Free Beginners guide to Astrophotography UK 2017

  1. A Free beginners guide to Astrophotography
    Galaxies
    Stunning image of Galaxy

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
Picture I took of the Moon showing Crator Tycho
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.

There are plenty of Good Books about getting the best out of Astrophotography.

If your looking to create images like these:

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Then you’re going to have to acquire some very specialised equipment and have access to very smart Photoshop. Let’s start with the Telescope. Your starter scope for £50 is not going to cut it. Your four inch Reflector or dobsonion £300 + ? Nah !…

For the bare minimum image your going to have to get your hands on one of these Bad Boys. Telescopes

SKY-WATCHER SKYLINER 200P FLEXTUBE SYNSCAN GO-TO 200MM (8″) F/6 PARABOLIC GO-TO DOBSONIAN TELESCOPE About £800 worth of kit.
:

Telescopes for astrophotography
Ideal 8″ Telescope to start Astrophotography

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.

A decent Mount .

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.

Computer controlled mount
Alt Azimuth mount for tracking objects

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

aTS-Opticsu 1.25″ Photo Adaptor eyepiece projection adapter with T-mount for all telescopes, RK25-T2

Telescope T mount.
Camera T piece for Telescopes

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.  

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.

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.

Colour enhancing imager
Colour enhancing imager

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 Astrophotography equipment please visit My web page. Astronomy Equipment