Christmas for the Beginner Amateur Astronomer

Well, Christmas has been and gone and what has Santa brought good little astronomers? Whatever you’ve wished for, I hope you’ve got what you wanted and your enthusiasm continues to rise for astronomy.

I’ve been very lucky and after a little searching around the internet and visits to bookshops, I’ve compiled my list of ‘Got It’ (this Christmas) / ‘To Get’ of material helping me towards getting to grips with digital astrophotography and astronomy in general.

Here I will give a short overview of the books I’ve been lucky enough to receive and some bits to get.

‘Got It’
1. Introduction to Digital Astrophotography (Book, Willmann-Bell Inc.) Link here
I’ve been looking for a book that emcompasses general digital photography techniques allied with practical application in astronomy. I personally have a tendancy to look for a book that is like a ‘magic bullet’ that not only covers the subject material I want, but also in a style that immediately appeals to me. For several months I have been trying to track down something that matched my requirements, with no luck. At one point I even searched ‘play.com’s’ entire list of astronomy books and came up with nothing! A search via Google bought up the Willmann-Bell website and I browsed their list of books, including this one. What attracted me to the book was the available index list in a PDF, which included basic photography techniques and practical astrophotography.

The book was available to order from the US online and after calculating the shipping to the UK, it worked out at about $72. The book arrived around 10 days later, very well packed and my wife promptly hid the box, keeping it for Christmas!

So, far I’ve been very pleased and impressed with the book, there is so much information contained in the book it will keep me going for months if not years. The writers style, though the book is packed full of information, presents in a very easy, clear manner and this has helped me to dive straight into the book and start to apply some of the techniques immediately.

2. DK Digital Photographers Handbook.
A more general photography book, picked up cheaply from an exhibition, I picked this up for its more general photography information and advice. First impressions are good, I’ll add more information on the book shortly.

3. Practical Astronomy (Book, Philips)
The Philips series of Astronomy books are an excellent reference for beginner and the more advanced amateur astronomer. I’ve already got the ‘Stargazing with a Telescope’ and the ‘Stargazer’ pack and found them very useful.
The Philips astronomy books can be found at: link here . Lots of pointers for beginners and the basics are well covered.

‘To Get’
1. Canon CA-PS700 Mains Adapter.
For those long exposure shots of the night sky…

2. Some form of afocal digital camera adapter for my Skywatcher Explorer 130PM telescope.

3. A new set of rechargable batteries as my six-year old spare set of 1500mAH NiMH’s have fianally given up.

Thats it for the moment, I’ll report on how the reference material helps out…

Posted by Wordmobi

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