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.
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.
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.
[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’.]
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.
May 2017 Pages:
A tale of two scopes: you do not have to spend large amounts to obtain beautiful views of the heavens.
iOptron MiniTower alt/az telescope mounts: ideal for the ‘get up and go’ astronomer as they are so easy to align.
Taking and enhancing constellation images, with a mention of two new tracking mounts.
June 2017 Pages:
Imaging the Milky Way from the Kerry Dark Sky reserve.
The QHY PoleMaster – an innovative way of polar aligning an equatorial mount