The Seven Sisters is the most important picture of my career

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Riyadh – Muhammad Al-Wasiri – The Saudi astrophotographer Abu Bakr Abdullah began his career as a photographer for the Saudi Club at the University of Arizona in the United States of America, and among his tasks was to cover the celebrations and club events such as holidays, the National Day and other events, and after his graduation and his return to the homeland and during the Corona pandemic and home quarantine, He decided to enter and try the field of astrophotography.

Gulf Follow-up 365She met an astrophotographer and had this conversation:

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Tell us about yourself and the beginning of your practice of astrophotography?

Abu Bakr Abdullah, 28 years old, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Arizona in the United States of America.

My beginning in the field of photography in general was during my period at the university, where I was working as a photographer for the Saudi Club at the university. I decided to enter and try the field of astrophotography; As I am attracted to everything related to the vast space, knowing that I did not have any background in this field, whether scientific or photographic information.

But after following several astrophotographers in the Arab world, I decided to go through the experiment. In January 2021, I used my own camera with a 135 mm focal length lens and a star tracker, and photographed my first astronomical image of the Orion Nebula, which is the brightest nebula in the sky.

What equipment is used and how is it made?

Astrophotography equipment is divided into two sections, each section having its uses; The first section is concerned with imaging planets, the sun, and the moon, and the second section is concerned with imaging distant bodies such as nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters. Imaging the sun, moon, and planets is the easiest and cheapest section in this field. All a photographer needs is a high focal length telescope with a tracking device and a small astronomical camera.

He pointed out that the most famous telescope in this section is the Celestron 127slt telescope, which comes with a special star tracker and an automatic guiding device, and the photographer does not need to move away from light pollution in order to photograph these objects. As for photographing nebulae and galaxies, the photographer needs an astronomical camera with a cooling system, a telescope with lenses dedicated to photographing abyssal bodies, a very accurate tracking device and some other accessories, in addition to staying away from light pollution and photographing the object for long hours.

How many days does it take for the photo to appear?

Astrophotography of abyssal bodies requires photographing the object for very long hours. The more hours the crime was photographed, the better detailed the result. But mostly shooting abyssal bodies requires at least 8 hours of shooting outside the city lights to get a satisfactory result. As for those inside the city, the photographer will need at least 20 hours of photography over a period of several days. Of course, the number of hours required varies from one object to another, depending on the strength of the lighting of this object.

What type of telescope do you use?

There are two main types of telescopes (reflecting and refractor), each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I own one telescope of each type. My reflecting telescope is the iOptron RC6, which I use to photograph small objects because the telescope has a high focal length. As for the William Optics Z61 refractor, I use it to photograph large objects such as nebulae.

Can photography help astronomical discoveries?

Of course, astrophotography can greatly help in discovering new objects in space. The closest example of this is what a number of astrophotographers did last month with the discovery of a new nebula composed of triple oxygen gas located above the nearest galaxy to us (the Andromeda Galaxy). Space is still very full of undiscovered objects.

What are your future plans in this field?

One of my most important plans in this field is to spread the culture of astrophotography in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia. As for future plans, I am working to own an astronomical observatory with remote control, far from light pollution, to facilitate the imaging process and come up with new results and discoveries in this field that will benefit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the field of space in general.

What is the best photograph you have taken astronomically and do you consider it to be among your achievements?

Praise be to God, I have many photos that have been published in international accounts and magazines such as NASA, BBC Sky at Night in Arabic, National Geographic, and other sites. My photo of the Pleiades cluster, or as it is called “The Seven Sisters”, which I photographed from one of the deserts of the Kingdom, I consider it the most important photo in my photography career for several reasons.

It was the first photo I photographed from the middle of the desert, and also the first photo that NASA published in their account as one of the most beautiful photos taken, in addition to that it was published in BBC Sky at Night magazine in Arabic. The Thuraya cluster is considered one of the most beautiful objects in the sky, and it is a star cluster consisting of several stars, and we can see 8 of these stars with the naked eye away from light pollution.

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