Intro Astrophotography Course - Winter 2018

presented by Drs. Ian Shelton & Tuba Koktay
picture of Mars by Ian Shelton picture of the Great Orion Nebula

*** Be ready to Capture Mars at its Closest Since 2003 ***
Learn to use whatever camera you own to photograph the Moon, Stars, Constellations, Planets and much, much more!

This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of how your camera works and teach you how to take beautiful pictures in low-light situations like twilight and at night without using your flash. YOU WILL LEARN how to capture images of constellations, star clusters and nebulae like Orion, the Pleiades and the Great Nebula in Orion, and how to take beautiful pictures of the Moon, meteors, aurora, planets and starscapes.

This summer, Mars will be at its closest distance from Earth since 2003 and won't be this close again until 2035!

Each class consists of a short presentation followed by a hands-on tutorial to help you learn basic skills needed for astrophotography and to give you more confidence and control with your everyday picture-taking. Some optional assignments will be provided so participants can practice their newly learned skills at home during the course.

   The workshop begins by discussing the minimum in terms of camera and accessories you will need to succeed. Participants are encouraged to bring their own camera, tripod and any lenses they have so an assessment of each camera’s suitability can be provided during the first class. Today’s inexpensive “point-and-shoot” cameras can often deliver surprisingly detailed nighttime photographs; and those with a large (>5x) zoom range can directly produce detailed images of the Moon. A telescope will be provided during the course for use with your own camera to photograph the Moon and Orion Nebula, as weather permits.

Course Schedule

I. Introductions: camera basics and settings; evaluation of individual cameras; providing personalized 'recommended accessories' shopping lists. [assignment: photograph sunset/sunrise, twilight, and moonlit scenes] Week 1
II. Introduction to dark-sky photography of the Celestial Realm: How to get your camera to see what you see in the dark. [assignment: camera on a tripod to image stars, constellations, aurora] Week 2
III. Pictures using binoculars or a telescope: photographing the Moon, planets & Sun. [assignment: using a pair of binoculars or telescope for "through-the-eyepiece" photography] Week 3
IV. Imaging to see fainter and sharper: spectacular starscapes using a manual or motor-driven mount for your camera. [assignment: build and use a simple hand-driven sidereal platform; use your camera "piggy-back" or imaging directly through your motor-driven telescope] Week 4

No prior knowledge of astronomy is assumed. Attend the two-hour classes starting January 24th on Wednesdays 7-9 pm for four weeks in Richmond Hill (venue to be decided based on attendance).

(* We are considering classes on an additional day of the week. If you would like to attend but can't come as scheduled above, please let us know when you are available by filling out the corresponding section of the Registration Form.)

FEE: $125
($150 if received after Jan. 22; discounts available to students and participants of a previous DDOD course)

Enrollment is limited.

About the Teachers

picture of Ian Shelton Dr. Shelton has spent 35 years studying variations in the brightness and the spectra of stars to learn about their structure, composition and evolution.

Ian has taught Physics and Astronomy at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, studied the Aurora at Athabasca University in Alberta, and continues to teach Astronomy at the University of Toronto. Dr. Shelton is an honorary Lifetime Member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in recognition for his discovery of Supernova 1987A, the first supernova visible to the unaided eye since Kepler's supernova of 1604. He has been a staff member at some of the largest observatories in the world, including the 6.5-metre MMT in Arizona and Japan's 8.3-metre Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.

picture of Tuba Koktay Dr. Tuba Koktay is a graduate of the University of Istanbul where she studied the spectroscopic variations of hot, young stars in our Milky Way galaxy.

Tuba is continuing research she's been doing with University of Toronto Professor R. F. Garrison, one of the world's foremost experts in the classification of stars. She ran the Outreach programs at the David Dunlap Observatory before its sale by the University of Toronto in 2008.