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© 2013

Scientific Astrophotography

How Amateurs Can Generate and Use Professional Imaging Data

Book

Part of the Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series book series (PATRICKMOORE)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxx
  2. Astronomical Imaging System (AIS) Components, Characteristics, and Performance Factors

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 7-7
  3. Astronomical Imaging System (AIS) Components, Characteristics, and Performance Factors

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 7-7
    2. Gerald R. Hubbell
      Pages 9-19
    3. Gerald R. Hubbell
      Pages 21-30
    4. Gerald R. Hubbell
      Pages 55-76
    5. Gerald R. Hubbell
      Pages 103-118
    6. Gerald R. Hubbell
      Pages 119-132
  4. Astronomical Imaging System (AIS) Integration and Operation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 133-133
    2. Gerald R. Hubbell
      Pages 169-194
  5. Scientific Image Data Analysis and Advanced Amateur Scientific Projects

About this book

Introduction

Scientific Astrophotography is a work for those amateur astronomers looking for new challenges, once they have mastered visual observing and the basic imaging of various astronomical objects. It is a wonderful reference for scientifically-inclined observers who want to learn the fundamentals of astrophotography with a firm emphasis on the discipline of scientific imaging.

This book is a wealth of information and a distillation of ideas presented by a diverse set of sources and based on the most recent techniques, equipment, and data available. It also includes numerous exercises for the reader, to maximize the success and minimize the frustration inherent in the pursuit of this specific craft. Scientific Astrophotography is perfect for any amateur astronomer who wants to go beyond just the process of making beautiful images and actually contribute to the science of astronomy!

"...Gerald Hubbell's new book, Scientific Astrophotography, is the perfect companion for anyone dipping their toe into the digital imaging realm for the first time. The author answers all the questions people have when starting out, such as how do I get the most bang for my buck, and how do I select the right CCD for my telescope?"
- Mike Simonsen, American Association of Variable Star Observers

Keywords

Astronomical imaging explained Basic CCD astrometry Basic CCD photometry Basic astronomical imaging CCD Camera basics CCD Imaging tutorial Performing astrometry Practical astrophotography Scientific astronomical imaging astronomical image processing

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Locust GroveUSA

About the authors

Jerry Hubbell, currently President of the Rappahannock Astronomy Club (raclub.org), has been an avid amateur astronomer since he was a teenager. However, he developed his passionate interest in astrophotography, and in particular, astrophotography that supports scientific investigation, only about 4 years ago. In that short time, Jerry has become known as a superior astrophotographer, amateur scientist, and mentor to other amateurs who want to foster scientific investigation in the amateur ranks. His career as a nuclear Instrumentation and Controls (I&C) and software engineer for Dominion Virginia Power has trained him well for the attention to detail and precision required for scientific astrophotography. In this book, Jerry refers often to everyday examples from ordinary life, his job, and aviation. He’s also a pilot for the Virginia Defense Force Aviation Battalion, the Commonwealth’s military reserve. His Six Sigma Black Belt training is evident in his careful but accessible step-by-step explanations of how to build your astronomical imaging system, choose your astronomical targets, design a plan to photograph them, avoid the pitfalls, and apply the appropriate methods to obtain scienfitically relevant data suitable for contribution to the larger scientific community. As an active member of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO), the American Association of the Variable Star Observer’s (AAVSO), and as the owner of a certified observatory location I24 for the IAUs Minor Planet Center, Jerry practices what he preaches in performing his scientific astrophotography. He has had several images published in the ALPOs Lunar Section newsletter, The Lunar Observer, and his work has been acknowledged in Sky and Telescope magazine. Jerry’s minor planet observations have been published in the scientifically peer reviewed Minor Planet Circulars, Minor Planet Circulars Supplement, and ALPOS Minor Planet Bulletin.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

"...Overall, Scientific Astrophotography is a compelling work in the history of technical photographic publications, and it is noteworthy that this is Hubbell's first book on the subject, culminating his own learning experience in making astrophotographs, which began only a few years ago. Even though Hubbell is a relative newcomer, he delivers with the expertise of someone who has practiced for decades. The book is written as though Hubbell were with you, giving you encouragement, inspiration, and all the technical advice you could hope for..." (Scott Roberts, Founder and President, Explore Scientific LLC)

"Astronomical imaging has come a long way in a short period of time. The era of cold cameras and hypersensitization of photographic emulsions has been replaced with Charge-Coupled Devices, software image enhancements, and precise tracking and go-to mounts we only dreamed of a short quarter of a century ago. Hubbell's Scientific Astrophotography is truly a masterpiece for those who not only want to select the right gear for doing high-quality astronomical imaging, yet understand why the various hardware, components, and especially high-quality optics and options are needed. This work will become the standard for those who are hard-core astronomical imagers as well as those who simply would like to explore and understand today's imaging techniques." (Dr. Mike Reynolds, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Astronomer, Florida State College)

"Gerald Hubbell's new book, Scientific Astrophotography, is the perfect companion for anyone dipping their toe into the digital imaging realm for the first time. The author answers all the questions people have when starting out, such as how do I get the most bang for my buck, and how do I select the right CCD for my telescope?
The first part of the book guides the reader through the entire imaging system, component by component. The second part instructs the reader on how to acquire and calibrate the images. Once you have mastered the basics, the third part of the book introduces you to all the ways today's amateur astronomers can obtain scientifically useful data, and who to share this data with.
This guide is exceptionally well organized and provides useful field exercises all along the way, making the climb up the learning curve just a little bit easier for all of us." (Mike Simonsen, American Association of Variable Star Observers)

"Jerry Hubbell has been using SSON since April 2009 for various remote astronomy projects. His new book Scientific Astrophotography is a well written comprehensive description and guide for doing meaningful scientific imaging work in astronomy. Whether you are just starting out or are experience doing scientific astronomy projects, you will find the book to be an excellent reference for improving your skills." (Rich Williams, Found of the Sierra Stars Observatory Network (SSON))

"Scientific Astrophotography is a major contribution to the literature in the field of astronomical photography. Hubbell, a well-respected astro-photographer himself, has written a book that will be of value to both the newcomer and the seasoned imager. In his well-written book, he methodically covers the field, giving helpful practical information as well as the theoretical background so the reader understands both the hows and the whys. This book stands out for its thoroughness and breadth; as well as Hubbell's clear thinking and articulate writing. Scientific Astrophotography upholds the high standards of the Patrick Moore series." (Tom Field, Founder of Field Tested Software, and RSpec Developer)