Astroimaging Certificate

General and specific guidelines for submissions for Certification as an RASC Astroimager:

Image Guidelines:

• Submit the application form properly filled out in PDF format (see fillable forms below)
• Submit only those images indicated on the submission form
• Image size: 1200 pixels on the long side.
• Image format: JPG with EXIF data preserved where possible (i.e. DSLR Photos)
• Images should not be embedded in a presentation format – zipped folder is ideal.
• File Name format: sequence number + image-name + file extension
• Examples:
  • 01 Sunrise or sunset.jpg
  • 02 New Moon with earthshine 1.jpg
  • 03 New Moon with earthshine 2.jpg

Image Description Guidelines:

• Provide a single text file with the image descriptions separate from the images.
• Each description should be a single text block with:
  • Image Title
  • Pertinent details
  • What the object is
  • Why it is interesting [in your OWN words not Wikipedia articles etc.]
  • Capture details: location/scope/camera/lens/mount/total-exposure time etc.

Examples of some images in final presentation form, which is also the Image Gallery for certificate winners: 

General reminders:

• Please submit each image as a separate file; they can all be in a zipped folder of course. Do NOT send them embedded in a PDF or other presentation format
• The photos will only appear to the general public on the website once the certificate has been awarded
• Please only send the photos that are part of the submission for certification - the galleries are not for general use by certificate holders
• Galleries are for web presentation so please submit files sized appropriately - example: 800 (H) x1200 (W) pixels.

The criteria for earning an imaging certificate are as follows:

RASC Astroimager - Wide Field

The purpose of this certificate is to introduce beginners to many types of astronomical imaging. Fifteen pictures from the following list are required for the certificate.  Each picture shall be accompanied with a description of the location, time, equipment used, camera settings, planning done, problems encountered or solved, and whatever else, such as how you feel about the image or what happened that night. Please indicate on the application form which of the objects in the following list each of your pictures represents.

An evening, dawn, or nighttime landscape shot, or a skyscape image, is one that captures a scene the way it looks to the eye of the imager – either a naked-eye view (aka wide field) or a very low-power view, as through a telescope or binoculars. The image should be well framed, well focused, and have a well-managed dynamic range that mimics what the human eye can see. The size and position of the astronomical object(s) in the sky have to be correct with respect to the foreground scenery. Try to make your pictures into skyscape images.

    - Sunrise or sunset
    - Moonrise or moonset at full Moon
    - Gibbous, half, or crescent Moon
    - New Moon with earthshine
    - Moon and a planet
    - Moon or planet beside a deep-sky object
    - Two or more planets
    - Mercury
    - ISS or Iridium flare
    - Star trails
    - The Milky Way
    - Constellation
    - Asterism - Big Dipper or Summer Triangle
    - Aurora
    - Two or more pictures showing movement of a planet or asteroid
    - Uranus or Neptune identified in a picture
    - Sun or Moon halo, or Sundogs
    - Noctilucent clouds
    - Lunar or Solar eclipse
    - Comet
    - Meteor
    - Zodiacal light

RASC Astroimager - Solar System

The purpose of this certificate is for astronomers to learn basic techniques of photographing Solar System objects, such as tracking, focusing, stacking, and image processing. Stacked images should preferably be from a video. The following eight pictures are required for the certificate along with a log of all dates, location, equipment, settings, and steps taken for each picture.
    - Full Moon shot (snapshot)
    - Moon showing craters in detail (snapshot)
    - Moon showing craters in detail (stacking)
    - Shot of gibbous, half, or crescent Venus (snapshot) - no blob Venuses allowed (use extreme caution near the Sun)
    - Snapshot of Jupiter or Saturn showing moons with labels (overexposure of the planet is okay)
    - Planetary shot of two of the three Mars, Jupiter, & Saturn, using stacking and showing verifiable surface detail. Examples - Mars's ice cap and surface features, Jupiter's belts/zones and Great Red Spot, Saturn's belts/zones and Cassini Division.
    - Sun (H-alpha or white light).  For White Light, the image should include sunspots. For H-alpha, the image should include solar prominences or solar flares.

RASC Astroimager - Deep Sky

The purpose of this certificate is for astronomers to learn basic techniques of photographing deep-sky objects, such as tracking, focusing, stacking, and image processing. Twelve pictures are required for the certificate, two images from each of the following categories.  A log of all equipment, settings, and steps taken should accompany every picture. Pictures from remote telescopes will not be allowed.
    - Emission or reflection nebulae
    - Spiral galaxies
    - Planetary nebulae
    - Open clusters
    - Globular clusters
    - Dark nebula or comet

The following features are expected in the pictures:
- Correct name or title
- Good tracking as shown by stars that are not trailed.
- Good focusing as shown by small stars or sharp details.
- Picture well framed showing entire object, but not too small in the picture.
- Vignetting controlled by flats if necessary.
- Camera noise controlled by darks if necessary.
- Noise minimized by proper exposure and stacking.
- No clipping of blacks, background should not be completely dark.
- No clipping of white areas. Pictures of clusters should show star colours.
- Pictures processed (stretched) if necessary to show fainter details.

Contact the Astroimaging Committee chair

Last modified: 
Monday, January 23, 2017 - 3:28pm