Photographing stars is tricky, to say the least. You need long exposures to capture their faint light, but they are permanently in motion, so you also need a tripod mount that rotates in sync with the Earth’s spin. Nick Risingerset out with his retired father, on a journey in which they covered 45,000 miles by air and 15,000 by land, from the desert of Nevada to the Northern Cape of South Africa, with the goal of photographing the entire night sky. The project, called the Photopic Sky Survey is a 5,000 megapixel photograph stitched together from 37,440 exposures.
The process of stitching alone took many months of work. Each piece of this puzzle is just 12 degrees wide. An interactive 360º is available to see on Risingerset’s website.
Six air-cooled Finger Lakes ML-8300 monochrome cameras were used, each fitted with their own lenses and filters. The image is spectacular, not only because of the technical complexity involved, including very specialized software, but also because a lot of the starlight that we see in this photograph comes from stars that probably don’t exist anymore. This is in a way a photograph of the past.