This digest has two aims.  

The first is to cover in depth, without being too technical, advances in our knowledge, equipment and techniques that I hope will be of interest to all amateur astronomers.

The second is to add to the content of the books recently published by Cambridge University Press and so keep them up fully up to date.

Ian Morison FRAS is an astronomer and astrophysicist who served as the 35th Gresham Professor of Astronomy.   Though a radio astronomer by profession, now in his 51st year at the Jodrell Bank Observatory of the University of Manchester, he has been a keen amateur optical astronomer since making his first simple telescope with lenses given to him by his optician when 11 or 12.  In 1990 he helped found the Macclesfield Astronomy Society of which he is now patron and he is a past president of the UK’s Society for Popular Astronomy, remaining on its council and acting as its Instrument Advisor.   He writes a regular ‘Telescope Topics’ column for ‘Popular Astronomy’ and has made many contributions to the ‘Sky at Night’ and ‘Astronomy Now’ magazines.  His  recent books are:

An Amateur’s Guide to Observing and Imaging the Heavens

Which aims to bridge the gap between books for beginners and specialized books about specific topics and which covers all aspects of the hobby.

More details from Amazon

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A Journey Through  the Universe : Gresham Lectures on Astronomy

A ‘clear and concise survey of what we know about the cosmos’ wrote Sir Martin Rees – updated in the January 2017 pages.

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The Art of Astrophotography  

Covers all aspects of astrophotography with the use of examples describing the equipment required (starting with just a digital camera and tripod),  the best way to capture the images and then the ways in which they can be processed  to give a first class final image – as that of M33, the frontispiece to this digest.

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[The opening image is of the galaxy M33 in Triangulum.   It was taken remotely using an ASA 8-inch Newtonian Astrograph located in Spain.  The data acquisition and image processing to achieve this image are described both in ‘An Amateurs Guide…’ and ‘The Art of Astrophotography’.]


February 2017 Pages:

Everything about Refractors Part II: why do they give such high contrast images?

Imaging the Moon and planets in the Infrared – to add to both ‘An Amateurs Guide…’ and ‘The Art of Astrophotography’ and will, I hope, also be of general interest.

March 2017 Pages:

Everything about Refractors Part III: A survey of those available and their use for astrophotography.

A beautiful Southern Hemisphere Skyscape: describing how an image of the Centaurus, Crux and Carina constellations was taken from New Zealand

Star Trails Video: describing the making of the star trails image that is described in Chapter 1 of  ‘The Art of Astrophotography’ and also appears on its front cover.

April 2017 Pages:

Star Atlases, Astronomy Books, Software and Websites that will help you enjoy the night sky.

Problems (and solutions) when processing raw planetary video sequences in Registax.

Video – The Art of Astrophotography.   A 50 minute visual summary of the book.