Michael Benson’s Awe-Inspiring Views of the Solar System
The photographer’s 40 large-scale photographs, on display in the AAAS Art Gallery, are remarkably crisp views of the rings of Saturn, moons in transit, a sunset on Mars and volcanic eruptions on Jupiter’s moon, Io (pictured above). Each image is in “true color,” as Benson puts it.
To make his photographs, Benson starts by perusing through thousands of raw image data collected on missions led by NASA—Cassini, Galileo, MESSENGER, Viking and Voyager, among others—and the European Space Agency. He has compared this process to panning for gold—the precious gold nuggets being beautiful sequences of images, rarely seen by the public, that he can piece together into one seamless photograph. It can take anywhere from tens to hundreds of raw frames to arrange, like a mosaic, one legible composite image. Then rendering the photograph in realistic colors adds another layer of complexity. See more photos and continue reading at Smithsonian.com.
Photo: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures