Amateur Photographer Links 37,000 Pics in Night-Sky Panorama

FOX News, May 12, 2011

Nick Risinger has always gazed up at the sky. But last year the amateur astronomer and photographer quit his day job as a Seattle marketing director and lugged six synchronized cameras about 60,000 miles to capture an image of the entire night sky.

Risinger, 28, set up his rack of cameras in high-elevation locales in the Western U.S. and South Africa, timing photo shoots around new moons when nights were long and dark. He programmed his six cameras to track the stars as they moved across the sky and simultaneously snapped thousands of photos.

He then stitched 37,440 exposures together into a spectacular, panoramic survey sky that he posted online two weeks ago. The photo reveals a 360-degree view of the Milky Way, planets and stars in their true natural colors. Viewers can zoom in on portions of the 5,000-megapixel image to find Orion or the Large Magellanic Cloud.

“I wanted to share what I thought was possible,” said Risinger, a first-time astrophotographer. “We don’t see it like this. This is much brighter. On a good night in Seattle, you’ll see 20 or 30 stars. This, in its full size, you’ll see 20 to 30 million. Everything is amplified.”

{snip}

“What a labor of love it is!” said Andrew Fraknoi, senior educator at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. “Professional astronomers are now doing much deeper surveys of small regions of the sky, using big telescopes. But every once in a while it’s nice to step back and have such a beautiful photographic record of the whole sky.”

“This is not a scientifically useful image. This is for educational and artistic appreciation,” Risinger said, adding that he didn’t want to make money off it. “It is for educational purposes. I want to develop some tools for the classroom.”

To capture the entire night sky in a year, Risinger plotted out an exact schedule of images he needed from both the northern and southern hemisphere. He divided the sky into 624 uniform sections and entered those coordinates into the computer.

“The sheer amount of work was mind-boggling,” he said at his apartment in Seattle. “It’s not a wing-it kind of project. You have to plan how you’re going to get the entire sky. And you do that by dividing it up into pieces and knowing what time you need to collect those pieces because as the Earth goes around the Sun, things come in and out of view.”

{snip}

{snip} He also persuaded his retired father, Tom, who lives in Gig Harbor, Wash., to join him.

In the U.S., he and his dad would often drive all day and set up and take photographs all night. They chased ideal windows of opportunity to catch the night sky at its clearest.

{snip}

Each night, Risinger set the six cameras–high-end monochrome astrophotography imagers equipped with different filters–to point in the exact same spot and continuously feed his laptop with images. He monitored the photographs in real-time and passed the dark hours eating sunflower seeds. Meanwhile, his dad slept.

{snip}

Risinger finished the project a couple weeks ago, and has been getting thousands of hits on his website. [Editor’s note: Nick Risinger’s website is Photopic Sky Survey.]

{snip}

risinger

Nick Risinger.

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  • Julia Strykker, der Dixie Gal!

    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2011/05/amateur_photogr.php “The only reason he thought of it is because he has unjustly benefited from a systemic biased and institutionally racist educational system. If we had social justice in this country, he would have been applying his efforts to eliminating the vestiges of Jim Crow segregation that give him his unearned White privilege. This story is just more proof that we have more work to do at closing the shameful and unjust achievement gap.”

  • Question Diversity

    Small telescope owner here. I’m certainly giving him three cheers for all his work. While he’s technically correct in stating that there’s no real scientific value to his project, you can bet that some 8- or 9- or 10-year old white child will see it and dedicate him or herself to the science of astronomy or perhaps astrophysics. As an aside, I am being PC with my gender pronouns here, because astronomy and astrophysics is a hard science where you do see your fair share of women, not only now, but in the past, having made very significant contributions.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

    Henry David Thoreau

    “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”

    Henri Bergson

  • sbuffalonative

    Whenever something new captures my interest, whether it’s the invention of the personal computers, new methods to map the inside of the human body, or an innovative way to utilize the energy of ocean waves, I’m often left in awe at the inventiveness of my people.

    Contrast this with what blacks give us. The first black baseball player. The first black woman who refused to give up her seat to a white man. The first black President.

    In comparison, what blacks achieve is secondary and trivial.

