Planetarium Director Derek Demeter is capturing the cosmos

Friday, May 3, 2019
Written by: Susan Leavens

When he’s not hosting sold-out shows at the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College of Florida, you can find Planetarium Director Derek Demeter in the middle of nowhere with an elaborate camera setup aiming for the perfect shot of the night sky. The shots you see on his Instagram are envious and aren’t as easy as you’d think to produce. Demeter has battled hungry alligators, monster mosquitos and light pollution to bring the universe into focus. 

Derek Demeter's photos of the dark night sky. 

Self-taught with the desire to mix both of his passions, astronomy, and photography, Demeter started dabbling in astrophotography while taking classes at Seminole State in 2004. His professor inspired him to pick up the camera and start experimenting, and he did just that. Fifteen years later, he has it down to an art – and science – and attributes the final product to 40 percent equipment and 60 percent editing. 

“I can do this in my sleep now, but it took years of messing up, forgetting power cables, and attending conferences, and learning about what works and doesn’t work,” says Demeter. “Experimenting is important. It’s all about getting out there and doing it.” 

Derek Demeter's image of the Solar Eclipse in August of 2017 was the NASA featured image of the day. 

His work has been shown before at galleries, but his upcoming show at the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona will be his first solo show. Beginning May 11, The Karshan Center of Graphic Art is hosting a special show, Capturing the Cosmos: Florida Astrophotographs by Derek Demeter. Running until Aug. 18, the show will allow visitors to the museum to view unique nightscapes, celestial maps of the sky, and galaxy shots from across Florida. 

There will be a special interactive artist talk with Demeter on Saturday, June 1, included with paid admission to the museum, where he will walk you through his process, share his experiences and answer questions about his work. 

About the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium

Located on Seminole State’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus, the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College of Florida offers live, interactive shows and full-dome video presentations. For more information on the Buehler Planetarium and upcoming events, visit the planetarium website, like the planetarium on Facebook and follow it on Twitter and Instagram: @seminoleplanet.