Last week I took some photos with a telephoto lens of the Orion Nebula – which can be found in the Orion constellation. From Texas, where I live, it is visible at this time of year in the east just after sunset. It rises as the night progresses, but the constellation is easily visible, on a clear night, from my patio.

I didn’t even know the nebula was there until I started taking a few photos. Here’s an example of where digital has some advantages over film. For star photos, I like to use the LCD screen on my camera for focusing – and to help, it allows me to zoom on screen to be sure my image is sharp. While checking for sharpness, I discovered the nebula. Although technically visible to the naked eye (so they say) I really couldn’t tell what it was without magnification. Also, the colors aren’t always visible to the naked eye – even through magnification.

To bring out the colors took a little post processing, and a very high ISO. To do better would require, either using a clock drive on my tripod, or layering several images in photoshop… neither of which I have ever done. So, for now, this image will probably be the best I can do.

My point of this post isn’t to describe technically how to do astrophotography. It’s quite the opposite. Not really technical at all. I wanted to share how awesome, and nearly indescribable the universe is. This very image, what you can see in my simple photo, is one of the reasons I was always fascinated by astronomy – and astrophotography. I love that, in our universe, the closer you look, the more you see. It’s seemingly endless.

Here’s an image from the Hubble telescope that displays about 10,000 galaxies. Each galaxy, like our own Milky Way, shown among thousands of other galaxies. It’s just amazing – the massiveness of it all.

Not to reduce our own significance, or somehow minimalize how we fit into the big scheme of things. I just thought I’d point out that we are a relatively small part of the massive universe in which we live. Clicking on the photo links to the article that describes it.

Maybe I’ll volunteer when they want photographers to go to Mars… not sure my wife would go for that. She likes being close to the grocery store.

I hope you’re all having a great week – and Happy Friday! If you get a chance, and if it’s a clear, dark night where you are, go outside, look up and be amazed!

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