Four Easy Peasy tips  to learning Astrophotography

I'm often  asked the question  (I personally dabble in astro-imaging, but I'm no expert) on what are the best ways
to get started in imaging.

My suggestions are as follows:

1) Start with your iPhone/smartphone  and an inexpensive  iPhone adaptor 
Take a few easy shots of the Moon, or a planet.   It's an easy Peasy way to get your feet wet.

 2) Try Planetary Photography;  Jupiter, or Saturn.
Years ago, when I owned a 6" f8 Dynascope reflector on a pedestal mount, I was able to take some pretty decent shots
of Saturn & Jupiter with that scope.    It took some practice and experimentation, but through some good luck and effort
I got some great results. What do you need? A camera adaptor, and a DSLR camera. The iPhone adaptor will work as well
it's a bit trickier though at high magnifications.

3) This is by far the best way: Use a tracker device,  
You will have a pretty good experience with these because you can actually use your own DSLR camera with
its standard lens  and take some pretty decent 5 minute exposures of the Orion Nebulae, or M31 Andromeda galaxy.
One caveat: these work best under dark skies.  If you have a small scope, like a short-tube 70mm or 80=mm refractor
you can even image through it.

4) If you want to get some really detailed planetary images,  and also have software process the image for you
then a Solar System imager might just do the trick.  These work on a very simple basis

1) You insert it into your telescope in place of an eyepiece
2) connect it to your PC/laptop/mac 
3)You can preview the image on your PC screen
4) the included software then processes your best images and delivers the result.

Here are a few other important things to remember:

  • You'll learn more by doing than reading about it
  • Start simple and build up from there
  • Use whatever telescope you currently own (I had a 4.5" tasco reflector years ago, nothing fancy, but it did the job)
  • Get started the next clear night.
If you have any other useful tips that have worked for you, I would sure appreciate knowing about them and I'll pass them on.
Good Luck!

Clear Skies,

Ray Khan
PS Please feel free to submit your images (before and after, good or bad) via the website.

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