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Yours truly

Links to astronomy web sites, 

books, and other resources 

Contents (click on one): 

               Archives   Astro Books & Manuals   Astro Films  Beginners Advice   

               Collimation   Color Balance    Databases   Dew Busters         

               Drift Alignment    Equipment Reviews    Exposure   

               Field Rotation   Focus Methods   

               Great Astro Web sites  Great terrestrial Photo Web Sites  Hardware sources  

               Home Observatories  Image Processing   Latitude & Longitude   Mirror Recoating  

               Newsgroups    ST-4 Guider    Sunrise, etc Times    Videos    

               Weather Predictions

Note number 1: This portion of the site is very incomplete—I'm working on it!

Note  number  2: Brian  Sledz  has  a  very  similarly  named  site  at 

http://www.astronomyimages.com  (note that his site has no hyphen in the name)

 

The sources listed here are limited to those I have personally read, watched, or linked to over the past 6--8 years, so it's a  short list that doesn't reflect the fantastic amount of material available.

darksky  and light pollution matters

The pollution of the night sky with useless, damaging light is perhaps the most important environmental/political issue facing astronomers, especially amateurs — who cannot travel to Hawaii or Chile on a monthly basis. The International DarkSky Association is working to educate city planners, lighting companies, highway engineers, etc, about the facts. Read about their activities and join the organization at: http://www.darksky.org/

If you have any doubts about the need for this organization, take a look at: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/0011/earthlights_dmsp_big.jpg

 

Amateur Astronomy Books And Manuals:
     There are lots of good writers in this field and dozens of wonderful books. The following list is only a small part of what I have read so far and found most useful in getting started in visual and photographic astronomy. They are not in any particular order except the first one: Backyard Astronomer's Guide is what I would recommend as the first book to be acquired by a beginner (unless, of course, I get my own beginners' astronomy book published).

"The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" by Terence Dickinson and Alan Dyer

"Burnham's Celestial Handbook," by Robert Burnham, jr. (three volumes)

"Astrophotography for Amateurs,"  2nd edition, by Michael A. Covington

"Wide-Field Astrophotography," by Robert Reeves

"The New CCD Astronomy," by Ron Wodaski

"The Night Sky Observer's Guide," by G Kepple & G Sanner (two volumes)

"A Manual of Advanced Celestial Photography," by Wallis and Provin

"Star Testing Astronomical Telescopes," by Harold Suiter

"Small Observatories," by Patrick Moore

"StarWare," 3rd edition, by Philip S. Harrington

"365 Starry Nights," by Chet Raymo

"Observer's Handbook," published annually by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (highly recommended!)

"Astronomical Calendar," published annually by Guy Ottewell

 

Other Books:

If you are interested in pharmacology,  there's really only one choice:

"Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 10th edition," by B. G. Katzung

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Videos: 

"An Introduction to Astronomy"  by Alex Filippenko (UC Berkeley). 40 lectures on 15 tapes; distributed by The Teaching Company. Very good and definitely worth the money!

"Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Nonscientists" by Richard Wolfson (Middlebury College). 24 lectures on 6 tapes; distributed by The Teaching Company. An odd style of delivery and low information content, at least in the first 12 lectures, made this course hard for me to watch. I stopped watching after the 12th lecture so it wasn't worth it for me. Your response may differ.

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Archives  and Special Interest Group  Pages

General and very extensive listing of deep-sky objects (but requires some knowledge to use efficiently): http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html

The best source of coordinates, size, distance, etc: The Interactive NGC Catalog Online at      http://www.seds.org/~spider/ngc/ngc.html

Hubble Space Telescope: http://www.stsci.edu/

Occultation information: http://lunar-occultations.com/iota/iotandx.htm

Lists of astronomy clubs: http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~rhill/alpo/clublinks.html

APML (Astrophotography Mail List for FILM photography only; not sure it exists anymore) archive at:   http://astro.umsystem.edu/apml/

CCD Imaging list (very good, active group for advice and help on all matters pertaining to astro-imaging with dedicated astro-CCD and -CMOS cameras:  http://taex001.tamu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ccd

Astroimaging with a digicam (non-interchangeable lens digital camera): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/digital_astro/

MAPUG (Meade Advanced Products Users' Group) archive at:   http://www.mapug.com

Doc Greiner's web site: http://www.mailbag.com/users/ragreiner/

Messier Objects, Messier Marathon materials:  http://www.seds/org/messier/

and especially:   http://www.seds.org/messier/xtra/marathon/marath.html

or  http://www.maa.mhn.de/Messier/E/Xtra/Marathon/marath3.html

And another good source (Bill Ferris): http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/billferris/marathon.html

Solar system: http://www.seds.org/billa/tnp/  

    and             http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/pictures/

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Newsgroups

I find that regular reading of the postings to these newsgroups is the quickest way to obtain  information about new equipment and techniques. Don't hesitate to post questions. The people who populate the groups are usually extremely helpful to beginners and are happy to share their expertise. If your question has recently been answered someone will usually direct you to the archive page containing the answer.

Astro-Physics telescopes: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-ug

Astro-Physics mounts:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ap-gto/

Astrophotography Mail List: APML (see archive above for subscription information)

CCD Imaging list (very good, active group for advice and help on all matters pertaining to astro-imaging with dedicated astro-CCD and -CMOS cameras:  http://taex001.tamu.edu/mailman/listinfo/ccd

CCD-newastro (Ron Wodaski's group): http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/ccd-newastro/

Finger Lakes Instrumentation (FLI) CCD cameras and accessories:  

       E-mail  listserver@propermotion.com   with the message:  subscribe digest fliuser

Losmandy mounts and accessories (Losmandy) group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Losmandy_users

Meade Advanced Products Groups: MAPUG (see archive above for information)

Santa Barbara CCD cameras and accessories (SBIG) group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SBIG

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Polar alignment methods (iterative & drift)

Philip Perkins: http://www.astrocruise.com/; go to bottom of opening page for articles, eg:

http://www.astrocruise.com/polarold.htm; and http://www.astrocruise.com/polarnew.htm


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Focus methods for film:

Chris Vedeler's excellent article: http://www.isomedia.com/homes/cvedeler/scope/focus.htm

Doc Greiner's archive: http://www.mailbag.com/users/ragreiner/

Chuck Vaughn's excellent article: http://www.aa6g.org/Astronomy/articles.html ; click on Knife Edge Focus.

Jerry Lodriguss' exhaustive treatment  at: http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/TOC_AP.HTM  , click on Focussing for astrophotography, or just go direct to:  Focusing for Astrophotography

Focus methods for CCD:

FocusMax is a free and sophisticated autofocus software plug-in  for use with MaxIm: http://www.focusmax.org

==================================

Color Balance & Reciprocity of  films:

Don Westergren's "lab"  tests: http://home.nethere.net/mpd/FilmTestSummary/FilmTestSummary.htm

 

Color Balance and Correction Factors for CCD

Al Kelly's website, and his tutorial on the G2 star method of calibrating a CCD-tri-color 

   filter system:     http://www.ghg.net/akelly/

Don Goldman's website on tricolor filters used in CCD and a calculator for determining the

   characteristics of your own system: http://www.astrodon.com/

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Collimation methods:

http://perso.club-internet.fr/legault/collim.html

 

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Exposure information:

General: http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/astro/

For deep-sky objects see also: Philip Perkins's site at   http://www.astrocruise.com/astroexp.htm

Meteor photography: Jerry Lodriguss' article at

http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/METEORS.HTM

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SUN  &  moon  RISE  &  SET TIMES: 

http://aa.usno.navy.mil/AA/data/docs/RS_OneYear.html

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Latitude and Longitude for observing locations


The best method is to use a GPS gadget right at your site. If you don't have a GPS and  you live in the USA try one of these  URL's


http://tiger.census.gov/cgi-bin/mapbrowse-tbl

http://www.mapug.com/AstroDesigns/MAPUG/LatLong.htm
http://imap.chesapeake.net/

If you have a street address, this site is great:
http://www.geocode.com/eagle.html-ssi

For UK (for London especially)   http://www.streetmap.co.uk/

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Advice on the ST-4 guider:

This stand-alone guider, now discontinued, continues to work well for those lucky enough to own one. Optimal performance is not always easy to achieve, so reference to Jim Janusz tutorial is highly recommended:

Jim Janusz:   www.abmedia.com/astro/articles/st4.html

Jim Janusz (on Philip Perkin's site): http://www.astrocruise.com/st4tips.htm

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Source of hardware, Metals, Plastic, Etc:

http://www.mcmaster.com/

http://www.reidtool.com/index.htm  (especially good for small set screws, knobs, etc)

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Sources of Software:

A listing of sources:   http://www.seds.org/billa/astrosoftware.html

 

The source of the selective gaussian blur noise reduction program (SGBNR) http://www.pleiades-astrophoto.com/software/en.html  Recommended!

