Monday, 16 May, 2011 Science

Astro-Photographer Creates 360-degree Panorama of the Milky Way


The Milky Way galaxy consists of a myriad of stars and about 100,000 years are required for a beam of light to pass from on end of the stellar disk to another. Thus it is obvious that it is impossible to capture the images of the entire night using traditional technologies.

The 28-year old Nick Risinger from Seattle is an amateur astronomer and photographer that decided to create a panorama of the Milky Way.

His starting point was quitting his job. The next step involved a 60,000-mile travel in the northern and southern hemispheres to take pictures of the Milky Way with the help of 6 cameras.

The researcher divided the sky into more than 600 equal sections. Risinger took photos of the night sky in the periods around the new moon, when nights were darker and longer. He shot images from different places in western part of the United States and South Africa.

It is worth mentioning that Risinger used 6 high-end monochrome astrophotography imagers to take pictures. All images were made on hilly locales, with imagers being programmed to spot changes in the night sky. He managed to take thousands of pictures simultaneously.

In the end, the astro-photographer gathered 37,440 exposures and joined them to come up with a 360-degree photographic panorama of our galaxy. The result was a 5-megapixel resolution image of the sky that can be viewed on his website.

The image illustrates planets and stars as seen in the night sky. In order to obtain a more detailed and clearer view of specific locations within the galaxy, you can zoom in on the area of interest, reports DailyMail.

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