Astro Photography

In 2017 I bought a telescope with a view to attempting some astrophotography. 

 

I quickly began traversing the infinitely steep learning curve and now a year later, despite setting up a remote home observatory in my shed,  I feel I have barely scratched the surface of this incredibly exciting, but complicated and cash-hungry hobby, where you quickly find yourself in that situation where the equipment you have, never feels quite enough and you're always clamoring for that next bolt-on gadget or upgrade that will make your photos just that little bit better! 

I have no regrets of course, and I have had some fairly pleasing results so far, but I'm done with the spending for now and will make do with what I have.  With so very few clear nights being available at my central UK location, I simply can not justify the additional expense of getting better/improved equipment for now.  

The telescope has already provided quite a few hours of fascination and even joy at seeing the wonders of our universe with my own eyes.

I think seeing the rings of Saturn and the Moons of Jupiter, as well as Jupiter itself had a particularly positive impact, as has being able to photograph some of the more visible deep sky objects (DSO's) such as Nebula and nearby galaxies.  

I've made a few videos from my stargazing nights which are available on my YouTube channel, and I've embedded one or two further down this page.

Equipment  

I regularly get asked about the specific equipment I’m using for astronomy and astrophotography.  This list below may change slightly in the future, I always said I'd like to get a smaller APO scope at some point, but for now, I'm done upgrading equipment, at least until we start averaging more than 1 clear sky per month!  

Current Equiplent:

Mount:
Skywatcher HEQ5 Pro Equatorial Mount with Extension Tube, plus Synscan GOTO system 

 

Telescope:  

Explore Scientific AR152, 152mm (6”) f/6.5 Air Spaced Doublet Refractor OTA

 

Camera:

Canon EOS 1300D with T-mount (astro modified: red filter removed)

 

Guidescope:

Orion Starshoot with 50mm Guidescope 

 

Computer software to drive Guidescope: 

PHD (Push Here Dummy) latest version

 

Computer software to drive Telescope remotely: 

Stellarium (freeware)

 

Computer software to drive Camera: 

Backyard EOS (free to trial for 1 month)

Optical Filter:  

Baader Semi APO (2” & 1.25”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  My most Recent Astro photo…  

(M42 Orion Nebula)

Weather

One of the biggest issues we have living in the UK is the constantly overcast weather. So far I have been able to use the telescope only a tiny handful of times. It doesn't help that I live in a land-locked county that seems to have an even greater cloud cover percentage than other areas closer to the coast.

Obviously, it’s a little frustrating, but also it makes for a much slower learning process because experience counts a lot in learning any new skill. With so much time between sessions, it's easy to forget what you've learned and so my sessions become a bit of a re-learning game each time.

 

It also highlights the value in planning ahead what you intend to take pictures of, because of the finite windows of opportunity that present themselves.

 

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