Moving Observations off the Planet
As the engineering necessary for a stable telescope platform was being taken out of the hands of amateur astronomers and becoming a commercial reality, changes to the optical systems were also moving forward. There were many very good reasons why astrophotography was important in shifting telescopes to higher altitudes and clearer skies. By taking a photograph, it became possible to exchange data and information without the subjective component of a descriptive observation and drawing—a lesson learned from the composite illustrations by astronomers that had created the situation with the canals of Mars. These developments also took away the astronomer’s dependency on good eyesight, and the need for objects to be visible to the human eye during observation; low light was not such a hindrance in photography. For long exposures, clear skies were essential so that the imaging process was not interfered with.
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