  • Justin

    Amazing!!!

  • Tim in Indiana

    “It is for educational purposes. I want to develop some tools for the classroom.”

    …and I’m sure he’s hoping to lift all the world’s children up in awe and wonder at nature’s grandeur and majesty, spark a worldwide interest in science and the finer things in life, and enable everyone to live together in peace and harmony!

    In reading this account, I was reminded of the movie in which John Travolta is zapped by a UFO, develops a superhuman IQ, and becomes fascinated by things he was never interested in before.

    Unfortunately the brain is compartmentalized, and one can have a high IQ on one side of the brain and yet believe in total nonsense on the other.

  • Anonymous

    He wouldn’t have thought to do this if he regularly listened to rap or any other form of “vibrant, authentic, and enriching” black culture.

  • Anonymous

    Would love to see the photos. Congrats to Rick and I’m sure he also gave his father another lifetime memory. In case any of you are interested, you can mount your camera on a tripod, aim to the night sky, open the shutter for a couple of hours and have some marvelous pix that will show the rotation of the earth in the form of streaks of light from the stars and planets. Black & white film will do okay because you may not be able to pick up colors. Beautiful. Stargazing never goes out of style and if you can get far away from light pollution it has a wonderful calming effect.

    John from Arkansas

  • Jill

    White people have many amazing traits, but it’s our love of discovery and exploration that really sets us apart from other races. It’s no coincidence that whites discovered and settled territories all over the world, and that the “Space Race” was between two white nations. The white contribution to science is incalculable.

    Nick Risinger is a credit to the our race – congratulations on your achievement, Nick!

  • Anonymous

    This is exctly the sort of thing I meant when I posted in the “Why the West Dominated thread”(Comment #14) that Europeans tend to expend themselves even to financial ruin (which I hope is not the case here) to learn about things that may not even have practical value.

    http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2011/05/why_the_west_do.php#comments

  • Mid-western Jewish Man From Indiana

    Sorry, but as an engineer for the past 23 years, I can’t see how something as trivial as this is even newsworthy? This is a collosial waste of time. No Scientific value, no economic virtue, AND, I can bet you dollars to donuts – this won’t fetch high on the monetary end. The ONLY thing this article suggests is : SOMEONE HAS WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS!

    My advise to such airheads : Get a REAL job and DO something that is truly worthwhile.

    Meanwhile the new generation Chinese & Indian students are steadily outdoing us in all those spheres of excellence that REALLY matter! Good Luck with all the self pats on our backs. Thanks but no thanks!

    A poor boy from a backward Indian village heads a prominent research team and excels at groundbreaking Quantum Physics innovation at MIT/ NASA :

    http://goo.gl/sAL3l

    Here’s more:

    http://goo.gl/HVbpq

    And from China :

    http://goo.gl/1ZDXl

    Times are surely changing and it waits for no one!

  • Question Diversity

    11:

    Okay, Mr. Smarty Pants. Why aren’t India and China great, if all these Indians and Chinese are way ahead of us in STEM? In the first story, notice that the “poor boy from the backward village” didn’t do his research in the backward village, he did it at Raytheon in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Of course in a country with a billion people, you will find supergeniuses. Even so, the average Indian lives in squalor.

    As for your other two URLs, the first one is a science fair, whose winners are based on subjective decisions of some human beings. If you don’t think racial politics don’t play a role, then you’re naive. I wouldn’t be surprised if the judges in this science fair have some links to one or more major American industries that heavily use and covet more H-1B visas, so they feel the pressure to make India look good. The second one — I always get suspicious at those kinds of stories — The most likely explanation is that China cherry-picks the students that takes these tests, while an overwhelming majority of American and British students take these tests. Realize that we have a lot of minority 15-year olds here in the U.S. and also in the U.K. dragging down our and their averages.

    As for your first point, he admitted that his work has no scientific value. It’s a labor of love. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think the average person spending every waking moment dedicated to school or work is indicative of an advanced progressive first world society.

