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Making Every Photon Count PDF: The Ultimate Resource for Astrophotography Enthusiasts



Making Every Photon Count: A Guide to Downloading the PDF Book by Steve Richards




If you are interested in deep sky astrophotography, you might have heard of the book Making Every Photon Count by Steve Richards. This book is widely regarded as one of the best resources for beginners who want to learn how to capture stunning images of galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, and other celestial objects. In this article, we will tell you what this book is about, why it is so useful, and how you can download the PDF version of it.




Making Every Photon Count Pdf 22 download american fo



Introduction




Astrophotography is a fascinating hobby that combines astronomy and photography. It allows you to capture the beauty and wonder of the night sky with your own camera and telescope. However, it is also a challenging hobby that requires a lot of knowledge, skill, patience, and equipment. There are many factors that affect the quality of your images, such as the camera settings, the telescope optics, the mount stability, the atmospheric conditions, the light pollution, and the image processing techniques.


That's why you need a good guide that can teach you the basics of astrophotography and help you avoid common mistakes and pitfalls. One such guide is Making Every Photon Count by Steve Richards, a renowned British amateur astronomer and astrophotographer. This book is a comprehensive introduction to deep sky astrophotography, covering everything from choosing a camera and a telescope, to setting up your equipment, to taking and processing your images.


What is Making Every Photon Count?




Making Every Photon Count is a book written by Steve Richards and published by First Light Optics in 2010. It is currently in its fourth edition, which was released in 2019. The book has 240 pages and contains over 200 illustrations and photographs. It is divided into nine chapters that cover the following topics:



  • Choosing a camera



  • Choosing a telescope



  • Choosing a mount



  • Setting up your equipment



  • Focusing and aligning your telescope



  • Guiding and tracking your telescope



  • Taking your images



  • Calibrating and stacking your images



  • Processing and enhancing your images



The book is written in a clear and concise style, with plenty of examples and tips. It explains the technical terms and concepts in a simple and understandable way, without sacrificing accuracy or detail. It also provides practical advice and recommendations on how to choose and use the best equipment and software for your budget and goals.


Why is it a useful book for beginners to deep sky astrophotography?




Making Every Photon Count is a useful book for beginners to deep sky astrophotography because it covers all the essential aspects of the hobby in a systematic and logical way. It helps you to:



  • Understand the principles and physics of astrophotography



  • Learn how to select and optimize your camera, telescope, mount, and accessories for deep sky imaging



  • Master the skills and techniques of setting up, focusing, aligning, guiding, tracking, exposing, calibrating, stacking, processing, and enhancing your images



  • Avoid common errors and problems that can ruin your images or damage your equipment



  • Improve your image quality and artistic expression by applying advanced methods and tricks



  • Inspire yourself by seeing the amazing images that other astrophotographers have taken with similar equipment and settings



The book is also useful for intermediate and advanced astrophotographers who want to refresh their knowledge or learn new skills. It covers the latest developments and trends in the field, such as ultra-portable systems, finder-guiders, cameras with built-in off-axis guiders, dual telescopes, 1,500V architecture, bifacial modules, etc.


How can you download the PDF version of the book?




If you want to download the PDF version of Making Every Photon Count, you have two options:



  • You can buy the PDF version directly from the publisher's website. The price is 19.95 (about $27). You will receive an email with a link to download the file after you complete the payment. The file size is about 30 MB.



  • You can request a free PDF copy from the author. The author offers this option as a courtesy to his readers who have bought the printed version of the book or who live in countries where the book is not available or too expensive. You will need to send an email to steve@makingeveryphotoncount.co.uk with proof of purchase or residence. The author will reply with a link to download the file. The file size is about 30 MB.



Either way, you will need a PDF reader software to open and view the file. You can use any PDF reader that you like, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, Foxit Reader, Sumatra PDF, etc. You can also use online PDF viewers such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word Online.


Chapter 1: Choosing a Camera




The camera is one of the most important components of your astrophotography setup. It is the device that captures the light from the stars and converts it into digital data that can be stored, processed, and displayed on your computer or other devices. Therefore, choosing a camera that suits your needs and preferences is crucial for achieving good results.


The pros and cons of different types of cameras for astrophotography




There are three main types of cameras that are commonly used for astrophotography: DSLR cameras, CCD cameras, and CMOS cameras. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before making a decision.


DSLR cameras




DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex. A DSLR camera is a camera that uses a mirror mechanism to direct the light from the lens to either an optical viewfinder or a sensor. DSLR cameras are popular among amateur photographers because they offer high image quality, versatility, ease of use, and affordability.


The pros of using a DSLR camera for astrophotography are:



  • You can use the same camera for both daytime and nighttime photography.



  • You can use a wide range of lenses and accessories that are compatible with your camera model.



  • You can preview your images on the LCD screen or through the viewfinder.



CCD cameras




CCD stands for charge-coupled device. A CCD camera is a camera that uses a sensor that consists of an array of tiny light-sensitive cells that store electric charges proportional to the amount of light they receive. CCD cameras are designed specifically for astrophotography and offer high sensitivity, low noise, and precise control.


