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This Astrophotography Kit is Less Than $2K (and works amazing)

|Telescopes|7 Comments

Astrophotography is about more than just the pictures you take, it’s about an overall positive experience along the way. I don’t like seeing people quit because they’re frustrated and confused. It doesn’t have to be that way. When starting out, I think it's important to choose a setup that is easy to use, and not overly complex. As you learn more about astrophotography, you can gradually upgrade your kit to include more advanced equipment.  In this post, I am going to break down an extremely practical and affordable astrophotography setup under $2000 that will allow you to t…

William Optics Cat 71

William Optics RedCat 71 First Look

|Telescopes|1 Comment

Late last month, William sent me a William Optics RedCat 71 for review purposes. I will continue to share my results using this apochromatic refractor telescope, and will likely purchase it after the testing period if I have the option. At the time of writing, I do not know when the RedCat 71 will be available for purchase. I would imagine there will be limited stock available before the end of the year, but that is pure speculation.  I know that there are a few RedCat 71 units being tested in other parts of the world right now as well. The Cat 71 was designed to be an ultra-flat, w…

ASIAIR Plus review

The ZWO ASIAIR Plus Has Arrived

|computers|18 Comments

The ZWO ASIAIR Plus is the third generation of the popular ASIAir wireless controller. This tiny red aluminum box aims to replace your laptop computer, imaging software, USB hubs, power supply, and even your WiFi connection.  The goal of this device is to make collecting images of deep-sky objects (or planets) easier, and automated. You can control everything on your smartphone or tablet (iOS and Android) from inside the house. The "Plus" improves on several aspects of the previous "Pro" model, including a 2.5X faster I/O speed and an enhanced antenna for a stronger WiFi signal. Cap…

how to photograph Jupiter

How To Photograph the Planet Jupiter

|Planets|2 Comments

I'll get straight to the point. I’m going to walk you through how I took a detailed picture of the planet Jupiter through my telescope. Compared to photographing deep-sky objects, like galaxies and nebulae like I normally do, photographing planets is a breath of fresh air. I am not a planetary imaging expert by any means, but I will share the simple steps I used to get results like the one below. The process involves recording short videos of the planet through my telescope and extracting the best image frames from the video for stacking.  On August 19, Jupiter was at oppositio…

nebula photography

How I Photographed a Nebula with a $200 Camera Lens

|Camera|3 Comments

Taking impressive deep-sky astrophotography images is not reserved for those using an astronomical telescope. A budget camera lens can be used to take images of some of the best deep-sky objects in the night sky. A telephoto zoom lens can provide enough magnification to pull distant objects in space in for a closer look, but you'll need to find the lens' "sweet spot" for a clean shot. In this article, I'll share exactly how I photographed a colorful nebula region in space using a budget camera lens and a DSLR camera. In my latest video on YouTube, I photographed a nebula in the night sky u…

Andromeda Galaxy

My Best Image of the Andromeda Galaxy Yet

|Galaxies|6 Comments

My latest photo of the Andromeda Galaxy is my best effort yet. I have been taking deep-sky astrophotography images for over 10 years now, and this might be my favorite photo of space I've ever taken. This detailed image was captured using a small refractor telescope, with a mirrorless camera attached. The image reveals the incredible, dusty spiral arms of Andromeda, in incredible detail.  On October 17th, 2020, I rented a one-bedroom Airbnb to photograph the Andromeda Galaxy under dark skies. I spent the entire night outside collecting images of this galaxy with my camera and telesc…

Why I Built a Backyard Observatory

|Blog Updates|11 Comments

In this article, I'll explain why I built a backyard observatory, and how the entire project took shape this spring. Officially named "Black Dog Observatory" this structure will become the epicenter of my astrophotography operations in the backyard.  Below, is a photo of me standing in my new SkySked POD XL5 observatory. I expect many memorable nights in the observatory this summer.  My backyard observatory After 10 years of setting up my camera and telescope for astrophotography each night, I finally have a permanent setup to photograph the night sky. Because the base of t…

Photographing the Sunflower Galaxy

|Galaxies|4 Comments

In this post, I will share the techniques and equipment I used to take a picture of the stunning Sunflower Galaxy. With the world largely shut down for me, deep-space astrophotography in the backyard has been a welcome escape.  Cataloged as Messier 63, this stunning galaxy is about 25 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici. The months of April and May are the perfect time to photograph M63 from mid-northern latitudes. You can also watch the video of this process on my YouTube channel: Photographing the Sunflower Galaxy The spring season is nickna…