Nasa / Space

Photographer captures entire night sky in massive image

Astrophotographer Nick Risinger traveled 60,000 miles and took 37,440 exposures to create a 5,000 megapixel photo of the entire night sky. Learn more about his Photopic Sky Survey.

How long would it take to photograph the entire night sky? Even more, what would it take to capture tens of millions of stars -- more than are commonly visible to the naked eye? Photographer Nick Risinger has the answer: one year and 60,000 miles of travel thanks to his Photopic Sky Survey, which consists of 37,440 exposures captured in the American west and South Africa.

Using an array of six cameras mounted on a tripod designed to move with the Earth's spin, Risinger spent innumerable nights under these same stars listening to the click-clack of camera shutters opening and closing. Using a grid of 624 uniformly-spaced areas of the sky -- each a mere 12 degrees in height and containing 60 exposures to reduce the amount of satellites, meteors, and other unwanted objects -- he then stitched the images together to form a gigantic, 5,000 megapixel photograph that can be viewed on his site using a simple zoom applet or more in-depth with the Interactive 360 degree panorama.

The Interactive view is especially nice because it comes with a constellation and key objects overlay. Several objects, such as the planets and some nebulae, even have clickable links to the Wikipedia article about that object.

If you really like what you see on the Photopic Sky Survey site, you can order an archival print of an image.

Image courtesy of Nick Risinger, skysurvey.org.

(Thanks to TechRepublic's Mark Kaelin for the tip.)

6 comments
rmforall
rmforall

entire galactic sky via 624 12 deg areas 5,000 MPx, Photopic Sky Survey, Nick Risinger -- fractal 3D dark mesh?: Rich Murray 2011.06.07 http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2011_06_01_archive.htm Tuesday, June 7, 2011 [ at end of each long page, click on Older Posts ] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/astrodeep/message/86 [ you may have to Copy and Paste URLs into your browser ] _______________________________________________ You can locate Andromeda Galaxy in the lower left of this vast image, and zoom in until it fills half the full screen, showing its major dark lanes. About the size of our galaxy, it is 140,000 light years wide, about 2.5 million light years away, with an visual size of about 3 degrees. The Sun and Moon are about 0.5 degrees wide. I notice that zooming in on the edges of our galaxy reveals ubiquitous apparent complex fractal 3D dark mesh, like a loosely woven wool sweater -- also noticable in my closeups from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, with the gamma doubled to lighten dark areas, and colors saturated... ...HUDF center top left, #90 astrodeep200407aab10ada.png 3.68 MB 1244X1243 1 of 4 identical views with different color schemes 2008.12.12 #88-91 on rmforall at flickr.com: Rich Murray 2011.01.09 http://rmforall.blogspot.com/2011_01_01_archive.htm Sunday, January 9, 2011 [ at end of each long page, click on Older Posts ] http://groups.yahoo.com/group/astrodeep/message/80 [ you may have to Copy and Paste URLs into your browser ] _______________________________________________ for viewing -- click on Actions to get different sizes and for free download http://www.flickr.com/photos/rmforall/3103426063/in/photostream/ #89 astrodeep200407aab10aea.png 4.14 MB 1244X1283 HUDF center top left This image is 6.3x6.3 arc-seconds, 3.965% of the area of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, which is 186 arc-seconds wide and high = 3.1 arc-minutes = 1/10 width of the Full Moon or Sun, about 0.5 degrees, so the HUDF is about 1% of the area of the square that holds the Full Moon or Sun, short introduction re viewing lovely subtle earliest structures in HUDF: AstroDeep, Rich Murray 2009.02.23 I've found since 2005 myriad ubiquitous bright blue sources, always on a darker fractal 3D web, along with a variety of sizes of irregular early galaxies, in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, simply by increasing the gamma from 1.00 to 2.00 and saturating the colors, while minimizing the green band to simplify the complex overlays of complex fractal structures. Dozens of these images, covering the entire HUDF in eight ~20 MB segments, are available for viewing at many scales [ To change the size of images on Windows PCs, use Control - and + ] on www.Flickr.com at the "rmforall" photostream. Try #86 for the central 16% of the HUDF...

JimTheEngineer
JimTheEngineer

The photograph is stunning, but I can't figure out how to orient my view. Is it possible to center on, say, Polaris, or some other pattern I might recognize? Or are there so many more stars visible that the familiar signs of the zodiac are "drowned out"? Oh, wait - there is a link in the first paragraph after the takeaway! Great! http://skysurvey.org/

LoraNK
LoraNK

Technology in one of its finest moments! Beautifully captured photography!

pgit
pgit

My gratitude to Nick Risinger, thanks for providing this invaluable resource.

learn4ever
learn4ever

Brilliant! I love it. Linux Rocks!!!

davist@childrensfactory.
davist@childrensfactory.

This is an incredible feat. I love the fact that he is running Fedora on his laptop as well the fact that he used GIMP as well. Way to go OpenSource Community.

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