A Truly Amazing Sky — A New Year’s Gift

Breathtaking. This image is an excellent demonstration of the progress we’ve seen over the past ten years in digital SLR imaging. Nearly 15 years ago my university astronomy club acquired some CCD imaging equipment worth several thousand dollars, and we didn’t quite achieve such beautiful images (admittedly we probably didn’t push the limits of that equipment). This picture was taken with a $1200 camera (the Canon 60D) that you can buy off the shelf. I’ll be interested to see shots taken with the 5D Mark-III, which claims to deliver unbelievable low-light performance. I haven’t seen much activity with that model yet… Perhaps what amazes me most is that there is such a variety of low-cost cameras that allow any person to stand in their own yard and see for themselves the hidden universe that surrounds us — and not just see it, record it!

The Amazing Sky

Timor Cottage Panorama #3

As we end 2012 and start a new year, I wish everyone a very happy 2013 and leave you with this view of a very amazing sky.

This is a 360° panorama of the Milky Way over Timor Cottage on a very clear night in mid-December in New South Wales, Australia. May all your skies be as wonderful and as inspiring as this in the coming year.

Indeed, we have some potentially remarkable sights to look forward to, with the prospects of two bright comets in 2013: Comet PANSTARRS in March and Comet ISON in November and December.

Let’s hope for more amazing skies in 2013. Keep looking up!

– Alan, December 31, 2012 / © 2012 Alan Dyer

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2 thoughts on “A Truly Amazing Sky — A New Year’s Gift

  1. Thanks for re-blogging. The camera was actually the 60Da which some claim has lower noise than the stock 60D. The coming Canon 6D offers lower noise still, better than the 5D MkIII, at a lower price. We’ll see how it really does perform as it sounds like the ideal camera for astrophotography.

  2. A quick GIS reveals a few photos that are starting to appear from the MkIII. Here is a great one taken near my home:

    Celestial reflection - alpine wilderness

    and this one:

    Alabama Milky Way

    Amazing shots. The 60Da has a modified IR filter that allows better transmission of h-alpha light, but the Mk-III has a standard optical filter that blocks that wavelength. Nevertheless the Mk-III’s extreme low-light sensitivity seems to compensate for the reduced sensitivity at IR wavelengths. I’m still debating whether to buy a 60Da or save up for a Mk-III (or a 6D, as Alan Dyer suggests).

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