According to our YES Cozmo watch, there will be a full moon tonight. The timing is perfect as we had spent the weekend reading about astrophotography :-) We know what you are thinking... some of us REALLY need to get out more.
Let us assure you, the topic of astrophotography is the ultimate convergence of all things us true geeks love: it involves loads of technical gear, there is a fanatical (yet friendly) user base, and the topic is ripe with tons of hacks and project opportunities.
We have been researching this subject for our first RainyDayScience topic and have come across some excellent books we thought we should share with those who may be thinking along these same lines.
Amateur astrophotography has benefitted greatly in recent years by the availability inexpensive digital cameras. Webcam and small point-and-shoot digital cameras of exceptional quality may be had for less than $200! Stefan Seip has written an excellent introduction the use of digital equipment and techniques in this area.
The book covers the entire range of equipment (webcam, digital cameras, DSLR, special purpose Astro gear) available to the amateur astrophotographer. He discusses the relative benefits (image quality, ease of use) and trade-offs (cost, complexity) of each type of equipment.
Topics such as post-capture image processing and manipulation are also covered. There are some very interesting discussions on how to take advantage of the digital nature of the images to bring out details and colors not possible with traditional film techniques. We expect we'll be referring to this book frequently as we strive to improve our on our astrophoto shots. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)
Robert and Barbara Thompson have written two books which will make it easier for someone just getting started in Astronomy or have been in the hobby for a while.
Astronomy Hacks is a fantastic collection of observing tips, telescope projects, and knowledge obtained from years of practical hands-on field work. This book should be read by anyone interested in Astronomy before they even think about buying their first telescope. - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)
The night sky is a big place. Finding interesting things to look at is pretty easy. Finding what you are looking for is a bit harder :-)
The Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders is a collection of interesting astronomical destinations. The images in the book are shown as they would appear under actual observation out in the field. They are also accompanied by directions and a "roadmap" on how to get there.
The format is practical and easy to use. This guide is designed to allow the user to "plan a trip" as well as take it "on the road." - Wan Chi Lau (permalink)