View Full Version : Astrophotography

2003-Sep-24, 03:32 AM
:D Hi, everyone
Thought I start an Astrophotography topic.
Does anyone do any Astrophotography?
Tell the make of camera whether it's a 35mm or digital.
What type of telescope do you use with your camera if any at all.
Tell me any tips or ticks , your success or not so successful stories.
So please, let me know.
I have to go now, next I talk about what I will be doing in this field.

So may you all have clear skies.
Harold :rolleyes:

2003-Sep-26, 01:24 AM
:( As I can see no one is interested!!!
So, I am cancelling this topic.
It's a shame :angry:

Sorry see below for my reply :)

2003-Sep-26, 02:50 AM
Hey astro! don't get disheartened. I'm sure people are interested in astrophotography but haven't logged in yet. Not everyone logs in every day or two.
I am very interested in the outcomes of this topic. I'd love to get into some astrophtography but unfortunately right now my telescope isn't large enough and i can't afford an upgrade. How about you tell us some of your tips and tricks. Also, perhaps you could tell us the cheapest way to set something like this up?
Do you have a website that has some of your pics? I'm pretty sure a lot of people here would be interested to see them ... starting with me!!

2003-Sep-26, 04:51 AM
Josh is right... not everyone is able to visit daily and post...

For example, I work nights, 4 on, 4 off... I don't have time to visit the Universe Today forums when I'm at home but I'll always try to visit when I'm killing time at work! :o

Likewise, I've just come back from a trip to the US and I didn't have time to check the site during the 18 days I was away - so I've got a lot to catch up on! I didn't even know about this topic until I logged on just now.

And on the subject itself... astrophotography is something I've wanted to get into for a long while - and so has my future father-in-law. One day I hope we'll be able to get together, have a few beers and spend a few starry starry nights taking photos of the heavens but I don't know where to start, so I'm hoping you (and others!) can help.

Please come back and chat :)


2003-Sep-26, 11:33 PM
astrophoto what a hobby.I have a olympus om 10,with a manual over ride,no electronics.Well there is abunch of other stuff.The scope is a sct 10in which is mounted on a sort of home made deal,it is on wheels. I also have a 6 in astro graphic with electronic drive.The drive on the sct is made from parts i bought from swrovfski,it still not really right.I got a lot of help from ann dittmer lunar photography web site.

2003-Sep-30, 01:58 AM
:D Wow, thanks guys!!!
I'm certainly happy that some of you are interseted in Astrophotography :D :D
I am just getting into Astrophotography and thought maybe we can all help
each other. First let me tell you what I got as equipement, then we can go from here, O.K. I recently bought a nikon coolpix 4500, also I just bought from scopetronix an adapter for my coolpix (so I attach it to the camera then to my telescope), my telescope in which I'll be taking pictures will be a short tube500mm refactor, I also have a 10"dob but waiting for my mirror as it is being recoated.
I found some web sites on taking pictures and let be the first to tell you, you don't have to spend lots of money nor do you have to have a huge telescope do obtain some nice photos, now that said here are some interesting web sites that can help you in this field: www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html , www.astropix.com , and
www.valleystargazers.com/gallery/albums.php , these all can help. I like them all the first web site explains alot and you'd be surprised what you can do will a small scope such as a meade EXT70 & a EXT90 they are small scopes!
What I learned so far. is that you have to take lots of photos (not necessary long exposures with a digtal camera) then process them though a software that you can down load 'FOR FREE' (love that word FREE) from http//aberrator.astronomy.net/registax/ , also checkout the pictures most of them tells you info about how they took the picture. Well got to go & thanks ;) Harold

2003-Sep-30, 07:44 AM
Hi there Astro:

keep this topic going, I like you am keen on getting started in astrophotography. I have limited resources-an ETX 70 and a 5 Inch home made DOB and want to try to do some astrophotography.

I have a video card in in my PC and just yesterday purchased a black and white CCD security camera on a printed circuit board in a electronics store close-out sale.

