Astro Imaging Projects Book Review

Astro Imaging Projects for Amateur Astronomers – A Maker’s Guide by Jim Chung

This book is part of The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy range of books from Springer. Astro Imaging Projects for Amateur Astronomers has a large range of astronomy projects that you can undertake. I find that as an amateur astronomer whatever you buy or however you setup your observatory (if you are lucky enough to have one) you will still end up performing some DIY on your setup or making a small accessory. This may be making a dew shield or a lightbox for flats etc.

Chapters in Astro Imaging Projects for Amateur Astronomers

Five main chapters can be found within the book, with even one having multiple projects in each.

The first chapter is entitled “DSLR Astro Imaging” this discusses taking a colour DSLR and turning it into a Monochrome camera (astro-modding it), as well as performing planetary imaging with an DSLR. There is also information on how to make a fine focuser for a DSLR lens. The chapter finishes by showing you how to make a thermally cooled true monochrome DSLR for less than $300.

Chapter 2 is all about advanced imaging and here the author covers taking a basic high frame rate camera and modifying it for long exposure deep sky imaging which is in the section called ‘how to image like the pro’s for under $1000’. Projects exist on how to create your own on-axis guider.

Chapter 3 covers projects that could help you in public outreach evenings. The first of these is taking a standard PST and supersizing it, as well as making it possible to image in CaK. There are also projects on making a digital schmidt camera and how to make an eyepiece turret. Finally there is a project on how to make a real time narrowband visual viewer with image intensifiers.

Chapter 4 is called Amateur Telescope Making, in this chapter the author makes a collapsible 8.5” refractor. He also takes a Skywatcher 12” Dobsonian telescope and makes it a tracking telescope by using a Meade Handset and some gears and motors from a Meade DS telescope. There are also lots of other small projects including finding some old telescopes at garage sales and then re-conditioning them. There are also details on making an Ha solar scope and re-conditioning bolts and telescope parts and nickel plating them.

Chapter 5 contains a number of projects, these include making an affordable atmospheric dispersion corrector and making an electrically powered variable height pier. The author also creates an observing tent out of PVC piping. There is also a project about building your own CT laser collimator like the Hotech advanced laser collimator.

Overall thoughts…

Overall there are lots of astronomy projects covered in Astro Imaging Projects for Amateur Astronomers. You can either reproduce them or they may just give you inspiration to start your own astronomical project. It was good to see lots of colour images throughout the book, with some nice detailed images. It was also nice to see that the book was up to date as the use of modern technology was discussed and covered.

I don’t know if there is enough detail in the book to allow you to easily follow what exactly was done in each project, but hopefully there is more information online about each project. This book is for the DIY astronomer, give it a look if that’s you.

Where can I buy Astro Imaging Projects for Amateur Astronomers?

You can buy Astro Imaging Projects for Amateur Astronomers from Amazon UK

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