An Unconventional Method of Observing the Universe

Astronomy is the scientific study of the Universe. The practice of astronomy involves principally the direct observation of all areas of the Cosmos as it is viewed from Earth. The observers are astronomers who use many methods and instruments in their astronomical observing research. Astronomers fall in two classes - professionals and amateurs. This home page is prepared for the information of amateur astronomers; in addition, for those persons who have an interest in astronomy and the Universe.

(Photo: Upper left - Seven Crown micro-constellation in Cepheus. Upper right - Triple star in Andromeda. Lower left - Arcturus. Lower right - NGC 281 in Cassiopeia.)

The originator of this method was Sam Bissette, from Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. He had a personal interest in astronomy for a lifetime and in recent years became an amateur astronomer with a special interest in astrophotography. Since 1991 until his death in 2005 he experimented in the use of a method of astronomical observing which uses color slides of the nighttime sky taken without magnification as a data base. These slides are then viewed with a microscope with magnifications up to 500x and photographs taken of the magnified sky images. He called this method Astromicroscopy and the photographic process Astrophotomicrography.

This viewing and photo process has resulted in four years of experience and several hundred color slides made from the astonishing amount of detail revealed in the original color slides. Since the method records the data without magnification and provides magnification later with a microscope, it is exactly opposite from the conventional method of telescope observing in which magnification is done first followed by observation and photography. Hence, Astromicroscopy is described as an unconventional method of astronomical observing.

In 1994, the Cape Fear Astronomical Society of Wilmington announced his method with an international news release to astronomy-related organizations resulting in the dissemination of information about Astromicroscopy on a wide basis.

Photo: A 50mm Ektachrome 400 (pp800) 8 minute time exposure at f 2. of the area in constellation Sagittarius in which is located the Sagittarius Star Cloud, the teapot asterism, and nebulae Lagoon and Trifid and a host of other well-known astronomical subjects. It is also the direction of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Photo by Samuel D. Bissette.

For more details click here to see a 1995 article published in THE PRACTICAL OBSERVER or the more complete and technical Guide to Astromicroscopy. In addition, the following list may be referenced for photographs and for more detail about astromicroscopy.

  • Article in THE REFLECTOR, May 1994, publication of the Astronomical League of the U.S.   Scanned copy is found here: Page 1 (237K)  Page 2 (273K)
  • A REVOLUTIONARY NEW OBSERVING METHOD, an electronic book publication by John Wagoner, of the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas, May 19, 1994.
  • Electronic version of  A GUIDE TO ASTROMICROSCOPY by Samuel D. Bissette (referenced above), published in book form by the Cape Fear Astronomical Society of Wilmington, NC, 1994. This and the two previous items are available for downloading from the Astroforum Library of CompuServe.
  • Two desktop illustration designs using astromicroscopy color images are also available on CompuServe from the Astroforum Library. On CompuServe, all astromicroscopy material can be easily accessed by typing ASTROFORUM in the GO box; then in the Astroforum, click on Library, then click on Search, move to keywords and insert ASTROMICROSCOPY, and a window will come up with all the files available ready for access and download.
  • AN ASTROMICROSCOPY STUDY OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE SKY by Samuel D. Bissette, published by the Cape Fear Astronomical Society, 1995. This study was done with the help of astrophotographer Robert Price of Australia and includes 94 color images and seven sky maps. It has also been published by John Wagoner in electronic book form on CompuServe.
  • Samples from this study.
  • A picture of the south celestial pole and one of Mr. Price.

  • Upper left - Capella in constellation Auriga
    Upper right - Antares and M-4 globular cluster
    Lower left - Sheliak, Sulphat and M-57 in Lyra
    Lower right - Double star in Perseus

    Links to other sites on the Web
    All the basic information a person needs to know about our PLANETS
    Home of the Hubble Space Telescope in Baltimore: SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE
    A comprehensive list of information: ASTRONOMICAL INTERNET RESOURCES
    A site about about Sam's art work, including art work about astronomy.
    A link to his son's page, who helped Sam with this one

    Feel free to send David Bissette, his son, an email with comments or inquiries about Astromicroscopy. Detailed procedures and photos are part of his papers that are archived at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

    [Home page] [Observer article] [Guide to Astromicroscopy]
    [Southern hemisphere objects] [The South Pole]

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