Book Contributors’ Webpages:
Dennis' Journey into the Arp Book
I started studying the Arp Peculiar Galaxies in 1995, occasioned by Halton Arp being scheduled to speak at the Texas Star Party. I returned to the study off and on, occasionally maintaining a webpage, until in 2003, I got an email asking for my help. Jeff Kanipe, astronomy author and editor, was writing a book for Willmann-Bell on Halton Arp and the 1966 Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. Publisher Perry Remaklus thought it was a good idea to include amateur astrophotos of the peculiar views of peculiar galaxies and information to help amateurs observe the Arps for themselves. Jeff and I had known of each other’s interest in the Arps (he had recently spoken at local astronomy clubs) and he approached me to see if I could gather some images and contribute to the book. I jumped at the chance to work with Jeff and Willmann-Bell, as my dream has been to have a book published and I know something about the Arps. This would be a gentle introduction to the writing business. Within a couple months we decided we might be able to get amateur images of all 338 and turn it into a recreation of the Atlas. By New Years, I was promoted to coauthor and the game was on. As the work became bigger and bigger (400 pages), it took over my astronomical life – I made very few new images since starting serious work on the book, and it was humbling to compare my data with those of other imagers.
Through 2004, I recruited and negotiated a nearly complete set of great existing amateur astrophotos, some from friends, others from online acquaintances, and I got to meet a few of my imaging and observing heroes along the way. Barbara Wilson and Minnesota Dave Tosteson lent their nearly complete visual logs. I reviewed about 1000 images, to select the ones for the book - each month I see a wonderful new image to add, but I am very proud of the set we have in the book. Paul Downing and Dick Miller helped me manage the immense amount of data presented – I thought my 1995-2000 researches were sufficient but we have had to research and validate the 800-odd galaxy references. Paul, Dick, and Chuck Shaw were willing to image a number of fields as needed for the book. During this year, we designed the approach to the observing guide.
Over 2005, I built the observing guide page by page, using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator, with frequent reference to NED, Megastar, and the online literature. Halton Arp spoke at the 2005 Texas Star Party and Jeff and I had the opportunity to spend time with him and show him the manuscript - we had worked with Dr. Arp by email but it was great to see him in person and get his feedback on the material. We developed finder star charts over the summer using files derived from Megastar.
2006 was about finishing and polishing, including addition of reproductions of the original 1966 Atlas, courtesy of Barry Madore of Caltech. Amazing reviewers saw what we failed to see. We hope you enjoy the book. I wonder what is next?
Dennis Webb, Halton Arp, and Jeff Kanipe, redshifted before the brick wall, Texas Star Party 2005, photo by Jeff Rowe
E-mail Dennis | Back to Dennis Webb Home | Updated December 28, 2006