Scientific Astrophotography Book Review
A chunky book in the Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy series at over 330 pages, as this is a serious subject of contributing to the science of astronomy.
The book is split into three main sections. The first section takes you through your equipment required for making scientific findings. This section takes you through the telescope, mount, cameras, filters and on combining the right telescope with the right CCD camera. There is also a chapter on external factors, namely the weather.
The second section talks about the areas you may be interested in following, whether its lunar imaging, deep sky imaging, planetary imaging, solar imaging or minor planetary imaging. There is then a chapter on planning your observing and imaging session. There is also a chapter which discusses imaging file formats, and how to collect and calibrate your images.
The final chapter in this section is about putting it all into practice and it lists various procedures for collimation, polar alignment, setting up your guidescope, how to focus and about getting your dark, flat, bias and light frames. This chapter also lists the procedures for imaging deep sky and solar objects – large and small.
Now once you have acquired your data part three covers processing and analysing your data. This includes astrometry, photometry, spectroscopy and planetary topography and feature analysis.
There is then a chapter on how to submit your findings to scientific organisations. The last chapter is quite nice as it talks about amateur astronomers getting access to the professional level observatories.
There are five appendices; the first covering acronyms used in the book, the second is a training syllabus, the third contains photometric uncertainty calculations, the fourth is good as it gives you example imaging setups, with a cross section of the authors imaging setup. The fifth appendix lists where to find software on the web.