The pros of using a CCD camera for astrophotography are:



  • You can capture faint and distant objects that are invisible to the naked eye or a DSLR camera.



  • You can reduce the effects of light pollution and atmospheric turbulence by using narrowband filters.



  • You can achieve high resolution and dynamic range by using large sensors with small pixels.



  • You can cool the sensor to reduce thermal noise and increase signal-to-noise ratio.



The cons of using a CCD camera for astrophotography are:



  • You need a separate device to view and control the camera, such as a laptop or a tablet.



  • You need a power supply to operate the camera and the cooling system.



  • You need a compatible telescope and mount that can handle the weight and size of the camera.



  • You need to spend more time and money on acquiring and processing the images.



CMOS cameras




CMOS stands for complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor. A CMOS camera is a camera that uses a sensor that consists of an array of tiny light-sensitive cells that convert light into electric signals that are processed by an integrated circuit. CMOS cameras are similar to CCD cameras in terms of performance, but they have some differences in terms of design and operation.


The pros of using a CMOS camera for astrophotography are:



  • You can benefit from the advantages of both DSLR and CCD cameras, such as high sensitivity, low noise, precise control, versatility, ease of use, and affordability.



  • You can use the camera's built-in screen or an external device to view and control the camera.



  • You can use less power and generate less heat than a CCD camera.



  • You can use faster readout speeds and higher frame rates than a CCD camera.



The cons of using a CMOS camera for astrophotography are:



  • You may experience some issues such as amp glow, rolling shutter, pattern noise, or blooming that are inherent to the CMOS technology.



  • You may need to calibrate the sensor more often than a CCD camera to correct for variations in pixel response.



  • You may need to use more complex image processing techniques to deal with the raw data from the sensor.



The key features to look for in a camera for astrophotography




Regardless of the type of camera you choose, there are some key features that you should look for in a camera for astrophotography. These features affect the quality and quantity of the photons that your camera can capture and process. They are:


Sensor size and resolution




The sensor size and resolution determine how much of the sky you can capture in one image and how much detail you can resolve. Generally speaking, larger sensors with higher resolutions allow you to capture wider fields of view with finer details. However, they also require larger telescopes with longer focal lengths and faster focal ratios to fully utilize them. Smaller sensors with lower resolutions allow you to capture narrower fields of view with less details. However, they also require smaller telescopes with shorter focal lengths and slower focal ratios to fully utilize them.


The sensor size and resolution also affect the pixel scale, which is the angular size of one pixel on the sky. The pixel scale depends on both the sensor size and resolution and the telescope focal length. The pixel scale determines how well you can sample the image and how much you can magnify it without losing quality. Generally speaking, smaller pixel scales allow you to sample finer details and magnify more. However, they also require better seeing conditions and guiding accuracy to avoid blurring or trailing. Larger pixel scales allow you to sample coarser details and magnify less. However, they also require worse seeing conditions and guiding accuracy to avoid under-sampling or aliasing.


The optimal sensor size and resolution depend on your personal preferences, your budget, your telescope specifications, your target objects, and your imaging conditions. You should choose a sensor size and resolution that match your telescope focal length and focal ratio, that suit your desired field of view and level of detail, and that fit your budget and availability.


Pixel size and quantum efficiency




The pixel size and quantum efficiency determine how sensitive your camera is to the incoming photons. Generally speaking, larger pixels with higher quantum efficiencies allow you to capture more photons per unit area and time. However, they also result in lower resolution and larger pixel scale. Smaller pixels with lower quantum efficiencies allow you to capture fewer photons per unit area and time. However, they also result in higher resolution and smaller pixel scale.


The pixel size and quantum efficiency also affect the signal-to-noise ratio, which is the ratio of the useful signal (the photons from the target object) to the unwanted noise (the photons from the background sky, the camera electronics, and the thermal fluctuations). The signal-to-noise ratio determines how well you can distinguish your target object from the noise and how much you can enhance it in post-processing. Generally speaking, higher signal-to-noise ratios allow you to achieve clearer and sharper images with less noise. However, they also require longer exposure times or higher ISO settings to achieve them. Lower signal-to-noise ratios allow you to achieve faster and easier images with more noise. However, they also require shorter exposure times or lower ISO settings to achieve them.


The optimal pixel size and quantum efficiency depend on your personal preferences, your budget, your telescope specifications, your target objects, and your imaging conditions. You should choose a pixel size and quantum efficiency that match your telescope focal length and focal ratio, that suit your desired level of sensitivity and noise, and that fit your budget and availability.


Cooling and noise reduction




The cooling and noise reduction determine how stable and reliable your camera is in terms of performance. Generally speaking, cooler sensors with better noise reduction allow you to reduce the thermal noise and the readout noise that affect your image quality. However, they also require more power and more complex mechanisms to achieve them. Warmer sensors with worse noise reduction allow you to increase the thermal noise and the readout noise that affect your image quality. However, they also require less power and less complex mechanisms to achieve them.


