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Denver Astronomical Society

DAS ASIG Imaging Program

The Denver Astronomical Society Astrophotography Special Interest Group (DAS ASIG) imaging program is open to any DAS member who is interested in astrophotography at any level of experience, although it is aimed more at beginner to intermediate levels of skill.  It is meant to encourage complete beginners to give astrophotography (AP) a try, and to help all participants improve their skills and become involved in our little AP community.  As such, there are a range of programs available for various skill levels.

General Rules

These are the general rules that apply to all programs:
  •     Pictures for a given program must be taken after signing up for that program.
  •     A given picture may only be submitted to satisfy the requirements of one program.
  •     Picture acquisition details must be submitted with images HERE.

Available Programs

These are the available programs and specific requirements for each of the programs:
  • Night Sky: ten images of the night sky on ten different nights (this would include things like wide-angle Milky Way shots, all-sky meteor shower pics, aurora pics, anything really, as long as it involves the night sky).
  • Lunar: ten images of the moon on ten different nights (...or days, technically).
  • Solar: ten images of the sun on ten different days.  Note: please observe safe observing practices when imaging or observing the sun; failing to do so can be hazardous.
  • Planetary: ten images of planets on ten different nights (minimum three different planets), except: distinct images of different planets on the same night would be acceptable.
  • Asterisms and Star Clusters: ten images of ten different targets (this would include large asterisms like constellations or things like the Hyades or Big Dipper).
  • Nebulae: ten images of ten different nebulae.
  • Galaxies: ten images of ten different galaxies.
  • Deep Sky Tour: fifteen images of fifteen different targets, and at least one each of: a bright nebula, a dark nebula, a planetary nebula, a galaxy, an open cluster, and a globular cluster
  • Grand Tour: twenty images of twenty different targets, including all of the above and also the moon, the sun, and two different planets.

Things That Are NOT Rules

That’s about it for the rules, but it’s worth calling some things out:
  • There is no limitation on gear used; an expensive telescope with an expensive cooled deep sky camera on an expensive mount is fine, but so is an inexpensive regular camera on a cheap tripod. Some programs are more challenging for given equipment than others, true, but that’s why there are a range of programs.
  • There is no limitation on time taken to finish; take as long as you need.
  • There are no limits on particular targets for any of the programs (beyond the obvious that, say, the lunar program requires that the moon be in the images submitted). But we’d be happy to give advice on good targets based on your gear, time of the year, etc.
  • There are no limits on quality.  The goal here is to improve your work by your own standards.  We hope that you’ll take this as an opportunity to learn and improve and get the most of what gear you have and techniques you learn along the way.
  • Teams are 100% allowed.  Divide up the effort however you want, be it by target, with one person shooting and one person processing the result — whatever you want to do.  In that case you’ll of course be recognized as a team as well.

In short, we want you to exercise your creativity.  If you can find a loophole in the rules, by all means exploit it, as long as you do it creatively.  Have a picture of a solar eclipse?  That could count for the solar or the lunar program (both are in the picture, aren’t they?)  Got a picture of the Milky Way?  That’s a galaxy, isn’t it?  In the end, we reserve the right to be the final arbiter of which images count and which don’t, but we plan to use that power sparingly.

What Will I Get If I Finish a Program?

A shiny printed certificate.  Recognition in our regular ASIG meetings and on the DAS web site.  We’ll also recognize your effort in our meetings as you work your way through any of the programs.

How Do I Sign Up?

Contact me via email at douglas (at) triggs (dot) org, or better yet, send me (Douglas Triggs) a direct message on the DAS slack — Slack is both more immediate and unfortunately my inbox can be a bit of a black hole at times (so if you do send me an email and don’t hear from me within a day or two, feel free to send me another email).

Also, we recognize that AP is hard, so we’ll assign you an advisor who will make them available to answer any of your questions, or give you a hand if you get stuck.

So good luck, and get out there and take some pictures!

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