Astronomy Photo of the Day produced by American and Italian amateurs

To make the detailed portrait of M17, the Omega Nebula, Roberto Colombari combined archived data from the Subaru Telescope with a full-color astrophotograph captured by Robert Gendler. Astronomy Photo of the Day featured their work on May 27. Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait expanded on the scientific background to explain what creates the beautiful structure of glowing gas clouds.

The 8.2 meter diameter Subaru Telescope sits at the peak of Mauna Kea, the 4,000 meter tall dormant volcano in Hawaii. Like many observatories, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan provides public access to the Subaru’s data. Colombari, an Italian telecommunications consultant living in Brazil, downloaded 40 images taken by the Subaru telescope in the 671 nanometer wavelength emitted by hydrogen in the nebula’s glowing clouds. After stitching the 40 images together Colombari merged the resulting mosaic with Gendler’s color image to create the final photo.

You can read more about Colombari on iTelescope’s Members-in-Focus. He describes how he got started with astrophotography and how he uses iTelescope’s networked observatory to balance the competing demands of family and hobby. You can see more images on Colombari's Astrobin site. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific wrote a profile of Gendler, who has authored several books on amateur astrophotography. You can find the article, as well as more astro images, on Gendler's website.