Scores of enthusiasts are joining camps with astro clubs in Pune only to capture the night sky and its elements in beautiful shots during the overnight star parties held in Panshet, Kamshet, Bhor, Tamhini and other places where light pollution is less.
Ever since digital DSLR cameras came into use widely, individuals taking to astrophotography have increased to a great extent. With costs of cameras and allied equipment dropping, students interested in this field can afford cameras and, there was a rise in the photography aspect of the starry nights.
Sanshodhan in collaboration with Khagol Vishwa organizes overnight sky gazing programmes for sky lovers every month at Godham eco-village situated around 40 km from Pune.
Mayuresh Prabhune of Sanshodhan said, “Astrophotography has become a hobby and youngsters join the star-gazing sessions as and when they find time. Many spend entire nights with all the equipment, collect data and process it to get stunning visuals.”
Prabhune said many enthusiasts have good technical know-how of the camera but not so much about astronomy. “If they are able to understand astronomy and tie up with professional astronomers, study the visuals and then bring out the photographs, then Indian astronomy could go up to the next level.”
Photographers interested in the field could look at variable stars, occultation, transient events, extrasolar planets, minor planets, and asteroids and study these elements in the sky then it would give them great results.
Suyash Deshpande, who has pursued his love for astrophotography for the past five years, said that at first he would join groups in Pune at star parties. “I developed an interest in photography later on and started taking my camera to star-gazing events. Knowledge of both aspects helped me,” Deshpande said.
The oldest astronomy club in Pune, Jyotirvidya Parisanstha, has started a course in astrophotography. Aniruddha Deshpande of JVP said, “We conduct two sessions – the first is a preparatory one the second session is a field exercise to a nearby location in Pune. We also provide the participants with telescopes for imaging and open source software for processing among other materials.”