July 4, 2022

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Stunning star images taken by a Uruguayan photographer and approved by NASA

Image of the day selected by NASA in 2018
Image of the day selected by NASA in 2018

Inspired by the legacy of a grandfather interested in astronomy, little Fefo Bovier discovered his career as an astronomer in the open air after his first snapshots of planets and eclipses, and today his work is recognized by NASA.

The bite of curiosity came in the form of treasure in Uruguay’s youth, far from the movies, not shining with its gold bars, but with the crystals of its contents: spyglasses, binoculars and telescopes. .

Grandfather’s treasures

As part of this collection of tools, Bowie’s maternal grandfather, a professional optician and astronomer, kept the family home, and many years later, he sparked interest in his grandson’s night sky.

This is how he described it in an interview with Efe The 31-year-old Uruguayan astronomer, who died three years before he was born, even though he did not know about it, promises to inherit an interest in astronomy from his grandfather, who also pioneered photography. .

Photo by Fefo Bouvier, a Uruguayan astronomer, shows it in the Cerro Catedral, located in the (southern) department (province) of Maldonadio.  EFE / Fefo Bouvier /
Photo by Fefo Bouvier, a Uruguayan astronomer, shows it in the Cerro Catedral, located in the (southern) province of Maldonado. EFE / Fefo Bouvier /

“To learn more about the sky and write a blog to tell people about the astronomical phenomena that can be seen in Uruguay in the Southern Hemisphere, I started a full self-teaching study that started out very interesting,” he said. Says.

In the domino of these events, creating the blog Bouvier wanted to film what was happening in the sky, so in 2010, with his first camera, he began experimenting.

“At first I was very interested in the events: eclipses of the moon or the sun and meteor showers,” he pointed out, and he learned to photograph with special equipment he had purchased. “Lots of practice and a lot of patience.”

From the Uruguayan field to NASA

Since there was no school other than astronomy, astronomy and cosmology, he studied at the Montevideo Planetarium. Colonia del Sacramento (West) He began to be more than just a hobby in photography.

Image of the day selected by NASA in 2013
Image of the day selected by NASA in 2013

He says the picture of the connection between the Moon and Venus in 2013, taken from his place, was selected by the National Aviation Administration as the astronomical photograph of the day, which goes hand in hand with early recognition. American space (NASA).

“It’s a kickoff, it gave me guidance on whether I have an accessible audience here, because it had many repercussions at the time and motivated me to pursue it,” he estimates.

When he noted that patience is important in astronomical photography, it was decided from what point the event should be recorded. “You have to capture multiple images and combine them into a post-production,” Bouvier explains.

“There were two or three of us when I started photographing the sky in Uruguay; now thanks to advances in technology I can even photograph the Milky Way with a high-quality cell phone. I have an interesting team of about 10 Uruguayan photographers working with me,” he promises.

Once again as the author of the photo recording the annual Gemini meteor shower from the Uruguayan field selected by NASA on December 16th, the astronomical photographer touches on a key issue: Uruguay’s locations are too clear to photograph the stars.

Photo provided by Uruguayan astronomer Fefo Bouvier showing the annual rainfall of Geminites recorded in the Department of Soriano (southwest) (province) and was selected as the astronomical photograph of the day on December 16, 2021 by NASA.  EFE / Fefo Bouvier /
Photo provided by Uruguayan astronomer Fefo Bouvier showing the annual rainfall of Geminites recorded in the Department of Soriano (southwest) (province) and was selected as the astronomical photograph of the day on December 16, 2021 by NASA. EFE / Fefo Bouvier /

Look at the stars

When he started taking photos, there was no information about what were the best places to do this in the country, so he started creating a “kind of database” to help others.

So in 2020 he created his “Look at the Stars” project, through which he spread the best sites like Cerro de la Fuena Vista between two beautiful tourist destinations, Rocha (southeast), Valisas and Cabo Bolonio. No electricity.

”Then we have the Salto del Benedict Park in Lavalleja (southeast), which is public and highly visited; Zero Cattle in Moldonado is the highest point in Uruguay (514 meters) and has a completely clear sky of light pollution, ”he added.

Explaining that it is based on the Bortle scale, which measures the level of light pollution, Bouvier called for raising awareness about the conservation of these landscapes and sees new opportunities on the horizon such as helping to improve “astronomical tourism”.

(With information from EFE)

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