by David Ratledge

Polar Trails



Brand new full color book :
Digital Astrophotography - The State of the Art

Order Online

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Edited by David Ratledge and includes chapters on imaging with standard webcams, modified webcams, consumer cameras (afocal), Digital SLR and dedicated CCD cameras. Topics include Image Processing, Planetary Imaging, High Resolution Imaging, Out-smarting light Pollution, Hybrid Images, Spectroscopy and Patrolling for Supernovae.

Contributions from: David Haworth, Keith Wiley and Steve Chambers, Johannes Schedler, Christian Buil, Damian Peach, Brian Lula, Robert Gendler, Dale Mais, Tom Boles and David Ratledge.

Springer (New York)

Observing the Caldwell Objects

The original and still the best book on the Caldwell Objects


Seen the Messier stuff?
Been there?
Bought the T-shirt?
At last a book of new objects for observers, photographers and CCD imagers is here.
Official launch was Astrofest2000 where it proved to be the fastest selling book and a runaway success.
It is still the most logical book on the Caldwell Objects with every one detailed and in numerical order!
ISBN 1-85233-628-5 Springer (London)

For more details see the Caldwell section


software data Software and Data
for Practical Astronomers

...with a FREE 300MB CD-ROM!

David Ratledge

STOP PRESS Excellent review of the book/CD-ROM by Sky & Telescope, June 1999. Stuart Goldman said "For about $50 this package is good value. Software and Data serves as an excellent jumping-off point for would be practical astronomers."

The Internet is full of software, information and data for astronomers - but where do you start? Just finding what you want is a daunting task - and expensive too, if you're paying connect and telephone time.

And knowing where to find the best video, image and data files is only half the problem: we've all experienced the frustration of downloading big files...

David has put together his own selection of "the best of the Internet" in this book, which is accompanied by a free CD-ROM containing over 300MB of downloaded material that will fascinate every astronomer.

There is a fully registered version of SkyMap, an MPEG video player, Acrobat readers, massive deep-sky, double-star, comet and asteroid databases, some of the best images and videos from space, and of course lots of shareware programs. Several NASA eclipse guides are featured, including a 120-page guide to the 1999 total solar eclipse. Other subjects include CCD Image Processing, Astrometry, Photometry, Telescope Making, Satellite Tracking - even how to create your own Homepages!

(The CD-ROM requires a PC running Microsoft Windows 3.1 or higher, a minimum of 16MB memory (32MB recommended), 2x CD-ROM player (8x recommended). The selected software includes systems for DOS, Windows 3.1, and Windows 95/98/NT.)

ISBN 1-85233-055-4 £24.00
Published by Springer-Verlag as part of Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series

The original CCD book that's still relevant today!

The Art & Science of CCD Astronomy Bookcover

David Ratledge (Editor)

Details of CCD set-ups and techniques are included in the book The Art & Science of CCD Astronomy published by Springer-Verlag, December 1996 (February 1997 in the USA). The ISBN number for the book is: 3-540-76103-9. This book is a practical introduction to CCD Astronomy by 12 leading amateur CCD imagers from around the world, all names you will be familiar with from the frequent appearance of their images in magazines and books. It has many tips and solutions, and covers a wide range of telescope sizes (4inch to 20inches), CCD cameras, locations (good to terrible) and budgets!

STOP PRESS Excellent review of the book by renowned expert Dennis di Cicco in Sky & Telescope, November 1997.
"...I heartily recommend this book to any backyard astronomer interested in observing the heavens with a CCD camera."

Now out of print but can be found secondhand.

Chapter 1 - An Introduction to CCDs by David Ratledge
Chapter 2 - Lunar Imaging with the Cookbook CCD Camera by Dave Petherick
Chapter 3 - Solar Imaging by Brian Colville
Chapter 4 - High Resolution Planetary Imaging by Gregory A. Terrance
Chapter 5 - The Comet Watch Program by Tim Puckett
Chapter 6 - Imaging Comets by David Strange
Chapter 7 - Nebulae and Galaxies in High Resolution by Luc Vanhoeck
Chapter 8 - Wide Field Imaging by John Sanford
Chapter 9 - CCD Imaging in the City by Adrian Catterall
Chapter 10 - Overcoming Light Pollution by David Ratledge
Chapter 11 - Tri-colour CCD Imaging by Nik Szymanek & Ian King
Chapter 12 - Beyond Pretty Pictures by George Sallit
Colour Gallery - Featuring a Selection of Some of the Best from the Contributors
Appendix A - CCD Camera Manufacturers
Appendix B - Sizes of Some Common CCD Chips
Appendix C - CCD Field of View for Various Focal Lengths
Appendix D - Sizes of Some Deep Sky Objects
Appendix E - Bibliography
Appendix F - Astronomical Image Processing Software
Appendix G - Glossary of Terms

Links to contributors from the book:-
Tim Puckett's HomePage
Gregory Terrance's HomePage
Luc Vanhoeck's HomePage
Nik Szymanek's HomePage
Adrian Catterall's HomePage.
David Strange's HomePage.
Brian Colville's HomePage
Dave Petherick's HomePage.

Observatory Construction - Books 1 and 2 Bookcover

The design and construction of my homemade fibreglass observatory is covered in Telescope Making No. 17 and more fully in a chapter in the book Small Astronomical Observatories published by Springer-Verlag, Summer 1996. This book covers the construction of 30 small observatories by amateurs around the world.

Book 2 More Small Astronomical Observatories includes book 1 on CD.