This image was produced with a RCOS half meter telescope and a SBIG STL-11000 camera between November 29- December 1, 2005.
Exposure times: 255 minutes Luminance, 90 minutes Red, 54 minutes Green and 108 minutes Blue (1X1)

NGC 1300 in Eridanus

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Astronomers in Love

Galaxies fascinate me more than any deep space object. Not only for their beauty but because I always wonder, whether seeing them though an eyepiece or in a picture, how many eyes are looking back across the gulf that separates us from each other. I will never know, it's probably foolish to speculate, but I still ponder what they would see and think as they peered back in our direction. For all our accomplishments, for all our history, for all our current challenges and dreams of a better future, to eyes in another island universe, we would be as utterly invisible and inconsequential as their eyeballs appear to us.

Yet, I still recall my first trip into space- the countdown and blastoff occurred during early childhood. For some, the launch pad may have been in a dark back yard or at a theater, through a nighttime bedroom window or sitting with a picture book. Imagination is the Saturn rocket of young minds also filled with talking animals, action figures and dreams of growing tall as parents. For me, liftoff occurred one October night in '57, waist high to the side of my Dad while he pointed at Sputnik overhead. By the close of that evening, the sky was forever different, a place where spaceships flew and soon, people would travel.

So, how do we reconcile the caprice of youth with the certainties of maturity? I believe an answer can be found if you consider an astro-imaging discussion list of which I am a member:
    We are joined in a global gathering of people who contribute their thoughts and their talents, but until we meet or until our phrases form familiar patterns, we are not flesh and blood to each other, only words and space images- but that doesn't stop most of us. Whether reaching across the vastness of space, towards our spouse, or our keyboard and mouse, we share a human desire to experience life, not alone, but through the companionship of others. It's fundamental to our existence like the oxygen we breath, therefore, since I believe the reason for life is to share it, I humbly submit, our forte for deepest space and our congregation on the list is, at least in part, because We are astronomers in love- with living!

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