For years the professional photographer Navid Baraty has been experimenting with an unusual way of doing astrophotography. Instead of long tele lenses or telescopes, astronomical cameras featuring cooled CCD sensors, he only uses his Epson flatbed scanner, on which’s glass plate he reconstructs the cosmic motifs, using various ingredients and spices. He transforms sugar, cinnamon and flour into stars, nebulas and galaxies, and glasses filled with coffee, coconut milk and water (optionally mixed with food colouring) into black holes and colourful gas giants.
The earth-like planet in the following photo is actually a glass filled with a mixture of water, cream and food colouring, scanned from below. The stars in the background are an additional open lid scan of the glass plate covered with salt, cinnamon and baking powder. He usually does several scans which he subsequently merges to one image.
When reconstructing difficult motifs – like the following nebula with long thin filaments – he has to reach deeply into his bag of tricks. In this case he dispersed cat hair all over the glass plate, in addition to the spices. 🙂
You can find more photos over on Navid Barty’s website, in the photo set titled „Wander Space Probe“.