Messier Astrophotography Reference released

The Messier Astrophotography Reference is a little surprise for you, as it was pretty much an unexpected book!

Messier Astrophotography Reference When I was starting out in astrophotography I was constantly hunting for images that would give me a good idea of what I would see in my images. The problem was that I was in a middle area where most of the images were either far too nice looking to compare to mine, or far too simple. Even when I found a few, they had not done all of the Messier objects so I really could not do more than a few targets.

This made me decide to write a reference book for the Messier catalog with all 110 Messier objects, example images, size estimates for the most popular telescopes, best times of the year to shoot each target, star charts showing the location, a scientific description of the target and lastly, a set of shoot notes giving my suggestions for shooting and/or processing each target.This should help you find the best Messier objects for you to shoot.

The reference hopefully will be helpful for other astrophotographers in North America who want to shoot some or all of the Messier objects. You can learn more about the book at and discuss it at Messier Astrophotography Reference is available on or directly at and is available in both print and Kindle editions.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Allan Hall’s Messier Astrophotography Reference takes the task of providing a detailed, practical, visual guide to the night sky’s Messier Objects – all 110 of them – seriously, but not without the author’s trademark approachability and goal of providing home-based astrophotographers at any experience level with the fundamental resources they need to shoot smart.

In North American skies, throughout the year, a series of bright visual bodies, groups, formations, and phenomenon are categorized as Messier Objects. 110 of these are flung across the galactic veil that we see every night. For each star: a cluster. For each cluster: a galaxy. From nebula to clouds to clusters, these astrological objects are striking, nuanced, each with its own sky path and yearly phases. The task of capturing these in images can be daunting for astrophotographers, making Messier’s Astrophotography Reference all the more impactful of a guide.

For astrophotographers: the number of factors to consider when searching out the ideal celestial shot can be daunting. From yearly charts of the night sky’s movements to sizing objects, gauging their depth, and choosing how to capture them, astrophotographers have long relied on fundamental – and luckily unchanging – guides for astrological behavior.

From the author of Getting Started: Long Exposure Astrophotography and Getting Started: Budget Astrophotography comes a uniquely comprehensive book sure to change the way that just about any astrophotographer’s views their discipline.

A question: What do the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, the Owl Nebula, and 108 other striking astronomical bodies have in common with you? For the first time: they’re all accessible. From home. For beginning astrophotographers. Now – finally – with Allan Hall’s Messier Astrophotography Reference – the lessons of Getting Started: Long Exposure Astrophotography and Getting Started: Budget Astrophotography are elevated, targeted, and laid out in an intuitive format meant for providing home-based astrophotographers with a practical road map for all 110 North American Messier Objects in the night sky.

From your bedroom desk to nights in the field, Messier Astrophotography Reference represents a condensed, intuitive resource. In it, each Messier Object is highlighted with a photograph and a rich entry of details, context, sizing, yearly shooting charts, and more. Hall’s approachable tone makes for a clean narrative in which the goal is the keenest understanding of these objects, their “characters”, movements, obstacles in shooting, and points of interest.

As a companion piece for Getting Started: Long Exposure Astrophotography, this book takes on a natural supplementary role. Further developed by its author to be a full standalone resource on its own, Messier Astrophotography Reference is comprehensive, targeted, and brisk. From sizing your shot to deciding on your range of depth – Hall takes readers from step one to the final shutter snap; giving them the tools to interpret their experience with the Messier Objects.

For anyone with practical astrophotographical ambitions; whether they’re gathering supplies and waiting for that first shoot or experienced astrophotographers ready to delve into a comprehensive Messier Object guide, Allan Hall’s Messier Astrophotography Reference is essential.

You can find out more about Messier objects at Wikipedia.

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All 110 Messier objects imaged, finally

Messier objects are not only some of the most accessible deep sky objects, but also the most beautiful. I guess I should not say all 110 Messier objects finally as some people never complete this, and others take years. I have completed it in less than a year. While this is quite the accomplishment I should point out quite a bit of my images of these targets really stink because I rushed the process.

This may seem like a stupid thing to do, or it was done just so I could say I got all 110 in less than a year, it was actually done at breakneck speed to teach me a lot of lessons including the importance of preparation, scheduling of targets, meridian flips, and much much more. For every crummy image there has been a lot learned, and that is worth way more than a really good image. I can now get setup, aligned, on target and imaging with incredible speed and accuracy. What used to take me two hours can now be done in less than one with greater accuracy than before. I can also do the same in reverse, breaking down and packing up in less than thirty minutes. Here are all 110 Messier objects images comprising the entire Messier catalogue:

all 110 Messier objects The other really nice thing about doing all 110 Messier objects this fast was that I got to see a lot of amazing objects in a very short period of time. I saw open clusters, globular clusters, galaxies, asterisms and a wide array of nebulae. This was an incredibly rewarding project for me and I urge everyone to view and/or image as many Messier objects as they can, they won’t regret it.

You can find out more about the Messier objects, and Charles Messier, at Wikipedia. You can also hear about my visual observations of most of the Messier objects and as well as others on my audio commentary pages.

I hope you enjoyed images of all 110 Messier objects!

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