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:

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Catchers Tales - A History of Astrophotography
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Catchers Tales
Catchers 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 and expanded upon 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 Tales’ you are about to read, they come alive once again.

 

To date three 'Catchers Tales' are available:

 

'The Collodion Chemist of Hertford' - Frederick Scott Archer

 

The tale of Frederick Scott Archer the ‘Collodion Man from Hertford’ is one of injustice, hardship, poverty, an early death and the ultimate insult of total obscurity. His only crime was to give freely to the world an invention which dominated Photography for over three decades; which made others vast fortunes, saved his Government millions of pounds, enabled astronomers to capture stars the eye could not see, and brought his ‘Art’ within the reach of the ordinary man. Today his name is known to none except a few aficionados of Photography. Even historians did him no favours - not even being able to get right  - when and where he was born; or bothering finding out who his parents were; and failing miserably  to accurately document his life and work. The year 2014 marks the real two hundredth anniversary of his birth - let him be remembered once more as one of the truly great Pioneers of Photography.

 

'God's Astronomer' - Pietro Angelo Secchi - Jesuit Priest

 

The tale of ’God’s Astronomer’ - Father Pietro Angelo Secchi is the story of a young boy born to humble parents who like today’s Pope Francis I grew up to become a Jesuit priest. Throughout his life he had to struggle with his conscience and his faith. As an astronomer and Director of the Observatory of the Collegio Romano, he clearly saw an imperfect ‘Kingdom’ of Heaven’ with dark lines emanating from the stars and spots on the sun; but all too aware that similar radical ideas had brought other scientists into conflict with the church he loved with disastrous consequences. Would he suffer the same fate as Galileo did over two centuries before - forced to recant his beliefs to the world and to God.

 

'The Leviathan Lord of Birr Castle' - William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse

 

The tale of William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse of Birr Castle, Ireland is that of a real ‘Downton Abbey’. Born into an ancient line and charged with the preservation of his family’s wealth and lands he married a rich English heiress at first for her money, but which eventually turned to love. Out of the great sadness borne from the loss of nine of their thirteen children, in infancy, the couple cared for all who depended upon them. During the Irish Potato famine of the 1840s, the couple did all they could to prevent starvation  amongst their tenant workers; and yet, William Parsons found the time to build a Great Telescope known as the ‘Leviathan of Parsonstown’, which he used ‘to afford us some insight into the construction of the material universe’.


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C.1 - Collodion Chemist from Hertford - eBook
First Biography Ever Published on the Pioneer Photographer, Frederick Scott Archer, inventor of the Wet Collodion Process.
eBook C.1
$8.99

C.1 - Collodion Chemist from Hertford - iBook (from iTunes Store)
iBook edition of the Collodion Chemist from Hertford, available from Apple iTunes Store.
iBook C.1

C.2 - God's Astronomer & Jesuit Priest - eBook
First Published Biography of the Jesuit Priest and Astronomer, Pietro Angelo Secchi.
eBook C.2
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C.2 - God's Astronomer & Jesuit Priest - iBook (from iTunes Store)
iBook edition of God's Astronomer & Jesuit Priest, available from Apple iTunes Store.
iBook C.2

C.3 - Leviathan Lord of Birr Castle - eBook
First Published Biography of the great telescope builder, William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse and his wife, the photographer, Mary Field of Heaton Hall, Yorkshire.
eBook C.3
$8.99

C.3 - Leviathan Lord of Birr Castle - iBook (from iTunes Store)
iBook edition of the Leviathan Lord of Birr Castle, available from Apple iTunes Store.
iBook C.3

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.

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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