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STAR LABS

A Glimpse into the Cosmos

By Kayli Corbin
Photography by Rase Littlefield

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question asked countless times to children across the world. Some of the more traditional answers include firefighter, ballerina, and doctor. I think it’s safe to say that astronaut trumps that list though. There’s something magical and ethereal about space. A vast abyss of unknown possibilities tantalizes the mind of humans young and old.

Nick Bucchino wanted to be an astronaut when he was young. Then ‘life happened’ as it does all too frequently. He went to school, grew up, and strayed from this innate passion for exploration of the unknown. In 2015, his passion ignited once again, and he began snapping photos of the nights sky on his Canon 60D camera. The last four years have been an incredible journey of exploring the many nuances and intricacies of astrophotography culminating in Star Labs, the Bucchino’s home observatory.

Backyard Observatories is a company based out of Ohio that offers a comprehensive building experience for the at home astrophotographer. The Bucchino’s now have an observatory with automated features to the brim. A retractable roof allows for full sky viewing and a Paramount German equatorial mount combined with an SBIG dedicated astrophotography camera can rotate to a precise point in the night sky with the click of a button. This camera runs a cooled CCD chip at -20 degrees Celsius, offering an incredible increase in photograph clarity. It is an understatement to say that the process necessary to obtain a high-quality image of the night sky is a feat. Countless images taken with a focus on the colors red, green, and blue are stacked and finely tuned to create an accurate glimpse into the cosmos.

Part of the allure that Idaho had to offer to this star-gazing family comes from the International Dark Skies Association. Our gem state founded the first dark sky reserve in the United States in 2017, spanning more than 1,400 square miles in central Idaho. The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve is the third largest International Dark Sky Reserve in the world. Bruneau Sand Dunes also features a 25-inch Newtonian Reflector telescope and hosts gatherings to view the stars. The Boise Astronomical Society facilitates star parties allowing anyone with the love of star gazing to experience awe-inspiring visual displays of the galaxies above. It’s needless to say that Idaho is a perfect place for lovers of the sky to call home.

You could say the Bucchino family has their head in (more specifically above) the clouds, but an evening spent with them will show you how down to earth they truly are. Their beautiful Eagle home is comfortable and lively with neighborhood children. The excitement that Nick and his wife Angela share for astronomy is undeniable. Their tag team approach to making images is the perfect dichotomy. Angela is a graphic designer by trade and shares her experience in photo editing to help her husband process the images he has so diligently worked to capture. When I stare at tonight’s sky, I’ll remember this quote from Vincent Van Gogh, “I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” I’ll be thankful that the Bucchino family allowed star gazing to turn dreams into reality.