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 on the isle of Skye.
Follow the links below for introductions to some of the other things you can image in the night sky:
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.
A Conjunction of Moon and Venus
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 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation of Leo.
- Category: Astrophotography
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.
The Leo Triple with M65 at lower right, M66 at left and NGC3628 at the top.
- Category: Astrophotography