Cover photo: - Comet Hale-Bopp - Credit: Jason Shinn

"When one has weighed the Sun in balance, and measured the steps of the Moon, and mapped out the seven heavens, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?

We are all in the gutter, only some of us are looking at the stars." --Oscar Wilde


Throughout the years, it has been my great pleasure and privlege to know many professional and amateur astronomers. I have been inspired by countless books, magazines and programs - and spent years of starry nights at the eyepiece in study. It is a combination of all of these things that makes this book what it is.

And makes me who I am.

For all of you out there? I thank you. Your support and kind words have made a dream come true. Now let's thank the people that made it come about...

Jeff Barbour

Out of all of the wonderful folks who have contributed to this work, there is no one to whom I owe a deeper debt of gratitude than Jeff Barbour.

Inspired by the early 1900's masterpiece: "The Sky Through Three, Four, and Five Inch Telescopes", Jeff got a start in astronomy and space science at the age of seven. As a writer, Jeff has written numerous articles for Universe Today - including topics on the history of Astronomy ("What Did Galileo See?"), cosmology ("Early Black Holes Grew Up Quickly") observational astronomy ("What Telescope is Right for You?"), propulsion systems ("Positron Drive: Fill 'er Up For Pluto"), breaking news ("Near Perfect "Einstein Ring" Discovered"), and commentary ("Are We Alone?").

Currently Jeff devotes much of his time playing jazz guitar, writing novels, observing the heavens, and maintaining his own observational astronomy based website. Father of two grown boys, he and wife-Sharon live among the redwood groves and hillsides of the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. Jeff can often be found with other members of the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club at star party outings beneath the Night Sky... Jeff says to all his readers: "Carpe Noctem".

As a friend, rival, co-observer and co-conspiritor of many years, Jeff has also been a co-author - providing the basis for many of the studies you see here. We've spent many happy times sharing the eyepiece, pouring over books, charts and text together and without him, none of this could have came together quite the same.

Cor Berrevoets

Both born and residing in the Netherlands, Cor had an early affair with astronomy when he was about 10 years old or so. Then the subject sank away ... Revival of the earlier hobby occurred when, in 1999, a solar eclipse passed by. At this time, he purchased a telescope and started to get interested in optics and developed the Aberrator.

After his scope became properly aligned, he added a second-hand webcam and started programming again - which resulted in the awesome freeware program - RegiStax. The things he enjoys seeing most are Moon, Sun and planets. Even after upgraded to a C11 scope, he still finds these are the most interesting subjects.

Simone Bolzoni

I was born in 1975. Since 1980, when my parents gave me a little 5cm toy-telescope, I am interested in astronomy and spend my free time to observe the magnificent things there are in the sky. I studied accounting and I graduated in 1995; now I work as Information Technology in a company who produces pipes and fittings for gas and water.

In 1982, I received a 6cm refractor, then, in 1985, I took a 12cm newton telescope to observe the Halley's comet, my first comet. Finally, in 1991 I bought a 20cm f/10 schmidt-cassegrain, and now I use both 20cm and 12cm to observe and photograph the sky. Now, I am thinking of a new telescope, but in my current home it is not so practical to observe with a bigger instrument, so I am waiting for better times...

Thanks to astronomy, in 2002 I knew my girlfriend, Chiara Riedo ( ), who is interested in astronomy, too. She has got a refractor 15cm f/8, and now we go often together searching for better skies, in the mountains and everywhere quite far from light pollution. Unfortunately, we live near Milan and Turin, and from our cities it is very difficult to see the Milky Way, especially from my site. I don't feel an astroimager, like some persons love to call themselves. I am only interested in astronomy, and sometimes like to draw, to take photographs and to take images with a webcam, but not in a way to demonstrate anything: only for my personal satisfaction.

