Introduction to Astrophotography Gear

Over the years I've used various configurations of cameras, telescopes, and mounts to enable my view of the night sky.   I will outline some basics here and then provide some detail around my most used setups.   Though I have settled on some particular arrangements for long term use, I'm always experimenting and changing some aspects in an effort to streamline my photography process.   

As an introduction, I will outline a few of the basic key elements necessary for imaging the sky.   

The Mount

Because we live on the rotating Earth, we see distant objects like the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars move through the sky.  A motorized mount is designed to drives the telescope at a rate exactly opposite the Earth's rotation.   If this is accomplished with accuracy, the view of the stars remains steady in the camera frame (or visual eyepiece).  With no perceptible movement, we are free to track the sky for hours on end, and thereby enabling long exposure photography!

The Telescope or Lens

They come in all shapes and sizes, tailor-made to for specific purposes, suited to all skill levels, but they all have one thing in common.  They are optical instruments designed for focusing on and enlarging distant objects.  Telescopes can either be setup for visual observing or for photography and sometimes both.   Though the choices are plentiful, the best experience always comes with choosing and using one appropriate for your purposes.  

The Camera

Truth be told, almost any camera can work to get an image through a telescope or lens.   There are several aspects to consider regarding hooking a camera up at the appropriate place to focus an image.   Again, this is very specific to the setup you choose to use.   Common DSLR, or more recently, mirrorless cameras have been a popular starting point because they are often widely available.  As the imaging tasks become more advanced, dedicated astronomy cameras help to improve image quality.


Links to My Telescope Setups

Under construction


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