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Creating and Enhancing Digital Astro Images: A Guide for Practical Astronomers (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) Paperback – 6 Feb 2010

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Springer London; 2007 edition (6 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846285801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846285806
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 0.9 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,465,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

So, who is Grant Privett? For those understandably desperate to know, I am an amateur astronomer currently based in Wiltshire, UK. Not exactly Mauna Kea or La Palma, but pretty good for southern England, which is just as well as my main observing interests are deep-sky.

Currently, I am working as a physicist - specialising in image processing of various sorts - but I have in the past been employed as a professional astronomer, a programmer and a real rocket scientist (great fun). Increasingly, I find myself writing articles for magazines - which is fun, though the deadlines always seem to fall on clear nights. To make matters even less clear, I have written a couple of books.

One is a guide for interesting things to observe in the deep sky at different times of the year, while the other is a software agnostic guide to how to process images. I deliberately didnt recommend or concentrate on any particular package because by next year something else might be the best. The principles of data reduction do not change though...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the books.

Carpe noctem.

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Review

From the reviews:

"This book is packed with sound practical advice about digital imaging. … The book is aimed at beginners and experts … . there is plenty of information in this book and it gives an excellent general overview of the subject." (Pete Lawrence, BBC Sky at Night, August, 2007)

"This recent addition to Patrick Moore’s Practical Astronomy series is chock-full of helpful tips for anyone considering attaching a camera to a telescope. … I highly recommend it for beginners or for advanced imagers who concentrate on one photographic discipline and need an introduction to the other ones." (Sean Walker, Sky & Telescope, November, 2007)

"Privett has certainly packed a bundle of useful information into one hundred and fifty pages, with hardly an equation in sight! … His advice is both relevant and concise and clearly reflects years of practical experience … . There is a good index at the back as well as useful appendices on hardware and software, and a helpful list of acronyms and abbreviations … . I got a good feeling from this book – a nice blend of genuine enthusiasm and expert knowledge comes clearly across." (Gerard Mc Mahon, Astronomy and Space, December, 2007)

From the Back Cover

Digital imaging is now available to all amateur astronomers at a reasonable price. The advent of CCDs, DSLRs and – perhaps most significantly – webcams mean today’s astronomers can make colorful planetary or deep-sky images of breathtaking beauty.

The results obtained with even modest equipment can be spectacular, but of course they depend crucially on the computer processing of the images after they have been captured.

Enhancing Digital Images is not just an introduction to image processing, it is a deeply practical, comprehensive and fully illustrated in-depth guide to using a digital camera, performing image reduction and undertaking image enhancement – all without jargon or math.

Here is everything you need to know about processing digital astronomical images, regardless of whether you are experienced or a relative beginner!

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A rather thin volume (140pp), with most illustrations in B&W, however it does give a decent overview of the subject. Whilst published in 2007, the material is at least 2 years older (and some 10 years older). The author seems to have taken on board the 'rule of popular science books' that every equation halves sales - as a result there are no real equations and very little 'hard' detail - in the chapter on Dark Frames, for example, we learn that the 'random noise' is 'mostly thermally induced' and that '(the noise) 'fades'(sic) by a factor for 2 for every 5 degrees C cooler' - plainly we are being left to make up our own formula here :-). Whilst it is mentioned (almost in passing) that Darks and Flats have to be created at the same temperature and exposure times as the images to be processed, the author then goes off on a pointless discussion of 'Master Darks' (and later, Master Flats) as if these had any validity beyond the current nights imaging session. One major annoyance is the Index, which is essentially useless. For example, 'noise' is not indexed at all (nor is anything 'thermal' or 'random'), whilst meaningless 'out of context' words such as 'gradient' (10 references) and 'mode' (6 refs) get 'pride of place'. Interestingly, 'moon' has 11 references and 'DSLR' 12 ! Talking of DSLR's, there seems to be no mention of 'RAW' mode, and, indeed, the author seems to take a rather cavalier approach to data preservation (or not) as he processes the image by skipping from one software package to another - under Image Handling you are recommended as a 'final issue' to store your images in FITS format, although we have to wait until the last page of the Appendix to learn how to do so (in that FITS 'plug ins' are available for Photoshop). All in all, a decent overview of the subject, although at a rather 'higher level' than I was hoping for.
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