A pediatrician has described how his love of space observation has grown during the Covid-19 lockdown. Syed Tahar, from Leicestershire, has taken detailed pictures of phenomenons like Comet NEOWISE and the pinwheel galaxy Messier 101 from his back garden. He said astrophotography - the art of capturing the night sky on camera - is "something [he] can use to get away from life's daily stresses".
SYED TAHAR: I've always kind of liked photography generally, as a hobby anyway. But I just found the fact that you could just have this vast, almost endless reach of space that you could photograph for your entire lifetime and never actually even break the, you know, skim the surface of what's out there. I found that quite appealing, quite fascinating.
It's something that I can use to get away from all of life's daily stresses. You know, being by myself at night, tinkering with the equipment, just gazing upwards, seeing what I can see. And at the end of the night, hopefully have some nice pictures to show for it. It's a labor of love doing this kind of photography.
My two favorite photographs. I think the first one has to be Comet NEOWISE. I think everyone knows about that comet. It's beautiful, so many different colors, and it's so bright as well. And it's not going to come back for another 6,000 years. Then the second one is Messier 101, which is the Pinwheel Galaxy. It's really quite an amazing galaxy because there's so many detailed regions you could look at of, you know, star formation, their velocity, as well as the fact that there's a black hole in the center of it, which pulls all the mass into the middle. So yes, it's a fascinating galaxy to study and look at.
When things do go right, the feeling is indescribable, if I'm honest. Because it's something you've worked on. It's something that's up there for everyone to see, but not everyone can see it. You know, if you look up there, that's actually what's there. But you will never be able to see that with the naked eye. But here it is in a picture.