The best Amateur astronomy pictures is breathtakingly beautiful to boot. Astronomers are hungry for regular observations of planets to provide insights on their weather, their magnetic fields, astrobomy other natural processes. But these incredible images weren't taken by a deep-space Naked babes oil wrestling, they were snapped by sales manager Terry Hancock, 60, from the comfort of his back garden. Share this article Share. NGC One example is the British Amateur astronomy pictures Association's website, for which Peach is the assistant director of the Jupiter section. Check the hardware requirements for your preferred software and try to buy something a little faster than the minimum. One method is by using automated software to go through the videos; Delcroix is working with amateur teams to get this done, but other projects may be available as well.
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While magnification of a telescope is important, too much magnification just gives you a useless blur. Amateurs are now submitting pictures from their Amateur astronomy pictures telescopes for the community to decide which ones to observe first. There might be one clear night a week, or worse. While McKeon has been observing seriously for only about three years, some amateurs have moonlighting careers that stretch across decades. Star hopping is a method often used by amateur astronomers with low-tech equipment such as binoculars or a manually driven telescope. Inquire at Amatehr places about naturalist lead presentations about the night sky as well. Dubbed the "public's camera," this imager will allow amateur astronomers to choose targets and also share the images. Many constellations are visible to you only at certain months or a specific Amateur astronomy pictures in the night. An upgrade in progress will expand PVOL to hold amateur images of all planets. Usually these are filled with folks sporting telescopes, lenses, and all Amaateur gear a beginner could look for.
By Jonathan O'Callaghan.
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- The United Kingdom is a terrible place to use a telescope, at least if you consider the weather.
The United Kingdom is a terrible place to use a telescope, at least if you consider the weather. There might be one clear night a week, or worse. So it probably takes a certain amount of bravery for somebody like John McKeon to invest in a telescope and use it to look at the planets in between dodging clouds and rainstorms and snow.
Yet, McKeon—by all accounts an amateur telescope enthusiast—spotted something to spark the interest of a professional. A video on March 17, taken using only an inch telescope, shows a flash of something impacting Jupiter. But after he saw the post, he immediately went through the videos he took that night. Planets in the outer solar system beckon to astronomers, but there's only so much telescope time available. A typical telescope swings between different types of observations such as looking at asteroids, peering at nebulas and star clusters in the outer reaches of the galaxy, and doing planetary observations.
Astronomers are hungry for regular observations of planets to provide insights on their weather, their magnetic fields, and other natural processes. But with limited telescope time available, their views of the planets only come in snatches.
This makes it hard to predict how auroras behave on Saturn or how the bands shift on Jupiter. The importance of these observations is driven home when, for example, a small body hits Jupiter. Amateurs are usually the ones who spot them, especially because amateur astronomy technology is far ahead of where it was in Consider the multi-piece remains of Shoemaker-Levy 9 slamming into Jupiter back in that year.
The comet was spotted months ahead of the impact, allowing observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Galileo spacecraft then on the way to Jupiter to watch the light show.
YouTube, Reddit, and Facebook—all social media tools McKeon used to spread the word—weren't created until about a decade in the future. And the powers of cheap digital cameras and software that we take for granted today were only accessible then to people with deep pockets and a lot of programming patience.
The scientists published their observations. Slowly, however, the balance is starting to shift. There's only so much telescope time available on Hubble, which splits its work between planets and deep-space objects based on scientific proposals. An amateur like McKeon, however, can go out night after clear night and look at the same thing. Further Reading After 1. Amateurs were the ones who discovered Jupiter being smacked at least five times in recent years.
After Shoemaker-Levy 9, some astronomers thought that would be the last planetary hit in our lifetimes. Then in July , Australia's Anthony Wesley saw a burn mark left behind from something big hitting Jupiter's atmosphere. Instead of buying a telescope based on a website recommendation, go to your local astronomy club and try out the hardware first before committing. Camera : If you're interested in recording pictures or videos, you will need a camera with adjustable shutter settings and the ability to connect to a computer.
Again, amateurs have different preferred cameras for observing, so try out a few models before making the purchase. Computer : A computer with hundreds of gigabytes of hard drive space is a must, as well as fast enough processing speed to run software such as Photoshop to adjust the photos or digital stacking software to put multiple photos together into a video.
Many laptops can do it these days, but some amateurs prefer the power of a desktop. Check the hardware requirements for your preferred software and try to buy something a little faster than the minimum. Community : Get involved with your local astronomy club. Links are also shared on sites such as YouTube and Twitter.
When a big event occurs, several amateurs told Ars, he is active on social media asking for recordings and other data that could help. He has also been heavily promoting JunoCam and asking experienced Jupiter observers where it should look first.
JunoCam is billed as an unprecedented way for the public to get involved. Dubbed the "public's camera," this imager will allow amateur astronomers to choose targets and also share the images. Amateurs are now submitting pictures from their own telescopes for the community to decide which ones to observe first.
