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3rd Annual Digital Imaging Workshop

posted Jan 23, 2010, 8:03 AM by James Roe
More details on Digital Imaging Workshop

The workshop will be no cost (forget the $10) and open to the public - but attendance will be limited to the first 30 folks who register with me (due to space constraints).  The date will be Saturday, February 13, 2010.  We will start at 3:00 pm.  This is the same day and place as the ASEM 5th anniversary meeting that starts at 6:00 pm with the usual pot luck supper so we may concentrate on afternoon hours to blend into the ASEM meeting.  The main program at the ASEM meeting will be a "night cap" of the workshop as John Duchek will present "The Basics of Lunar Observing and Photography"  which will detail his personal experiences along that line.

The purpose of the workshop is to encourage more observing via digital imaging by providing detailed information on how to get started, equipment needed, computer programs and techniques, etc.  At the extreme beginner level we want to show folks what they can do with ordinary digital cameras, how to make and use simple tracking devices for longer exposures and a pathway to ever more exciting results.  We want to explain in simple terms some of the ideas behind selecting targets (eg, target sizes vs field of view(, planning the "shoots" (eg, exposure times, number of exposures, etc) and processing the results to finished product (eg, simple, free computer programs).  

I especially want to emphasize the resources ASEM has amassed at Broemmelsiek Observatory.  The 10-in LX-200 is equatorially mounted and well-suited for long exposure imaging.  Piggy back imaging can be done by mounting an ordinary digital camera and letting the telescope keep the target field aligned.  We have a web cam for high resolution imaging of the Moon and planets (Mars is still very convenient, Saturn is returning to the evening sky and the Moon is a fascinating target).  We can arrange for higher end cameras for deep sky imaging, too.  Computer resources are no problem at all.  The 16-in Jones-Bird telescope has not been used photographically (yet) but should work well with the web cam for Lunar and planetary imaging.

I want to make a brief presentation on how amateurs can do real science with equipment that mainly does "pretty pictures" too.  Digital cameras record quantitative information on the brightness of stars that can be used to track changes in variable stars to a very good precision.  All the hard work is done by computer programs so it is not as daunting as might be supposed.  I will also show how faint asteroids and comets can be observed easily.

We've had two such workshops before and these presented ideas and plans that, by now, should be bearing fruit.  So consider this a call for papers.  Let me know what you have to offer so we can fill out the agenda.

Jim Roe