Making "Astronomer's Paradise"

By Phil Plait | February 28, 2012 3:59 pm

In early February I posted a gorgeous time lapse video of the night sky in Chile called "Astronomer’s Paradise". One of the astrophotographers who created that video, Christoph Malin, has written an article about what went into making the video, and it’s as complex as you might expect. The article discusses equipment, processing, and the location of the shoot, and yikes, what a haul it must have been! There are gorgeous pictures posted there too, like this one of a laser being used to create an artificial star to improve the telescope’s resolution:

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There are lots more such pictures on Flickr.

I’ll note that Christoph put together a different version of "Astronomer’s Paradise" that has significantly different footage, and it’s well worth your time to watch.

Christoph and Babak Tafreshi are working on Parts 2 and 3. I can’t wait to see them!


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An astronomer’s paradise
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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

Comments (10)

  1. N00b astronomer here, majoring in amateur photography and with 45 years of fascination. How does one find information on taking images like these? How long of an exposure is each frame? I feel like I’ve just had the best angel’s food cake in the world, but the cook won’t give me the recipe, because it’s “secret”!

    BTW, my grandpa made the best angel’s food cake. He took the recipe with him. It was…. you know.

  2. Firemancarl

    What are the two galaxies in the video? I think one is Andromeda is the other the LMC or SMC?

  3. ThomasK: you’d need to ask the photographers, but the article linked has lots of info.

    Firemancarl: One is the LMC and the other the SMC. Andromeda is too far north to be seen in these pictures, though it is visible – barely – from this latitude.

  4. Chris

    Can’t believe you didn’t mention the meteor trail at the 4:07 mark. And there are three galaxies you can see, you forgot the big one in the middle, the Milky Way.

  5. Thank you Phil for posting this. Yes about 70% of the scenes in this version of the video is new and not in the previous shorter one.
    Thomas: there is a lot of technical info on our Nikon Rumors article: http://nikonrumors.com/2012/02/27/guest-post-astronomers-paradise-time-lapse-video.aspx/
    the exposures were between 5 to 30 seconds for each frame in the sequences with less than 1 second intervals.
    Both Magellanic Cloud are highlighted in the video, Andromeda is visible in few scenes two it has much smaller angular size in our sky than LMC (10 degrees wide) or LMC (5 degrees wide). Although its in fact a giant formation compared to these dwarf galaxies.

  6. Kim

    Laser _being_? So, observatories hire light-made entities and ask them politely “create me a star”? Sorry beam so picky :P

    Off-topic: Next week arrives my first telescope kit, which I bought with my first salary. Just letting you know that you’re guilty I fell in love with the sky and am now starting my way toward amateur astronomy :)

  7. Chris A.

    @Kim (#5):

    “Laser _being_?”

    Yes. You’re just parsing it wrong:

    “There are gorgeous pictures posted there too, like this one of a laser (which is) being used to create an artificial star to improve the telescope’s resolution:”

  8. @Babak Tafreshi:

    Thanks much! My own early steps at astrophotography have been a trial, but a good learning experience. Thanks for the link and the fantastic images!

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