During the last twenty years I had the luck to observe some grandiose astronomical events, like: comets Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp and Ikeya-Zhang, many lunar total eclipse and solar eclipses of August 1999 (total) and October 2005 (annular), Leonids storm in 1999 and 2002, many important lunar occultations of stars and planets (some grazing too), Mars big oppositions of 1986, 1988, 2001, 2003 and 2005, the SL9 comet crash on Jupiter in 1994, Saturn without its rings in 1995, Mercury and Venus transits on the Sun (2003/04), Nova Cygni 1992, the bright SN in M 81 (1993), and many, many others..."

Ricardo Borba

Ricardo Borba is an amateur astronomer living in Ottawa, Ontario and a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Between observing sessions he is an Application Software Engineer at Natural Convergence.

Fraser Cain

Fraser is the publisher of Universe Today, a popular Internet website dedicated to news about astronomy and space exploration. The site receives over 600,000 page views a month, and the newsletter edition goes out to 26,000 subscribers every weekday. The exploration and colonization of space has always been his greatest interest.

Previous to his fulltime commitment to Universe Today, Fraser was Vice President and Partner of; a website development agency. During his 5 years with, Fraser mostly built websites, and was the project manager and leader of over 50 websites.

Previous to, Fraser was co-founder and inventor of CompuTrace, the world's first software designed to retrieve computers after they've been stolen (it's true, it works, check it out). Although he no longer works with Absolute Software, the company is now publicly traded on the Canadian Venture Exchange, and worth lots of money. Fraser studied engineering at the University of British Columbia, but interrupted his studies to found Absolute Software Corporation (before interrupting studies to start high-tech companies was considered "cool", and then considered "insane").

An accomplished writer, Fraser has written three published books (GURPS Supporting Cast, Creatures of Earthdawn, Double Exposure), and several magazine articles. Although this work had nothing to do with the space industry, it did have something to do with writing. A coincidence?

In addition to Universe Today, Fraser has done Internet consulting for the airline industry, software companies, and is generally looking for his next opportunity (something space-related would be nice).

Fraser grew up on Hornby Island, a small rock off the coast Western Canada with incredibly dark skies - ideal for amateur astronomy. He currently lives in Courtenay, BC; a small city on Vancouver Island.

I would personally like to thank Fraser for his idea and encouragement to take what was a weekly column and create a book. His faith to turn in a virtual "nobody" into a writer will forever be appreciated.

Victor DeCristoforo

  I have always liked looking up at the night sky ever since I was a child, but never knew anything about it. I never had anyone around me that knew anything either - so I never pursued it. Unfortunately it was not until I was in my thirties that I started asking myself questions about what's up there.

  I think it may of been the Seti@Home screen saver project that actually sparked my interest. One of my business associates told me about the project when it was in its BETA stages. I thought this was a very cool way of taking advantage of computer power so I signed up as a member.

  After I started processing these work units from the Seti organization I started to wonder what area of the skys I was processing. This was the spark to the gasoline that got my fire burning. Being a Internet service provider and software developer I turned my focus on searching for information on astronomy, and purching a telescope. After several months of checking out many, many web sites that dealt with getting into astronomy, I decided to get a Reflector (Newtonian) style. It was actually my wife that got it for me as a early Christmas gift. The scope that was purchased was a Meade 4.5" F8 on a equatorial mount, with a RA drive.

  Not knowing anything about astronomy I picked up a Astronomy field guide and star wheel to help me out learning the constellations, and what was where in the sky. This along with a couple of computer star programs, and the wealth of information on the internet I started to learn the sky.  

R, Jay GaBany

Born in 1954, at the dawn of the space age, R Jay GaBany has grown up and matured during a time when mankind's fascination with the great mysteries beyond our home planet has surged. His interest in astronomy started at an early age, sparked by the Apollo Moon Landing program. Repeated viewings of Kubrick's epic 2001: A Space Odyssey solidified his enthusiasm so when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were bouncing on the lunar surface, Jay was in his back yard observing the moon through his first small refractor. But it was Carl Sagan's vision that ignited his adult enthusiasm for astronomy like gasoline on an open fire when Cosmos debuted on the PBS television network in 1980 and shortly thereafter he acquired his first 8-inch Schmidt-cassegrain telescope.

