Posted on Wednesday, August 09, 2017
By Kadri
Making Beautiful Deep-Sky Images: Astrophotography with Affordable Equipment and Software by Greg Parker

Deep-sky imaging is one of the most technical fields in astrophotography that requires a lot of devotion when it comes to acquiring equipment and also resilience in the face of non-ideal conditions and outcomes from imaging. This book doubles as a technical guide to deep sky astrophotography for intermediate or advanced astrophotography enthusiasts but also as an inspirational guide to show what can be achieved with enough time and effort.

Already at the beginning of the book it's mentioned that this book is not for beginners, and as such it does not delve into the basics of what kind of equipment can be used and what astronomical objects can be imaged and what they are. Rather, the author starts with introducing his own imaging systems, how he chose them, how they've changed over time, and what he uses them for.

Although the subtitle of the book has the word "affordable" in it, it's relative. When it comes to astrophotography, there are a lot more affordable ways of starting out in it - imaging the Milky Way or the Moon etc doesn't require too much specialist equipment. When it comes to imaging nebulae, galaxies and star cluster etc however one has to keep in mind that there what is seen as entry-level equipment can still set you back a lot more than any other astrophotography equipment.

The book isn't aimed at complete novices in astrophotography, but it's still useful if you're only a novice in photographing deep sky objects - the book provides step by step information on setting up your imaging system, what benefits one or other telescope type might have for this specific purpose, what kind of computing power you should have access to and why it might be a good idea to consider setting up a permanent home observatory instead of driving to a dark-sky sight with your telescope, or even just setting it up each night.

In addition to tips for choosing which object to photograph, when and with what, there's also a lot of information about image processing, something that is vital for deep sky images.  And as inspiration, you can find numerous photos of deep sky objects by the author of the book.

If you're thinking of getting into deep sky astrophotography, the beginning of the book might slightly scare you away just with the expenses involved in purchasing and setting up an imaging system, however there are other options - renting telescope time on a telescope farm and imaging remotely for example. That would be a great way to test out some imaging systems, try out some methods and suggested imaging targets in an even more affordable way. And "Making Beautiful Deep-Sky Images" might just provide you with the inspiration to do so together with the skills you'd need to start taking amazing photos of some of the most beautiful astronomical objects.


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