2 Further Reading

The literature on the use of CCDs in astronomy is extensive. However, there are several articles and books which provide convenient and accessible introductions. The articles by Newberry[232425] in the amateur astronomy magazine CCD Astronomy are a straightforward, accessible and readable introduction to CCD data reduction techniques. The documentation included on the CD-ROM Astronomical Images by Jaffe[14] includes a useful introduction to the instrumental effects present in CCD images and the data reduction techniques used to correct them (document Reducing CCD Images in file reduce.ccd). Both Newberry’s and Jaffe’s articles are good starting points for beginners.

McLean’s Electronic and Computer-Aided Astronomy[19] and the more recent Electronic Imaging in Astronomy[20] are, their titles notwithstanding, mostly about the construction and use of CCD instruments and, in the latter case, infrared arrays. Electronic Imaging in Astronomy is a particularly thorough, modern introduction to the subject.

Another useful book is CCD Astronomy by Buil[2]. The conference proceedings Astronomical CCD Observing and Reduction Techniques[13] contains several useful papers. In particular, the contribution ‘CCD Data: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ by Massey and Jacoby[17] is an excellent introduction to the acquisition, processing and evaluation of CCD data. It is probably most useful if read before your observing trip. Brief descriptions of CCD techniques are included in Walker’s Astronomical Observations[30], pp300-307 and in Astrophysical Techniques[16], pp20-30 by Kitchin.

A User’s Guide to CCD Reductions with IRAF[18] describes the reduction of CCD data. It is particularly concerned with reducing observations using the IRAF software environment (see SG/12[22]). However, many of the techniques that it describes are equally applicable irrespective of whether you are using IRAF or some other software package. Finally, the glossary to SUN/139[10] (the manual for the CCDPACK package for processing CCD data) gives clear definitions of many of the technical terms used in CCD data reduction.

The Department of Physics at the University of Oregon provides a useful on-line introduction to the construction and use of CCDs at URL:


Finally, a word of warning: most of the uses of CCDs are not astronomical. Furthermore, the CCD chips used in astronomy are usually somewhat different to their non-astronomical kin. You should be aware of the existence of these differences if you read any non-astronomical literature about CCDs.