Many other telescopes followed, as did two years learning how to image with a 35mm camera in time for the passing of Halley's comet in 1986. Family, kids, career and expenses, however, turned him into a spectator as amateur astronomy converted from film to CCD imagery during the 1990's.

Moving from Connecticut to San Jose, California in the late nineteen nineties, Jay began designing web-based travel reservation systems during the day but at night, he began to hear a familiar call from sky.

His fascination with taking deep space pictures was re-sparked during an un-planned late night tour of personal websites filled with fantastic CCD astro-images and seeing the striking pictures of Robert Gendler convinced him to re-engage with astronomy. Learning to produce images of the night sky with a CCD camera proved to be the most challenging, rewarding and addictive activity he had ever undertaken- far surpassing the years spent learning software languages in his South Windsor, CT basement at night.

Today, images are taken both from his light-polluted backyard using a portable 12 inch telescope and remotely, using Internet control, with a 20 inch reflector from a dark location in the south-central mountains of New Mexico.

Wes Higgins

My interest in space and astronomy started when I was in the second grade and watching the first US manned space shot on television and I continued to follow with great interest the NASA space programs all the way thorough the Apollo moon landings.

When I was a child I always wanted a telescope but with four children in our family my parents could not afford to get me one, my yearning for a telescope lay dormant through college, marriage and starting my own business and about eight years ago I finally bought my first telescope and I am sure that for the rest of my life I will be out observing and imaging every chance I get.

International Occultation Timing Association - IOTA

World reknown for their accuracy, the IOTA team provides perfect information for any occultation or grazing event - be it by the Moon, a planet or an asteroid! My appreciation goes to Dr. David Dunham for providing a forward look into the year 2006.

Greg Konkel

Greg has many interests and two of those that occupy a great deal of his time are astronomy and photography.  Having recently made the transition from film to digital cameras, he's enthused about the potential of this new technology and has focused his attention lately on integrating these two interests.  The purpose of his web site is twofold… to, hopefully, make a contribution regarding the technical issues surrounding digital astrophotography, and to share some of the best images he's acquired - both astronomical and general photographic.

Steve Mandel

Steve Mandel has been an amateur astronomer since the age of 11. Twenty years ago he began taking pictures of the universe and since that time has published his images in books, newspapers, Sky&Telescope and Astronomy magazines and his images have been used eight times for the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. He operates a remotely-controlled observatory in New Mexico as well as one at his home in California. He is currently helping professional astronomers gather data on the emission properties of high-latitude dust clouds in the Milky Way Galaxy.

Terry Mann

Terry Mann is Vice-President of the Astronomical League, an organization with approximately 20,000 amateur astronomers. She served as Secretary for the Astronomical League from 1998 to 2001. In 2004 Terry received the R.G. Wright Award. The G. R. (Bob) Wright League Service Award recognizes people who have performed above and beyond the call of duty. Currently she is working on a continuing effort to develop outreach programs for the League and she is assisting with the 2005 AstroExpo, the Astronomical League's national convention.

In December of 2001 she was selected as a JPL Solar System Ambassador and will continue as an Ambassador in 2005. Terry has served as President and Vice-President of the Miami Valley Astronomical Society and chaired that organization's astronomy convention for two years. She served as an advisor to their junior division and received the club's highest award, the Kepler Award. Terry also received an Award from the Ohio House of Representatives for her dedicated research and study of the Solar System. She has written articles for the Astronomical League's newsletter, the REFLECTOR, local newspapers, and her astrophotography has appeared in local art galleries, newspapers, and TV newscasts.

Terry has served as a summer volunteer at the University of Denver's Mount Evans Observatory in Colorado. As much as she enjoys observing, she has always devoted a large amount of her free time to education and public outreach. She also a frequent guest speaker and has lectured about astronomy at high schools, astronomy clubs and civic groups as well as science centers, State and National Parks. She maintains a backyard observatory that houses a 14-inch telescope and brings classrooms to the observatory to let the students see the universe. Her interest in astronomy has taken her to many places including Australia, Tahiti, Baja, Aruba, Egypt, Alaska and Bolivia.

