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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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.
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Photographic Sky Surveys are a blessing to the modern astronomer, but this was not always so. The laudable but ultimately doomed ‘Carte du Ciel’ project took years longer than planned and used up valuable observatory resources that many argued could have been better spent. However, it was to triumph in the end when its century old data was to provide valuable input into the HIPPARCOS Satellite Astrometry Project.


Document profile:

Number of Pages: 43

Number of Snippet Panels: 22

Number of Photographs/Illustrations: 52

Number of Notes/References: 53



The Author would also like to thank: Patrick Chevalley and his Cartes du Ciel planetarium software program; the Academie des Sciences Francaise, the Algiers Observatory; the Anglo-Australian Observatory; the Bordeaux Observatory, the Cape of Good Hope Observatory, South Africa; the European Space Agency, the Helsinki Observatory; Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad de la Plata; the Museo Astronómico, National University of Cordoba; the Mount Palomar Observatory; NASA, the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania; the Paris Observatory; the Paris Observatory Museum; the Potsdam Astrophysical Observatory, the Royal Greenwich Observatory; the Royal Astronomical Society of London; the San Fernando Observatory, Spain; the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; the Sydney Observatory Museum; the Tacubaya Observatory,  Mexico; the Toulouse Observatory; the Uccle Observatory; the United States Naval Observatory, Washington DC; the Vatican Observatory for the use of the following items: text extracts from original sources, genealogical information, photographs, maps, drawings and illustrations included in this eBook.


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.




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.

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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