Astrophotography Journal, Introduction - By Nick Glenister

Copyright © 2004 Nick Glenister
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What I present here is the journal I wrote in 2004 which was hosted on a local astronomy clubs website: North Norfolk Astronomical Society. I had grand plans to write a great deal more but found that my equipment presented me with limitations that I was unwilling to overcome at the time. I have now updated the journal slightly with a new section at the end explaining these limitations.

Also the original article focused solely on film cameras, one day I hope to write a second part that deals with digital SLRs. I hope you find it useful.


About this journal

Shortly after I bought my first telescope I took my very first picture through it using a digital compact camera and sent it to the North Norfolk Astronomical Society. They decided they liked it and to my delight put it on the front page of the website. I then offered my services to the society in writing a journal of my experiences in starting out as a new astronomer and astrophotographer.

Introduction

Having lived in Norfolk all my life I've always appreciated the clear night skies, but it was only when my Dad died three years ago and I started to use his old SLR camera that I really became interested in the night sky. As a youngster I had both Astronomy Magazine and Astronomy Now delivered to my door courtesy of the local newsagent and I marvelled at the beautiful photos of the planets, stars and galaxies and assumed I would need an all singing all dancing telescope costing £4000 plus in order to achieve the same. This maybe so but armed with my SLR and the book Astrophotography for the amateur I was able to start taking photos of the stars which ignited my interest and from that I’ve now recently purchased a 6” Newtonian refractor.

In this journal I’d like to take you through my past experiences starting with observing the stars with the naked eye and photographing them all the way through to my current observations and findings with my newly acquired telescope. I’ll be writing the journal as a guide to anyone wishing to take up astronomy and astrophotography but as a beginner myself I hope to write it as I find things out for myself. Much of what I have achieved so far comes from trial and error but some things really do need explaining and for this I have turned to text books.

All of my knowledge of the stars and constellations comes from one computer program called Redshift. Currently on version 5 (although I still use 4) it displays the sky at any point on the Earth of any of the planets from 4713BC through to 9999AD. I have found it extremely useful in identifying stars and constellations as its follow system time function allows the computer to show you exactly what you should be seeing outside.

Next page The moon waning gibbous

Taken using an Olympus C350 compact digital camera held manually at the focal point of a 6" newtonian reflector [photographer: Nick Glenister]

References

Red Shift