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Space Science

The Night Sky In 800 Million Pixels 120

An anonymous reader recommends a project carried out recently by Serge Brunier and Frédéric Tapissier. Brunier traveled to the top of a volcano in the Canary Islands and to the Chilean desert to capture 1,200 images — each one a 6-minute exposure — of the night sky. The photos were taken between August 2008 and February 2009 and required more than 30 full nights under the stars. Tapissier then processed the images together into a single zoomable, 800-megapixel, 360-degree image of the sky in which the Earth is embedded. "It is the sky that everyone can relate to that I wanted to show — it's constellations... whose names have nourished all childhoods, it's myths and stories of gods, titans, and heroes shared by all civilisations since Homo became sapiens. The image was therefore made as man sees it, with a regular digital camera." The image is the first of three portraits produced by the European Southern Observatory's GigaGalaxy Zoom project.
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The Night Sky In 800 Million Pixels

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  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:30PM (#29575663)

    I thought the same thing. This isn't a particularly impressive resolution for such a large subject. Check out the kind of detail we get of the earth []: 21600 by 10800 pixels!

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ( 1195047 ) <philip.paradis@p ... net minus author> on Monday September 28, 2009 @10:43PM (#29575771) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately, many hosting companies make bold claims about their capabilities without actually being able to deliver on those promises. In this case, the host appears to be [] (judging by whois info on the IP), providing a dedicated server. Of course, this does leave open the possibility that the server is badly configured for traffic on this scale.
  • by Korin43 ( 881732 ) on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:17PM (#29576003) Homepage
    Not to mention that people are probably actually clicking the article..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28, 2009 @11:59PM (#29576241)

    my kingodom for a mod point.

  • by TheoMurpse ( 729043 ) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @12:34AM (#29576453) Homepage

    I was recently at Yosemite during the Perseid meteor shower, and I got to really look at the Milky Way "scar" for the first time with my own eyes. My parents have a house in rural Texas, but the visibility was nowhere near what it was smack dab in the middle of a wide open Yosemite field at midnight.

  • Re:Projection (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Palpitations ( 1092597 ) * on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @01:29AM (#29576743)
    1) It's been years since I did any work with film, so I'm afraid I can't help you there. I've just got a DSLR that I use now.
    2) ~20 seconds. If you go very far beyond that, you'll end up with trails instead of nice clear shots. 30 seconds is passable, you'll just end up with tiny, tiny trails - probably not that noticeable unless you look closely. You may be able to stretch that out a bit more if you have near-superhuman vision, a geared tripod, and a steady hand, but I wouldn't count on it. That's not a bad thing though, there are some great images done that show the movement of the stars. Not every picture has to be tracked in order to be worthwhile.
    3) Personal preference. I've taken some pictures at 18mm that I loved, and some at 200mm that made me just as happy. Experiment, and see what turns out catching your eye. Everyone has a different sense of aesthetics. What works for me may not work for you.

    For any pictures you do take, I highly recommend the Astrometry group on Flikr []. It's a bot that will match up your images with a massive database covering the night sky, and tag major features in your images for you. I certainly don't know everything in the sky I'm looking at when I decide to take a picture, so being able to upload it and have all the major features identified is incredible. In my experience, the people behind it are great as well, and very willing to share the datasets they use.

    That said, if you want to get serious about it, you should look at picking up an equatorial mount. It's high on my list, right after a nice intervalometer.
  • by blackraven14250 ( 902843 ) * on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @02:44AM (#29577151)

    You can't get it anywhere except the artist. I set him an email, and he sent a very prompt reply that it's for profesional use only, without actually knowing wether or not I was a professional.

    I'm guessing that even though this project, GigaGalaxy Zoom, is done by the ESO, a intergovernmental organization, the image is just under license from the "artist" (in this case, "man with too much time for tedium"), so don't hold your breath about finding it anyway.

  • by dargaud ( 518470 ) <slashdot2@gdarga[ ]net ['ud.' in gap]> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @03:59AM (#29577479) Homepage
    I spent a couple years in Antarctica []: clearest sky in the world by very far (see recent /. article about ridge A []). When I was at Dome C [], we would go lay down in the snow and watch the stars, never mind the sub -70C temperatures. The stars didn't twinkle at all (no turbulence) and appeared painted on a black ceiling. The main problem was getting back inside before you were frozen solid to the ground.

    I had my own telescope, but my pitiful attempts at seeing anything were thwarted by the vexatious cold and my own incompetence at astronomy [].

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup