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Book Review: Digital Astrophotography: a guide to capturing the cosmos

Wouldn't it be awesome to capture stunning images of deep space and our planets in detail? From Rocky Nook publishing comes a how-to book by German-born astrophotographer, Stefan Seip.

Stefan combines his professional experience in fine art photography and IT, with his passion for astronomy to guide the amateur through four common methods, currently used to image the splendour of the sky in order to achieve professional results at home.

He walks through the set-up and use of each camera type in turn, followed by easy to follow processing techniques using dedicated (and often free) software.

Cover of the book: Digital Astrophotography To the novice, long chapters can be overwhelming. This book exercises measured reserve in this regard, with chapters that are appropriate in length and easy to grasp.

Each technique is presented with relevant illustrations, from photographs of hardware set-up, example exposures or screen shots of programs used.

One chapter touches on formulas that explain concepts such as focal length and magnification, a must for the developing astrophotographer. Formula can be daunting for some but here it is kept short and relevant. Care has been taken not to inundate the reader with excessive technical data, yet shows that there is at least some benefit to be gained by employing a little math for a cause.

A revelation I particularly enjoyed was the explanation of brightness values between pixels. As a budding astrophotographer, these kind of elementary concepts can be elusive until a book like this explains them in plain English.

Stefan imparts practical tips throughout, for example protection of completed images. Implementation of these valuable experiences will expedite development of the amateur astrophotographer.

The book is well supplemented with references to websites and forums for further reading, links to processing freeware online and recommended retailers for astrophotography hardware.

After reading this book I am left brimming with excitement. Even before writing this review, I ordered another camera based on Stefan's recommendation, in order to possess and share the beauty of the heavens. I can't wait!

Keep this very worthy reference book close to the telescope, camera and PC, wherever they may go.

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Reviewer: Barry Armstead

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