Planetary Imaging with Blake Estes

Purpose: Blake Estes joins Dustin and Tony to give guidance on his world-renowned imaging techniques, along with discussing his involvement with two major observatories.

Blake Estes: Among the top planetary imagers in the world, Blake Estes works with two of the most important observatories in the United States, the Griffith Observatory and Mount Wilson.

This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • Great images don’t require top-of-the-line equipment
  • The fascinating histories of 2 major observatories
  • About the monumental discoveries made by these observatories
  • Techniques to try and challenges to overcome with planetary imaging

Notable Quotes:

“Light pollution can be overcome.”

We’re always looking for the new thing we can do that’s bigger and better”

“The modern universe was discovered here in California, and also the expansion of it.”

Main Topics:

7:50 - Matching Talent with Equipment

Something often overlooked is the value of truly understand the equipment and what it is we can do with what we have. Blake Estes is a prime example of this concept. During the early days of his astro imaging, he’d been using equipment over a decade old and still produced incredible results. This idea and Blake’s experience are discussed in this segment.

13:03 -The Story Behind Griffith Observatory

Blake relates his experience of getting started with Griffith Observatory as well as the curious and unexpected backstory behind the primary and secondary telescopes. From Griffith’s iconic architecture to the complications of World War II, stay a while and listen as the story unfolds.

27:35 -Discovering the Modern Universe

The modern perspective of our universe and the theory of its expansion were both researched and discovered at these two historic observatories.

We learn about variable stars, so-called “cosmic lighthouses,” and the pivotal role these played in establishing our perspective of the modern universe. The prominent Edwin Hubble paved the way to the foundations of our current astronomical reality.

40:06 -Imaging with Light Pollution and General Advice

Dealing with light pollution can be a pain, but we have ways to work around it with filters and modified techniques. Astro imaging is possible wherever we are, more or less. In this section, we learn about the concept of “seeing” as it relates to astronomy and what practices we can employ to ensure better images.

54:00 -Strange Storms on Uranus and Neptune

While imaging in his free time, Blake has found the 4th major storm ever discovered on these neighboring planets. He is now working with other professionals to discuss the importance of this discovery.

Like what you’ve listened to? Hate what you’ve heard? Let us know in the comments below.

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Women are often underrepresented in the STEM fields both educationally and professionally. Why is that? Skylias, a famous astronomy personality joins the podcast to relate her experiences in the field. Listen in here.

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Travis Burke of National Geographic joins us to talk about his experiences with photography and astrophotography. Check it out here!

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