If you are looking to build your own deep sky astrophotography kit that includes a proven apochromatic refractor telescope and reliable equatorial mount, the following information should be very useful to you.
For an idea of what you can expect with a rig like this, have a look at the image of the Sadr region (including the Butterfly Nebula) below.
The Butterfly Nebula in Cygnus. Captured using the equipment listed below.
When it comes to giving advice about astrophotography equipment, I think it’s best to show real results in the form of photography performance, rather than an over-analyzed specification sheet. It’s simple really, if I can get results from a system like this, so can you.
Here is a complete breakdown of the deep sky astrophotography kit used to capture the Butterfly Nebula in my YouTube video. This is a proven setup for capturing incredible nebula images from the city, thanks to the Optolong L-eNhance filter. (watch the video)
Here is a photo of this configuration in action, on the night I photographed IC 1318. I have included everything from the telescope to the autoguiding software, so that you may choose to replicate this setup yourself.
Complete Gear Details:
- Equatorial Telescope Mount: Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro
- Primary Imaging Telescope: Sky-Watcher Esprit 100 ED APO
- Primary Imaging Camera: ZWO ASI294MC Pro (Color)
- Filter: Optolong L-eNhance Dual Band Pass
- Guide Scope: Starfield 60mm Guide Scope
- Guide Camera: ZWO ASI290mm Mini
- Electronic Polar Scope: QHY PoleMaster
- Focus Mask: Kendrick 100mm Bahtinov Mask
- Flat Field Panel: Artesky Flat Field Generator
- Camera and Dew Heaters: Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox
- Telescope Mount (EQ6-R): Schumacher 12V 6A AC DC Adapter
Camera Control PC and Software
- Imaging Laptop: Lenovo Thinkpad
- Camera Control and Sequencing: Astro Photography Tool
- Autoguiding: PHD2 Guiding
- Flat Panel Control: Artesky Flat Field Generator USB Software
The final image includes 4 hours and 36 minutes of total integrated exposure time (69 frames). The inclusion of dark frames, and flat frames during the pre-processing stages were critical for creating an image with a healthy signal-to-noise ratio. For a more broad look at the equipment I use for deep sky astrophotography, have a look at the “my equipment” page.