Book Review:

Splendors of the Universe

By Terence Dickinson and Jack Newton

Copyright 1997 by Terence Dickinson

Published by Firefly Books Ltd.

This large hardcover book covers the art and science of astrophotography, both with film and CCD cameras. I claim no special expertise, either as a book reviewer or especially as an astrophotographer! In lieu of actually taking astrophotos, under the great gray rock of Michigan winter, reading about them is one way of keeping my enthusiasm at a fever pitch. I have to say that I was very impressed with this book. All aspects of astrophotography are covered in a simple and interesting manner. Perhaps, if you are already a highly skilled astrophotographer, you may find some of the subjects covered somewhat "basic" for your tastes. I am not that highly skilled and I appreciated the simple start to some complex subjects.

The book is chock full of stunning photographs, most of them taken by fellow amateurs. What is amazing is that a great many of them are wide angle, camera on tripod shots that can be duplicated by anyone! Yes, there are some deep space shots that require special darkroom techniques that I cannot equal, but then I donít expect to be a Jerry Lodriguss or Tony Hallas (at least not this year J ). Comprehensive discussions of cameras, lenses and films help the beginning or intermediate astrophotographer come to grips with this part of the hobby. Tracking mounts are discussed as well as piggy-back photography and prime focus photography.

The last section of the book is on CCD imaging. Noted CCD astronomer, Jack Newton, shares his expertise in this well written section. Monochrome and tricolor CCD imaging is explained in depth and the gear required is discussed giving the whole process a more familiar feel. To top this off there are many of fantastic CCD images demonstrating the power of this cutting edge tool for amateur astronomers.

The end of the book includes tables of data and lists of resources for the budding astrophotographer. I highly recommend this book for the beginning or intermediate amateur astrophotographer or anyone interested in astrophotography.