History of Astrophotography Books
Our Astrophotography Site
'Catchers of the Light' is the Website devoted to Astrophotography and its History
Astrophotography Catalogues, Resources & Tools
'Catchers of the Light' provides its visitors with a number of Astrophotography catalogues, resources and tools; which are available to all. They fall into three main areas: Objects of Interest: a number of astronomical catalogues and lists are provided containing information and images of potentially suitable subjects for imaging. These are presented in the form of searchable database tables and galleries. A Moon Phase Calendar for any day, month and year from 1930 to 2025 is also provided. Equipment Resources: these resources relate to imagers’ equipment, i.e. his telescope, camera and mount and consist of what we call 'calculator gizmos' which provide the imager with useful technical data on his own particular equipment setup; Historical: the contribution of the pioneers of astronomical photography such as Edward Emerson Barnard and Henry Draper are not forgotten – a timeline of important imaging events and the people associated with them is included; as are a number of examples of the images produced by them.
Moon Phase Calendar
Objects of Interest
Online databases of the following well known observing lists are provided for all site visitors: Messier; the 109 Deep Space Objects (DSOs) catalogued by the French astronomer Charles Messier as an aid to their avoidance, these ‘embarrassing’ objects were often with the telescope available at the time wrongly mistaken for comets; Caldwell; 109 more DSOs compiled by the famous astronomer and broadcaster Patrick Caldwell-Moore, which included important galaxies, clusters and nebula omitted by Messier, as well as a number of southern hemisphere specific objects; Herschel 400; a selection of the brightest members of the 2508 ‘clusters and nebula’ discovered by William Herschel and his sister Caroline during the period 1783 to 1802; as compiled by the Ancient City Astronomy Club of St. Augustine, Florida; ‘Hidden Treasures’ List; a further 109 DSO’s compiled by the well known observational astronomer and author Stephen James O’Meara, intended to supplement the three previous lists, and includes a number of ‘best and bright’ objects omitted by them. ‘A’ or Astrophotographers' List; this is our own list, once again it contains 109 objects, but is different from the rest because, it is an imagers list, showcasing the finest examples of the ‘Art of Heaven’, and includes not only DSOs but Solar System Objects like the Moon and Planets as well as Earth based subjects such as a Sunset or an Aurora. For the more adventurous Astrophotographer - a DSO database is provided with thousands of Deep Space 'fuzzies' to image, with a 'What's Up' Wizard to see what's visible from where you are. As a bonus the complete Bright Star Catalogue can be found here too. Those interested in the Moon will also find a Lunar Database of over two thousand features to photograph, and a Lunar Phase Calendar.
Two Equipment related Calculator Gizmos are included for all site visitors: CCD Calculator; calculates the size of the field of view and resolution for a given telescope and CCD combination; Eyepiece Calculator; calculates the magnification, field of view and exit pupil size for a given telescope eyepiece combination. Astrophotography Software available to the modern day imager is also provided, including that for image acquisition, image calibration, image processing and auto-guiding.
The contribution of the pioneering imagers has not been forgotten, and a number of resources relating to history of astrophotography are included: Famous Astronomers; short biographies of those scientists who unlocked the secrets of our universe beginning with Ptolemy, to Isaac Newton and finally to those of the modern age like Edwin Hubble. Famous Cameras in Astrophotography such as the Daguerreotype used by John Draper to photograph the Moon for the first time in 1840, as well as the Crocker and Bruce Astrographs used by Edward Emerson Barnard to create magnificent wide field images the Milky Way; Famous Observatories around the world, such as the Royal Greenwich Observatory, England; the Lick Observatory, California, USA and the Meudon Observatory, Paris, France; which have contributed to our understanding of the Universe as well as been the home for many pioneering astrophotographers; Famous Telescopes used by the Pioneers of Astrophotography, including the 11" Alvan Clark Refractor with which Henry Draper took his famous Photograph of M42 and as well as the so called 'Leviathan of Parsonstown' - the72" Relector of Lord Rosse an instrument which inspired others to great deeds; Imaging Timeline; a sequence of those events and the people associated with them that became turning points in the history of astronomical imaging; together with general milestones in the history of astronomy; Pioneer Astrophotographers; short biographies of those astronomers, photographers and physicist, both professional and amateur who have made significant contributions; and who have made it possible for us to take the magnificent images you see on these pages; Early Images; taken by the great pioneers from about 1840 onwards of well known astronomical objects including the first image of M42 taken by Henry Draper, and the first successful planetary images obtained by the Henry brothers.
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