Master of nebulas and galaxies: Francesco De Fabiani and his astrophotography

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Francesco ‘s astrophotography kit:
-Celestron 1400 Edge HD
-ZWO ASI2600MC-Color(cooled)
-SONY A7SII (astromodified)
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Starry, starry night…
We found the right spot to talk: Aurora Borealis was raging in the night skies of Northern Finland even if our conversation was about much deeper space. Introducing Francesco De Fabiani, one the leaders of the Italian team – and a keen photographer:

“….The astrophotography is my hobby. It all began some 1.5 years ago – and the Covid pandemics was the main reason:
I had to styr at home for a month, there was a total lockdown in our part of Italy and I was looking for something to occupy myself. I was always passionate about photography but astrophotography was something entirely new. I started by buying a telescope, the type that follows the stars in the skies so it can take photos with long exposure during the night.
Now I have a modified Sony full frame camera and also a dedicated astrophotography camera but of course I’m just a beginner.

Pleiades

I travel all the time and I train for some 4 hours per day plus massage, stretching, nap etc. – I can’t stay up all night to watch the skies. My equipment stays at home in Gressoney-Saint-Jean, Aosta, I’ve built a little observatory there – I program what I want to film that particular night then go to bed. Recently I bought more powerful telescope. So I control everything remotely via Internet from wherever I currently am in the world

Elephant Trunk nebula

Why? It’s fascinating – you can see what eyes alone can’t see. It gives me satisfaction from looking at good photos – but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. And, frankly, not everyone understands my passion for it when they learn about it. Even when I publish my pictures on Instagram I see that not everyone gets it – my fans seems to care more about my sporting career, not my astrophotography achievements.

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Helix Nebula

It’s an expensive hobby to have – you gotta buy a lot of gear first , but then it’s virtually free, you don’t have to pay anything. Instead of going on vacation or buying something else , I got that gear.

No, I don’t see astrophotography or astronomy as my future. After I hang my skis for good, I would probably go to college full time – it wouldn’t be easy at the age of 30+, but I’m considering it.

Pelican Nebula

But for now the astrophotography is a perfect hobby for my lifestyle : I train hard here in Finland, I have to dedicate a lot of time for recovery – all the while my automated rig takes pictures, as instructed and programmed, so I don’t have to be involved!
Of course, I’m exaggerating: once programmed, the astrocamera takes about 100 to 150 images per night. You have to choose the best ones and then to stack them with a dedicated software. Then you begin to see something : true colors and proportions.

My favorite objects are galaxies but they are really small for my amateur rig so I also take pictures of nebulas. My favourite are the Pleiades star cluster and the Orion nebulas – they are bright and much fun to photograph

Andromeda Galaxy

All spatial photos are courtesy of Francesco De Fabiani / all photos of Francesco DeFa – dailyskier.com

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