From a young age, Douglas Struble's fascination with astronomy was kindled, leading him to correspond with iconic astronauts such as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and John Glenn during his teenage years. These autographed photos, framed in his studio, bear witness to his enduring love for space exploration. While Struble has always been drawn to both science and the arts, it wasn't until later in life that he could invest significantly in astrophotography. His uncle played a pivotal role in sparking his interest in astronomy with an 8” SCT.
Douglas Struble on the 70th Global Star Party
A passionate astrophotographer residing in Michigan, Struble is just 15 minutes away from Detroit, and navigates the challenges of a Bortle Sky Scale of 8 where ight pollution is so bright that reading is possible by its illumination, leaving constellations only slightly visible, and even with a telescope, only the brightest Messier objects can be seen. Needless to say Bortle 8 skies pose a formidable obstacle to capturing the wonders of the cosmos, which makes Struble’s images all the more remarkable. Beyond his celestial pursuits, Struble is the proprietor of Future World Media, an advertising production company that operates in the dynamic realm of media creation.
In 2016, Struble embarked on his astrophotography journey, designing and constructing an impressive 8’x10’ slide-off roof observatory in 2017. Housing a permanent pier with an Astro-Physics Mach1 mount and an Explore Scientific 165mm APO, Struble's observatory provides a dedicated space for capturing the celestial wonders. Additionally, a second rig accommodates two more telescopes.
Struble's dedication to the craft is evident in his choice of equipment, utilizing ZWO cameras with Astronomiks and Astrodon filters. Despite the challenging light and air conditions in his region, he skillfully captures stunning images, focusing on narrowband targets to combat light pollution. Notably, Struble's achievements in astrophotography include capturing rare targets, such as the giant supernova remnant Sh2-96, showcasing his perseverance and attention to detail. His post-processing expertise, employing PixInsight and Photoshop CC, highlights the intricate work required to enhance astrophotographic data.
HIs automated observatory facilitates Struble's imaging sessions, allowing him to multitask with his professional work while the rigs operate autonomously. The integration of automation and strategic observatory design has proven invaluable in maximizing imaging opportunities, especially in his light-polluted location.
As an accomplished astrophotographer, Struble has gained recognition with features in esteemed magazines like Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, The BBC Sky at Night, and Sky’s Up Global Astronomy Magazine. His commitment to pushing the boundaries of astrophotography is evident, and he continues to set new goals for the future, including investing in a third rig and focusing on smaller planetary nebulae and Sharpless (SH2) objects. Struble envisions the ongoing evolution of astrophotography, anticipating increased affordability and accessibility for enthusiasts, while also recognizing the unique challenges posed by his specific sky conditions and pixel scale limitations.