Coronavirus: 'Astrophotography helps me cope with the lockdown'

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image copyrightDawid Glawdzin
image captionDawid Glawdzin said he enjoys the "sheer scale of everything" in the night sky, as seen from his back garden

An astronomy photographer says stargazing has helped him to "switch off" and cope with being in lockdown.

Dawid Glawdzin has been taking pictures from his garden in Southend for about a year, posting them in Facebook groups.

He said he had seen a "big rise" in questions from people asking about the hobby since social distancing rules were brought in to fight coronavirus.

His photos have been taken with a DSLR camera and tripod but he said anyone could start with a high-end smartphone.

image copyrightDawid Glawdzin
image captionHe uses a high-end camera but said some smartphones are capable of capturing decent images of the moon

Mr Glawdzin, 37, has had a lifelong love of astronomy and photography and decided to learn how to capture images of the skies.

"You see plenty of nebulas and galaxies out there. It's the sheer scale of everything which shows how small and insignificant we are," he said.

"Rather than spending time looking at the news and social media, which can be depressing, I'd rather switch it off and focus on something more positive."

image copyrightDawid Glawdzin
image captionThe Andromeda Galaxy is approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth

Mr Glawdzin said the biggest challenge with being restricted to taking photos from his home had been light pollution and he spent a lot of time processing pictures afterwards to try to eliminate it.

"Typically, I take between 60-200 individual frames then stack, or blend, them together to one single image," he said.

He uses a good quality DSLR camera and a tracking device, which rotates according to the Earth's rotation to allow for clearer images.

But he insisted people could capture the moon and Milky Way with a cheaper DSLR or a decent smartphone and a tripod using night mode or manual settings.

image copyrightDawid Glawdzin
image captionDawid Glawdzin said he had been learning astrophotography for about a year
image copyrightDawid Glawdzin
image captionHe uses a DSLR camera and a tracking device but no telescope

Mr Glawdzin said: "Lots of people are getting into it and I've noticed a big rise in the number of questions I'm being asked.

"The feedback I've had has been rewarding. It helps me deal with everything."

image copyrightDawid Glawdzin
image captionThe Rosette Nebula lies some 5,000 light-years away
image copyrightDawid Glawdzin
image captionThe Pleiades star cluster

All photos by Dawid Glawdzin

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