Intermediate Astrophotography - Winter 2018

A DDOD presentation by Drs. Ian Shelton & Tuba Koktay
User-made Panoramic Landscape in Stellarium

Learn how to create 360 degree panoramas that can be used in free planetarium apps like Stellarium. Obtain detailed Close-ups of the Moon, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter this summer using even a Small Telescope. Learn how to Process Your Own Astrophotos and work with actual Raw Images from the Hubble Space Telescope!

We begin by introducing you to the wealth of beautiful celestial objects you can photograph using your own equipment and teach you how to locate them using some free software apps. We'll then show you how to create seamless 360 degree panoramas of your own observing sites to use in these programs, letting you plan your shots well in advance. We'll then help you understand exactly how your own DSLR or dedicated astronomy camera works and apply that knowledge to improve your celestial and low-light photographs. We'll show you how to use sophisticated free astronomy software and common tools found in programs like Photoshop, GIMP and MaxIm-DL to greatly improve your astrophotos. We'll provide opportunities to gather short video sequences of the Moon and several planets and show you how to convert these into surprisingly detailed still images. And if there's time and interest, we'll show you how to access real Raw images from the Hubble Space Telescope and create your own version of famous images like the "Pillars of Creation" (i.e.- the Eagle Nebula, M16).

Each class consists of a short presentation followed by a hands-on tutorial to help you learn basic image processing for astrophotography. Assistance with your own DSLR or astro-CCD camera, telescope and software will be provided.

Course Schedule

I. Introduction to the Celestial Realm. Learn about different types of objects found in the nighttime sky and how to locate them using a printed starfinder (provided). Download and learn to use free software to accurately recreate the nighttime sky for anywhere in the world. Create a 360 degree panorama of your own observing site to personalize your planetarium software. Week 1
II. Pictures Using a Telescope. Satisfying astrophotography of the Moon, planets and "deep-sky" objects requires the right hardware, some skill and lots of patience. We'll discuss the pros and cons of various types of telescopes and guide you towards successfully capturing images with your own telescope. As weather permits, participants can gather celestial images using their own cameras attached to our large telescope. Week 2
III. Processing Astronomy Images with Photoshop, GIMP or MaxIm-DL: Learn how to process your single, multiple and overlapping astrophotos using programs like Photoshop and astronomy-specific programs like Deep Sky Stacker and MaxIm-DL to create beautiful celestial images. Week 3
IV. Planetary Imaging: Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will all be well-placed this summer for viewing. Learn how to produce surprisingly detailed images of planets using free software and a relatively inexpensive video camera on your telescope. Opportunities will be provided to gather video observations earlier in the course using our large telescope for processing in this class. Week 4

Only a very basic knowledge of astronomy is assumed, and you should know how to operate your camera. It is recommended that you bring a laptop to work along with the instructors during the in-class image processing tutorials. The 2-hour classes are held indoors on Wednesdays* beginning March 14 at 7-9 pm in Richmond Hill (location to be decided based on the number of participants).

(* Other nights can be requested on the Registration form.)

REGISTRATION AT: (click here)
FEE: $125 + HST (i.e.- $141.25)
(prices increase after March 9; discounts available to students and participants of other DDOD courses)

Enrollment is limited.

About the Teachers

picture of Ian Shelton Dr. Shelton has spent 30 years studying variations in the brightness and the spectra of stars to learn about their structure, composition and evolution.

Ian has taught at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, studied the aurora at Athabasca University north of Edmonton and continues to teach Astronomy at the University of Toronto. Dr. Shelton is an honorary Lifetime Member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in recognition for his discovery of Supernova 1987A, the first supernova visible to the unaided eye since Kepler's supernova of 1604. He has been a staff member at some of the largest observatories in the world, including the 6.5-metre MMT in Arizona and Japan's 8.3-metre Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.

picture of Tuba Koktay Dr. Tuba Koktay is a graduate of the University of Istanbul where she studied the spectroscopic variations of hot, young stars in our Milky Way galaxy.

Tuba is continuing research she began with University of Toronto Professor R. F. Garrison, one of the world's foremost experts in the classification of stars. She ran the Outreach programs at the David Dunlap Observatory before its sale by the University of Toronto in 2008.