Meet NASA APOD Award Winner: Wido Oerlemans


Time to read 2 min

Today, we have an exciting story to share with you all about Wido Oerlemans, also known as Wido's AstroForum. He is an astrophotographer from the Netherlands who won the prestigious NASA APOD Award in 2021 (check the photo source here). In this blog post, we'll hear from Wido himself as he shares his journey and experiences in the field of astrophotography. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this captivating tale!

NGC 281: Starless with Stars. Image Credit: Wido Oerlemans

I'm Wido Oerlemans, a 46-year-old astrophotographer from the light-polluted lands of Utrecht, The Netherlands. My life orbits around my loving wife and two incredible daughters, aged 11 and 13.

For many years, I journeyed through the academic life as an assistant professor in organizational psychology. However, my heart yearned for the starry skies. So, I switched to part-time teaching, allowing me to find time to indulge in my passion: Astrophotography.

My cosmic adventure began in 2014 when I peered through my first refractor telescope, gazing at the Moon's captivating surface with its mesmerizing mountain ranges and craters. That moment ignited my love for astrophotography. In the following years, I dedicated myself to mastering the intricacies of astrophotography. I invested considerable time and money, deeply immersing myself in the hobby. To my astonishment, the rapid advancements in our hobby's technology enabled us to peer into the depths of space, capturing distant nebulas and galaxies right from our own backyards.

Wido Oerlemans
Image from Wido Oerlemans

A cherished moment in my journey was receiving the NASA APOD award for my Pacman nebula picture (NGC 281), showcased on the NASA website on November 19, 2021.

I also collaborate frequently with astronomers and science writers in prominent national (Dutch) astronomy magazines like Zenit: Together, we try to pair captivating astrophotos with intriguing astronomical insights, enriching the readers' understanding of the cosmos. In 2019, being a teacher, I wanted to share my knowledge with newcomers. I birthed the website, and launched my YouTube channel: Wido’s AstroForum (check here)

My primary goal is to assist and mentor aspiring astrophotographers in their cosmic journey. My golden rule for newcomers: Take it one step at a time. Celebrate personal victories, like capturing the Andromeda galaxy for the first time. Connect with fellow stargazers and remember, astrophotography is a marathon, not a sprint.

Regarding the DWARF II, it's a versatile gem, perfect for those diving into astrophotography, birdwatching, or animal photography on a budget. Its user-friendly mobile app simplifies your celestial adventures, making it a fantastic choice for beginners. With widefield and telephoto lenses, it's a really an all-round product. DWARF II effortlessly locates and tracks celestial wonders, reducing frustration for beginners. I had a stellar time with DWARF II and wholeheartedly recommend it for an affordable and straightforward entry into astrophotography.

M31 final by Wido
All images were shot by Wido's DWARF II