michael adler

This composite photo of NGC 2359, aka Thor’s helmet, was taken using atomic filters to capture the nebula’s filamentary gas and dust structures. Red indicates hydrogen, and the blue-green color indicates oxygen. The picture was made from 50 images taken over 16 hours with a 20-inch telescope.

When looking up at the night sky, you’re looking up at yourself.

“We’re all stardust,” said Mike Adler, vice president of the Wyoming Stargazing board.

The astrophotographer will be showcasing and explaining some of his images of celestial bodies at the next Wyoming Stargazing “The World Above the Tetons” event.

The talk starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Center for the Arts. Tickets cost $20 for adults; admission is free for students and children. Proceeds benefit Wyoming Stargazing.

Among other photos, Adler will discuss his recent prints on display at Teton County Library, his award-winning photograph of the 2017 eclipse and detailed images of Jupiter.

But all in an approachable way, he promised.

“Enthusiasm for science is prevalent in the most basic descriptions of my work, but there will be no equations,” he joked. “This is for the nonscientifically minded adults and kids.”

Adler, who holds a doctorate in solid state physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has always been a bit of a backyard photographer with a passion for astronomy. But he started taking astrophotography seriously — he now photographs “every night that has clear skies” — when he and his wife moved to Wilson in 2000.

By 2014 he had built an observatory on his property and added an atomic filter to his gear collection to catch chemical activity in the sky.

As Adler has developed as a photographer, he has learned to fine-tune how he captures space.

“It’s all about the light,” he said. “It’s like the images are emitting light themselves, and alive.”

Adler plans to discuss the photographs themselves, but will also break down what phenomena are occurring in the frame. And he’ll take the audience to other galaxies, including Andromeda, the Milky Way’s closest neighbor at 2.5 million light-years away.

“We will collide with it in 4 billion years, but that’s nothing to lose sleep over,” Adler said.

Though Adler’s photographic expertise will appeal to amateur astrophotographers, his talk is about sharing some of the cosmos’ narratives through artwork, said Wyoming Stargazing Executive Director and founder Samuel Singer.

“Through all of our programs, we try to help folks grasp the immense complexity and grandeur of the cosmos in simple ways,” Singer said.

Contact Tibby Plasse via 732-7062 or entertainment@jhnewsandguide.com.

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