Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Using the Ricoh Theta S for Astrophotography


horizontal line survey - image by Project Nightflight





How well does the Ricoh Theta S function for astrophotography?  Erwin Matys and Karoline Mrazek are founding members of Project Nightflight, an international group of experienced astrophotographers, headquartered in Austria.  Matys and Mrazek evaluated the Ricoh Theta S for its suitability for astronomy and astrophotography.  Here's what they found: "The Theta S has tremendous potential for astronomical usage and is a definite 'Buy!' for every astronomy and nature enthusiast."






"The Theta S has tremendous potential for astronomical usage and is a definite 'Buy!' for every astronomy and nature enthusiast."
- Erwin Matys & Karoline Mrazek, astrophotographers
and founding members, Project Nightflight




Among the features of the Theta that were noted by Matys and Mrazek was that the Theta could be oriented north-south then vertically leveled with a bubble, which results in alignment with accuracy better than ±0.5°.  Matys and Mrazek then overlaid the resulting image with parallel lines representing different heights, and azimuth labels.  With the overlay, it is possible to determine the height of the horizon.  Practical applications of Matys and Mrazek's method include being able to evaluate an observing site's horizon for obstructions such as mountains, etc. that would prevent observation of a passing celestial object.  This method can also be used to determine the amount of light pollution at a site.


Matys and Mrazek's paper can be accessed here.