Astronomy Photographer of the Year winners SEP 10 2009
The Royal Observatory has announced the winners of its Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest.
I had no idea that images this sharp and detailed could be taken with non-pro ground telescopes...particularly these shots of the Horsehead Nebula and the surface of the Moon. More winners listed here.
Update: Jonathan Crowe notes that the gear used to take these photos isn't cheap.
The winner's photo of the Horsehead Nebula (mpastro2001 also had a second photo in the top five) used a 12 1/2" Ritchey-Chretien telescope ($21,500) and an SBIG STL11000 camera ($7,195 and up) with an AO-L adaptive optics accessory ($1,795) on a Paramount ME mount ($14,500). Total cost for just the equipment mentioned here: $44,990.