Astrophotography For The Win!

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On July 12th, the first images from the James Webb Telescope were released to the public. The first image, the “Deep Field” delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the universe ever created. The photograph taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours.

Another image, titled “Stellar Death” depicts Planetary Nebula NGC3132 as it fades. The star has been sending out rings of gas and dust for thousands of years. The photograph was taken with two camera aboard the Webb Telescope. There are 4 separate cameras aboard the JWST. There is the NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera), the NIRSPec, (Near-Infrared Spectrograph), the MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), and the FGS-NIRISS (Fine Guidance Sensor/Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph).

All of that is to say that with the power the JWST is packing the images that are to be churned out from this $10 Billion telescope will be the clearest and most detailed astro photographs ever produced in human history. So if this telescope has you inspired to dive into Astrophotography here are some good tips and pickup suggestions:

First off, you’ll need a good tripod. Any good astrophotographer will tell you that among the most important tools in their kit besides their camera is the tripod. Next, you’ll need a good stargazing app. Luckily the folks from Nasa have one but there are a dozen or so other apps you can find in your app store on your phone. And last, but certainly not least you’ll need to find a nice dark place. Lots of residential areas simply have too much light pollution that hinders astrophotography. There’s a useful tool called lightpollutionmap.info that allows you to find a place nearby that has less light polution and will help you take better photos!

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