Pioneers of astrophotography and first remote robotic observatory in Georgia
14 August, 2017
 Pioneers of astrophotography and first remote robotic observatory in Georgia
Astrophotography - for some it is associated with science while others perceive it as a form of art, in fact, it is the process of taking pictures of anything not on the earth, but out in space. The first photograph of an astronomical object, the Moon, was taken in 1840, but it was not until the late 19th century that advances in technology allowed for detailed stellar photography. Today this field of photography is quite developed
and widespread throughout world and Georgia is no exception. Through astrophotography ordinary people have an opportunity to see the distant planets, galaxies, dim stars and even nebulae that are not visible to the naked human eye. Yet the process of capturing astronomical objects and large areas of the night sky is quite complex, it requires long time exposure since both film and digital cameras can accumulate and sum light photons over these long periods of time. To our excitement, more and more new Georgian astrophotographers are emerging on the scene who contribute to this field in Georgia. It is noteworthy that first private observatory is being constructed in Bazaleti, Georgia. The person behind this ambitious project is Davit Dvali, the pioneer astro-photographer and founder of Georgian astro-photographers’ club Geo-Astro. The construction works were launched in May and it is expected the observatory to be completed by the end of the year. The observatory will be multifunctional and incorporate 6 telescopes. As Davit Dvali says, the observatory will have many functions; but first of all it will serve as a constant working place for Georgian astro-photographers.

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Davit Dvali for National Geographic

“Being an atsro-photographer is quite a difficult task since it requires certain scientific knowledge, great patience and technique. I have been interested in astro-photography for several years now. In the beginning I used to work in Tbilisi for several years, but since there are no proper conditions in the city, it was quite difficult to capture astronomical objects in the sky. In 2015 I established Geo-Astro, a group of astro-photographers and we shifted to the countryside. We toured around whole Georgia in the search for dark places with suitable conditions for night sky shooting and Bazaleti (30 minutes drive from Tbilisi) turned out to be the best option”, - Author of the project says.

Here we present to you a fascinating gallery of astro photos taken by Georgian photographers in the country’s different regions. Georgian Journal contacted several of them and asked to share their personal story :
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“I have been shooting the night sky for several years already. I captured the night sky for the first time when I was hiking in the mountains and it immediately captivated me. Basically I used to take photos of Milky Way before but then I gradually became involved in shooting other space objects as well. I have been capturing deep space objects together with Geo-Astro for one year so far. Now every night is associated with photographing space. What most excites me in astrophotography is realizing the fact that we are observing objects that are million light-years away from us, that practically means we are watching the past”, notes Levan Verdzeuli.

geotv.ge"Astronomy caught my interest since early childhood, as I loved watching the sky and observing the stars. All my childish questions were about the moon, stars and sun. So I decided to learn this sphere, bought a telescope and started observing the sky. After I learned that there existed such person named David Dvali who already had significant experience in photographing space objects, I contacted him and since then I have been actively learning astrophotography with the help of Levan Verdzeuli, Lasha Ebitashvili and many others", says Tbel Abuseridze, one of the youngest Georgian astrophotographers. It worth mentioning that Tbel who used to study law at local university has enrolled at St. John's College in Annapolis where he will continue his studies at Liberal Arts Faculty for free and work at the observatory as well.

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“I got interested in astrophotography around 4 years ago when I read an interesting article about taking pictures of night sky and saw the photos of one talented Ukrainian photographer. Only several photographers were taking such kind of images in Georgia back then. I was eager to take same kind of photos, so I read many articles about this sphere. Yet,I think practice is the best tutor. Astro-photography is extremely interesting sphere to me, since it enables to discover new things and besides, I simply love watching the night sky. My first successful photo was shot with an amateur camera in my village of Ushguli in Svaneti”, says Mindia Charkseliani.

Author: Lika Chigladze

Check out gallery below:
Photo courtesy of Geo-Astro and Georgian Astrophotography

Rosette Nebula, the most beautiful emission nebula, stellar nursery for thousands of stars..
By David Dvali

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Abastumani sky
By Levan Verdzeuli

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Gomi Mountain and Milky Way
By Bessarion Chakvadze

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Heart Nebula
By Levan Verdzeuli

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Horsehead and Flame nebulas
By Lasha Ebitashvili

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Milky Way in Ushguli, Svaneti
By Mindia Charkseliani

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Milky Way galaxy over Abastumani Observatory by Tbel Abuseridze

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Milky Way, tower in Ushguli, Svaneti
By Mindia Charkseliani

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Space reflection on water at Bazaleti Lake
By Levan Verdzeuli

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When observatory meets with milky way
By Tbel Abuseridze

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Astroart! The great nebula in Orion
By David Dvali

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By David Dvali
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Jellyfish Nebula
By Levan Verdzeuli

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Milky Way over Gomi mountain
By Besarion Chakhvadze

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Night sky over Kazbegi mountain
By David Dvali

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Pleiades star cluster and California Nebula
By David Dvali

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By Dimitri Goderdzishvili
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Arch Milky Way
By Vasil Azmaipharashvili

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Arch Milky Way
By Levan Verdzeuli

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Pleiades also called "Seven Sisters" is an outstanding object in the night sky during autumn and winter in the northern hemisphere.You can even distinguish its cloudy structures with your naked eyes if the seeing is good and the sky is dark enough.

By Levan Verdzeuli

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Night sky at Bazaleti Lake
By Lasha Ebitashvili

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