Wycombe Astronomical Society’ fourth Astro-imaging Exhibition in July 2017 was a huge success and demonstrated that our members are some of the best amateur astro-imagers around.
Five years ago the Society’s members were already gaining in confidence and competence in this very challenging field. At that time we ran a monthly competition aimed at both experienced imagers and beginners. There were difficulties, however. Often a month would go by and there was no good weather to allow imaging! The judging was often very subjective, carried out by visiting speakers some of whom had no imaging experience and hence no frame of reference for consistent judging. Beginners in particular were reluctant to show their humble first efforts and hence felt discouraged to venture further. Accordingly we abandoned the competitive element and instead decided to hold an annual exhibition in July of each year – that time of the year when short nights make imaging impracticable.
The range of equipment our members now own is formidable – some armed with expensive astrograph quality telescopes and high end CCD cameras, others with DSLRs and video cameras and more modest telescopes, yet others with point-and-shoot cameras or just i-Phones. The Society actively promotes astro-imaging among its members. We hold Practical Sessions to teach members how to attach their photographic equipment to their scopes, how to link their computers with scopes and how to carry out post-image processing using stacking and graphic manipulation software. In addition, invited speakers of international acclaim have lectured to us on the subject, including Nik Szymanek, Pete Lawrence, Chris Baker and Damien Peach.
Our first exhibition was in 2014 where we showed both electronic and printed images. Its purpose was to encourage and develop astro-imaging skills of WAS members through participation, teaching and sharing of techniques among the membership. In subsequent years, we maintained those aims but abandoned printed images (primarily on the basis of cost) and instead showed only electronic images, inviting each imager to describe what the target was and how the image was created. Images include aurora, the Moon and Sun, the planets, nebulae and galaxies – in fact anything remotely connected with astronomy! This format has stood us in good stead since, and the results of our endeavours are shown in this section of our website. It is plain to see what a high standard of images our members are creating and that our Society is working at a level that few other societies can match.
Click an exhibition image below to view the exhibition photos.