The actions of amateurs normally are only covered in the media when a big strike or discovery happens, but Orton said the thousands of hours of data he has received show other points about the gas giant's evolution. This event is now being cataloged for a future paper Orton and his colleagues are working on. Observing planets is not a skill closed off to the rich or experienced.
Meaningful observations can be made with something as modest as an eight-inch telescope. Prices for these can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on how fancy you want to get.
While McKeon has been observing seriously for only about three years, some amateurs have moonlighting careers that stretch across decades. Peach says the entry point for observing is not too astronomical, so to speak, for an interested amateur.
Again, it depends on how much you want to spend. Telescopes come with a myriad of lenses and filters. Cameras also have a range of price points and lenses, making it difficult to come up with firm numbers. But anyone with perhaps a few thousand dollars to spend should be able to participate. Astronomy communities are devoted to sharing data, no matter the experience level of the observer, he said.
For amateurs just getting started, Peach recommends looking up the local astronomy club. Usually these are filled with folks sporting telescopes, lenses, and all the gear a beginner could look for. It allows a chance for a newcomer to try out equipment before committing to buying. Some of the bigger groups have websites full of tips for observing. One example is the British Astronomical Association's website, for which Peach is the assistant director of the Jupiter section.
It includes recent pictures from members and examples of science that include amateur contributions. Many an amateur night is ruined by cloudy or rainy weather, especially in the United Kingdom where he is based. But with a network of astronomers available, it increases the chance of seeing something special on another planet.
Before, things like this would have otherwise gone unseen. Marc Delcroix, a France-based amateur astronomer himself, is also using the power of an amateur network. For three years, Delcroix has been asking amateurs to send in their data for Jupiter observations. One of those videos was McKeon's showing an impact, while the rest of the amateurs did not have any impacts recorded.
He presented his research at the Europlanet Research Infrastructure international workshop in France earlier in May. One method is by using automated software to go through the videos; Delcroix is working with amateur teams to get this done, but other projects may be available as well.
The other approach is to react quickly. It's very possible that a major impact event could be missed because amateurs don't necessarily have the resources to go through video archives, which is where Delcroix hopes his software fills in the gap. There is software available to do that, such as RegiStax a program that was last updated about five years ago and AutoStakkert.
Amateurs also sharpen the images through tools such as Photoshop, allowing subtle features blurred by Earth's atmosphere to come through. Sometimes you can't use the same sharpening settings on videos. While Juno will only last a couple of years due to Jupiter's intense magnetic environment, it will serve as a first example of amateurs getting to ride all the way to an outer planet and make suggestions about where to look.
And perhaps uniquely, Juno will look at features that amateurs can spot at home. Elizabeth Howell is a space journalist based in Ottawa, Canada. She once pretended to be a Mars astronaut in Utah for two weeks.
Besides Ars Technica, her work has appeared in Space. You must login or create an account to comment. Skip to main content. Planet Jupiter with impact fragment G large black dot to r. Full view of planet Jupiter w. Debris from the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet C orbiting Jupiter in an irregular ellipse that will eventually cause it to collide with the planet.
Tips to get involved Location : A place with as dark a sky as possible. If you have a reliable car, it may be worth it to drive to a local park or, if you have the time for it, a darker area somewhat outside of the city lights. An upgrade in progress will expand PVOL to hold amateur images of all planets.
It has become an important resource for planetary scientists since as Elizabeth pointed out in her article getting time on the big observatories is so hard.
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Retrieved August 5, Start by going to college and doing A-levels in physics and math. The scientists published their observations. Check with your local science museum to see if they offer a star-gazing night open to the public. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. By knowing the coordinates of an object usually given in equatorial coordinates , the telescope user can use the setting circle to align i. Cameras also have a range of price points and lenses, making it difficult to come up with firm numbers.
Amateur astronomy pictures. No longer partying like 1994
An example of a digital remote telescope operation for public use via the Internet is the Bareket observatory , and there are telescope farms in New Mexico ,  Australia and Atacama in Chile. Because CCD imagers are linear, image processing may be used to subtract away the effects of light pollution, which has increased the popularity of astrophotography in urban areas.
Narrowband filters may also be used to minimize light pollution. Work of scientific merit is possible, however, and many amateurs successfully contribute to the knowledge base of professional astronomers. Astronomy is sometimes promoted as one of the few remaining sciences for which amateurs can still contribute useful data. To recognize this, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific annually gives Amateur Achievement Awards for significant contributions to astronomy by amateurs.
The majority of scientific contributions by amateur astronomers are in the area of data collection. Several organizations, such as the American Association of Variable Star Observers and the British Astronomical Association , exist to help coordinate these contributions. Amateur astronomers often contribute toward activities such as monitoring the changes in brightness of variable stars and supernovae , helping to track asteroids , and observing occultations to determine both the shape of asteroids and the shape of the terrain on the apparent edge of the Moon as seen from Earth.
