Sunday, June 17, 2012

Astro-Photograpy Question

I get the question a lot, "What do I need to do nice pictures, like the one above?"

Well I wrote a neat email just recently to recap the basic premise of taking pictures like the Andromeda Galaxy, see below!

There are many telescopes that can connect a DSLR Camera to itself. The question is how much do you want to spend on it and how much time will he devote. 

Digital Astrophotography, is a time consuming job. It takes whole nights to get wonderful photography of the objects in space, and you need to have patience. 

What it consists of is taking a multiple pictures and exposing the pixels on the DSLR to the image at 10 seconds to 3 minutes intervals over the entire course of the night. You'll want a camera that has the wire to remotely snap pictures so you don't shake the scope to open the shutter. You also need the proper T-Ring Adapter for your kind of Camera. Also you may want an off-axis guide scope to keep an eye on the target so it stays in the same place so your pictures are perfect.

The scope must be capable of tracking objects(meaning it needs a computer or handheld computer) all night. It must be able to equatorial align to make tracking perfect.

Then you must process the images (called stacking) to create one image from all of the exposures. That is the end goal of most Astronomers whom want to show their work. This is an example of the Orion Nebula shot with a modest size telescope and post image processing.

Otherwise you will either take single image exposures of things and be like that was cool but I want more. There are plenty $50 - $100 USB camera's that do that but are only good for planets and the moon. 

So the question is how much can you afford to the purchase. 

I say you should use and read more about it there. Educate yourself a little to ask some specific questions, that I might be able to answer to guide your thoughts to the correct scope you want! 

Either way,
clear skies and good luck!