Astrophotography, the art of capturing the beauty of the night sky through photography, is a niche field that requires patience, technical expertise, and an eye for detail. In Canada, one astrophotographer has made a significant impact on the field – Shawn Nielsen. 

Who is Shawn Nielsen?

Astrophotographer Shawn Nielsen of Ontario, CanadaShawn Nielsen is an astrophotographer based in Ontario, Canada, who has been capturing stunning images of the night sky for over a decade. His passion for astronomy began when he was a child, and he was introduced to the stars through his father’s telescope. Since then, he has been exploring the cosmos and sharing his knowledge with others. Shawn’s images are dedicated to his parents, Lars and Barb Nielsen, who bought him his first telescope as a child and always encouraged his interest in the night sky. 

Contributions to the Astronomy Community

Shawn Nielsen’s contributions to the astronomy community are numerous. He has been a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) and he has served as the Chair of the Kitchener-Waterloo RASC Centre Light Abatement Committee. He has also contributed articles to the RASC’s Observer’s Handbook, RASC Journal, SkyNews magazine and Sky and Telescope as well as BBC Sky at Night.

One of Shawn Nielsen's telescopes and camera for astrophotographyIn addition to his involvement in the RASC, Shawn has also been active in online communities, sharing his knowledge and experience with other astrophotographers. His website,, is a valuable resource for those interested in astrophotography. It includes tutorials, reviews of equipment, and galleries of his stunning images.

VisibleDark YouTube Channel

Shawn Nielsen's Youtube Channel, VisibleDark.Shawn Nielsen’s VisibleDark YouTube channel is another valuable resource for those interested in astrophotography. He shares tutorials on a variety of topics, including image processing, equipment reviews, and tutorials on specific objects in the night sky.

One of the most popular series on his channel is his Pixinsight tutorials. Pixinsight is a powerful image processing software used by many astrophotographers as well as NASA for the James Webb Space Telescope images. Shawn’s tutorials provide step-by-step instructions on how to use the software to enhance images captured of the night sky.

Pixinsight Tutorials and Tutoring

As mentioned, Shawn Nielsen’s Pixinsight tutorials are incredibly popular. They are detailed, easy to follow, and cover a wide range of topics. However, Shawn also offers one-on-one tutoring for those who need additional help.

Pixinsight lessons for beginnersHis tutoring services are tailored to the individual’s needs, and he covers a range of topics, from beginner to advanced. He offers sessions over Skype or in person, depending on the individual’s location.

Shawn Nielsen says “I enjoy sharing the beauty of the night sky with others through my images but also showing people first hand how to spot the planets and what they can see using simple binoculars.”

He goes on to say “There is a thrill and excitement to capturing light that is thousands and millions of years old… revealing the visible dark”.

Final thoughts

Shawn Nielsen’s contributions to the astronomy community, his website, YouTube channel VisibleDark Astro, his Pixinsight tutorials and tutoring have made him a valuable resource for astrophotographers around the world. His passion for astronomy and dedication to sharing his knowledge have inspired many to explore the cosmos and capture its beauty through photography.



  1. How long has Shawn Nielsen been an astrophotographer? Shawn Nielsen has been an astrophotographer for over a decade but got his start as a young boy more than 40 years ago, looking at the Moon and building his own telescopes .

  2. What is Shawn Nielsen’s website? Shawn Nielsen’s website is He can be emailed at shawn @

  3. What is the VisibleDark YouTube channel? The VisibleDark Astro YouTube channel is Shawn Nielsen’s YouTube channel dedicated to astrophotography tutorials and equipment reviews.

  4. What are Pixinsight tutorials? Pixinsight tutorials are step-by-step instructions on how to use the Pixinsight image processing software to enhance images captured of the night sky.

  5. Does Shawn Nielsen offer tutoring services? Yes, Shawn Nielsen offers PixInsight one-on-one tutoring services for those who need