A relatively recent role for amateur astronomers is searching for overlooked phenomena e. In the past and present, amateur astronomers have played a major role in discovering new comets.
There are a large number of amateur astronomical societies around the world, that serve as a meeting point for those interested in amateur astronomy. Members range from active observers with their own equipment to "armchair astronomers" who are simply interested in the topic. Societies range widely in their goals and activities, which may depend on a variety of factors such as geographic spread, local circumstances, size, and membership. For example, a small local society located in dark countryside may focus on practical observing and star parties , whereas a large one based in a major city might have numerous members but be limited by light pollution and thus hold regular indoor meetings with guest speakers instead.
Major national or international societies generally publish their own journal or newsletter , and some hold large multi-day meetings akin to a scientific conference or convention. They may also have sections devoted to particular topics, such as lunar observation or amateur telescope making. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the magazine, see The Amateur Astronomer. For other uses, see Stargazing disambiguation. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Star hopping. Main article: Setting circles. Main article: GoTo telescopes. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. November See also: Astrophotography. Play media. Main article: List of astronomical societies. Astronomy portal. Retrieved September 17, Double Stars. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht. Clay; Koed, Thomas L. The Origin and Evolution of the Universe. European Southern Observatory.
Retrieved March 29, Retrieved January 28, October Ingalls, T. Mirror mirror: a history of the human love affair with reflection. Basic Books. Springfield Telescope and Reflector Society. Archived from the original on July 25, Retrieved August 5, Russell Porter Harvard University. Paul; Rivera, Eugenio J. The Astrophysical Journal. Bibcode : ApJ Amateur Observational Sidewalk. Categories : Amateur astronomy Citizen science.
Naval Observatory. The second is an extensive set of observing lists for northern and southern skies. About me and my hobby My practical amateur astronomy journey started in the summer of with a small 4. After approximately a year I added Celestron C9.
My thoughts slowly focused on the biggest of the Celestron SCTs - the famous 14". That urge to have bigger and bigger and bigger telescope! CGE is a great scope, wonderful optics, excellent mount! It performs very well for visual observing, with good pointing accuracy. The only problem was that for each session I had to choose - visual or imaging since I couldn't do both at the same time with one scope I like both, so the next step was to buy a second big scope for strictly visual use.
When I built my observatory I also acquired a purely visual scope - 18" Obsession Classic Dobsonian and C14 became a dedicated imaging scope. I have also added the second imaging scope: 10" Orion Newtonian with a field of view between this of C14 Hyperstar and C14 with a reducer. This was a big improvement, and after a while when I realized big chip guided imaging is what I want and I got a Hutech modified Canon 40D, and later self-modified Canon T2i.
The next step was to get a second dedicated color imaging camera: QHY8 from CCD-Labs, necessary if I wanted to use my both imaging scopes simultaneously later replaced with T2i.
At least until I ventured into electronically assisted observing I am pretty lucky to live in a place where light pollution is not severe, even though my first house in Ithaca was relatively close to the city I was still able to observe from my backyard's deck, and on a good night limiting magnitude was around 5.
However it all changed for the better in the summer of
Backyard telescopes and amateur eyes see where “pro” astronomers can’t | Ars Technica
This page shows that it is possible to carry out astrophotography, even when living in light polluted suburbs, if a modern CCD camera is used. My main interest is deep sky photography and many of the pictures on this site are examples of galaxies and nebulae.
I also enjoy photographing the moon and planets so I have included some planetary and lunar photographs as well. Click on the links in the yellow bar at the left to see the pictures. Click here for latest pictures. Click here for the best pictures. See my pictures of the Northern Lights. See the great spiral galaxy M31 in Andromeda. Astronomical Places of interest I have visited. My Observatory. For imagng planets I have also used Webcams and video cameras. My main 'scope is currently a Meade 10" LX This is used either in basic f10 mode or with an f6.
I don't use an auto-guider, but rely on the excellent tracking of the LX with the periodic error correction. I also have a Meade LT8 for portable use. Some pictures were taken using DSLR cameras piggy-backed and gu ided by the main telescope.
This gives a nice wide field of view, depending on the camera and lens used. I have also been using Digital SLRs through my main scope, yielding nice colour images. The main limitation with DSLRs is that the sensors are not cooled and thus susceptible to noise in longer exposures.
This gives higher quality images than the DSLR camera lenses and a field of view of over 2 degrees. I am currently using a high frame rate video camera from Imaging Source to image planets.
Click here to see how it's done. Although I have been an amateur astronomer for over 40 years, the photographs on this site were all taken since September , since i converted from film to digital! In that time I have accumulated thousand s of photographs - what is shown here are just examples!! In all my astronomy I make good use of the Skymap planetarium programme, which I would highly recommend.
There is now an on-line version here. This allows me to find and centre objects on the CCD chip and control the scope from the computer. For image processing I have also been using Astroart , which is an excellent piece of software.