Imaging from Time Square with Steven Swancoat
Purpose: This week we discuss astrophotography and visual observing in the most light-polluted cities around the world, starting with Times Square in New York. Our hosts and guest talk about the first ever event of its kind set up in the heart of New York, and the exciting future ahead.
Steven Swancoat: An OB-Gyn, an artist, a filmmaker, and an astrophotographer based out of New York, Steven Swancoat is a lively personality with a lot going on at all times. Currently, he is making a documentary about OPT Telescopes and astrophotography.
This Episode You’ll Learn:
- The incredible life of Steven Swancoat
- How anyone can get into astrophotography
- The crazy story of trying to image in Times Square
- About the upcoming documentary featuring OPT
- Why the new Triad filter is a game-changer
“When you’re passionate about something, you make time for it.” - Steven Swancoat
“The constant challenge kept me going and wanting to learn more.” - Steven Swancoat
“People think you can’t even see stars--let alone image deep space--in light polluted areas. This is false.” - Dustin Gibson
4:27 - The OPT Documentary
A year-long process and spanning across states and countries, Steven aims to inspire people to look up to the sky and really take a moment to appreciate it all. The film will feature several astrophotographers, amateur and professional alike, alongside OPT holding a prominent role. With all of the advances and innovation in the industry, it’s necessary that the game-changing OPT is involved in the film.
11:50 - How Passion Takes Hold - Astrophotography and Medicine
Most beginners get frustrated early on in astrophotography because they just can’t seem to understand it all right away and, when they are getting it, are still at the mercy of the weather. Once we embrace the challenge, we learn to love it and push ourselves and our equipment to the limit. Sure we can do astro imaging in the desert, but I want to try it in Times Square.
“Astrophotography is more difficult than medicine” according to Steven Swancoat. But the challenge is exactly why we stick with it. We explore the challenges that come with picking up astrophotography when you’re already too busy to sleep! From the basics of attaching a camera to your telescope to the advanced concepts of autoguiding and multi-filter imaging, we cover what’s most daunting to newcomers.
28:36 - Astro Imaging in Times Square
Dustin and Steven relate the compelling story of their trip to Times Square. Surrounded by the eccentricity of New York City, Dustin, Steven, and their OPT crew set up telescopes in Times Square to capture the skies above. Unfortunately, this misunderstood endeavor was short-lived and shut down by the U.S. Counter-Terrorism Unit, but, not to be discouraged, OPT will be back.
43:06 - Status of the Documentary
While the documentary is still in the early stages, Steven’s vision is clear and he’s already compiled plenty of information and footage to build a strong foundation. His plan is both personal and professional in concept, and he will give this project the time it needs. Listen in as he tells of his journey so far and where it’s bringing him. But be careful of those Flat Earthers along the way!
51:46 - What’s to Come - Space Chasers
We discuss the future of the documentary and how to get the message out there, along with future prospects for Steven and our hosts. With subject matter this important, we must spread the message across the globe.
Like what you listened to? Hate what you’ve heard? Let us know in the comments below!
For more astronomical innovation check out our podcast here with Ralph Emerson of PlaneWave Instruments, a world-renowned telescope company.
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