Celestron Edge 800HD OTA, Meade 80mm APO, CGEM Mount
What classifies one as an “Amateur” astrophotographer? Perhaps, one must have 101 pristine images published in some internationally recognized journal to be classified as something besides “Amateur.” An amateur astrophotographer is one who accomplishes astrophotography with the gear at their disposal. Some of the “best” images have been captured by amateurs with only a minimal investment in gear. An amateur astrophotographer is one who enjoys the constant challenges posed by this great hobby. I wear my “Amateur” badge with pride. Amateur Astrophotographer is a fantastic label and one of which a person can be very proud. Astrophotography is truly a passionate hobby. I firmly believe that only other amateur astrophotographers can truly understand the hardships and rewards obtained from this hobby.
The essence of an “Amateur” astrophotographer is a person fascinated by the skies above their head and seeks to capture this beauty. In a crazed pursuit of madness, the amateur astronomer is drawn into the dark side of the hobby (astrophotography). Once bitten, their lives will never be the same. I see a common quality in all “Amateur” astrophotographers; a strong desire to “share” with the community the methods and images they have obtained along their astronomical journey. They are always more than willing to share their own experiences with others; always lending hard earned lessons so that others can better understand the processes involved in capturing beautiful images, in hopes of capturing that one perfect image which makes all the hard work seem trivial. Each step of obtaining a new level of understanding along the way is a major accomplishment.
The amateur astronomy community as a whole is a great community, one that I am fascinated by each and every day, a very diverse group of people. The members always fascinate me with the depth of knowledge they bring to the table for discussion. It takes patience and inspiration to constantly strive to learn the complexities involved in astrophotography. It also takes a great understanding of how to get the most out of the gear one uses. Astrophotography (AP) can be accomplished with a minimal amount of money invested; likewise, the sky is the limit to how much one can invest in this hobby. The real key is having fun and learning along the way. The single most challenging obstacle, common for all, is finding opportunities to image due to the variation in weather or perhaps due to work schedules along with family commitments. I share and understand the frustration of dealing with the weather gods; however, with much patience and confidence I can assure all the next opportunity for clear skies will happen.
During the past few months I have been busy and the weather has not been favorable to allow for imaging time out in the observatory. Here are a few links to other amateur astrophotographer websites and astronomy related websites which I frequent often. I have followed many of these sites for quite some time; some are new recently added to the great World Wide Web, while others are websites belonging to friends I have met through astrophotography related forums.
Uncle Rod’s Astro Blog has been around for quite some time. Uncle Rod Mollise is well known to all within the astronomy community, a wonderful and enduring blog full of a wealth of astronomy information valuable to all!
Mike Wiles Astronomy Page is a great corner of the internet documenting Mike’s astronomical adventures. Mike has only been imaging for a short period of time, and has moved along at an outstanding pace, a great inspiration for myself and others. Mike does a great job documenting his progress along with writing about his astro adventures, very informative and interesting articles! An excellent resource for those exploring hyperstar information and much more! Mike has a very unique and passionate writing style, highly recommended!
Ray Shore’s Astronomy and Astrophotography Site has been around for quite some time and offers some great tutorials for those wishing to try their hand at planetary and deep sky imaging. Be sure to spend some time exploring the various sections within Ray’s site. Ray does a fantastic job grabbing screen shots in his tutorials. You will also find several valuable astrophotography calculators located at Ray’s Site. Ray also hosts a newer site at Astrophotography-Tonight featuring tutorials, guest writers, articles and more….
TelescopeMan home of TelescopeMan’s weekly audio and video podcasts discussing a variety of topics relevant to many disciplines found within astronomy, with great emphasis placed on beginner astronomers seeking advice in gear selection and much more. TelescopeMan also includes content for avid Ham Radio enthusiasts! To discover more about TelescopeMan be sure to read a short Interview found at DaltonSkyGazer!
A recently added personal astrophotography blog featuring images and articles by Chuck Manges, once again someone who not too long ago hopped into astrophotography and is capturing some inspiring images! His recent 13 panel mosaic having just recently been featured in Astronomy Magazines Picture of the Day!
The friendliest Astronomy Forum on the internet. A great place for beginners and advanced astronomers alike. A wealth of information whether your interest is visual, sketching, imaging, DIY, or star hopping. Be sure to visit the Astronomy Forum and Introduce yourself!
Home of Zengineering Unique Astronomy Products and also homepage of my Astronomy Mentor Alex Z. who took me under his wing and introduced me to the world of Astronomy!
Personal Astrophotography and amateur observatory website belonging to a friend of mine. Once again, a relatively new amateur astrophotographer who has made some great progress learning the hobby in short time! Keep an eye on this site, my instincts tell me Lonnie will be releasing some great CCD images in the near future! He just recently acquired his first ccd imaging package, looking forward to the images much! Also be sure to check out Lonnie’s unique roll off building observatory design!
These are just a few links to share for now, be sure to check out other links found in my right side banner for more great websites!