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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 London.

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.

  Click here for latest pictures

               Click here for the best pictures

See Leo high in the south now

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See Comet K1Panstarrs

   

Astronomical Places of interest I have visited

My Observatory    

 

 

Many of 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.

My main 'scope 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.

 

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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 it's done.

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 !!

 

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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 !!

Paul

Let me know what you think of my site

e_leter(1).gif (14893 bytes)E mail me

If your buttons on the left side of the page are not working you need to download the free java plug-in here

latest   comets    lunar   planets   nebulae   spiral galaxies   supernovas   stars   planetary nebulae   open clusters   elliptical galaxies   edge-on galaxies   dark nebulae   globular clusters   messier objects   other objects

Visit my local astronomy clubs here: -

 Andover Astronomy Society

 Cody Astronomy Society

Try the great BBC Science and Technology web site here


This page was last updated on 19-Apr-2014.

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