The story of the Argentine who came to NASA

Astrophotographer Gerardo Ferrarino was walking in Villa Travol (Neuquén), 100 kilometers from Bariloche, with his mother Mabel, who was 70 years old, his sister and nephews, when he was on his way to the waterfall, he noticed the majestic sky and its sad reflection in the lake . Then he knew patiently Your vision can become a good picture.

The shot was so excellent that the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) chose its image, taken in Argentine Patagonia, as “Picture of the Day in Astronomy” (astronomical picture of the day). An honor achieved by a handful of distinguished professionals and which many others aspire to. Because NASA’s recognition on its website is a medal Distinguish the best among the best Astrophotographers of the world without the official competition.

The photo was published on September 10 under the name “Galaxy by the lake”.

“east panoramic night view The 180-degree capture captures our galaxy, the Milky Way, as it approaches the horizon on a winter night in August. At around midnight, the galactic center is near the clear waters of Lake Travol, Neuquen, Argentina, South America, and planet Earth below,” according to a NASA interpretation.

Ferrarino is from Viedma and spends most of his time taking pictures in Bahia Creek, 95 kilometers from the capital of Rio Negro, where the sky is own darkness required for these snapshots.


Andromeda photo recognized by NASA in 2020. Photo by Gerardo Ferrarino

For another infinite “pearl”, he took it in the Bahia Creek in the Andromeda Galaxy, located 2.5 million light-years away, Ferrarino Already recognized in 2020 in the same space as NASA.

“In 2014 I did basic photography course. Everyone goes their own way and in my case I have always loved nature and night photography. I started taking pictures with the night sky and starry landscapes. And in 2018, I went to Bahía Blanca to take an astrophotography course on time. From there I woke up inside A passion for astronomy‘,” recalls the photographer, who runs the cabins in Las Grotas during the summer, which are always populated by the Patagonian resort.

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picture story

In the case of the last photo that was recognized by NASA, it contains special spices because it was his mother’s 70th birthday. On the way to the waterfall, Ferrari He was looking for clues to an important photo.

“We took a small trail in Villa Travol to see a waterfall, with my mother, my sister and my nephews. We went to Traful for her birthday. When we finished doing this tour, it occurred to me to go to the lake shore. In this place there is a camping site that operates only in summer. I managed to get to the camp and got to the beach, on the shore of the lake, beautiful,” says the photographer.

The astrophotographer captured the sky.  Gerardo Ferrari pictures
The astrophotographer captured the sky. Gerardo Ferrari pictures

“I started noticing that the snow-capped mountain peaks are very close to me and I thought it could do very well for the picture. The lake was very shallow, it wasn’t deep, and you could see all those stones that appear in the picture, the water is transparent and above that the forecast said That there would be no wind. There I realized it Could be a good picture On all these circumstances that were taking place,” he continues.

“I came back at 10:30 p.m. with a guard from the cabins I was staying in and we got off the truck, got off. He’ll pick me up About 45 minutes to focus and take pictures. I took 10 photos. When I came back I started to edit it and that’s when I realized I had left a beautiful picture,” he concludes.

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Ferrarino describes the special climate, lighting and even psychic Which must match to take a picture Capture the night sky at its widest.

Creek Bay in the lens of the photographer.  Gerardo Ferrarino's photo
Creek Bay in the lens of the photographer. Gerardo Ferrarino’s photo

“These kinds of images are planned and a lot. They need many conditions in order to happen. First of all, it doesn’t have to be a light-polluted sky. It should be Far from the big cities And the sky is very dark,” he explains.

As if that weren’t enough, an astrophotographer has to take into account the Earth’s rotation to compose his image. “In the case of landscape photography, such as the Villa Travol photography, since the planet’s rotation makes the sky move, you have little time to take that picture, 20 seconds at most, more than that, the star begins to become a streak, a trail due to the same rotation of the Earth. When you shoot in deep space You compensate for the rotation of the Earth with a tropical mountain and follows the body in the sky,” he explains in detail.

The sky has to be completely dark to achieve these shots.  Gerardo Ferrarino's photo
The sky has to be completely dark to achieve these shots. Gerardo Ferrarino’s photo

“At Villa Traful, it is Bortle 2’s paradise, on a Bortle scale of 9 it is the worst (case) and 1 is the best. Traful’s is a very dark and clean sky. There shouldn’t be a moon either, because Acting like a giant lantern Which obscures the weakest things in deep space. All that could be seen would not have been seen if there was a full moon or a quarter moon. The weather should be nice, there should be no clouds and no wind. In this case because it makes few waves and no wind The sky was reflected in the lake“, law Project.

“In the afternoon when I went to the place I saw all the ground so that there would be no mess when walking at night and I was more or less imagining how I would take the picture. At night, I took 10 pictures because I wanted to cover 180 degrees. I took five pictures of a part of the lake Earth and five other images with the tripod pointing upwards to capture the full arc of the galactic center,” he recalls.

The photographer says that getting these images requires a great deal of technical knowledge.  Gerardo Ferrarino's photo
The photographer says that getting these images requires a great deal of technical knowledge. Gerardo Ferrarino’s photo
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The specialist warns that achieving such a high-impact capture requires a Extensive technical knowledge. “No one knows what happens behind the picture, the work that goes into it and the knowledge that goes into that end result. There are times when everything goes well and times when you get frustrated at night because you’re not getting what you want,” he said.

He asserts that the link between astrophotography and astronomy itself is clear and necessary.

“The photography I do takes you to astronomy and sexy astronomy. Understand a little about the position of our planet in the solar system, then in the galaxy, then in the galaxy group, the distances, the interesting things, to know where all the elements of the periodic table that we studied earlier from high school came from, the core of the stars, the light that comes from far away ”, as Says.

Mysteries of the universe, through the lens of Patagonian astrophotographer Photo Gerardo Ferrarino
Mysteries of the universe, through the lens of Patagonian astrophotographer Photo Gerardo Ferrarino

And she remembers: “At another time I took a picture of the Andromeda galaxy. It’s 2.5 million light-years away, which means that the light you capture is on the camera’s sensor. He came out 2.5 million years ago from that place. You see the galaxy as it was 2.5 million years ago. All this kind of stuff blows your mind“.

Bariloche. Reporter

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