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Stunning Interactive Sky Image - 360 degree panorama of the night sky stitched together from 37,000

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posted on May, 4 2011 @ 04:33 PM

This stunning 360 degree panorama of the night sky was stitched together from 37,000 images by a first-time astrophotographer.
Nick Risinger, a 28-year-old native of Seattle, trekked more than 60,000 miles around the western United States and South Africa to create the largest-ever true-color image of the stellar sphere. The final result is an interactive, zoomable sky map showing the full Milky Way and the stars, planets, galaxies and nebulae around it.
“The genesis of this was to educate and enlighten people about the natural beauty that is hidden, but surrounds us,” Risinger said.
The project began in March 2010, when Risinger and his brother took a suite of six professional-grade astronomical cameras to the desert in Nevada. By June, Risinger had quit his job as a marketing director for a countertop company to seek the darkest skies he could find.
Every night, Risinger and his father set up the cameras on a tripod that rotates with Earth. The cameras automatically took between 20 and 70 exposures each night in three different-color wavelengths. Previous professional sky surveys (including the Digitized Sky Survey of the 1980s, which is the source for the World Wide Telescope and Google Sky) shot only in red and blue. Including a third color filter gives the new survey a more real feeling,
Risinger said. “I wanted to create something that was a true representation of how we could see it, if it were 3,000 times brighter,” he said. ‘I wanted to create something that was a true representation of how we could see it, if it were 3,000 times brighter.’
Risinger sought out dry, dark places far from light-polluting civilization. Most of the northern half of the sky was shot from deserts in Arizona, Texas and northern California, although Risinger had one clear, frigid night in Colorado.
“It was January and we were hanging out in Telluride waiting for the weather to clear in Arizona or Texas,” he said. “Finally we realized the weather was hopeless down south, but it was perfectly clear where we were.” They drove an hour away, set up near a frozen lake, and sat in their car with the heat off for 12 hours as the temperature outside dropped to minus 6 degrees Fahrenheit.
“I would have loved to turn the car on for heat, but I was afraid the exhaust would condense on the equipment and make a shutter freeze or ice up the lenses,” Risinger said. “Certainly it was the coldest I’ve ever been, but I’ve still got all 10 toes and fingers.”
The southern hemisphere was captured in two trips to South Africa, not far from the site of the 11-meter Southern African Large Telescope. While there, Risinger and his father stayed with a sheep farmer who also watched the skies with his own amateur telescope.
Back in Seattle, Risinger used a combination of standard and customized astrophotography software to subtract noise from the cameras, stack the three colors on top of each other, link each picture to a spot on the sky and stitch the whole thing together. He taught himself most of the techniques using online tutorials.
Risinger plans to sell poster-sized prints of the image from his website and is looking for someone to buy his cameras, but otherwise has no plans to make money from his efforts. He wants to make the panorama available to museums and planetariums, or modify it for a classroom tool.
“When Hubble shoots something, it’s a very small piece of the larger puzzle. The purpose of this project is to show the big puzzle,” he said. “It’s the forest-for-the-trees kind of concept. Astronomers spend a lot of their time looking at small bugs on the bark. This is more appreciating the forest.”

Photopic Sky Survey


posted on May, 4 2011 @ 04:38 PM
This is fantastic. I love it.

If this sort of image doesn't make you wonder, what a waste of life.

posted on May, 4 2011 @ 04:41 PM

Originally posted by Pimander
This is fantastic. I love it.

If this sort of image doesn't make you wonder, what a waste of life.

I just thought the same exact thing. Why, Earth? It seems so boring now, so repetitive.
I love this image, it's really cool and makes you think. They had a similar one but forgot the link :/

posted on May, 4 2011 @ 04:53 PM
When ever I look into space, I always start thinking how obsolete our civilization is, and we will continue to be that way b/c we can't even occupy our own planet without fighting. We will never have funding to even think about space exploration, because we are spending it all on fighting. In all of written history, we have never advanced past the stage of war and conquering.

I guess sometimes even our greatest leaders forget we are little dots on a rock, which is a dot in our solar system, which is a dot in our universe, which might very well be just another dot in a giant pool of other universes.


posted on May, 4 2011 @ 04:55 PM
reply to post by elevenaugust

Nice thread man. Love Panorama's like this. It reminds me, when I first made an account for this website last year, it was a post by a member of a guy's own website with all sorts of panoramas of the stars, along with night time lapses and things like that. Does anyone have any idea what im talking about? If so can you give me the website. it'd be appreciated.

posted on May, 4 2011 @ 04:56 PM
Amazing endavour - great site too

Mindboggling, really.

posted on May, 4 2011 @ 05:00 PM
No, things like this really make you wonder

posted on May, 4 2011 @ 05:07 PM
reply to post by IAmNotWill

I agree man. I love threads like this, because there is no debating and arguing. Which consumes this Earth from big governments down to two individuals. In April when I was looking at Saturn and such through my telescope, along with many other nights just looking up I thought the same thing. Of how small we are, and how we are one. Not only one with the Universe, but when you think of this tiny little planet with all of its people good and evil (along with many other civilizations who are also alive right now on other planets), we are one, we are our own unique species/planet. I was thinking of all of the countries and governments that exist, and how we look to them as being large, when in the end we are literally just one. I wish every single human could just come together and understand this more than anything else.

Considering im sure there are more advanced civilizations out there, who achieved what they have achieved through understanding and a sense of oneness/love. You can't even begin to imagine what we could make this Earth if we all loved eachother along with this planet with everything we have. If we all came together as one mind. Then I realize the fact is, your right. We have been fighting and killing and acting the same for thousands of years. Here we are today, still unchanged for the most part when it comes to the overall character of the planet. It's actually sad when I really think about it. When you have so many different colors/cultures/religions and so on, it is the biggest test to overcome those differences to find the oneness.

With billions of people on a planet, all with individual thoughts/beliefs/views it is extremely hard to do this, and we see that everyday.

posted on May, 4 2011 @ 05:26 PM
Imagine the wonders...

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