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Suggestions for astrophotography books

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#1 PerfectlyFrank

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Posted 04 April 2024 - 12:22 AM

Any good books on beginning astrophotography? 

There are some on amazon, but I'd like to get the opinion of members here.

 

I was reading about strain wave mounts and GEMs. Some of the terminology used has me lost...

plate solving, guiding error, ASCOM, PE test, just to name a few. 

Of course I googled these terms, but I believe an introductory book would help. 

 

Any suggestions?

 

 

 

 

 



#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 04 April 2024 - 12:53 AM

A good book does help, I have a large bookshelf full of them.  But it needs to be supplemented with some Internet research.

 

And, CRUCIALLY, not all astrophotography is alike.  The following are _completely_ different things.  They have different forums here, just about a requirement.  They use different equipment, different techniques.

 

Deep Space.  Planetary/lunar.  Solar.  Electronically Assisted Astronomy.  Smart telescopes.

 

Here's what a large majority of people here would list here as at the top of the Deep Space list.

 

https://www.amazon.c...d/dp/0999470949

 

For planetary/lunar, I like this.  It says DSLR, but the book also applies to dedicated astro cameras.

 

https://www.astropix...gdpi_index.html

 

This is a really basic starter book.

 

https://www.astropix...bgda_index.html

 

Some help.  Deep Space assumed.

 

Platesolving.  Using computerized pattern recognition of the stars to tell you where your scope is pointed.  EXTREMELY useful in getting on target, and one of the easier things to learn.  It makes GOTO errors irrelevant, you GOTO just to get close, platesolving gets you right on target.  99.999...% of Deep Space imagers use it.  Even beginners use it.

 

Guiding error.  You're trying to take long exposures of a moving target with a long telephoto lens.  Precise tracking is crucial.   The mount is the most important part of a Deep Space setup.  NOT the scope or the camera.  But, the mounts that most people can afford are not good enough by themselves.  You need to compensate for mount errors with a small guidescope and camera watching a guidestar.  It's not easy.  Guiding error measures how good a job you're doing.  People have been doing this for a long time, at the end of this you'll see a picture.  He's doing it manually, you'll use a computer.  The pipe is optional.  Guiding ISN'T.  That's Dr. Hubble, by the way.  His mount wasn't good enough, either.  <smile>

 

ASCOM.  A really nice computer program for connecting hardware to your imaging computer.  Cameras, mounts, electric focusers, you name it.

 

PE is periodic error.  It's a characteristic of a mount, and its tracking ability.  All mounts have some, it would blur your image, which is why you need to autoguide.  You don't need to test PE.

 

The bad news is that this is very complicated and often devilishly unintuitive (you REALLY want to start out in Deep Space with a small telescope, NOT a big one).  The good news is that you will never, ever, run out of new things to learn.  Part of the hobby's charms for most of us.  If it's not for you, there's an app (and a forum) for that.  <smile>  This is a smart telescope.  You plop it down any which way, it gives you a list of available subjects, you select one, push the button, and it takes a picture.  Trivial.

 

It's a cousin of Electronically Assisted Astronomy.  Which is a lot easier than Deep Space.

 

https://vaonis.com/vespera

 

 

 

 

 

Hubble guiding.jpg


Edited by bobzeq25, 04 April 2024 - 01:17 AM.

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#3 PerfectlyFrank

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Posted 04 April 2024 - 03:44 AM

Excellent!

I downloaded the Beginner's Guide to Astrophotography. Great source of information.

 

I have a lot of reading to do. You gave me a good start.


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#4 wrvond

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Posted 04 April 2024 - 10:37 AM

+1 for The Deep-Sky Imaging Primer. I purchased my copy directly from the author and got it signed to boot. waytogo.gif


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#5 PerfectlyFrank

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Posted 04 April 2024 - 12:23 PM

+1 for The Deep-Sky Imaging Primer. I purchased my copy directly from the author and got it signed to boot. waytogo.gif

I was able to view the table of contents on amazon. Looks great, so I bought it!


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#6 BrentKnight

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Posted 10 April 2024 - 03:40 PM

I was able to view the table of contents on amazon. Looks great, so I bought it!

Now you need to grab his The Visible Universe.


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