A Star Photographer On Chasing the Hidden Beauty of the Universe - Atlas Obscura
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A Star Photographer On Chasing the Hidden Beauty of the Universe

For over 20 years, Dr. Travis Rector has been documenting elusive cosmic matter.

“People often think that art and science are in conflict, and that’s not true at all,” says Dr. Travis Rector, a physics and astronomy professor at University of Alaska, Anchorage. And as both a scientist and a photographer, his work is proof of that. Rector points his camera upwards, capturing the vastness of the Alaskan sky and the wonders of the universe it holds.

Using a telescope, Rector photographs stars and nebulae that are too faint for the human eye to see and makes them into vivid images. As he tells Indie Alaska in this short video, “The colors and the images depend on the kind of filters we use and what kind of light we’re looking at. What my images do is translate what the telescope can see into something your eyes can see.”

Rector has been capturing the beauty of the universe for over 20 years, and his images have appeared in media outlets such as the New York Times and National Geographic, as well as being used for research at observatories worldwide. “These images are beautiful,” Rector says in the video. “It’s exciting for me to put together an image and perhaps see an object in a way that no one’s ever seen before.”

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