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Mirror re-coating service:

ALUMINUM COATING:
807 Rutherdale; San Carlos, Ca
alcoat@sirius.com
; http://www.sirius.com/~alcoat/

 

QSP Optical, Santa Ana. 
http://www.qsptech.com/

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home Observatories:

Clamshell Roof (as developed by Eric Schandall)

     Katzung: this web site

Roll-off Roof

     Vedeler: http://www.isomedia.com/homes/cvedeler/observatory/observ.htm

     Arnett: http://www.seds.org/billa/obs/obs.html

     Greiner: http://www.mailbag.com/users/ragreiner/

Dome

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Evaluations of scopes, eyepieces, And Other equipment:

Todd Gross' site: www.weatherman.com

Ed Ting's site: http://www.scopereviews.com/

CloudyNights site: http://www.cloudynights.com/index.htm

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Films for astrophotography:

This site: http://www.astronomy-images.com/Articles/Astrophotography_for_beginners.htm

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Digital Techniques For Processing Astrophotos

Jerry Lodriguss: http://www.astropix.com/HTML/J_DIGIT/TOC_DIG.HTM

Al Kelly's excellent tutorial on acquiring and processing CCD images: 

   http://www.ghg.net/akelly/procccd.htm

 

Sophisticated techniques described and links to, at Russ Croman's site:

http://www.rc-astro.com/resources/index.html

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Weather predictions

The most useful site is Attilla Danko's great "translator" of the Canadian astro forecasts noted below. It provides an hour-by-hour prediction of both cloud cover and transparency for several hundred selected observing sites across the USA and Canada: http://www.cleardarksky.com/csk/

The Canadians have an excellent page for amateur astronomers: http://www.cmc.ec.gc.ca/cmc/htmls/astro_e.html   The northern tier of the US can be seen on these Canadian maps.

This is a  site predicting astronomical observing conditions in the USA and southern Canada : www.intellicast.com/Star/

www.accuweather.com

You might also take a look at
http://nimbo.wrh.noaa.gov/Saltlake/slc.web.satellite.html.
This site works for the Western half of the USA.

For similar Eastern OR western USA animated satellite imagery, start from
http://weather.gov/iwin/graphics.html

And, of course, Todd Gross' site:  www.weatherman.com

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Sources of data on nebula, clusters, and galaxies .....

There are hundreds of catalogs of such data with size, distance, brightness, etc, available for download at:

Messier: http://www.seds.org/messier/

NGC, IC: http://www.ngcic.com/

Or: http://adc.gsfc.nasa.gov/adc/adc_holdings1.html

Bill Arnett's solar system database: http://www.seds.org/billa/

Nasa's Lunar Orbiter moon database:  http://www.lpi.usra.edu/research/lunar_orbiter/

Dutch Occultation Association Lunar Occultation Workbench, a great freeware program for predicting and precisely localizing the position of lunar occultations:

http://home.plex.nl/~gottm/doa/

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Web sites for great astrophotos (both film and ccd) and related

(Listed alphabetically but pathetically incomplete ). There are lots more and I will attempt to add more over time.

Dennis Anderson's aurora shots: http://www.auroradude.homestead.com/aurora.html

     and especially:  http://www.auroradude.homestead.com/tokfebruary.html

Howard Anderson: http://www.frontiernet.net/~handy13/

Steve Bell's site: http://www.mindspring.com/~sb635/

Matt BenDaniel's site (great images and tutorials): http://starmatt.com
David Churchill: http://members.home.net/dachurchill/index.htm
Russ Dickman: http://www.sierravalleyarts.com/opening.html

Rob Gendler: http://robgendler.astrodigitals.com/index.html
John Gleason: http://www.celestialimage.com/index2.html
Ray Graylak:  http://www.gralak.com/

Tony and Daphne Hallas: http://astrophoto.com/

Jim Janusz: http://www.geocities.com/palmdesertratx/
Jerry Lodiguss: http://www.astropix.com/index.htm

Russ Lund: http://www.stargazing.net/coolastronut/

Bill McLaughlin: http://willmclaughlin.astrodigitals.com/

Bobby Middleton: http://www.koyote.com/users/bobm/astro1.htm

Wil Milan: http://www.airdigital.com/index.html
Philip Perkins: www.astrocruise.com
Art Rosch: http://www.artsdigitalphoto.com/

Chris Schur: http://www.psiaz.com/Schur/astro/index.html

Mike Stecker: http://www.homestead.com/mstecker/index.html

Mike Stecker's collection of bios and pictures of amateur and professional astro-imagers:

            http://mstecker.com/pages/app.htm  Interesting!