In September of 2003,Terry was elected to Board of Directors at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Terry was also interviewed for the Book "Women of Space: Cool Careers on the Final Frontier" By Laura S. Woodmansee. Terry's bio and one of her pictures was used for the book. Her memberships include the American Astronomical Society, Astronomical League, and Astronomical Society of the Pacific and the International Dark Sky Association. 2004 Sally Ride Science Fair. 2004 Interviewed by David Levy for his radio show at Astrocon 2004, Volunteer United Way 2004 Edge Learning Institute.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

NASA explores. NASA discovers. NASA seeks to understand.

To do that, thousands of people have been working around the world -- and off of it -- for more than 45 years, trying to answer some basic questions. What's out there in space? How do we get there? What will we find? What can we learn there, or learn just by trying to get there, that will make life better here on Earth?

President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958, partially in response to the Soviet Union's launch of the first artificial satellite. NASA grew out of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, which had been researching flight technology for more than 40 years.

President John F. Kennedy focused NASA and the nation on sending astronauts to the moon by the end of the 1960s. Through the Mercury and Gemini projects, NASA developed the technology and skills it needed for the journey.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first of 12 men to walk on the moon, meeting Kennedy's challenge. In the meantime, NASA was continuing the aeronautics research pioneered by NACA. It also conducted purely scientific research and worked on developing applications for space technology, combining both pursuits in developing the first weather and communications satellites.

After Apollo, NASA focused on developing America's ready access to space: the space shuttle. First launched in 1981, the Space Shuttle has had 112 successful flights, though two crews have been lost. In 2000, the United States and Russia established permanent human presence in space aboard the international space station, a multinational project representing the work of 16 nations.

NASA has also continued its scientific research. In 1997, Mars Pathfinder became the first in a fleet of spacecraft that will explore Mars in the next decade, as we try to determine if life ever existed there. The Terra and Aqua satellites are flagships of a different fleet, this one in Earth orbit, which is designed to help us understand how our home world changes. NASA's aeronautics teams are focused on improved aircraft travel and making it safer and less polluting.

Throughout its history, NASA has conducted or funded research that has led to numerous improvements to life here on Earth.

NASA Headquarters, in Washington, provides overall guidance and direction to the Agency, under the leadership of Administrator Michael Griffin. Ten field centers and a variety of installations conduct the day-to-day work, in laboratories, on air fields, in wind tunnels and in control rooms.

NASA conducts its work in four principle organizations, called mission directorates:

Aeronautics: pioneering and proving new flight technologies that improve our ability to explore and which have practical applications on Earth. Exploration Systems: creating new capabilities for affordable, sustainable human and robotic exploration

Science: exploring the Earth, moon, Mars and beyond; charting the best route of discovery; and reaping the benefits of Earth and space exploration for society.

Space Operations: providing critical enabling technologies for much of the rest of NASA through the space shuttle, the international space station and flight support.

In 2005, NASA's reach spans the universe. Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rovers, are still going on Mars after more than a year. Cassini is in orbit around Saturn. The Hubble Space Telescope continues to explore the deepest reaches of the cosmos.

Closer to home, the latest crew of the international space station is extending the permanent human presence in space. Earth Science satellites are sending back unprecedented data on Earth's oceans, climate and other features. NASA's aeronautics team is working with other government organizations, universities, and industry to fundamentally improve the air transportation experience and retain our nation's leadership in global aviation. And, most importantly, NASA has begun returning the space shuttle to flight. Led by Commander Eileen Collins, the crew of Discovery tested new in-flight safety procedures and carried supplies to the international space station.

NASA's future is the Vision for Space Exploration, set forth by President George W. Bush in 2004. The key elements of the vision are: to safely return the Space Shuttle to flight, complete the International Space Station and retire the Space Shuttle by 2010, begin robotic missions to the moon by 2008 and return people there by 2020, continue robotic exploration of Mars and the Solar System, develop a Crew Exploration Vehicle and other technologies required to send people beyond low Earth orbit.

