The goal of this book is to help you choose, plan, and capture your best deep-sky images. This is a reference guide for astrophotographers – both new and experienced – explaining when, from where, and how the finest objects in the night sky can be photographed.
The 110 targets selected for this book include nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters visible from both the southern and northern hemispheres. The authors have included a range of sizes, concentrating on larger objects that are within the reach of widely available equipment. The authors spent three years imaging all of these deep-sky objects using telescopes located in the UK, USA, Australia, Chile, France, and Spain. They captured more than 20,000 subexposures with total integration time in excess of 1500 hours. They also embarked on a separate project to capture the entire celestial sphere in a set of mosaics spanning 1300 megapixels. These full-sky mosaics reveal broader patterns, showing where the deep-sky objects are located in the context of the night sky as a whole.
In addition to the images themselves, information about each target is provided: its size, type, and designation in major catalogues. Each object also has a brief description with some history and information to help guide you in how to frame an object, what kind of filters to use, and how to approach processing.
With this book, the authors have attempted to capture the majesty of the night sky above our heads. They hope that their efforts will help you to create your own beautiful images. So prepare your gear and start planning what you are going to capture on the next clear night. Whether it’s a new object for you or a target that you’ve imaged many times, there is always something new to reveal.
Charles Bracken is an author and astrophotographer who lives in Pennsylvania, USA. His textbook, The Deep-sky Imaging Primer, has taught thousands of people the theory and practice of photographing the night sky. His interests include narrowband imaging of nebulae, public outreach, and leveraging software in astronomy.
Max Whitby is the founder of several digital publishing businesses based in the UK including Touch Press and NatureGuides. He started his career at the BBC where he produced films for the Horizon/NOVA science series and led an early collaboration with Apple. He is the recipient of two BAFTA awards for his work in digital media. Max has a PhD in Chemistry from Imperial College.