operation is now open for public in several observatories worldwide. These astronomical observatories are dedicated to the research and development of astronomy. People who are willing to study about the solar system are usually introduced to astrophotography as part of astronomy major.

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