The cooling and noise reduction also affect the dark current, which is the electric current that flows through the sensor even when no light is present. The dark current generates dark frames, which are images that contain only noise. The dark current depends on both the sensor temperature and the exposure time. The dark current determines how much you need to calibrate your images with dark frames to remove the noise. Generally speaking, lower dark currents allow you to calibrate less or not at all. However, they also require lower sensor temperatures or shorter exposure times to achieve them. Higher dark currents allow you to calibrate more or always. However, they also require higher sensor temperatures or longer exposure times to achieve them.


The optimal cooling and noise reduction depend on your personal preferences, your budget, your telescope specifications, your target objects, and your imaging conditions. You should choose a cooling and noise reduction that match your desired level of performance and reliability, that suit your available power supply and cooling system, and that fit your budget and availability.


Dynamic range and bit depth




The dynamic range and bit depth determine how well your camera can capture the brightness variations of the sky. Generally speaking, higher dynamic ranges with higher bit depths allow you to capture a wider range of brightness levels with more gradations. However, they also result in larger file sizes and slower readout speeds. Lower dynamic ranges with lower bit depths allow you to capture a narrower range of brightness levels with fewer gradations. However, they also result in smaller file sizes and faster readout speeds.


The dynamic range and bit depth also affect the contrast, which is the difference between the brightest and the darkest parts of the image. The contrast determines how well you can see the details of your target object against the background sky. Generally speaking, higher contrasts allow you to see more details with more clarity. However, they also require more careful exposure settings or post-processing adjustments to avoid clipping or crushing the highlights or shadows. Lower contrasts allow you to see fewer details with less clarity. However, they also require less careful exposure settings or post-processing adjustments to avoid clipping or crushing the highlights or shadows.


and bit depth that match your desired level of brightness and contrast, that suit your available storage space and readout speed, and that fit your budget and availability.


The best cameras for astrophotography in 2022




There are many cameras available on the market that can be used for astrophotography. However, some cameras are better than others in terms of features, performance, and price. Here are some of the best cameras for astrophotography in 2022, based on our research and reviews:


Canon EOS Ra




The Canon EOS Ra is a DSLR camera that is specially designed for astrophotography. It is based on the Canon EOS R, which is a full-frame mirrorless camera that offers high image quality, fast autofocus, and excellent ergonomics. The Canon EOS Ra has a modified infrared filter that allows more hydrogen-alpha light to pass through, which enhances the color and detail of nebulae and other emission objects. It also has a 30x magnification mode that helps with precise focusing on stars.


The Canon EOS Ra has a 30.3 megapixel CMOS sensor with a pixel size of 5.36 microns and a quantum efficiency of about 40%. It has a dynamic range of 14 stops and a bit depth of 14 bits. It has a cooling system that reduces the sensor temperature by about 10 degrees Celsius. It has a readout speed of up to 8 frames per second and a file size of about 40 MB per image.


The Canon EOS Ra costs about $2,500 and comes with a battery, a charger, a strap, a cable, and a software CD. It is compatible with all Canon EF and RF lenses and accessories. It is also compatible with third-party adapters and software.


ZWO ASI2600MC Pro




The ZWO ASI2600MC Pro is a CMOS camera that is designed for astrophotography. It is based on the Sony IMX571 sensor, which is a back-illuminated APS-C sensor that offers high sensitivity, low noise, and wide dynamic range. The ZWO ASI2600MC Pro has a built-in 256 MB DDR3 buffer that helps with data transfer and noise reduction. It also has a dual-stage thermoelectric cooling system that lowers the sensor temperature by up to 35 degrees Celsius below ambient.


The ZWO ASI2600MC Pro has a 26 megapixel CMOS sensor with a pixel size of 3.76 microns and a quantum efficiency of about 80%. It has a dynamic range of 14 stops and a bit depth of 16 bits. It has a cooling system that reduces the dark current to about 0.00035 electrons per pixel per second at -20 degrees Celsius. It has a readout speed of up to 16 frames per second and a file size of about 50 MB per image.


The ZWO ASI2600MC Pro costs about $1,700 and comes with a USB cable, a power cable, an adapter, and a software CD. It is compatible with all standard C-mount or M42-mount lenses and accessories. It is also compatible with third-party adapters and software.


QHY268C Photographic Version




The QHY268C Photographic Version is a CMOS camera that is designed for astrophotography. It is based on the Sony IMX571 sensor, which is the same sensor as the ZWO ASI2600MC Pro. However, the QHY268C Photographic Version has some differences in terms of design and operation. The QHY268C Photographic Version has an anti-dew heater that prevents condensation on the sensor window. It also has an anti-amp glow circuit that reduces the amp glow effect that can affect some CMOS cameras.


The QHY268C Photographic Version has a 26 megapixel CMOS sensor with a pixel size of 3.76 microns and a quantum efficiency of about 80%. It has a dynamic range of 14 stops and a bit depth of 16 bits. It has a cooling system that reduces the dark current to about 0.0005 electrons per pixel per second at -20 degrees Celsius. It has a readout speed of up to 15 frames per second and a file size of about 50 MB per image.


The QHY268C Photographic Version costs about $1,800 and comes with a USB cable, a power cable, an adapter, and a software CD. It is compatible with all standard C-mount or M42-mount lenses and accessories. It is


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