What if Your Eyes were REALLY Sensitive?

The Sky Would Look Really Different

The Big Picture -- the sky as seen in a long exposure with sensitive equipment.  By Dennis diCicco and Sean Walker, courtesy Astronomy Picture of the Day.
The Big Picture -- the sky as seen in a long exposure with sensitive equipment. By Dennis diCicco and Sean Walker, courtesy Astronomy Picture of the Day.

My former colleagues Dennis diCicco and Sean Walker (from back in my days at Sky and Telescope are first-rate astrophotographers.  I’ve seen many of their images over the years, and marvel at their skill.

So, when I saw this one, posted on Astronomy Picture of the Day, I was bowled over at the creative ingenuity – AND fantastic beauty — of their work.

This is a composite image they created using very sensitive cameras and 40 hours of exposures.  What you see here are the Orion-Eridanus superbubble region of the sky, Barnard’s Loop, and other nebulae.  This image shows objects at a level of detail that you just can’t pick up with a quick glance at the sky with your unaided eyes (or even through a telescope, for that matter.  You’d need sensitive eyes and the ability to stare at the sky for a LONG time to see this view.

Head on over to the APOD site to see the image in full-size beauty, and also with an overlay of constellation outlines.

And, while you’re at it, check out The World at Night — a website that presents images of the world’s landmarks set against the starry backdrop of the night.  It’s a great place to see stunning astro-imagery from photographers around the world. Thanks to Daniel Fischer for tweeting us about this; thanks to Dennis and Sean for their gorgeous work!

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