Welcome to my
Amateur Astronomy Page. My name is Paul and I'm a keen amateur astronomer
now living near Andover in Hampshire, UK,
about 70 miles west of London,
although many of my images were taken when I was living on the outskirts of
This page shows that it is possible to carry out astrophotography, even when living in
light polluted suburbs, if a modern CCD camera is used. My main interest is deep sky
photography and many of the pictures on this site are examples of galaxies and nebulae. I
also enjoy photographing the moon and planets so I have included some planetary and lunar
photographs as well.
Click on the links in the yellow
bar at the left to see the pictures.
the pictures were taken with Starlight Xpress cameras, initially an MX5 CCD,
but mainly now an SXVF-M9 camera with an 8.7mm x 6.5mm
chip and 752 x 580 pixels. I have been using DSLR land cameras, one modified for astronomical use,
and showing they can produce excellent results for astrophotography.
I have also used Webcams
and video cameras
for imaging planets.
is currently a Meade 10" LX200. This is used either in basic f10
mode or with an f6.3 or f3.3 focal reducer for wider fields or a Barlow lens yielding f24
or f33 for some
planetary shots. I don't use an auto-guider, but rely
on the excellent tracking of the LX200 with the periodic error
correction. Exposures with this setup are multiples of single 1
to 5 minute shots, the limit on these being
dependent upon periodic error and also the f-ratio used,
which can then be stacked up to give longer exposures.
I also have a Meade LT8 for portable use.
Some pictures were taken
using DSLR cameras piggy-backed and guided by the main telescope. This gives
a nice wide field of view,
depending on the camera and lens used. With a digital SLR
camera (Canon 450D or 1100D) and a 400mm lens the field of view is about
2.5 degrees. I have also been using Digital SLRs through my main scope,
yielding nice colour images. The modified DSLR (1100D) I am using has
the red cut-off filter removed and thus has much improved red
sensitivity. The main limitation with DSLRs is that the sensors are not
cooled and thus susceptible to noise.
In 2010 I purchased an 80mm Meade APO refractor which
I mainly use piggy backed on the LX200 for photography.
This gives higher quality images than the DSLR camera lenses and a field
of view of over 2 degrees.
Lunar and planetary pictures are
generally short exposures, typically <1 second.
The lunar image to the right was taken with a DSLR through my Meade
LX200 with an exposure of 1/200th second.
Using a webcam
or a video camera can yield impressive results
- like the photo of Jupiter on the left ! I am currently using a high
frame rate video camera from
Imaging Source to image planets. Click
here to see how
Although I have been an amateur
astronomer for over 40 years, the photographs on this site were all taken since September 1997,
since i converted from film to digital! In that time I have accumulated
thousands of photographs - what is
shown here are just examples !!
In all my astronomy I make good use
of the Skymap planetarium programme, which I would
highly recommend. There is now an on-line version
here. This allows me to find and centre objects on the CCD
chip and control the scope from the computer. SkyMap Pro includes the GSC and thus stars down to mag 16+ are included, which
is a great help with CCD imaging. For image
processing I have also been using
Astroart, which is an
excellent piece of software.
Click above for the top 100 astronomy sites list and help put this site
nearer the top of the list ! - THANK-YOU
I hope you enjoy the photos !!
Let me know what you
think of my site
If your buttons on the left side of the
page are not working you need to download the free java plug-in