This banner picture above is the Orion and Running Man Nebulae taken with a DSLR from Samford Valley Observatory. It took almost no skill to take and although its still quite pretty, its no diffrent to the 3.7 million identical looking astrophotographs taken of the same subject by astrophotographers. With time and lots of money spent on better equipment, I might even improve the image and win an award for the best same-old shot.
OK, there is actually a fair amount of skill in astrophotography, especially in image processing, and of course the social side of sitting in the field aquiring data is top fun too. But if you are the sort of astronomer that hasn’t picked up the photography bug and has progressed past the star-gazing stage, then consider doing some research work.
Samford Valley Observatory dedicates itself to a field of astronomy known as Occultation Timing; waiting for a dark body (usually an asteroid) to blot out a brighter object (usually a star), and recording the result. That makes me a “Shadow Chaser”.
And the light curve of that shadow is called a chord and is used together with other chords to create a profile of the rock. These events are extraordinarily rare with only a handful captured by dedicated shadow chasers each year so in-between events, I do lots of other and somewhat ‘sexier’ astronomy such as Near Earth Object hunting and live broadcasting for the likes of NASA.
Please come in and have a look at my astronomical adventures!