For Years I've been fascinated by space, as a VFX artist it's the closest thing we have to observing epic film effects in real life. Every star, nebula or galaxy represents incredible pyrotechnics happening right in front of our eyes… albeit a few million years late some of the time. As an example, this is a picture I took a few years ago of M27, also known as the ‘dumbbell nebula’. This is the result of a supernova, a gigantic explosion in space - throwing off matter, the red stuff is mostly hydrogen gas, the greenish stuff is oxygen.
In the past I've had to animate effects like these for companies such as national geographic, where a star explodes in a big ring of fire. This is exactly what we're seeing here, though unlike the stuff you see in films and television. this is a real bubble of matter, being thrown off in all directions.
My main interest in space is astrophotography, the process of collecting the light photons thrown out by these amazing events. It involves pointing a lens at the sky with a camera attached and leaving it to take multiple exposures of the same area.
In my next blog I’m going to explain how you don't need crazy expensive hardware to capture these incredible events, in the mean time here is an image of M31 the Andromeda galaxy i took with my 14" telescope - an item that I have spent the past 3 years of my life paying off!
This picture of M31 was shot using an ordinary DSLR mounted on a tripod with a 200mm lens attached, as you see.
While it's great to have all the mod cons to explore the universe, they're not required to expand your view of the sky!