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:

Photographic Sky Surveys
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Catchers of the Light  >  VII - Photographic Sky Surveys
VII - Photographic Sky Surveys
‘Carte de Ciel’ Plate of the ‘Pleiades’ (M45), Greenwich; Cordoba Astrograph
" catalogue the stars on each plate, to measure them for the purpose only of getting their places written down, would be the most utter waste of time, labour, and money that it could enter the mind of man to conceive."
Andrew Ainslie Common (1841-1903) & Herbert Hall Turner (1861-1930)
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VII.0 Cartes du Ciel
Includes the three chapters on 'Photographic Sky Surveys', i.e. Amedee Mouchez, David Gill and HIPPARCOS. Buy at a discounted price.
Part VII

VII.1 Ernest Amedee Barthelemy Mouchez
Amedee Mouchez, the hero of France and the driving force behind the doomedf 'Carte de Ciel' project. From the very outset it lacked the necessary technology of machine readble data and searchable digital databases to succeed.

VII.2 David Gill
David Gill, the son of an Aberdeen clockmaker who was destined to succeed where Amedde Mouchez failed and was as such the first person ever complete a Photographic Sky Survey on time and within budget.

The 'Carte de Ciel' was a project that remained 'unachieved'; the Cape Photographic Durchmusterung was a success; the Palomar Observatory Sky Surveys made use of a superb Schmidtspiegel; and the Digital Sky Survey used the right technology.

Photographic Sky Surveys including Amedee Mouchez's role in the ill-fated Carte de Ciel project and David Gill's successful implementation of the less ambitious Cape Photographic Durchmusterung; and ending with the Astrometric satellite Hipparcos.

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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