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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Photo number 8, The Chinese Dragon

Chinese Dragon, 
This is the only image in the World showing the constellation Cygnus so deep and detailed

Image is reduced to size of 2600 x 4200 pixels from the original 30.000 x 17.000 pixels. Click for a large image, it's worth it! Mosaic image was shot between September 2010 and December 2020

NEW, a Zoomable image

Click for a large image, area of interest ids marked as white rectangle

The Dragon, 4K-MOVIE
Duration ~one minute

About this photo

This photo means a lot to me personally. Not only due to large amount of work and time I spent with this area of sky, it also has a deeper meaning for me.

When you spent a decade working with a one photo to get it ready, it's like a long marriage. The passionate love is slowly turning to a deeper connection and at the end you'll grow together and can't live without the others company. As in marriage, during the years I have had friction in the relationship, even hate. But after desperate times the love always wins.

I'm a perfectionist, when dealing with my photography. This feature is essential  for a great results but it also can cause problems in relationship. There have been times when I almost get a divorce and started looking for another, easier target since I couldn't get out all of the extreme dim and difficult details I wanted to see and show. I didn't even know, if they are there since there wasn't any references to compare. I didn't give up and finally after long nights and hundreds of exposure hours I get what I was after. Now we can grow old together and I know for sure, I will always find something new and existing from my love one, the Chinese Dragon..

Total exposure time is way over 600 hours, they are shot between 2010 and 2020. Some areas of this mosaic panorama required more exposure time than others. There are two very diffused supernova remnants in this mosaic. Both are large and extremely dim. I have used about 170 hours of exposures for them alone! There aren't any deep and large enough photos around showing them well. 

I have started this imaging project back at 2010. My aim was to make a high resolution mosaic covering the whole constellation Cygnus. Work like that takes time and patience, especially since I have worked so, that many of the individual sub mosaics or frames can be published as an individual artworks. Here is a poster format presentation about all of the longer focal length images used for this mosaic beside longer focal length panels.

(3300 x 5500 pixels)

A location for each photo is marked at the older version of the mosaic image of the constellation Cygnus at center.

As a result I have now a huge 95 panel mosaic panorama covering 28 x 18 degrees of sky.  I have collected photons way over 600 hours during past ten years for this photo. The full size mosaic image has a size of about 25.000 x 15.000 pixels.

Two + one supernova remnants, two Wolf Rayet stars and a black hole

There are two large supernova remnants visible in this photo, first the Cygnus Shell W63 , bluish ring at upper left quarter, secondly the large SNR G65.3+5.7 at utmost right.
Just outside of the field of view lays the famous Veil Nebula SNR 
at bottom middle.

Beside two supernova remnants there are two Wolf Rayet stars with outer shell formations. NGC 6888, the Crescent Nebula at center of the image and the WR 134, it can be seen as a blue arch just right from the Crescent Nebula, near the Tulip nebula.

Next to the Tulip Nebula lays a Black hole Cygnus X-1.

Constellation Cygnus is an endless source of celestial wonders, both scientifically and aesthetically. For me, as an visual artist, this area of night sky is very inspiring There are endless amount of  amazing shapes and structures, I can spend rest of my life just shooting images from this treasury.

Please, click the image for full resolution

Note. The third supernova remnant is marked at this image, it's just outside of the actual field of view. I left it out on purpose due to compositional reasons.

Technical details

Original resolution in pixels, 25.000 x 15.000

The NASA astronomer wrote about this image:

In brush strokes of interstellar dust and glowing gas, this beautiful skyscape is painted across the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy near the northern end of the Great Rift and the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Composed over a decade with 400 hours of image data, the broad mosaic spans an impressive 28x18 degrees across the sky. Alpha star of Cygnus, bright, hot, supergiant Deneb lies at the left. Crowded with stars and luminous gas clouds Cygnus is also home to the dark, obscuring Northern Coal Sack Nebula and the star forming emission regions NGC 7000, the North America Nebula and IC 5070, the Pelican Nebula, just left and a little below Deneb. Many other nebulae and star clusters are identifiable throughout the cosmic scene. Of course, Deneb itself is also known to northern hemisphere skygazers for its place in two asterisms, marking a vertex of the Summer Triangle, the top of the Northern Cross.

This is a large area of sky! (28 x 18 degrees) The mosaic photo is in mapped colours, from the emission of ionized elements, R=Sulphur, G=Hydrogen and B=Oxygen. Image has over five million stars visible in it. 

I have used several optical configurations for this mosaic image during the years. Up to 2014 I was using an old Meade LX200 GPS 12" scope, QHY9 astrocam, Canon EF 200mm f1.8 camera optics and baader narrowband filter set.
After 2014 I have had 10-micron 1000 equatorial mount, Apogee Alta U16 astro camera, Tokina AT-x 200mm f2.8 camera lens and the Astrodon 50mm square narrowband filter set. 
I have shot many details with a longer focal length, before 2014 by using Meade 12" scope with reducer and after 2014 Celestron EDGE 11" and reducer. Quider camera has been Lodestar and Lodestar II.

A  version of this photo was selected as an Astronomical Picture Of the Day by NASA

Mosaic panels in chronological order

Here is an image about individual panels shot for this large mosaic image.
There are 37 base panels with shorter focal length tools (200mm f2.8 Tokina and 200mm f1.8 Canon) There is also 59 sub-panels used, they are shot with my old 12" Meade and 11" Celestron Edge scopes.
Here is a poster format presentation and a list all of longer focal length images used for this mosaic beside the actual panels,

Evolution of the mosaic between 2010 and 2020
Click for a large image

More info

Friday, May 7, 2021

All my photos from the Spring season 2021

After each season and year, I have made a poster format presentation about all of my images taken at that period. Spring season 2021 was little different since I got ready the massive mosaic image of the Northern Milky Way. This is only photo in the World, showing the Northern Milky Way by this accuracy and depth. There are several extremely dim objects seen in full glory at the first time in the World in this mosaic panorama.

All my photos from the Spring season 2021
Click for a large image

I have a new logo now

That's me in the silhuet. The image can be seen some kind of planetary conjunction or even a stylished Moon. But it actually shows a very typical situation when I'm about to start an imaging session and I'm looking for the sky quality. The half circle like cutting at two o'clock is showing the rear end of my telescope.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

4K videos about the Grand Mosaic of the Milky Way

The only photo in the World showing the Northern Milky Way in this accuracy and depth.


 I made two videos showing my very large imaging project, the Grand Mosaic of the Milky Way.
Original photo has so high resolution, that's impossible to show over the web, I made those videos to bring out even some of the accuracy of the original photo.

Please, use a 4K-display or the TV-set to watch the video, if possible.
It does play nicely in normal HD-display but you'll get much more out of this by using the 4K-display.



Panoramic photo of the Northern Milky Way

Monday, March 22, 2021


This is a very temporary Web Shop and I'll shut it down in near future!
You can now buy my photos as a photographic prints  

Please, have a look,

The reason for the Temporary Web Shop is that my picture of the Great Mosaic of Milky Way, went viral. I can't reply personally to all, who wants to have a photo from my collection. 

I'm a professional visual artist and my photos are always a very limited series. In this case, the limitation is done by limiting the sales time. I will inform a day or two ahead, when I'll close this Web Shop permanently.  

Thank you,

Astronomical Nature photographer J-P Metsavainio, Finland