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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Modern Astrophotography from the days of pioneering amateurs such as Eugen Von Gothard, Alfred Rordame and Marcel De Kerolyr to the magnificent images of today's digital imagers.
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History of Astrophotography Blog

Come visit 'Catcher' our colourful and vibrant Blog. Learn more about Astrophotography, its Historyand the pioneers who made it all possible.

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Recent Blogs have included a piece on William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse and how his story is that of a Real 'Downton Abbey', the Story of God's astronomer - Father Pietro Angelo Secchi, Ten Famous Astronomical Photographs and the Leprechaun's Guide to Digital Photography - the true story of how the CCD camera was invented.

IX.2 Modern Astrophotography
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IX.2 Modern Astrophotography
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In 1969 Willard Sterling Boyle and George Elwood Smith at the AT&T Bell Laboratories invented the Charge Coupled Device, otherwise known as the CCD; and with it was born the age of Digital Astrophotography. Today many amateur astronomers possessing only modest equipment costing just a few thousand dollars, are regularly capturing images of the heavens, far superior to the photographic plates taken four decades ago by the great reflectors atop the mountains of southern California - in the days when the CCD chip saw the ‘firstlight’ of a photon.
Read the true fairytale of how the CCD was really invented not by Boyle and Smith, but by Seamus Parsons and his arch nemesis, the Leprechaun, Freckles O'Gold:
"Seamus Parsons, the long lost cousin of William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse. Now, William Parsons was famous for his great 72-inch reflecting telescope known as the ‘Leviathan of Parsonstown’, which he used to study the then mysterious objects known as nebulae. Seamus on the other hand, although a somewhat eccentric but gifted scientist, was renowned in Ireland for having cheated a Leprechaun out of his ‘pot of gold’ at the end of the rainbow. In punishment for this he had been cursed in a rather unusual manner. Seamus was the owner of a rectangular field in which he grew Leeks. His Leeks had been the biggest and finest in all the ‘Emerald Isle’. They were his pride and joy, and the love of his life’ until Freckles O’Gold the Leprechaun he had tricked gained his revenge...He pleaded with Freckles – how can the curse be lifted? Freckles being not entirely heartless said that if Seamus could draw an accurate picture in 65,536 shades of grey of the invisible rain cloud, he would remove the curse on his Leeks..."


Document profile:

Number of Pages: 64

Number of Snippet Panels: 63

Number of Photographs/Illustrations: 97

Number of Notes/References: 55




The author would like to thank: William Bramley, Bod Denny & ACP Observatory Control Software, Jack Eastman, Paul Luciana, René Görlich & Gemini Astronomical Telescope Control Software, David Malin, Steve House, Stephen James O’Meara, Martin Pugh, Theodore Arampatzoglou, Stephen Haldee and the late Martha Hazen; Paul J. Thompson, Adobe Corporation,, Celestron Corporation, Fairchild Imaging, Maxim DL & Cyanogen, KODAK, the Meade Corporation, Officina Stellare, the Santa Barbara Imaging Group, Software Bisque, the Observatoire de Haute-Provence; the Harvard College Observatory, Losmandy Astronomical Products, the Mount Palomar Observatory, the Mount Wilson Observatory, the Paris Observatory, the Pic du Midi Observatory, the Royal Astronomical Society of London, the US Patent Office, William Optics; for the use of the following items: text extracts from original sources, genealogical information, photographs, maps, drawings and illustrations included in this eBook.


IX.2 Modern Astrophotography
Important Notice

The 'Catchers of the Light' eBooks on the History of Astrophotography can NOW be read on Windows PCs & Androids, Apple Macs and iPads. 

Our Customers can use ANY or ALL of the following THREE different formats to read the 'Catchers of the Light':

  • A PDF (Printed Document Format) version, which can only be read on a PC or an Apple Mac running Windows emulation software. This version does not require Internet Access to be read, please 'right click' and choose 'Save Target As' option to download the free PDF version of the 'Catchers of the Light' Introduction PDF;
  • 'flip page' version for a PC or Mac, which makes use of your Internet Browser. It is compatible with IE, Opera, Firefox, and Safari. An Internet Connection is required for this version to be read.For an example of this new eBook reading experience, please click: 'Catchers of the Light' Introduction (if you are using a PC or Mac to view this page);
  • An iPad or Android 'flip page' version. An Internet Connection is required for this version to be read. For an example of this new eBook reading experience, please click:  'iPad: Catchers of the Light' Introduction (if you are using an iPad or Android to view this page);
  • iBook Versions for all our eBooks are NOW AVAILABLE on the iTunes Store, and can be read using a Mac or iPad.

The free unencrypted introduction to the 'Catchers of the Light' - History of Astrophotography can also be read on any PC, Mac iPad or Kindle with pdf reader software installed. When purchasing the complete 'Catchers of the Light', customers will be provided with Access/Download Instructions for ALL of the above THREE versions of the eBook.

For further information on our eBooks and the 'anti-piracy' software used to protect them, see Our eBooks page.




Modern Astrophotography as told through man's attempts to image the most iconic of all objects to be found in the heavens - the famous 'Horsehead' nebula.

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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