The reason for buying this widget was this is claimed to be sensitive to 0.1 lux and have adjustable shutter speed, though I dont have a manual and have consequently no idea how to control shutter speed! (does anyone know what we should be looking for in terms of minimum lux to be able to image deep sky objects?even just the brighter Messier objects not the eally faint stuff?)

The idea is to somehow mount this security camera-maybe the old used film canister trick and see what it will capture. How I'm going to do that I havent quite worked out but will keep you posted-if I succeed!! B)

I have downloaded Astrostack (freeware) from the net and used it to stack some images I took by holding up my webcam against the eyepiece of my 5 inch Dob. I got some halfway decent moon shots

On September 9 Mars was really close to the Moon and I took a webcam shot of the two simply by aiming through one eyepiece in my 7x 50 Binoculars and using the webcam through the other. I got a small image but some detail on the moon and Mars as a tiny red-orange disc-then cleaned it up using photoshop to get a reasonable image. Was it as good as as the Hubble? No. Did it cost 1.5 Billion? No :lol:

What I'm really after is deep sky, so interested to find out how you go and what you try


2003-Sep-30, 03:38 PM
cancelled see next post as I some how made a mistake
Sorry :unsure:

2003-Sep-30, 03:51 PM
:) Hi everyone Today is my birthday B)
And the response from everyone on this topic of astrophotography made my day!
I'm going to try this, in my last reply I added some links to see some web sites
and I didn't no how to add hyper links :blink: silly me
well here goes I hope this is right method:
weasner small scope astrophoto how to's (http://www.weasner.com/etx/menu.html)
next: astropix (http://www.astropix.com)
and finally:
valleystargazers poto gallery (http://www.valleystargazers.com/gallery/albums.php)
for a free downlaod for astro picture processing:
registax freeware (http://aberrator.astronomy.net/registax/)

2003-Oct-01, 01:57 AM
I love astrophotography since photographing my first lunar eclipse as a teenager in 1966. In the good old film days, it was a frustrating as rewarding.
Today's CCD cameras are incredible. I've literally hand-held a Fuji digital to the eyepiece and taken a moon scape as good as I ever have on film. And all this stacking of images of Mars taken with these web cams. Incredible.
But being a throw back astronomer, I'll point out a couple classic books that are a good read to appreciate the "good old days," plus the math and f-stop stuff of basic astrophotography is the same with film or digital.
And early Bible of the technique is "Outer Space Photography for the Amateur" by Dr. Henry E. Paul, 1960, second printing in '70. I have another classic that my liner notes say I bought in September 1970 for $2.75--"Skyshooting:Photography for Amateur Astronomers." by R. Newton and Margaret Mayall. This was originally written in 1949 with many revisions. It is dedicated "To that great fraternity of amateur photographers who look for other fields to conquer." Conquering new worlds with your camera pointed at the cosmos is what it's all about.
There are many fine new books of the past 10 years dealing with astrophotography, but all is being changed by the digital resolution.
But don't forget a simple astrophoto that is very rewarding. That is just putting a 35mm camera on a tripod and taking a 30 second exposure with a 50 mm lens pointed at the Milky Way. Or twilight. Or your favorite constellation. Longer than 60 seconds gets star motion (aka earth movement). Most SLR's have a time exposure range up to 30 seconds, sometimes a minute. Get a cable release to hold down the exposure on older cameras. Use the self-timer to eliminate any vibration( and there is a bunch when you press down a shutter on any camera).
And use 400 or 800 ASA film. You can get a pass of the International Space Station, and maybe an Iridium Flare.
You don't need a telescope to be an astrophotographer. One of my best photos ever was an aurora in Dixie taken from my driveway with the above described techniques.
Have fun, but remember that John Dobson calls astrophotophy "a horibble disease" because once you get started, you'll never stop wanting to record what you see in the universe. All the best.

2003-Oct-02, 10:23 PM
Hi everyone

I'm got for weeks vacation to Arizona.
Yep Arizona, the grand cayons, lowell observatory. not to mention a night of observing at the Kitts Peak observatory, I book a night there and I just can hardly wait :D .
Anyway, Just to say to everyone I will be back to catch up on this topic in a week's time.
So take care everyone.


