The New Age of Amateur Astronomy
With light pollution encroaching into dark skies the world over, how do amateur astronomers and stargazing enthusiasts still manage to see anything?
Stargazing in 2022...well, lets be honest, anytime in the last 20 years...has become a bit of a challenge for your average stargazing enthusiast, particularly if you live within 50 miles of a major city...so how are people in the "age of artificial light" managing to accomplish their hobby?
"The Stellina (smart) Telescope is a combination of telescope and camera, and brings the Universe to the palm of your hand"
-Robin Scagell (www.space.com)
Astrophotography has long since been the go-to for seeing faraway objects in full color and clarity, however it is a very challenging and complicated process that is out of reach to many due to the time-commitment of learning what equipment you need to do it, and how to stack all of those photos in a way that reveals the object in question.
M42-The Orion Nebula, 49 minutes exposure time with Stellina as captured by Evan Thibodeau, owner of Flagstaff Stargazing Adventures
The above image was taken using a Stellina telescope in Flagstaff, Arizona. Looking at this image through a traditional telescope reveals some of the nebulosity of this gem of Orion, but you cant see this type of detail and color using a traditional telescope. In order to attain this level of quality, you must implement long exposure photography techniques, a star tracking mount, and then the timely process of stacking and color grading the images (this was close to 700 10-second exposures, just to give an idea of the massive file sizes that we work with).
The first time that I ever attempted capturing M42, it took me about 2 weeks to get an image that did'nt even come close to what is pictured above. This photo was accomplished in less than an hour and then transmitted directly to my phone and my guests phones that were connected to the telescope...absolutely incredible!
The future of amateur astronomy is now, and takes the form of the "smart telescope", such as Stellina...however you will have to have a pretty serious commitment to the hobby as these (when available), will set you back about $4k.
But I couldn't imagine a better way to bring the mysteries of the universe to my guests, thank you Vaonis!