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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU scientist recognized for the third time by NASA

Richard Richins, a staff scientist and laboratory manager in New Mexico State University's Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, was recognized for the third time by NASA last month for the image he captured June 13 of comet McNaught.

New Mexico State University laboratory manager Richard Richins received his third recognition by NASA when his image of comet McNaught was chosen for the Astronomy Picture of the Day for June 17. Seen here on June 13 from Southern New Mexico, the long tail of this comet, C/2009 R1, sweeps across the telescopic field of view (a negative image is inset). (Photo by Richard Richins.)

Richins' image of the comet made the Astronomy Picture of the Day for June 17. The image is just one of scores of astrophotos Richins has taken since taking up the hobby of astrophotography shortly after coming to NMSU. Richins was also recognized for his images of a Lunar Analemma in July 2005 and comet Lulin in Feb. 2009.

"For every hour you spend shooting images you spend 10 hours processing, cropping and editing them," Richins said. "I was very fortunate to have three of my images recognized by NASA."

Richins also helps teach a beginning astronomy class at Dona Ana Community College where he gives students a chance to try astrophotography. Richins is an active member of the Astronomical Society of Las Cruces where he serves as education chair.

Richins website http://www.enchantedskies.net hosts galleries of his images as well as descriptions of the images and how he finds and shoots them.