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High Resolution Astrophotography (Practical Astronomy Handbooks) Hardcover – 20 Jul 1995
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"High Resolution Astrophotography is a practical and inspirational handbook and a must for those considering entering the high-resolution astrophotography field." The Strolling Astronomer
How do you get the highest possible resolution from your telescope? For those interested in photographing the Sun, Moon and planets, this 1995 volume provides a detailed reference guide: it is packed with practical tips to improve your techniques, and provides a wealth of stunning images by talented amateur astronomers.
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The subject of the book is "high resolution" astrophotography. In this context he means the moon and planets, in black and white. Every opinion expressed in the book is based upon that premise. In fact, this approach yields some startling conclusions:
- A dome is the worst possible type of structure (bad air currents).
- Huge telescopes can never reach their theoretical max. resolution, the air is never clear and calm enough.
- A small telescope (he likes about a 10" reflector) can take better pictures than the Dawes Limit formula predicts.
- A small telescope can actually do better than a big telescope. Period.
All of this is music to the ears of a typical amateur and much of it is even more true today. With a modest telescope, a webcam, and a laptop the amateur of today can do as well as the big-time experts did in the past (but you'll need a newer book to read up on webcams).
To give you a flavor of the book, Dragesco presents two pages of math to show the theoretical maximum resolution of a small telescope, then mentions a particular photographer who routinely does better than that (and includes the picture in the book to prove it). It all has to do with the contrast of the target. I skimmed the math but I think I still understand his point.
There are also chapters on how he took the viewfinder off his SLR and replaced it with a microscope to better check the focus. He has pictures of the cameras of the day too. To give you an idea of what they were up against back then, he mentions taking 5200 photos and getting only 40 worth keeping. Yikes! We stand on the shoulders of giants!
I got my used copy for $15. You'd be nuts to spend much more but I had a lot of fun reading it.
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