These stunningly detailed photographs of the Large Magellanic cloud (LMC) are the work of five amateur astronomers who operate an observatory in Chile. Seen as a faint cloud in the Southern Hemisphere, it only took ten months and about 4,000 photographs to create the whole detailed close up picture. That’s real dedication! Not surprisingly, the photograph was named NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for 3 May 2019.

Association Ciel Austral is a group of five astronomy devotees who combine their experience and passion for the stars to create amazing images of outer space. The featured photograph of the LMC, a smaller galaxy inside the gravitational pull of the Milky Way, required dedicated team work which, together with their combined experience they created an extraordinary view of the galaxy.

They spent five months in 2017 and five months in 2018 photographing 2,936 frames to create a 4×4 mosiac spanning over five degrees or ten full moons. Two computer were used to pre-process the frames and align the mosaic, a process that took eight days with numerous reiterations to find the perfect alignment. The 620 gigabytes of data took two months to complete.

Team Ciel Austral estimate it took 1,060 hours of exposure time with their 160mm refracting telescope and totally worth their efforts. The final photo measures 14400 x 14200 pixels and is a 204 megapixel masterpiece of colour and depth.

Image Credit & Copyright: Team Ciel Austral

Ciel Austral: Website

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