Catchers of the Light Books


"This book is truly a magnum opus, a labour of love, and a great work of scholarship. It is authoritative, detailed, thorough, superbly illustrated, well referenced, and all-encompassing. There is no nook or cranny of the history of astronomical photography or its proponents that has not been investigated, noted, and embellished with a relevant image. It is worth every single cent of its price. It is an essential addition to every astronomy library. Anyone with even a vague interest in the development of astrophysics will need to have this book to hand; it is a vital and reliable starting place for any historical research into the last two centuries of astronomical endeavour." Professor David W. Hughes, 'Observatory' magazine, February 2015. Read Full Review Here:

Our eBooks - click headings below
What it Contains

Sun & Moon Images

Solar System Images

Deep Space Images

Spectra Images

Telescope Images

Look Who's Buying Our Books!

Cambridge University Institute of Astronomy

New York Met Museum

Paris Observatory

Royal Observatory of Scotland

Huntington Library

Many of the most famous and prestigious of scientific institutions, museum and libraries have purchased the 'Catchers of the Light' thus confirming the Book's status as an invaluable source of reference on the History of Astronomical Photography; and indeed astronomy, astrophysics, history of science and photography in general, includingL

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York;
  • Museum of Scotland;
  • Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University;
  • Paris Observatory;
  • Royal Observatory of Scotland; 
  • Huntington Library in California;


History of Astrophotography - First Complete, Detailed and Researched eBook
A History of Astrophotography
The 'Catchers of the Light'

“Every day our eyes catch the light of our memories – time spent with family, the journey to work, a special holiday, a beautiful sunset or a dark starlit night. Each image captured is a picture drawn in light – a photograph: only to be lost in our minds or forever forgotten. Nearly two hundred years ago a small group of amateur scientists achieved what had eluded mankind for centuries – the ability to capture a permanent record of an image seen by their own eyes – a moment in time frozen onto a surface. They had discovered Photography. They Were the Catchers of the Light". 

Catchers of the Light 

Let Us Now 'Meet the Catchers'

About the eBook

The ‘Catchers of the Light’ is very different from any other book you will have ever read - written with a no specific audience in mind, only intended for those who like to read about the lives of special people - those who never give up - no matter what - and who succeed in achieving the seemingly impossible. 


It is read by people from many walks of life - anybody in fact - astronomers, photographers, historians, genealogists, art dealers, students, artists, doctors, farmers, builders, teachers & many more... 


An unbelievable collection of tales of adventure, adversity and ultimate triumph and tells the uplifting stories of a small band of ordinary men and women, who did such extraordinary things; overcoming obstacles as diverse as war, poverty, cholera, death, very unfriendly cannibal natives and even exploding donkeys.  


Only they are ALL TRUE! - of the men and women who first photographed the heavens.  


Not written in the style of a dull and dreary textbook; but presented as a family history that will have an appeal to the widest of audiences. 


It is not a work of hearsay and anecdotes, but tells the true stories of the 46 pioneers who did most to master the art of celestial photography, as it was known during its early days; and whose efforts have made it possible for us to see the many magnificent pictures of the heavens featured in books, magazines and on the internet. 


The 'Catchers of the Light' is more than just a History of Astrophotography. 


It is based entirely on information obtained from genealogical research into original records, contemporary accounts of the people who knew them and important documents provided by their living descendants. 


Its 1600 or so pages, its 1800 or more photographs/illustrations and over 2000 references/notes - represents the FIRST fully detailed and professionally researched book on the subject; and tells of the incredible lives of the pioneers of Astrophotography, each with their own incredible story to tell - they were the ‘Catchers of the Light’.  


If you have seen or read ‘Longitude’ the story of John Harrison, the country carpenter who built the first clock that could accurately tell the time at sea, and who also made ‘Del Boy’ a ‘millionaire’, then you will love the ‘Catchers of the Light.




Modern Canterbury Tales


The ‘Catchers’ series of stories like Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales are about the lives of ordinary people told against a common ‘backdrop’, his was a Pilgrimage and here it is Astrophotography; but both were of adventure, adversity and triumph - only the ‘Catchers Tales’ are true and based entirely on fact. 


The ‘Catchers Tales’, each feature a single story taken from the book the ‘Catchers of the Light’. This book tells of the men and women who first photographed the heavens. Their lives are ones full of adventure, adversity and triumph - which would test the abilities of even the best author or screenwriter to recreate as a work of fiction. Sadly their names are largely unknown and all but forgotten - confined now to the closed pages of history. Through the ‘Catchers Tale’ you are about to buy and read, they come alive once again.


To date we have produced three 'Catchers Tales'  - Frederick Scott Archer 'Collodion Chemist of Hertford', NOT Bishops Stortford as many 'biographies?' claim was his place of birth; Pietro Angelo Secchi 'God's Astronomer'; and William Parsons 3rd Earl of Ross 'Leviathan Lord of Parsonstown'.


Catchers Books


Catchers Tales... 


Astrophotography Website


'Catchers of the Light' are also proud to introduce our own Astrophotography website where the modern day astro-imager will find the largest collection of FREE resources, catalogues and tools available on the web. 


Astrophotography Resources  


Here you will find all the well known astronomical catalogues with images: Messier, Caldwell, Herschel 400, NGC/IC, bright star etc. A 'What's Up' Wizard can be found on our Astrophotography site, which will enable you to determine which of your favourite imaging targets are above your horizon for the time and location specified. You have also the option of selecting the type of object, catalogue, constellation and magnitude range. For each object found the ‘Gizmo’ displays the following information: thumbnail image, object name, object type, common name, constellation, RA and Dec, Magnitude, Altitude and Azimuth; and a link to more detailed information.


For the dedicated imager there is a CCD and Eyepiece Calculators with hundreds of inbuilt camera, eyepiece and telescope combinations. And a Lunar Features database of over 2000 craters, seas, oceans, bays, marshes, mountains etc. A Lunar Phase Calendar showing its phases for every day for the years 1930 to 2025 is also included.


For the historian an astrophotography timeline, a gallery of early astronomical images, and biographies of famous astronomers and pioneer astrophotographers is also to be found. 


Our Astrophotography Site... 

History of Astrophotography - Catchers of the Light is the first fully professionally researched and referenced Book on the subject.

Dr. Stefan Hughes began his career as a professional astronomer, gaining a 1st Class Honours degree in Astronomy from the University of Leicester in 1974 and his PhD four years later on the 'Resonance Orbits of Artificial Satellites due to Lunisolar Perturbations', which was published as a series of papers in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. After graduating he became a Research fellow in Astronomy, followed by a spell as a lecturer in Applied Mathematics at Queen Mary College, London. Then came a ten year long career as an IT Consultant. In 'mid life' he spent several years retraining as a Genealogist, Record Agent and Architectural Historian, which he practiced for a number of years before moving to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where for the past ten years he has been imaging the heavens, as well as researching and writing the 'Catchers of the Light' - A History of Astrophotography.

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