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Celestron StarSense Explorer Dob Review

Celestron StarSense Explorer Dob Review

|Equipment|0 Comments

The Celestron StarSense Explorer Dob is a clever upgrade to a traditional 8" Dobsonian telescope, thanks to its integrated smartphone app that helps you find objects in the night sky. It's a visual telescope (not designed for astrophotography), but photos of bright objects like the Moon and planets are possible through the eyepiece.  With 8 inches of aperture, this telescope has enough power to see, not only the moon and planets but also deep-sky objects like distant galaxies and nebulae. The StarSense Explorer technology found in the dedicated mobile app contains a wealth of fascinati…

Photograph the Total Lunar Eclipse

|Tutorials|7 Comments

Are you hoping to capture a photo of the upcoming total lunar eclipse on November 8th? If so, you are not alone. Amateur photographers and astrophotography enthusiasts around the world will do their best to take pictures of the upcoming lunar eclipse using a wide variety of camera equipment. A total eclipse of the moon is a truly breathtaking astronomical event that anyone can appreciate. The best part about it is that you do not need expensive astrophotography equipment or special filters to take a great picture of the total lunar eclipse. It's all about using the best settings on the came…

Bortle 1

The Dark Skies of the Okie-Tex Star Party

|Astronomy Camping|5 Comments

We have just returned from a memorable astrophotography trip at a Bortle 1 dark sky site. The event was an annual star party hosted by the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club known as the Okie-Tex Star Party. After a few location changes during the first several years, the star party found its home at Camp Billy Joe near the small town of Kenton, OK, not far from the Oklahoma/Texas border. The name ‘Okie-Tex’ was selected to show the collaborative efforts of the two states.  Aside from taking some amazing astrophotography images through our telescopes, the event opened our eyes to the ex…

portable power station for astrophotography

Choosing a Portable Power Station for Astrophotography

|Portable Power|16 Comments

One of the most common questions I get is “what portable power source do you use for astrophotography". This is a hot topic in the astrophotography community, and there are many options to consider for powering your gear at night.  When deciding on an off-grid power station, you need to think about things like battery life, power output, power input charging, and the number and types of output ports. There is no one-size-fits-all option, as budget and weight come into play as you explore the higher-end options.   If you've ever browsed the Portable Power Stations on Amaz…

Celestron NexStar 8SE Telescope Review

|Telescopes|3 Comments

The Celestron NexStar 8SE computerized telescope is one of the best-selling telescope packages of all time. It features a large aperture optical telescope and a computerized GoTo mount. The NexStar series of SCTs have been around for over a decade, and I was finally able to experience this beginner-friendly telescope for myself. I was impressed with the completeness of this package, from the 1.25" 25mm eyepiece and diagonal, to the red dot finder mounted to the 8-inch OTA. Celestron NexStar 8SE Video Review. This is a primarily visual telescope, meant for enjoying views of the moon,…

My Latest Portable Astrophotography Build

|Blog Updates|9 Comments

Are you looking to build a full-featured (GoTo, autoguiding, etc.) portable astrophotography rig for this summer? If so, I think I have found the perfect "template" to follow (with plenty of room for substitutions, of course). The major difference between this setup and the portable rigs I've shared on this site before is that this one features complete mount control via the ASIAIR Plus wifi controller. The entire system can be powered using a portable power station, for complete mobility.  It's a lightweight, wide-field refractor telescope configuration that revolves around th…

Building a Deep Sky Astrophotography Kit

|Camera|48 Comments

I am often asked for my opinion on the best route to take when it comes to building a deep-sky astrophotography kit for the first time. A popular option for many night sky enthusiasts is to start with a DSLR camera and telescope, and I can understand why. Building an astrophotography setup that revolves around a user-friendly, entry-level DSLR can reap some impressive results. Modern-day hobbyist/beginner digital SLR cameras such as the Canon EOS Rebel T7i or Nikon D3400 provide the least-steep learning curve when it comes to deep-sky imaging in a very technical and sometimes overwhelming h…

star adventurer gti

Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer GTi

|Equipment|15 Comments

The Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer GTi is a highly portable star tracker that was designed for astrophotography. It allows you to take long-exposure images of space by tracking the apparent movement of the night sky. Unlike the original Star Adventurer, the GTi model also has the ability to find deep-sky objects in the night sky using the SynScan GoTo system. Sky-Watcher sent me a production copy of their brand new Star Adventurer GTi to test out, and I've been waiting for this version of their iconic star tracker for a long time. The Star Adventurer GTi can handle a compact telescope…