Jeff Stys: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jstys/index.html
Ian Turner's site: http://www.mindspring.com/~skyshooter/
Chuck Vaughn: http://www.aa6g.org/astro.html

Chris Vedeler's: www.isomedia.com/homes/cvedeler/space.htm

Volker Wendel's: http://www.spiegelteam.de/New%20Pictures.htm

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Great Terrestrial Image Sites (Landscape, Nature, Etc)

http://www.visionlightgallery.com/ (includes some of my own work!)

http://www.fredmiranda.com/ (general photo forum, reviews of equipment, tutorials, etc)

http://luminous-landscape.com/ (reviews, tutorials, etc)

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Sources of film and photo accessories:

B&H Photo Video (800-947-9002); http://www02.bhphotovideo.com/

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Scanners & Printers

Anyone considering a new photo printer should check out this
site dedicated to the most recent reviews and evaluations of
both HP and Epson printers:

http://come.to/digitaldarkroom/

and check the scanner article on the APML archive site:

http://www.system.missouri.edu/ics/staff/andy/APML/scanner_test/

Information about new scanners appears intermittently on the manufacturer's websites, eg, Polaroid, Kodak, Epson, Acer, Umax, Minolta, etc.

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Beginning astrophotography


On this site: Astrophotography_for_beginners.htm

Here are some other web pages to get you started.
http://www.galaxyphoto.com/thizy.html

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY BASICS by Galaxy Photo
http://webhome.idirect.com/~rsnow

Beginners Astro page
http://home.inreach.com/jayrob/beginast/index.html

Beginnings in Astrophotography!
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/6529/primer.html

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY PRIMER
http://voltaire.csun.edu/hints.html

Barndoor tracking mounts (do it yourself solutions)

http://origins.colorado.edu/~rachford/widefield/barndoor.html

http://www.jlc.net/~force5/Astro/ATM/Barndoor/barndoor.html

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Field rotation: 

Larry McNish has an extensive and authoritative article on all aspects of this phenomenon at:

http://calgary.rasc.ca/field_rotation.htm

Michael Covington's website has an applet that calculates this at:

http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/astro/astrosoft.html

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COLD CAMERA TECHNIQUES:
This is an old method for hypersensitizing film  http://members.home.net/mirtle.j/

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Astronomy resources in Northern California:

General clearing house organization for clubs:   http://aanc-astronomy.org

Resources for teachers (teaching materials for grades K-12, books, etc): www.aspsky.org

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Dealing With Dew

Dew can be a major problem whenever the air temperature drops close to the dewpoint temperature. To prevent a dripping mess, you need to gently warm the area facing the sky with a resistance element strapped around the lens or aperture and control it with some sort of variable controller. For general principles see: 
http://www.skypub.com/tips/tricks/dew.html

How to build your own anti-dew heaters:
http://www.skypub.com/tips/tricks/dew_heater.html

I am aware of  two commercial brands of good dew control heaters and controllers:

DewBusters  ( http://www.dewbuster.com/ )   and 

Kendrick's Dew Removal System ( http://www.kendrickastro.com/astro/index.html ).

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Tricolor techniques:

Chuck Vaughn is the undisputed king of film tricolor. See: http://www.aa6g.org/Astronomy/articles.html

Examples can be viewed at: http://www.aa6g.org/Astronomy/astrophotos.html

Color in most CCD work requires tricolor filter techniques; see Bill McLaughlin's site for an excellent tutorial: http://willmclaughlin.astrodigitals.com/; click Information, then on LRGB Technique

Al Kelly, who has successfully popularized the G2 star technique for calibrating a CCD - tricolor filter system has a tutorial at: http://www.ghg.net/akelly/artdraf7.htm

The majority of advanced CCD imaging is done with monochrome CCD cameras and thus requires the use of  filter wheels for placing the three (or more) filters successively in front of the sensor.  The major cooled CCD camera manufacturers (SBIG, Starlight Express, FLI, Apogee, Yankee) provide the necessary equipment for this, see the manufacturer links above or google. In addition, several manufacturers also provide "one-shot color" cameras. These cameras use color sensors (like the ones used in digital cameras for day use) and tempt the beginner as being simpler or cheaper. However, most one-shot color sensors are limited to the visible spectrum, and are much less sensitive to the important H-alpha wavelength. Furthermore, calibration and correction for artifacts is much more difficult when processing one-shot color frames.


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