2003-Oct-03, 03:35 AM
Like i said earlier, I've never done any astophotography. What I want to know is ... if I point my camera through the eyepiece of my telescope am I more llikely to get crap or something I can show off to my friends (who are without telescopes and not very well educated in the art of astronomy ... ie easily impressed :) )???

Everyone's got to start somewhere.

Dave Mitsky
2003-Oct-03, 02:02 PM
I dabble in film astrophotography but not to the point that I've put any real money (i.e., thousands of dollars) into it. Some of my photos are posted at http://dvaa.org/Photos/DaveMitsky/

A digital camera makes lunar, solar, and planetary imaging rather effortless.

One of the astroclubs that I belong to has purchased a CCD camera which I plan on using from time to time. I've done some video imaging in the past but the Stellacam EX that I suggested that the club should buy has produced some acceptable deep-sky images and some good lunar and planetary ones.

Dave Mitsky

2003-Oct-07, 10:50 PM
Josh I believe orion has an attachment that mounts right to ytour scope it is called steady pix and it costs 34.95.You will also need a cable otherwise you have to use the hat trick,cover the lens with a hat hold the shutter open take the hat away the cover it again then release the cable.T he shutter will pick up any vibration from the mirror movement. Feel free. Clear skies

2003-Oct-10, 10:34 AM
Hey I'm the same as you Josh. I really wanna do some astrophotography but don't know where to start. I have limited time to do it aswell, but i really wanna start taking some decent photos. I have an 8" Orion reflecting telescope. Someone told me i could use my dads old camera, which is an om1 olympus (i think), to take photos, is that true? Also for long exposures i would have to get a motor right? Because i cant see myself turning the telescope at exactly the right speed for half an hour! So if i got that orion attachment, could i put the camera on the eyepice, set the motor up, then take pics?

2003-Oct-10, 01:15 PM
Firstly, thanks nelson...I haven't bought any equipment yet but i think i will be after this.
I took my first astro-photos! Did you guys know that there is a whole lot of blurry stuff up there? The universe is one big blurry mess.
Seriously though, I took about 10 pics to end the film. Most of the stuff was crappola but two were damn impressive. still slightly blurry but clearly the moon. Nothing worth printing in sky and telescope but pretty good for a first go and my wall. I just jury rigged the camera to the eyepiece and put it on a relatively long exposure. Not quite the purist method but i got my first pics!

Dave Mitsky
2003-Oct-10, 02:05 PM
"Also for long exposures i would have to get a motor right? Because i cant see myself turning the telescope at exactly the right speed for half an hour! So if i got that orion attachment, could i put the camera on the eyepice, set the motor up, then take pics?"

You'd need a very stable mount, right ascension and declination drives, a drive corrector, and a means to manually guide the scope (either a guide scope or an off-axis guider) or a CCD autoguider for long prime focus exposures. Prime focus astrophotography is the most difficult type of photography that there is. I suggest you read Michael Covington's book and visit this web site - http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab...529/primer.html (http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/6529/primer.html) - to learn what you're up against.

It would be better to get a traditional camera adapter and a T-ring that locks on to the camera when the camera lens is removed. The Orion adapter is meant for afocal photography with digital cameras, the vast majority of which have fixed lenses.

The Olympus OM-1 is a manual camera and is a particularly good one for astrophotography.

Dave Mitsky

Dan Luna
2003-Oct-14, 04:04 PM
I film the Moon through a black and white video eyepiece on a 10" Dob, connected to a DVD video recorder. I then watch the DVDs on my TV or extract single frames on my PC. Because the telescope isn't following the motion of the Moon, it drifts across the field of view, so when I play the DVDs back it's like looking down from an orbiting spacecraft.

2003-Oct-22, 03:03 AM
Mr Eclipse (http://www.mreclipse.com/)

Rob Gendler astropics (http://www.robgendlerastropics.com/)

My favorite astrophotography sites