Amateur astronomy can be quite a complex, demanding
and costly hobby. On the other hand, one may also spend many rewarding hours
with just a few, simple tools. My own "passions" are mainly armchair astronomy
and simple, low-cost astrophotography.
What then, can one in all fairness consider "low-cost"? Well that depends of
course, but today a great many people (speaking about lucky us in the better-off
parts of the world) have a PC and a digital camera. All that you will need else is a tripod and some
simple digital imaging software (which you may even find as freeware) and you are
off. In fact, good old-fashioned analogue film may also still be used - but to
my own experience that wasn't exactly cheap in the long run.
The example on the cover page is a little bit more
exotic, but not really complicated or costly. The moon is captured on a stormy and cloudy night
with moments of very good seeing seeing by means of: 1) A cheap (EUR 45)
wireless miniature C-MOS video surveillance camara; 2) an old tele lens (a
Tamron SP 350 mm catadioptric - which admittedly cost a fortune when I purchased
it a great many years ago - but almost any decent old lens will do); 3) a simple
tripod and 4) a videograbber cable (costing around EUR 45 also) for capturing
the video images on a PC. Connection between camera and lens is made of old bits
and pieces from my junk box.
There are other, even simpler and cheaper
examples to follow.....