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Peter Shah - Astrophotographer in Residence
Product Related Articles Astronomy Image Gallery

Astrophotographer in Residence
Opticstar is delighted to announce Mr. Peter Shah as the Astrophotgrapher in Residence. This section is dedicated to Peter's work when imaging the night sky. The section will initially consist of some of Peter's images of the night sky. This section will be expanded over time to include more of Peter's images and techniques in bringing out the best of the captured data.

Contact Peter Shah
"If you have any questions about my imaging techniques or if you just want to leave feed back about the gallery then please feel free to send me an email. I will try to answer you as soon as possible but I do have a daytime job and will get back to you as soon as I can....thanks for taking the time to look.
- Peter Shah"


If you wish to discuss Peter Shah's imaging techniques please contact Peter by email here.

Contact Opticstar
For product related enquries please email us here.

About Peter
"On my seventh birthday my folks got me my first telescope which started my interest in astronomy, I sat for hours looking at the moon as a child. I remember pointing my scope at a bright star to the east, I put my eye to the telescope and saw Jupiter for the very first time, and I felt like I had discovered something and ran around telling everyone. I pointed a camera at the sky in my early teens, when my uncle, who was a keen amateur photographer, gave me an old SLR camera and tripod, which I did simple exposures of the constellations and experimented with star trailing."

"I don’t pretend to be a whiz at mathematics or even know a lot about astronomy, I just learned what I needed to know as I went along. I'm a press photographer by trade which does give me a slight advantage when it comes to imaging. The images that I produce are more art than science; I mean by the time I've stretched the contrast, changed the levels, and enhanced the certain areas, the whole image becomes really a lot different to what it actually is.
"But I do think these sorts of images are very important to astronomy as I truly believe it’s the artists that inspire the young scientists."

My Observatory
"My observatory, which is based at my home in Mid Wales (U.K.), is a roll off roof design with a separate warm room, I say warm room but it’s really not very warm. It is situated on the side of a hill facing south giving me good views from the East, South and West, horizons...the North I can only just see below the Pole Star. The scope is a 200mm f/4.5, Newtonian, which has a 1/8wpv optics, and an mpcc coma corrector, all sitting on a Losmandy G11 mount. I use a 70mm achromatric refractor with an mx5 camera, for guiding. The main imaging CCD is a Finger Lakes FLI-CM8. The whole kit performs very well for a moderate imaging setup, but having nice dark skies does help too!!"

Peter's equipment.


Imaging Gallery
All images are © Peter Shah.

M81, M82
Click on image to enlarge to full size. Please click on the image on the left to enlarge to full size.
Camera: FLI MaxCam CM8-2-ME, Telescope: 8" f/4 Newtonian
Peter comments: "Here is M81 and M82, exposure time was 30 minutes with a clear filter and 10 minutes each in RGB. All were added to make the up the luminance. I struggled to find a guide star so the guide corrections were 9 second exposures, the longest I’ve done."

M65, M66, NGC3628
Click on image to enlarge to full size. Please click on the image on the left to enlarge to full size.
Camera: FLI MaxCam CM8-2-ME, Telescope: 8" f/4 Newtonian
Peter comments: "I managed an hour before the clouds came in. This is a shot of the M65, M66 and NGC3628. Exposure time was 30 minutes with a clear filter and 10 minutes each for the RGB. All added to make up the luminance. The subs were starting to get worse as the haze got thicker. I don’t think it’s too bad for the amount of time and the conditions."

NGC 1491
Click on image to enlarge to full size. Please click on the image on the left to enlarge to full size.
Camera: FLI MaxCam CM8-2-ME, Telescope: 8" f/4 Newtonian
Peter comments: "The NGC1491 is a difficult target at this short focal length as the bright part nebula is quite small, the outer faint stuff needs quite a long exposure time. The exposure time for NGC1491 was 60mins in H-alpha, 40mins in Green and 50mins in Blue....mist caused a few problems while imaging this one."

Comet Holmes
Click on image to enlarge to full size. Please click on the image on the left to enlarge to full size.
Camera: FLI MaxCam CM8-2-ME, Telescope: Orion Optics 200mm f/4 Newtonian
Peter comments: "The comet was captured in RGB, 1 minute exposure time."

IC63
Click on image to enlarge to full size. Please click on the image on the left to enlarge to full size.
Camera: FLI MaxCam CM8-2-ME, Telescope: Orion Optics 200mm f/4.5 Newtonian
Peter comments: "An image of IC63 in RGB with H-alpha. Exposure times were 50 minutes for each filter. H-alpha was used for the red channel with the green and the blue. I then did a separate process for the star colour using the red data in place of the H-alpha and added it to the original process."

M33
Click on image to enlarge to full size. Please click on the image on the left to enlarge to full size.
Camera: FLI MaxCam CM8-2-ME, Telescope: Orion Optics 200mm f/4.5 Newtonian
Peter comments: "It was a nice night last night seeing was reasonably good with very dark skies. I could see M33 quite clearly with the naked eye. Total exposure time short of 4 hours in LRGB. Everything was bias dark and flat calibrated, the stacked files were processed with curves and levels in Photoshop."

IC1396
Click on image to enlarge to full size. Please click on the image on the left to enlarge to full size.
Camera: FLI MaxCam CM8-2-ME, Telescope: Orion Optics 200mm f/4.5 Newtonian
Peter comments: "The Elephant Trunk was 50 minutess in each filter (LRGB) s2=R, h-alpha=G and O3=B. H-alpha was used for the luminance. The image would have benefited from longer exposures especially in the S2 and O3 bands. This is difficult object, I used a very harsh process for the S2 and O3 frames and quite a heavy noise reduction."

Pelican
Click on image to enlarge to full size. Please click on the image on the left to enlarge to full size.
Camera: FLI MaxCam CM8-2-ME, Telescope: Orion Optics 200mm f/4.5 Newtonian
Peter comments: "Shot of the Pelican in RGB. The combined image was a result of 50 minutes exposure in S2, 30 minutes H-alpha and 40 minutes in O3."

See more of Peter's work on the next page.
Updated: 19th March 2008. All images are the copyright of Peter Shah.

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