Doctor PMS on Twitter pointed out a news release about a paper that use astrophotography as a “gateway to science” at the university level, which reminded me that as a wee lad in high school in the late 90s/early 2000s, we did quite a bit of astrophotography (which involved some creative arrangements of sitting in a car, or a basement, and not freezing to death in the Canadian winter).
What enthralled me at the time was that one could, relatively easily, see things like the rings of Saturn, or the Orion nebula, or the red spot on Jupiter. Recall that this was at a time when it would take hours to download a music album, and the print magazine was still the king in terms of photography.
So while I’m fairly sure I would have ended up in science regardless, those cold nights were the first time I can recall the spark of scientific discovery, even if what we had “discovered” had actually been done hundreds of years before, with much simpler equipment.
Here are a selection of images from the Riverview High School Science Club / Astrophotography@RHS / Saturn Labs [so named for the make of car we would hide in to prevent frostbite]. The images were taken in black & white, and we added some artificial colour.