Astrophotography & The Dark Side of The Moon

A beginners guide to Astrophotography

Have you Ever wanted to take pictures of the amazing things you can see in the eyepiece of your Telescope?

Those magnificent, full colour images of purple and green nebulas. The bands and red spots on Jupiter. Quasars, black holes and all of those other beautiful outworldly spectacles. The ones you see in Astronomy books and magazines that look like works of art. Well unless you’ve got some very special equipment and “PhotoShop’ you’re going to find it difficult my friend.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You can produce some very good images on a modest budget. (See below)

Crator Tycho

Would you believe I took these using nothing more than a 4 inch telescope and a   Mobile phone camera !                                       These pictures were the first I had ever taken of any celestial object through my telescope. I was Over The Moon! (Excuse the pun). I still get the same feeling when I look at these.

Having said that, the moon is a massive object in your Telescope so taking a photograph is not too difficult as long as you can keep the lens of your phone camera steady and in Focus. Tricky but not impossible. Try taking a photo of a planet and all you’re going to get is a tiny white dot the size of a pinhead on a black background.

If your looking to create images like these:
Find Your Telescope
SKY-WATCHER SKYLINER 200P FLEXTUBE SYNSCAN GO-TO 200MM (8″) F/6 PARABOLIC GO-TO DOBSONIAN TELESCOPE  £ 794.99 worth of kit.8

OR

Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope SC 203/2032 Advanced VX 8″ Goto AVX  8Best value for money 8″ goto scope at only £ 746.00

Even

Meade LX90 8″ ACF Telescope  iOnly £1,161 he he he!

To get a decent image you are going to need an 8 inch Reflector Telescope with tracking facility. The celestial objects move across the sky so if you are going to take camera shots with a long exposure time you need your scope to accurately track what you’re trying to take a picture of.

Find Your Telescope

To stop blurring and judder your scope needs to be attached to a good Quality Tripod mount like a EQ6 PRO SkyScan GOTO Mount & Tripod
. As the motors move the scope to track it creates vibration and judder so a steady tripod is paramount.
Goto mount

Next you are going to need a specail atachment that lets you attach your Camera to the Telescope . This attachment is  usually called

aTS-Optics 1.25″ Photo Adaptor eyepiece projection adapter with T-mount for all telescopes, RK25-T2
T piece photo adaptor

Then your going to need  a decent Camera. Something like The Cannon or Olympus. Try and get the one that links to a laptop so you can see a larger image. Once you are happy with the image you can save it to file. Once you have a few decent images you can put them through photoshop (or similar) to enhance the colours and get the final picture you’re happy with.

Heres a cool little gadget for under £100. Called The Orion Starshoot.  Telescope Camera

Orion StarShoot Solar System Color Imaging Camera IV

This little fella simply clips on to the Eyepiece of the Telescope. When you are happy with the image you just click the button and the image is stored on your PC.

Alternatively you could go out and get the all singing all dancing super camera !

To get high quality images like the ones above you’re going to have to rob the bank, remortgage the house or sell the car!

The images above were probably taken by the massive Observatory type Telescopes.

The colour and quality of these pictures go through a expensive computer programme. The best six  or seven copies are fed into a computer system that layers the pictures to  get the sharpest image. Each layer is fed into photoshop This  can tell by the shade of each layer what colour to apply. When each layer is coloured they are put together as one to bring the final colour pictures you see above.

To help you out you can get a colour enhancing imager. Astrophotography Colour enhancer

Orion StarShoot G3 Deep Space Color Imaging Camera.

Hopefully this will have given you some insight into Astro-photography. I hope you enjoyed this blog .

For more Astro-photography equipment please visit My web page.

Astronomy Help

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