A Guide to Astromicroscopy

An Unconventional Method of Astronomical Observing

by Samuel D.  Bissette

Copyright 1994

Cape Fear Astronomical Society Wilmington, North Carolina, U.S.A. 1994


Statement from the Publisher


Part  I - Introduction to Astromicroscopy
Part II - Documents Detailing This Method
Part III - Astromicroscopy Research Project
Part IV - Comments and Conclusions
Part V - Our Universe

Statement from the Publisher

The Cape Fear Astronomical Society wishes to express its grateful appreciation to the family of  Charles Frederick Green, Junior (b. 1919 - d. 1994)  for a Memorial Grant in honor of Mr. Green. This generous gift to the Society has made A Guide to Astromicroscopy possible and, in addition, its distribution to a selected group of astronomical organizations throughout the United States and a number of countries abroad. Mr. Green was a lifelong citizen of Wilmington, North Carolina and had a distinguished record of business, civic and public service.  He was also a personal friend of the author, Samuel D. Bissette.

The Society was begun in 1983 and is composed of amateur astronomers from Southeastern North Carolina who are interested in advancement of their knowledge of astronomy.  Public education in the form of observing sessions and displays at public events is a strong part of the Society's activities.  The Cape Fear group has followed with interest Mr. Bissette's origination and development of astromicroscopy, a word he coined to describe astronomical observing with camera and microscope.  We are pleased to participate in the dissemination of his methods and research to the amateur astronomy community of which this organization is a part.

Please note that although  Mr. Bissette has a copyright, he wishes us to state that he has granted broad permission for this publication to be reproduced in any way that benefits astronomy as long as it is done on a non-profit basis and with credit being given to A Guide to Astromicroscopy.  Reproduction for other purposes should be done only with the publisher's specific permission.  A Guide to Astromicroscopy is bound in such a way that all or a part may be easily photo-copied to permit wide use and retention of the material both by individuals and organizations.

The Society expresses its thanks to THE REFLECTOR, the newsletter of the Astronomical League, for permission to reprint their article on astromicroscopy in the May 1994 issue. Our special thanks to John Wagoner of the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas for writing the Foreword. We express our grateful appreciation to Sabra Bissette Ledent of  Montreal, daughter of the author, for her editorial assistance and suggestions in the preparation of the text.

Copies of this publication may be obtained at a cost of $11 in the United States and $14 elsewhere, postpaid, for a limited time. Send check or money order (in US dollars) to Cape Fear Astronomical Society, 1939 S. Liveoak Parkway, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28403, U.S.A.  This is a non-profit activity  for the Society.  CFAS would like to know of your experiences, innovations, and comments in the use of astromicroscopy and you are invited to send these to us at the above address.

October 30, 1994


Every once in a great while in amateur astronomy someone comes up with an idea so profound yet so simple that you ask yourself, "Why didn't someone think of that before?" A revolution in telescopes was brought about by the "Dobsonian" design, enabling amateurs to delve deeper into the universe. A simple pointing device known as the "Telrad" has aided thousands in enjoying their hobby more by eliminating much of the frustration of locating an object, while the concept of putting a solar filter at the front of the telescope instead of the rear has allowed many to enjoy solar observing without damage to eyes or equipment. And now Sam Bissette  has added his own contribution to amateur astronomy. Through "astromicroscopy" Sam has married the two major amateur techniques of observing and astrophotography. With a slide set of the night sky and an inexpensive microscope, one can enjoy our wonderful hobby without ever going outdoors.
The Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas has 362 members, while the Houston Astronomical Society has over 400 members.  It has been estimated that eighty percent of these members are what we call "armchair" astronomers.  They read a lot about amateur astronomy but don't really go outside to brave the elements and participate in it.  Astromicroscopy can have a profound impact on this group of individuals. Now a major portion of the amateurs in this country can enjoy the wonders of observing without ever going outside their homes.  As for the other twenty percent who are "hardcore" amateurs, there  are times when even they can't observe because of the weather.  At these times they can still participate in their hobby using astromicroscopy. Sam Bissette has put a lot of effort into this new technique, as you will see once you begin reading this manual. By the time you finish this work, you will have realized that this effort was worthwhile, as it will have a lasting effect on amateur astronomy.

John W. Wagoner
Plano, Texas
Observing Coordinator
Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas
Binocular Coordinator
Astronomical League

October 16, 1994

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