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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: November 2012

Chapter 3 - The Solar System framed

Summary

Nowadays a large proportion of amateur astronomers are astrophotographers. In fact, I am fairly sure that most amateur astronomers do at least some astronomical photography. This was not the case until relatively recently. I was certainly aware of being in a minority of practising amateur astronomers when I began astrophotography in the early 1970s. Back then, most commercial film processors and printers did not do a good job with astronomical subjects. So, to get the best results normally required the aspiring astrophotographer to set up a darkroom and get involved with the chemicals and operations needed for processing films and creating the final prints. I happened to love doing all that but for most other amateur astronomers that was a step too far.

The recent availability of a range of electronic imaging devices, all fairly easily used with laptops or PCs to give immediate results, has resulted in a veritable explosion of practising astrophotographers. Also, I must say that the quality of the images now routinely achieved using electronic imaging with the best amateur equipment would have been the envy of even the professional astronomers of yesteryear who used light-sensitive emulsions on film or glass plates as their recording medium.

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