  • Anonymous

    Look at these beautiful photos of the Great Depression! And they tell us White people never worked hard or suffered any hardships! Yeah, we were all born with a silver spoon in our mouths. I am from the old school and I love America the way it USED to be. Not too crazy about the America of today, whatsoever.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1388179/Rare-Library-Congress-colour-photographs-Great-Depression.html

  • Follow The Light

    re: #11 comment about economics

    If he personally is hurt economically and does not go on “the welfare” he is doing fine.

    Some people are just too caught up in “fetching high on the economic end” and think that is the essence of life.

  • Anonymous

    @Julia —

    You suffer from the mistaken notion that the only worthwhile pursuit in the world for a liberal is racial issues. This is not true. Even many blacks reject it. Many blacks, including Justice Clarence Thomas, believe that when something gets pigeonholed as “black issues,” it is unimportant. Thus, these blacks work consciously to achieve in something other than “black issues.”

    Also, you don’t know anything about his education. How do you know his parents didn’t send him to a Montessori school governed by a racial spoils system?

  • Anonymous

    The one thing here that piques my sense of wonder is why he didn’t get all his equipment stolen when he was in South Africa!?!

  • Anonymous

    #11- Edwin Hubble did the same sort of thing nearly a century ago, which led to the discovery of the expanding universe and Hubble constant.

    Astronomy is a field with little, and often sporadic, rewards. Yes, ‘way too much time on his hands’ is often true, but that is the way the nature of the field is. You never know when and where the sky is going to spring a surprise. Most narrow field telescopes may miss the region entirely.

    It is no coincidence that many comets, nova, etc are detected by amateur astronomers with backyard telescopes and ‘way too much time on their hands’ than astronomy institutes. They serve as scouts for the larger institutes which then will observe them in greater detail.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but as an engineer for the past 23 years, I can’t see how something as trivial as this is even newsworthy? This is a collosial waste of time. No Scientific value, no economic virtue, AND, I can bet you dollars to donuts – this won’t fetch high on the monetary end. The ONLY thing this article suggests is : SOMEONE HAS WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS!

    My advise to such airheads : Get a REAL job and DO something that is truly worthwhile.

    Us pale types do lots of things that don’t look to have much scientific value or economic virtue,at least at the time these things get done. Things like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel come to mind.

    Or Homer standing in front of an after dinner crowd and reciting “The Odyssey”.

    Or storming aboard an English ship in a harbor after the sun goes down,and heaving a bunch of boxes of tea into the water,and I could keep going,since the list is a very,very long one.

    It’s this kind of thing that makes us white to begin with. Curiosity coupled with some imagination. Celebrate it.

  • John Engelman

    11 — Mid-western Jewish Man From Indiana wrote at 8:54 PM on May 18:

    Sorry, but as an engineer for the past 23 years, I can’t see how something as trivial as this is even newsworthy? This is a collosial waste of time. No Scientific value, no economic virtue, AND, I can bet you dollars to donuts – this won’t fetch high on the monetary end. The ONLY thing this article suggests is : SOMEONE HAS WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS!

    My advise to such airheads : Get a REAL job and DO something that is truly worthwhile.

    Meanwhile the new generation Chinese & Indian students are steadily outdoing us in all those spheres of excellence that REALLY matter! Good Luck with all the self pats on our backs. Thanks but no thanks!

    A poor boy from a backward Indian village heads a prominent research team and excels at groundbreaking Quantum Physics innovation at MIT/ NASA :

    http://goo.gl/sAL3l

    Here’s more:

    http://goo.gl/HVbpq

    And from China :

    http://goo.gl/1ZDXl

    Times are surely changing and it waits for no one!

    ——-

    I’m glad someone else said it first. Here’s something else:

    ——-

    By John Pomfret

    Washington Post Staff Writer

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    SHENZHEN, CHINA — Last year, Zhao Bowen was part of a team that cracked the genetic code of the cucumber. These days, he’s probing the genetic basis for human IQ.

    Zhao is 17.

    Centuries after it led the world in technological prowess — think gunpowder, irrigation and the printed word — China has barged back into the ranks of the great powers in science. . .

    Chinese engineers have significantly improved on Western and Soviet coal-gasification technology as part of a multibillion-dollar effort to create green Chinese energy. . .

