When people see Peter Shah’s breathtaking photographs of the Andromeda Galaxy and countless nebulae, they sometimes think they’re from the Hubble Space Telescope. But Shah takes them from his backyard shed in Mid Wales in the U.K. He built it with a roll-off roof and a separate “warm” room (that isn’t really very warm at all).
“The scope is a 200mm f/3.8, AG8 Newtonian Astrograph, on a Losmandy G-11 mount,” Shah says. “I use a Sky-Watcher ED80 for guiding. The main imaging CCD is a Starlight Xpress SXVF-H16. The whole kit performs very well for a moderate imaging setup, but having nice dark skies does help too.”
Shah doesn’t pretend to be a whiz at math or astronomy, but says he learns as he goes along.
“The images that I produce are more art than science,” he says. “By the time I’ve stretched the contrast, changed the levels, and enhanced the certain areas, the whole image becomes really a lot different to what it actually is. But I do think these sorts of images are very important to astronomy, as I truly believe it’s the artists that inspire the young scientists.”