Recently, I've been pointing my camera straight up, at the pitch black of night. Or it seems that way at first.
Astrophotography is a method of using a regular digital camera and long lens, combined with some special tripod equipment, to take very long (2 1/2 minute) pictures of the night sky. Over several hours, I'll take dozens of pictures of the same area of the sky and use some free software to "stack" the exposures to reduce the noise and amplify the light signal. After some tweaking in Photoshop, some unbelievable sights appear.
These are the Heart and Soul Nebulae. This view actually covers more of the sky than 8 full moons! Objects like this are floating around the night sky but they're too dim for human eyes to pick up, even under our pitch black, light-pollution-free Alaskan skies. The camera is able to pull in these real colors and magnify them.
Other objects like this group of 3 galaxies, known as the Leo Triplet, are just really tiny in the sky. The farthest galaxy in this image is over 35 million light years away! I think it's incredible that God would put things like this in the night sky for us to get to explore and enjoy through a telescope or camera lens.
Some objects are closer to home. The bright orange spot on the left is the planet Mars. The blue cluster on the right is the Pleiades, hundreds of light years away. You can see both of these with your naked eye depending on the time of year.
When the Bible says in Psalm 147:4 " He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name,"(NIV) this is the number of stars He is talking about. Not the couple dozen you can see from a city, but trillions and trillions of stars throughout the universe. I am thankful to get to take a look at just some of these and praise the God who created them.