In September 2005, Administrator Michael Griffin unveiled NASA's initial plans for implementing the vision, returning to the moon by 2018. Included in the plan is the Crew Exploration Vehicle, NASA's next spaceship. Combining the best of Apollo and space shuttle technology, this new vehicle will replace the shuttle in flying to the international space station as well as take a crew of four to the surface of the moon.

Though nearly 50 years old, NASA is only beginning the most exciting part of its existence. We thank them for all they provide!


The National Optical Astronomy Observatory was formed in 1982 to consolidate all AURA-managed ground-based astronomical observatories (Kitt Peak National Observatory, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, and the National Solar Observatory with facilities at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico and Kitt Peak, Arizona) under a single Director. Today, the National Solar Observatory has its own director. NOAO also represents the US astronomical community in the International Gemini Project through its new NOAO Gemini Science Center. NOAO's purpose is to provide the best ground-based astronomical telescopes to the nation's astronomers, to promote public understanding and support of science, and to help advance all aspects of US astronomy. As a national facility, NOAO telescopes are open to all astronomers regardless of institutional affiliation.

NOAO is funded by the National Science Foundation and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. NOAO has its headquarters in Tucson, AZ.

About Our Observatories:

Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) has its headquarters in Tucson and operates the Mayall 4-meter, the 3.5-meter WIYN , the 2.1-meter and Coudé Feed, and the 0.9-meter telescopes on Kitt Peak Mountain, about 55 miles southwest of the city.

The Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) is located in northern Chile. CTIO operates the 4-meter, 1.5-meter, 0.9-meter, and Curtis Schmidt telescopes at this site.

The National Solar Observatory (NSO) has its primary headquarters in Tucson. NSO telescopes on Kitt Peak include the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope Facility containing the world's three largest solar telescopes (1.6-meter main and two 0.9-meter auxiliaries), along with the Vacuum Telescope and the Razdow small solar patrol telescope. The National Solar Observatory also operates telescopes at Sacramento Peak, New Mexico, that include the Vacuum Tower Telescope, the Evans Solar Facility, and the Hilltop Dome Facility.

Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc.

  AURA is a consortium of universities, and educational and other non-profit institutions, that operates world-class astronomical observatories that we term "centers." Our members are 32 U.S. institutions and 7 international affiliates. We view ourselves as acting on behalf of the science communities that are served by our centers, and as trustees and advocates for the centers' missions.

Our mission statement: "To promote excellence in astronomical research by providing access to state-of-the-art facilities."

  The National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense and help;" With an annual budget of about $5.5 billion, we are the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences,

NSF leadership has two major components: a director who oversees NSF staff and management responsible for program creation and administration, merit review, planning, budget and day-to-day operations; and a 24-member National Science Board (NSB) of eminent individuals that meets six times a year to establish the overall policies of the foundation. The director and all Board members serve six year terms. Each of them, as well as the NSF deputy director, is appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. At present, NSF has a total workforce of about 1,700 at its Arlington, VA, headquarters, including approximately 1200 career employees, 150 scientists from research institutions on temporary duty, 200 contract workers and the staff of the NSB office and the Office of the Inspector General.

As described in its strategic plan, NSF is the only federal agency whose mission includes support for all fields of fundamental science and engineering, except for medical sciences. We are tasked with keeping the United States at the leading edge of discovery in areas from astronomy to geology to zoology. So, in addition to funding research in the traditional academic areas, the agency also supports "high-risk, high pay-off" ideas, novel collaborations and numerous projects that may seem like science fiction today, but which we'll take for granted tomorrow. And in every case, we ensure that research is fully integrated with education so that today's revolutionary work will also be training tomorrow's top scientists and engineers.

NSF's task of identifying and funding work at the frontiers of science and engineering is not a "top-down" process. NSF operates from the "bottom up," keeping close track of research around the United States and the world, maintaining constant contact with the research community to identify ever-moving horizons of inquiry, monitoring which areas are most likely to result in spectacular progress and choosing the most promising people to conduct the research.

