Images representing different hobbies

Astrophotography

You are never too old to learn, and one of the thing that has opened my eyes  has been discovering the quality of astronomical images that can be produced by amateurs with very modest equipment. By using digital cameras and image processing software it's a realistic ambition to produce images that compare favourably with those produced by the world's biggest telescopes fifty years ago - right in your back yard!

This website does not showcase the best astronomical pictures on the internet! It's a selection of pictures I have taken myself with basic equipment and free software. Producing images like these below, or even better ones, is within your reach!

Most importantly, you don't have to spend a fortune. My scope, mount and tripod coast £180 on Ebay. I spent £40 on a more solid tripod, and about £200 on various bits and pieces including books and an ancient Canon EOS DSLR and a seconhand Microsoft HD Webcam. The results shown before are  some of my best so far, and will be updated from time to time.

Perhaps the easiest target in the sky is the moon. You can get good pictures with any long or zoom lens, this is a 'stack' of six pictures taken with an ordinary bridge camera:

A Gibbous Moon photographed over thr Isle of Skye in near-poerfect seeing conditions

A gibbous moon photographed on the isle of Skye.

Follow the links below for introductions to some of the other things you can image in the night sky:

The Moon

The Sun

The Planets

Messier Objects

Star Clusters

Nebulae

Galaxies

Constellations

Meteors

Have a go!

I hope I have convinced you to have a go at photographing the night sky - these photos may not hold a candle to some of the work of professionals like Damian Peach or even dedicated amateurs, but I hope you are surprised what can be done with kit that has cost me well under £500.

There are lots of places to find out more on line, but perhaps the easiest place to start is the StargazersLounge webiste.

As well as the subjects covered above there are all sorts of other things to look out for - comets, asteroids, meteors, aurorae, noctilucent clouds and various metereological effects such as sundogs and lunar halos. And sometimes there are just picturesque events such as this near conjunction of the Moon and Venus.

Conjunction of Moon and Venus seen ona slightly misty night, with teh moon partly behind trees

A Conjunction of Moon and Venus

 

M105 is a galaxy in Leo which is known to have a supermassive black hole at its centre. It is part of the M96 galaxy group.

M105 galaxy in Leo

M105 (right) is near to the galxies NGC3384 (top of the triangle) and NGC3389 (faint fuzzy at lower left of the triangle).

M96 is a galaxy in the constellation of Leo. It is part of the M96 galaxy group.

M96 galaxy in Leo

M96, a galxy in the constellation of Leo.

M95 is a galaxy in the constellation of Leo. It is part fo the M96 group of galaxies.

M95 galaxy

M95, a galaxy in Leo.

M66 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Leo, closely associated with two other galaxies M65 and NGC3628. Together these are known as the 'Leo Triplet' and they are actually relatively close to each other in space. Compared to M65, M66 is much bl;uer, especially in its arms, as a consequence of much new star formation.

M66 Spiral Galaxy

 

M66 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Leo.

M65 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Leo, closely associated with two other galaxies M66 and NGC3628. Together these are known as the 'Leo Triplet' and they are actually relatively close to each other in space. Compared to M66, M65 is much yellower, as a consequence of containing mostly only older stars and having relatively little new star formation.

M65 M66 NGC3628 Leo Triplet Crop

The Leo Triple with M65 at lower right, M66 at left and NGC3628 at the top.