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Book Reviews


Deep Sky Video Astronomy
Authors: Steve Massey and Steve Quirk

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 978-0387876115

Price: £22.99 (Pb), 185pp


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This is a very practical book from which even the most experienced video astronomers will be able to learn and gain new ideas for their deep-sky videography. Massey and Quirk help their readers to understand the nature of video and video cameras and in the first two chapters, CCD image sensors, interlaced TV images, video resolution and colour versus monochrome sensors are explained.

Although there is passing reference to the image-streaming Imaging Source cameras, they are largely irrelevant to the subject of this book as they do not produce either composite or S-video output that can be recorded on VCRs or DVD. Instead they produce an image stream via a USB 2.0 or a Firewire interface that requires a computer, neither are they constrained to the resolutions of PAL or NTSC TV standards.

The book is based around the GSTAR-EX, an Australian Mintron- based video camera. Although mention is made of other cameras, the authors have wisely concentrated on what can be done with basic frame-accumulating cameras without costly modifications.

A strength of this book is that throughout it is a ‘how to’ text explaining how to make colour images using colour filters, how to do initial and final processing, how to use image-processing software to bring out image detail, and what the software filters such as levels and gamma actually do. Advice is given on the practicalities of capturing images to computer and suggestions on good free software that will capture frames from frame-accumulating cameras at the correct rate to avoid the capture of duplicate frames.

An extensive gallery of beautiful images obtained with the basic Mintron- derived camera will give the reader inspiration and confidence to try it for themselves. This is a book that should have its place in the library of every amateur astronomer who has an interest in real-time viewing and imaging with video.

Steve Wainwright

2009 Yearbook
This 132-page special edition features the ultimate observing guide for 2009, a review of all the biggest news stories of 2008, in depth articles covering all aspects of astronomy and space missions for 2009, previews of International Year of Astronomy events and much, much more.
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Infinity Rising
This special publication features the photography of British astro-imager Nik Szymanek and covers a range of photographic methods from basic to advanced. Beautiful pictures of the night sky can be obtained with a simple camera and tripod before tackling more difficult projects, such as guided astrophotography through the telescope and CCD imaging.
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Exploring Mars
Astronomy Now is pleased to announce the publication of Exploring Mars. The very best images of Mars taken by orbiting spacecraft and NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers fill up the 98 glossy pages of this special edition!
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Mars rover poster
This new poster features some of the best pictures from NASA's amazing Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity.
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