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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Deep Sky Colors: A Gorgeous Astrophotography Book

By Phil Plait

I don’t plug stuff much on the blog for a lot of reasons, but one is that I only want to endorse things I truly, actually like. If I just shill for a bunch of stuff there’s not much reason to trust me, but if I save it for the really special stuff, well then, you’ll know it’s special.

This is special.

Rogelio Bernal Andreo’s book, Deep Sky Colors, is a ridiculously stunning collection of his astrophotographs. Andreo’s work is simply phenomenal, and basically you should just go and buy both that book and his other, Hawai’i Nights, because your brain will love you for it. Both are available on his website. You can even grab a free PDF of Hawai'i Nights, too.

When he asked me to write the foreword for Deep Sky Colors, I didn’t even hesitate. It was an easy decision, and easy to write: His photos have had quite the effect on me.

With his permission, I am posting what I wrote for the foreword. I’ll leave you with it, and with this: The holidays are coming. Wouldn’t it be nice to have at least some of the shopping done this soon?

I remember when I first saw one of Rogelio Bernal Andreo’s photographs.
It was in 2010. I don’t remember how I found him; probably someone sent me a link to his work. I write a lot about the beauty and majesty of the skies, and love to feature the work of so-called “amateur” astronomers, many of whom have a dedication to the sky and the talent to photograph it unsurpassed by anyone.
Over the years, the hardest part of writing about these photos is simply picking them; there are so many accomplished astrophotographers out there, and it gets to the point where I only want to feature something unusual — an odd framing of a familiar object, some deep sky galaxy usually unseen, or a balance of filters and exposures not generally used.
So I probably “ho-hummed” to myself as I clicked the link to Rogelio’s mosaic of Orion; after all, who hasn’t seen a million photos of this constellation?
When his photo came up on my screen, I may have choked on my morning coffee. It’s magnificent. And truly unique, showing a depth and beauty I had literally never seen before; the nebulosity strewn across the constellation sharp and colorful, every color balanced, the stars spread like jewels on polychrome velvet.
It was, quite simply, the most beautiful astrophotograph I had ever seen. That’s why I chose it as the Number 1 photo of 2010 on my blog. It really is that amazing.
In the time since then Rogelio has been kind enough to let me use his photos on my blog and in educational videos as well. They’ve improved my own work hugely. It’s surprising to me that a good, deep photo of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies is difficult to find online. When we needed one for the Crash Course Astronomy video series I turned to Rogelio, and sure enough he had the exact, perfect shot for it. He graciously allowed us to use several more as well, and the series was the better for it.
The ridiculously beautiful book that follows these words is a showcase of Rogelio’s work, and is a powerful reminder of how much beauty exists in the world and above it. It takes a sharp eye and imaginative brain to be able to display it as he does, and we get to enjoy all his hard work.
If there is a match made in heaven — or in the heavens — it’s Rogelio and the night sky. The photos in this book will prove it.
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