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I have previously been rather scathing about this kind of thing. It's not astronomy.

However, my aim is to get photographers interested in the night sky, to be amazed by what can be done with today's cameras. So these photos are meant to encourage them.

All are composites made by combining a daylight photo with a feasible astronomical background. The backgrounds have been made with nothing more than a camera on a simple fixed tripod, but processed by free stacking software (my own GRIP program).

These thumbnails are links to larger versions on my Flickr page.


An important point is that to make these kinds of images the only hardware you need is a digital camera on a fixed tripod. NO telescope, NO motorised mount, NO guiding system. You do need to follow a procedure described in these pages, to take many exposures at high ISO. You do also need to use some free stacking software (eg, my own GRIP) and some graphical processing software that can manipulate layers, such as Corel PhotoPaint or Adobe Photoshop.

I have entered some of these images into the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition 2015, run by Royal Museums Greenwich. The competition has a new category this year, called Skyscapes. Unfortunately I was unable to enter the images I consider to be best, owing to information from English Heritage. They advised me that if any of my images showing a property of theirs should be used for any commercial purpose I would be liable to pay them a fee, starting at £400 + VAT! That is extremely unfortunate because it rules out using many interesting sites in England as a foreground for a skyscape. The competition organisers will be wanting to use selected entries in books and on their merchandise.

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