Astrophotography Blog

February 2016

We both have an interest in photography (obviously) and are keen astronomers. So the natural progression is astrophotography!

Taking photographs of the planets, stars and nebulae is definitely different to photographing landscapes and wildlife. Which means we have to learn something new and we thought it would be a good idea to blog our experience of learning astrophotography.

Our first experience of astrophotography was taking pictures with our mobile phones, through telescopes. It took a while to get it right but we have some amazing photos of the moon and sun.

Having done this and understood it's limitations we wanted to progress to using our DSLR's to take pictures.

The telescopes we used at that time, did not exactly work properly with DSLR's as the telescope's focal length did not achieve focus when using the DSLR. So...... another scope was needed. If you are an astronomer you will understand that it's a slippery slope when you realise that you need more than one scope!!

After many discussions between ourselves we decided on a refractor so we could learn. We went to our local telescope shop - F1 Telescopes in Sittingbourne - to talk to the owner to ask his advice. We ended up buying a better scope than we originally planned, a secondhand 66mm ED Doublet APO refractor and we are so pleased we did.

When we got home we decided to try it out on the moon, but unfortunately we couldn't get it to focus. So we gave up that night, and looked up what we needed to use to help out. We found out that we needed to use an extension tube to achieve focus.

When the weather gods next co-operated, we set up the scope and got some photos of the moon. Then we turned our attention to M42, which is a nebula in the constellation of Orion. After a few schoolgirl errors by Tracy (setting up the motors for Southern Hemisphere instead of Northern being one of them. D'Oh!), we managed to take some good photos of M42. Next time we'll make sure all batteries are charged up, the motors are set up for the Hemisphere we are currently located in, and then we might be able to get some even better shots!

We also purchased a mono Altair GP-Cam to use in our other telescope, a Skywatcher 150PL, this hasn't been used yet as we are waiting for a clear, sunny day so we can try it out on the Sun. One of our favourite subjects.

Hopefully, we will be able to add more to this blog in the upcoming months....

In the meantime please look at our gallery for astrophotography where we will add some of the images we take.

Steve & Tracy