IMPORTANT NOTE — PLEASE READ: This page dates from the 1990s, when search engines were not mature. Nowadays I am only making essential corrections. This is NOT a general list of astrophotography-related links, and I am NOT soliciting suggestions for more things that should be on it. Please use a search engine to find other astrophotography pages — there are many good ones!
This page is not about astronomy as science; it is about how to use telescopes and astrophotographic equipment. For general information about astronomy, please see Wikipedia, Astronomy Magazine, Sky and Telescope Magazine, and Spaceweather.
Here are a few links of general or local interest:
Especially for North Georgia
- Clear Sky Chart for University of Georgia Observatory
- Sky chart for Northeast Georgia, showing the sky right now
- Sunrise/sunset and Moonrise/moonset for Athens, Georgia
- Sunrise/sunset and Moonrise/moonset for Mansfield (CEWMA) site
- Deerlick Astronomy Village (important resource!)
- Visible satellites for Athens, Georgia
- Visible satellites for Mansfield (CEWMA) site
- High-resolution visible cloud map (daylight hours only)
- Atlanta Astronomy Club
- Deerlick Astronomy Village
- The University of Georgia Observatory
- Unfortunately, Camera Bug, the Atlanta telescope store, has closed due to the death of the owner, Tim Nix, in December 2014. He will be missed!
Where to buy telescopes and other equipment
- Orion Telescopes and Binoculars (mainly their own brand of telescopes and accessories, which are good; very good place to start if you're a beginner; very informative catalogue)
- Astronomics (leading full-line dealer selling all brands, recommended for the more experienced observer; has informative literature for beginners too)
- OPT (formerly Oceanside Photo and Telescope) (photographically oriented, especially digital SLRs for astronomy; located near San Diego; highly recommended)
- Company Seven (near Washington, D.C.; specializes in quality and good service; tests telescopes before shipment). This is a major supplier of tested optical equipment to academia and government. They also sell telescopes and accessories to amateurs, with pre-testing and good user support. Much of what's there is not on the web site. Highly recommended when you need more than the usual level of reliability and expertise.
- Large-volume discount camera dealers:
- Adorama (low prices, wide selection; New York discount dealer with staff knowledgeable about astronomy)
- B&H Photo (low prices, wide selection of everything photographic; mail order and New York store)
- Samy's Camera (the B&H of the west, in Los Angeles)
- KEH Camera Brokers (reliable used cameras; nationally prominent dealer in Atlanta, mail-order only)
- Roberts Camera a.k.a. UsedPhotoPro (another very reputable dealer of new and used cameras and lenses)
- Note: B&H, Adorama, Samy's, and KEH usually have the lowest North American prices on photographic equipment. Other reliable dealers' prices will be similar.
Vendors who advertise much lower prices are often unreliable. Be especially wary of "bait and switch" tactics ("you don't really want that, it's no good, here's something better made by a different company"). When in doubt, check Google Groups to find discussions of particular vendors, but remember that bad experiences are much more likely to be reported than good ones; consider carefully whether each complaint is reasonable.
- Rentals: Cameras and especially lenses can be rented from Adorama, LensRentals, and BorrowLenses, among others. This is an especially appealing option when you want to try out an unusual lens for astrophotography; many renters will let you buy the lens you are renting, so this is a great way to subject a lens to your most exacting tests on the stars. BorrowLenses has (and sometimes sells) H-alpha-modified DSLRs; that's where I got my modified Nikon D5500.
Older technical notes (most no longer being updated)
- My DSLR page (Canon EOS, Digital Rebel, Nikon D70, etc.)
- Improving the classic LX200 power inlet circuit (how to give it true chassis ground, reverse polarity protection, and no need for an external fuse)
- Drift method polar alignment reference card (for people familiar with the method, who want a brief memory aid)
- My notes on polar-aligning an LX200 by iterating on Polaris and one star
Note: This was an attempt to work out the geometry of something in Meade's manual. I do not actually recommend aligning this way. Instead:
(1) Make sure the 90 degree mark on your dec. circle is accurate;
(2) With computer turned off, point telescope to 90 degrees dec. and align wedge or mount with finderscope using this chart;
(3) Refine by the drift method as described in How to Use a Computerized Telescope.
- My wooden wedge for my Meade LX200
- My notes on Building a foam-lined telescope case
- My notes on B&L Stereozoom 4 microscopes (not astronomy, but possibly of interest)
- My notes on Kodak HC-110 Developer
- My notes on Kodak Xtol Developer
- My notes on the Meade Lunar-Planetary Imager
- Ohad Drucker's notes on using outdated Kodak Technical Pan Film
- Calibration chart for variable-contrast black-and-white printing with a Beseler color head (PDF file)