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M81 82 HST Subaru S
CREDIT: Robert Gendler, Roberto Colombari, Hubble Legacy Archive, Subaru Telescope (NAOJ), Spitzer Telescope

Happy Birthday Hubble!

30 years in photography; stuff of inspiration

I do like big cameras. And  on size and scale the Hubble Space Telescope certainly makes both grades. And it has just turned 30 years old - Happy Birthday to the Hubble Space Telescope.

One aspect of the scale that sometimes gets ignored is the extent of the imaging teams that go to make the spectacular images we see in many places. There is a whole group that looks after the camera in earth orbit and downloads the images and another that stores, curates and makes available these image sets for public use. And finally there are the teams of people that use these to prepare the stunning images we can be inspired by.

The RPS Award for Scientific Imaging was Introduced in 2016 and is given for a body of scientific imaging which promotes public knowledge and understanding. In 2019 it was my pleasure to present this to Dr Robert Gendler who works with others to combine Hubble images and other data to produce beautiful and educational images. Robert has given me permission to share these images here and one of these is at the top of this page.  You will find his most recent work here.

Out of all Robert's images I selected this one as I find it personally inspiring. It is my hope that you find inspiration from this work too, perhaps in a different direction. Here is my list as it may help you with your thoughts.

The image contains frames from two different space telescopes; Hubble and Spitzer. While Hubble is going strong at 30 Spitzer was recently retired. Spitzer is effectively an infra-red camera; one of my interests. I have in mind rebuilding my IR video camera around a monochrome camera board - watch this space. I need to get back into infra-red again.

This is another image that features starburst patterns to illustrate brightness in an object - look for them in some of the brighter stars. I have in mind shooting more of these in the next week if the clouds fold back - Mercury and Venus in the same camera frame.

The image features two galaxies, classified as M81 and M82. They have been directly overhead while I have been taking my Venus pictures. During this time I have been considering the fact that they should be achievable objects for my DSLR and camera lenses too. It won't be as good as Hubble and Spitzer but for me it is the challenge of achieving the picture that matters. Maybe even with the Moon camera.

If you find these type of images appealing check out more of Robert's work and Science Photographer of the Year . There is also a whole genre of Citizen science out there. Be inspired!