I have been delivering talks to clubs over a number of years and recently, I have been concentrating more on Astrophotography. Astronomy is a niche area that generates a lot of interest particularly when the audience sees results of what might be possible from a back garden with a little bit of help and knowledge.
These talks are tailored depending on the audience (as indicated below). I have now presented these both nationally and internationally to societies, general outreach and as I am now a STEM Ambassador, schools, colleges and universities also.
Astronomy clubs – equipment connectivity, software packages and a little processing guidance, understanding and application of calibration frames. Pro’s & Con’s using a standard camera, an astro modified camera and a CCD with peltier cooling. What causes an aurora (northern/southern lights), talking about solar astronomy and finally, discussion about remoting and the IT side to make this happen.
Photography clubs – how to achieve widefield astrophotography using just a camera and lens – zoom and wide angle and how to achieve quality results with just a simple camera tripod with no star trails by applying a simple formula. Discussions on iso, shutter speed and aperture settings. How to obtain critical focus using liveview and software. Explanation for the need to image stack and by using just a couple of software packages you will surprise yourself with the results. Expanding on aurora activity and how to photograph.
General clubs – concentrating more on the results with a general talk on how the photos were achieved from the “back yard”. An explanation on how when to see the northern lights (aurora borealis activity) and how often we can actually see these from the UK (for example, it was seen on average 3x a month last year from Scarborough, North Yorkshire). There are lots of photos to see.
Schools and Colleges – I am also a STEM ambassador and hold a current DBS.
The talks are roughly between 60 to 90 minutes in length and will continue to evolve as new images are added once skill levels increase further or if new imaging equipment is acquired. Every talk will be different and humour is always included. The cost for the presentation is £50 +contribution to fuel if the round trip is greater than 40 miles.
Stephen Bowden is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and recently delivered a presentation entitled “Photographing the night sky”. Photographs were shared of deep sky objects such as Galaxies and Nebulas including detailed images of our nearest star with most of these taken from his back garden astronomy observatory located near Filey in North Yorkshire. Stephen also explained in simple terms how the Northern Lights manifests together with photographs taken of the aurora taken from around the UK including Scarborough. Most of the photographs presented had been taken using Digital SLR camera(s) and Steve was happy to share “how” the photographs were taken so audience members with similar aspirations could do the same. A very different but enlightening talk that clearly demonstrated his passion and enthusiasm on the subject. The talk was extremely well received and generated much discussion with our society members. We look forward to receiving Stephen back again for another of his talks.