Astrophotography is a specialized type of photography that entails recording images of astronomical objects and large areas of the night sky. The first photograph of an astronomical object (the Moon) was taken in 1840, but it was not until the late 19th century that advances in technology allowed for detailed stellar photography. Besides being able to record the details of extended objects such as the Moon, Sun and planets, astrophotography has the ability to image objects invisible to the human eye such as dim stars, nebulae and galaxies. This is done by long time exposure since both film and digital cameras can accumulate and sum light photons over these long periods of time. In professional astronomical research, photography revolutionized the field with long time exposures recording hundreds of thousands of new stars and nebulae that were invisible to the human eye leading to specialized and ever larger optical telescopes that were essentially big cameras designed to collect light to be recorded on film. Direct astrophotography had an early role in sky surveys and star classification but over time it has given way to more sophisticated equipment and techniques designed for specific fields of scientific research with film becoming just one of many forms of sensor.
In SaddleBrooke we have a number of residents whose hobbies include Astrophotography. I’ve included several examples of their work. Remember, these photographs are taken from SaddleBrooke backyards! For a real thrill see some photographs taken and set to music at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6gnSV_yexg. Skygazers will be taking the summer off to allow snowbirds an opportunity to view the sky from other sites. We look forward to new cosmic adventures this fall.