Shooting stars: Photog trains lens on things that occurred millions of years ago

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That’s deep, man.

An astrophotographer is exhibiting his breathtaking photographs of intergalactic phenomena that are so impossibly distant, astronomers refer to them as “deep sky,” and — suffice to say — it’s not exactly a point-and-shoot operation.

“I put together images mostly from professional data, like from the Hubble or Subaru archive, so my niche for the past few years is putting together unique images using data from several different telescopes,” said Robert Gendler, whose far-out photos are on exhibit in Boerum Hill’s Grumpy Bert Gallery.

Gendler, who is a physician by trade, but an astrophographer at heart, didn’t begin his career as a star shooter siphoning abstract data from super-powerful telescopes, however. His first forays in star gazing began on his driveway in sleepy Connecticut.

“My career in astrophotography has certainly evolved over the years,” said Gendler. “It was enjoyable, but difficult, and it involved a lot of sleep deprivation.”

Eventually, the star gazer from the Nutmeg State rented a sharp-eyed robotic telescope stationed in a dark, mountainous stretch of New Mexico — an astrophoto­grapher’s ideal getaway.

“Taos, New Mexico is a well known haven for astrophotographers and observers,” Gendler said. “[There’s] this place called New Mexico Skies, which is an astronomical bed and breakfast, and people go there and look up through the very dark night skies.”

It wasn’t long after when Gendler graduated to the big leagues and began photographing the deep sky using immensely powerful telescopes like the Hubble, where he turned the light emitted from gaseous nebulas and twirling galaxies into works of art — and history.

“Because of the phenomenon of ‘lookback time,’ which means that the farther away an object is from the Earth, the longer it takes for its light to reach us, these portraits reveal the objects as they appeared many thousands or even millions of years ago,” said Gendler.

Among the twenty or so images on display include the awesome Orion Nebula, also known as the Sword of Orion, a lush, yawning, tapestry of pink and velvet gases set against a sequined backdrop of burning stars.

“A recurring theme of destruction, upheaval, birth, and rebirth occurs within the spiral arms of galaxies,” Gendler said of the awe-inspiring shot. “Star-forming regions like the Orion Nebula exist within the spiral arms of galaxies and serve as celestial recycling stations where the birth of new stars completes a great cycle, creating and recycling matter, ultimately enriching and replenishing the interstellar medium with heavier elements.”

Robert Gendler’s astrophotography at the Grumpy Bert Gallery [82 Bond St. between State Street and Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, (347) 855–4849,]. Through March 31, Tues.–Sun., noon–7 pm, free.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 10:08 pm, July 9, 2018
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