It is through the wonderful work of these organizations and the people involved in them that you see many of the outstanding photographs in the pages.

    Damian Peach

"I first became interested in Astronomy back in 1988 aged 10. The first books I ever read on Astronomy were the introductory "Man and Space" by Neil Ardley, and also "Astronomy" by Ian Nicolson and "Travellers in Space and Time" by Sir Patrick Moore all of which I still have. It was soon after that O got my first instrument - a pair of 8 x 30 binoculars with which O learnt my way around the sky. I recall vividly my first views of M31 and Jupiter using them. I also had a small 10 x 30 Russian spotting scope which I used during to watch the Jovian moons (which i still use today!)

It wasn't until three years later, after hassling my parents constantly, did I finally get my first telescope - a 50mm white tube Tasco refractor (which i also still have.) By this time I knew the night sky very well so have taken the very "classic self education" in Astronomy. It gave excellent sharp images and allowed views of all manner of objects from double stars to the belts of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn and phases of Venus. By this time i was an avid watcher of the BBC's "Sky a Night" hosted by the legendary Patrick Moore.  His boundless enthusiasm (as with so many) further captivated my growing fascination with the night sky.

It wasn't until 1992 or so that my attention really turned toward the Planets (especially Jupiter.) In about 1992 I joined the Boston Astronomical Society of Lincolnshire headed by well known UK amateur astronomer, Paul Money. His captivating talks, and infectious enthusiasm really wore off on me, and I was able to use the societies 4.5" and 10" reflecting telescopes to observe with - finally I would really be able to see the kind of details that I had read so much about. I spent many nights during my early teens observing the Planets, with a special fascination for Jupiter.

Later in the mid-1990s I acquired my own "proper" telescopes. A 6" F/6 Newtonian, and 90mm F/11 refractor. The Newtonian was a poor instrument, and was little used, but the refractor gave wonderful views, and I had some wonderful views with it. I recall well the stunning views of Comets Hyakutake and Hale Bopp.

  During 1997 I acquired a Meade 20cm SCT, and had relocated to the town of Kings Lynn, on the Norfolk coast. It was during the summer of 1997 that my astronomical life changed forever - July 23rd, 1997 to be precise. This night I had for me what was the most incredible view of Jupiter like nothing i had ever seen before. The log book which I still have today, is filled with exclamation marks on my comments at the eyepiece!. It was from that point O was totally hooked on observing the giant Planet.

During that year I also became captivated by images by Florida Planetary guru Don Parker showing amazingly detailed images of Jupiter, revealing the details I was seeing, and much more. With further superbly detailed views of the Planet during 1997, I began to seriously consider buying a CCD camera and trying to take images of my own. It was during this period i upgraded my telescope to a 30cm Meade SCT and finally bought an SBIG ST-7 camera, which shortly after i changed to an SBIG ST-5c camera.

My very first session on Jupiter at the beginning of the 1998 apparition was disappointing (after many practice sessions on Deep Sky objects with the new CCD camera.) I soon learned that capturing finely detailed images was FAR harder than it looked. However, on the second session a few nights later, the seeing conditions (of which i knew little about) must have been good, as there before me were detailed images showing everything and more that I could see.....from then on, my results rapidly improved,. and so began the journey that has lead me to the present day...

  Some of my proudest achievements since have been: Being elected An Assistant Director of the BAA Jupiter section, The Assistant Director of the BAA Saturn section, and Assistant Coordinator of the ALPO Jupiter section. Appearing three times on the BBC Sky at Night program with Sir Patrick Moore. Appearing live on the BBC All Night Star Party and imaging Mars live for the program from the observatories in the Canary Islands. Awarded the ALPO Walter Haas award for outstanding contributions to Planetary astronomy. Having numerous articles and imagery published in all major amateur publications, and some professional publications. Visiting and observing from the Observatories at Tenerife, La Palma and Paranal (truly incredible and inspirational places.)

