Astrophotography with Mac OS X

M42 - Orion Nebula

It's been a good three years now since I swapped my HP laptop for a Macbook Pro. In the mean time, I've started doing a bit more astrophotography and of course the change of operating system has affected the tools I use to obtain and process photos.

Amateur astronomers have traditionally mostly used Windows, so there are a lot of Windows tools, both freeware and payware, to help. I used to run the freeware ones in Wine on Ubuntu with varying levels of success.

Southern Exposure

Montage of the moon in the southern sky.

From time to time you see photos pop up on the internet that show off bits of the northern sky. A good example is a montage of the Moon and Andromeda that show what size Andromeda would be in the sky, if only it were actuallty visible to the naked eye.

Bad Astronomy did a blog post on that one and explained that though the image is fake, the relative sizes are pretty much correct.

However, that's not a lot of use to us poor people in the southern hemisphere that can't even see Andromeda at the best of times. What even are these northerners talking about?

Accidental Space Tourist - SocialSpaceWA

Thumbs up from the #SocialSpacers

Like many people, I love the beautiful images we receive from space telescopes and spacecraft that orbit other worlds in the solar system. Also like many other people, I expect, I never really stop to think how we get those images, just assuming they get sent to earth via some magic space internet.

However, there is no internet (magic or otherwise, yet) in space and getting the data to create these pretty images (and to do science) is rather involved.

Quite by accident I got a chance to learn a lot more about that process.