Astro Links

This page provides a more structured list of Astronomy related links and resources which I find useful.

Beginner Research:

I found the following websites particularly useful for learning and helping me come to decisions on what telescope I should go for.

Orion Skyquest related sites:

Astronomy Observatories and Societys:

Careers:

Photographic Image and Video Collections:

Technical Discussion:

Suppliers:

Cameras:

  • Pentax Optio L30
  • Poor Meadow Dyke Observatory - The official site of Steve Chambers, famed for pioneering the use and modification of cheap, readily available, sensitive CCD webcams for use in astrophotography. Many people have followed his suggestions for making the Long Exposure mod to enable webcams (which normally just take very short exposure movie footage at frame speeds of 5 to 60 frames per second) to take exposures anything from 1 second to 1 hour!! This Guide page in particular is very interesting as it describes how the webcam sensor gathers more light the longer the exposure is, with diagrams showing how photons are collected and converted into electrons, and hence how the modification to the webcam works. For a list of webcams suitable for astronomy purposes refer to this page in his site.
  • Robert Reeves Celestial Photography - this website provides additional photos and information for the SPC900NC webcam. In particular check out his page How to remove the lens from a Philips SPC900NC webcam
  • M.M.Meijer’s Astronomy Pages - This site provides even more technical information on the Philips SPC900NC and also provides exact detail on making the Long Exposure mod for the SPC900NC.
  • Astronomical Cameras: A Guide to Astrophotography - This page at CCTV Camera Pros was suggested as a useful resource by young Annie from Beth Pawlicki’s group at the Pathway to Empowerment Youth Groups as part of the research she was doing for an astronomy event to celebrate Red Planet Day which commemorates the launch of the Spacecraft Mariner 4 on November 28,1964. The 228 day mission of Mariner 4 brought the spacecraft within 6,118 miles of Mars on July 14, 1965, and gave us the first close-up images of the surface of the planet. This Guide to Astrophotography provides many useful resources on the History, Equipment, Methods, Picture Sites and other general astrophotography links. This is an excellent find - Well done Annie !

Maintenance:

Software:

  • Carte du Ciel [free]
  • The Sky 6
  • ASCOM driver - Astronomy Common Object Model
  • Stellarium - excellent free software, highly recommended!
  • Starry Night Pro
  • K3CCDTools - This software allows you to take better control over your webcam to capture movie footage or still shots to your computer for later enhancement by K3CCDTools, or another software such as Registax. It is reasonably priced and has many advanced features that give special control over exposure and gain that your standard Webcam software may not provide. K3CCDTools is particularly of interest because it includes settings that hook into a “long exposure modified” webcam (Note that long exposures are useless without proper equatorial tracking).
  • K3CCDTools Deep Sky Processing Tutorial - a good article summarising how to use K3CCDTools (which can be tricky to learn) for DSO photography image enhancement.
  • Virtual Moon Atlas - this is an excellent piece of software for learning about the various craters, mountains, valleys, mares and rilles that make up the surface of the moon. It will calculate and show the current phase of the moon, showing the position of the terminator (shadow of the sun) and will indicate interesting features along the terminator. For each object you look at it will explain its age, how it was formed and various other interesting facts. And its Free!
  • Telescope Simulator from www.scopesim.com - great little software, reasonably priced to help you visualize what stars and planets will actually look like through the eyepiece, for beginners this really helps you understand the relationships between telescope focal length/aperture, and eyepiece focal length/aperture, apparent and true field of view, the effect a Barlow will have, and displays the resulting magnification, focal ratio, exit pupil, effective focal length and field stop. Ideal for helping you make choices as to what eyepiece you should buy next.
  • Astronomy Software List - This list by Dan Bruton must be the most extensive and complete list of astronomy related software I have come across. My personal list above pales into comparison, so if you’re looking for something specific I suggest you try this list first!
  • Carsten Arnholms Astronomy Software List - another very useful list of software.

Manuals:

Terms:

Binocular Astro Lounge Chairs:

That’s the list, I hope you enjoy them!

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