    In 2007, Chinese geneticists discovered vast differences in the genetic makeup of Africans, Asians and Caucasians.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/27/AR2010062703639.html?sid=ST2010062800373

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    you can bet that some 8- or 9- or 10-year old white child will see it and dedicate him or herself to the science of astronomy or perhaps astrophysics.

    –QD

    Yes. And hope that very rare, curious, creative White child with extraordinary IQ, one who would like to pursue astro-geophysics or planetary science, capable of understanding and further exploring the deep mysteries of the cosmos, isn’t discouraged when he’s locked out of colleges and universities in favor of lesser qualified blacks and hispanics.

    What then?

    Bon

    Bon

  • SKIP

    11 — Mid-western Jewish Man From Indiana wrote at 8:54 PM on May 18:

    And a black muslim appointee now heads NASA, does that mean blacks or muslims did, or will do, anything to substantially improve NASA perfomance in any field? In fact, his appointment may help the muslims feel better about their “contributions” to science and space exploration (could barely get that out without puking) but in truth, it is the end of NASA as we know it as we drift back to the 7th century. I also daresay, that this sort of thing this man has done does in fact, interest those of us with an I.Q. above room temperature. One simply cannot see the stars as well as they can be seen in the high mountains here in Afghanistan at 12,500 ft alt.

  • John Engelman

    19 — Bon, From the Land of Babble wrote at 9:00 AM on May 19:

    you can bet that some 8- or 9- or 10-year old white child will see it and dedicate him or herself to the science of astronomy or perhaps astrophysics.

    —QD

    Yes. And hope that very rare, curious, creative White child with extraordinary IQ, one who would like to pursue astro-geophysics or planetary science, capable of understanding and further exploring the deep mysteries of the cosmos, isn’t discouraged when he’s locked out of colleges and universities in favor of lesser qualified blacks and hispanics.

    ——

    Anyone who looks at physics majors at the best universities in the United States will find that the vast majority are not “lesser qualified blacks and Hispanics.” They are Asians and whites of European ancestry.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    A poor boy from a backward Indian village heads a prominent research team and excels at groundbreaking Quantum Physics innovation at MIT/ NASA.

    Brilliant Indians innovating in the field of Quantum Physics? Should have stayed home and helped his own people solve their sewage problem!

    Much of the river pollution problem in India comes from untreated sewage. Samples taken recently from the Ganges River show levels of fecal coliform, a dangerous bacterium that comes from untreated sewage, were some 3,000 percent higher than what is considered safe for bathing.

    US $500 million, has been spent on various clean up efforts. In addition, the city has spent massive amounts on sewage treatment plants. ..But that hasn’t translated into cleaner water.

    The frothy brew is so glaring it can be viewed on Google Earth..water-borne diseases are India’s leading cause of child mortality) are the primary culprits.

    I’m sure we Whites would be happy to give India a few pointers as to how to clean up their water supply –they can ask the Chinese about curtailing their population growth.

    Bon

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Anyone who looks at physics majors at the best universities in the United States will find that the vast majority are not “lesser qualified blacks and Hispanics.” They are Asians and whites of European ancestry.

    Look a little closer Mr. Engleman.

    Bon

  • idareya

    ‘excels at groundbreaking Quantum Physics”

    @11 Interesting. And just who discovered and advanced the field of quantum physics?

    It’s easy to crow about how smart you are when you’re working off the accomplishments and innovations of someone else.

  • Anonymous

    I have to agree with the midwest jew.

    This just shows that imagination is great, but we need game changers. China and the rest of the world is on our heels and we are so caught up in PC garbage that it literally wont be more than a generation before we are worthless.

    Results not ideology! (that goes both ways right and left)

    We prove our greatness each day we get up and EARN! our bread. Everything else is just talk (fluff). On the other hand I am happy a platform/medium such as this one exist.

  • Anonymous

    To no. 19 I understand the Koreans also claim to have invented gunpowder. Is there a website or source that would clear this up? Just asking?

  • Anonymous

    # 19

    In 2007, Chinese geneticists discovered vast differences in the genetic makeup of Africans, Asians and Caucasians.

    I am glad it was a Chinese who discovered it. Go call him a racist.

