Adventures With Astrophotography

Talk by Nik Szymanek

Friday 21st October 2022

He started this talk of by saying that most astronomers started taking photos by imaging the moon which is a large bright object in the night sky and then he then talked about the different aspects of the moon like the terminator, the craters that are over the surface of the moon. Then he spoke about the eclipse’s and how to take the image with the length of the exposure needed. Then he spoke about taking images of the sun and he showed an image he had taken in which you could see the sun spots on the surface. Then he showed an image of the sun showing the transition of mercury across the surface. He then proceeds to show many images he had taken and with each image he described how it was taken and the use of any filters to achieve the finished image. He then spoke about to how extend the exposure time of an image. As part of his work, he is asked to trial equipment and then write a review about them, and he said on the strength of the review he wrote he then purchased one of these items.

He then spoke about how he had to move his observatory from his previous house to the bungalow where he is living now and how he got a builder friend to put him a concrete base down for the observatory, this builder was also an amateur Astro photograph, a photo if the concrete was shown lovely and smooth with a pipe sticking out which is where the electricity for the observatory would go in, he showed a photo of the finished observatory in his garden. He then spoke about the light pollution from various different sources, and as he said for him looking in one direction, he could see the light pollution from the city of Colchester and in the other direction the night sky was dark. He then spoke about getting the pier set up in there.

Nik then spoke about the many different camera’s that could be used to take the many images and how each image was achieved, by the length of exposure, any filters used and including the image software used to get the final image. He spoke about some software called Nina which is free to use and he also spoke about software he had used years ago and showed images taken and then he spoke about RGB and images taken showing the colours. He mentioned and showed images of a supernova that was low in the sky. He showed images of a comet he had taken. He then rattled through the software that is out there an available to use for sharpen images up.

He then spoke about images from other observatories by either buying time on other people’s equipment which can be expensive, but another way which can also be expensive is have your own equipment installed in an observatory, but you still have to pay a maintenance fee for them to look after the equipment.

He spoke about images of nebulas taken with a 20”in Chile, what they were taken with, length of exposure time, any filter used plus the software used to create the image. After this he said he had written 3 books and one is still available to buy. He has done many talks including at starfest.