Lastly, I must thank those who have inspired me during what remains a greatly rewarding pursuit. Sir Patrick Moore whom without who's infectious enthusiasm as a young boy i doubt i would have made it this far (i think many could say this!) and his utterly remarkable level of observational work on the Planets, which even today is an inspiration. To Paul Money for his enthusiasm which inspired me as a teenage observer. Also, to Don Parker, Antonio Cidadao and Thierry Legault for their wise advice and guidance when I first began imaging."

Jason Shinn

Jason Shinn has been an amateur astronomer for more than 19 years. An active member of the Astronomy Club of Akron, he has recently joined the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) and is an active participant in the NASA Radio Jove Project.

Sky and Telescope Magazine

I would like to once again extend my thanks to Mr. Rick Fienberg, the editor-in-chief of one of the finest astronomy periodicals available. The use of the monthly sky charts in this publication are deeply appreciated. May we all keep reaching for the stars!

University of California Observatories/Lick Observatory

Dedicated to astronomy and public awareness, UCO/Lick Observatory has graciously extended their permission to use a photograph found within these pages. My thanks go to Robin Whitmore for everything.

Ken Vogt

By conventional standards, Ken swears his life has not been that successful - but he's far more talented than he will speak of. He made a wrong choice of majors, not realizing it should have been astronomy until deep into grad school. This was the early '70s, so there was an option to "drop out," which he took. Living modestly in southern Indiana, he was able to retire from various menial employments in 1991 at age 45 - an accomplishment not many of us can boast of!

Since that time, he's pursued his love of music (playing keyboards tolerably badly) and computers; although the bright sky in Bloomington prevented any serious sky watching. Ken is also a passionate advocate of Distributed Computing, helping out with the creation of the BAUT BOINC team for projects like Einstein@Home. As he says: "At this stage of life, I'm very happy to help out around the Internet in any way I can."

Ken's "help" has been critical to the publication of this book. He graciously volunteered his time to seeing that the text was properly edited and his encouragement through some rough times has been instrumental in its completion. He is truly my lucky star.

Roger Warner

  Roger Warner lives in the UK within a town called Basildon, located in the county of Essex. He is married with two daughters who are also married with children of their own. He has many interests in life from photography, camping, fishing and, of course, his love for astrophotography. This interest began 7 years ago, but the last two years have been dedicated to learning the art of imaging,

The planets and Moon were the early start to his imaging. These are considered fairly easy objects to image, but Roger says that early stages were very disappointing - "But we all have to start somewhere, so it meant going back to some serious reading to improve on what I had taken on."

The introduction of web cams opened up a whole new world to us all and he was quickly interested in purchasing one along with a suitable telescope. This enabled him to be on the right track to capture the images as seen in various magazines and books, but it wasn't as easy as it looked, so a whole new learning curve began.

The Moon became Roger's huge challenge - waiting for the moment of good seeing and grabbing those hidden secrets within the Moon. He began to get in close to capture those jaw dropping pictures of the Moons craters, valleys and mountains. While waiting for the planets to rise as well, he discovered that looking through the eyepiece gave lovely views - but nothing compared that of seeing it live on a computer screen. As he says, "It was mind blowing."

Roger spent the first years imaging the Moon and planets, then along came the modified web cam allowing a long exposure facility. This took his interest right away, due to the fact that waiting for the planets to rise "Left me a lot of the time with nothing to image."

Deep sky imaging is very demanding. First he had to find the object and second was the time required to capture the image. "So being lazy I purchased a good GO-TO Telescope which proved to be a great success, especially with the weather in the UK, no time was wasted looking for a given object."

In the past year he has come along way in learning the process of imaging deep sky objects, and has some wonderful images on his web site of which he is very proud. As Roger says, "I know there are better imagers out there, but I feel with what I have, a low cost camera, I have done ok. Not to say that I wont upgrade as soon as I can to a more dedicated CCD camera as this hobby is always ongoing. But, at least I have learnt the art of imaging and processing the hard way. I do hope the images you see will encourage you to maybe progress as well in this wonderful hobby."