In the era where one can take amazing pictures through smartphones, it has become very hard to crave your name and get fame as a photographer. Besides, it becomes even harder when it comes to astrophotography as one need to take images that are even beyond the human eye. Only experienced hands can snap the perfect shot with patience, skills, and the right equipment. However, breaking that stereotypes, the Maharashtrian Pune-based teenager boy has managed to take such shots and became a world sensation these days.
At the age of 16, when every other teenager is busy making the reels and uploading the stories, Prathmesh Jaju, an amateur astronomer, and aspiring astrophotographer was striving to take the clearest image of the moon. And we can say that his efforts indeed paid off. After turning into a night owl and striving for nearly 40 hours he was successful in snapping the clearest and most detailed photos of the moon. His snapshots are incredibly detailed and the clearest, that even professionals are stunned by the breathtaking photos.
Jaju is a student of Class 10 in Vidya Bhavan School, Pune. He is a student of the Pune-based astronomy club Jyotirvidya Parisanstha (JVP) where he learned almost everything about astronomy. However, he generated interest in Astrophotography, through web articles and YouTube videos. From then, he started pursuing knowledge about Astrophotography and learned Astrophotography and the process to stitch the photos together.
With the aim to snap moon in his camera, Jaju also studied the moon's positions and determined May 3 to be the ideal time to shoot. Jaju used Celestron 5 Cassegrain OTA (telescope), a ZWO ASI120MC-S super-speed USB camera, SkyWatcher EQ3-2 tripod/mount, GSO 2X BARLOW lens. The images of the Moon are a result of 55,000 images comprising data of over 186 gigabytes which almost killed his laptop. It is an HDR Composite of two different images made to give it a 3-dimensional effect.
He said, “I captured the image on May 3 at 1 am. I captured for around four hours with videos and images. It took 38-40 hours for processing. The reason behind 50,000 pictures was to get the clearest picture of the moon. When I stitched them together, the final file was around 600 MB.”
The photo shows craters, textures, dips, shadows, and a variety of colors among other details the naked human eye isn't able to see. The brown and bluish-grey tones of the Moon depicted the different mineral compositions on the lunar surface. The lunar craters are visible in the extremely high-resolution image.
He said that this is the clearest shot of the mineral moon of the third quarter. The last quarter Moon appears half-lit by sunshine and half-immersed in its own shadow. From Earth, we see the Moon half-lit. Also, called the third-quarter Moon, it rises in the middle of the night, appears at its highest in the sky around dawn, and sets around midday.
He used Sharpcap for capturing the image, stabilized and debayering in PIPP, stacked in AutoStakkert, Sharpened in Registax and IMPPG, Stitched, and Post-processed in Adobe Photoshop. Local Adjustments made in Lightroom and Snapseed.
Talking about photography he said Astrophotography taught me patience. “I think I have more patience now than I did in the past and I was more focused to capture the right moments, handle and process volumes of data images,” he added.
Jaju said he has been receiving calls from notable photographers and requests for prints from all around the world since this original post. Talking about his plans, he said, “I want to become an astrophysicist and study astronomy professionally but astrophotography is just a hobby for me right now.”
- Shivani Shinde