    YOu know what my very bright grandson, age 10, wastes his time in school with? Helping those with learning problems. His mother is proud of that, his father is helpless.

    He read at the 8th grade level in the third grade. His mother is ultra liberal, when he was a year old he rode on the shoulders of her very best, black friend, in a gay parade.

    When we are busy dumbing our children down, of course Chinese and Indian, building upon what white men discovered , will get ahead. BTW, How much in student loan debts does a Chinese student have? And that bright Indian from the backwoods village, did he pay for his education, or did his parents?

    You may be a great engineer but you lack in common sense. As for that young man, with the German name, lets put it this way, he followed his star.

  • Stiv

    #11

    Hunh, I would rather be one of the creative, imaginative airheads than a stiff, nose-to-the-grindstone drone. So many of the students, etc, from China and elsewhere seem to have to do just that in order to excel when competing against white people. Life is also meant to be enjoyed.

  • Anonymous

    AR’s sub-head:

    “The sort of thing only a white man would think of doing.”

    I take your general point on this and don’t mean to detract from it, but the only men I ever see carrying six cameras are Japanese tourists.

  • ATBOTL

    “Mid-western Jewish Man From Indiana” is probably one of the same Indian and Chinese losers who constantly post here.

    Either way, he misses the point that it’s the pioneering spirit to learn things on ones own, rather than just rote memorization from authorities, that allowed whites to create modern science and make virtually every single important scientific discovery. If white intellectuals had the inclinations of Chinese Mandarins or Jewish rabbinical scholars, science would not exist.

  • William Hendershot

    I can’t understand how the MSM missed out on a chance to include a black in this story. Surely they could have included a black guy who was the brains behind this operation. Why did they leave out the photo of his black mentor?

  • SKIP

    “To no. 19 I understand the Koreans also claim to have invented gunpowder. Is there a website or source that would clear this up? Just asking”

    It doesn’t matter which of the Asian cultures invented/discovered gunpowder, they had it for hundreds of years and did nothing with it. It took White Western Europeans to make it do more than just spin party favors around on a rack…WE Whites made it usefull for killing large numbers of ourselves! lol

  • ehunt

    MidWest Jewish Man

    The Chinese geneticist, and the Indian physicist will perform brillantly in their field. And as their field specializes

    and narrows every year..they will shrink to fit. No degree of

    tedium will be too much and no moral boundary will ever stop them. When ordered to Genetically engineer human beings to work 100 hour work days but die from exhaustion in 3 years…the Chinese geneticist will perform exactly as the State Industrial Research Bureau demands. Devoid of any Christian eschatology describing the purpose of human life in Divine terms..any

    horror is possible and probable. And you know doubt will applaud the “progress”. Eighty years ago this kind of progressive vision of the future was the stuff of The New Soviet Man. Knowing no history..you are unaware of what followed from that version of scientism. Things are really changing eh?

  • Fr. John

    Midwestern Jew-

    “It’s a white thing, you wouldn’t understand.”

    Sometimes, the People of God, merely wish to worship “the handiwork He hath made.”

    Whether it’s the stars, or a nail-scarred hand, held out in love to a repentant sinner.

    It’s all the same to some, you see….

  • Cajun lady from the Bayou

    It is beautiful ans a truly awe inspiring labor of love. I can go places here in the south that have that level of darkness where the milky way shines through. When Cajun men go out on the boats, like my dad, they see some beautiful night skies. Not to mention the dolphin pods that swim around the bow. A ship captain I met in the Electrician class at SLTech could navigate by the stars. Celestial navigation has since become fascinating to me, despite having female difficulty with math. I seek to find my place, this young man Nick Risinger, has found himself.

  • Data

    @11: “Mid-western Jewish Man From Indiana”

    Not so fast…

    http://goo.gl/39uCj

    “China is also the leading source of what are known as “junk” patents — ridiculous claims of “inventions” that are little more than snake-oil scams.”

    {snip}

    “Finally, plagiarism and doctored results seem to be as common as chopsticks. A study by Wuhan University uncovered an entire industry of bogus report and thesis writers who raked in $145 million last year, a fivefold increase since 2007.”

  • Daniel P

    I have long wondered, “whatever became of Will Hunting?” Now I see.