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Backyard of the Week | September 13, 2021

The AstroBackyard Backyard of the Week highlights astrophotography setups from around the world. A “backyard” can be a balcony, driveway, garden, or wherever else you set up astrophotography equipment at home.

By taking a behind-the-scenes look at the equipment amateur astrophotographers use to take deep-sky images, you can get a better understanding of the process.

This week’s backyard astrophotography equipment profile comes to us from Andy Latta in Australia.

Andy Latta Setup

Location: Langkoop, Australia

Andy Latta

Andy has the pleasure of taking astrophotography images from his Bortle Scale Class 1 location in western Victoria. That’s right, Andy’s backyard is as dark as it gets.

To make you Northern Hemisphere astrophotographers even more jealous, remember that from this latitude, the Milky Way core rises high into the sky overhead. 

Andy Lagoon Nebula

Lagoon Nebula by Andy Latta

Andy has taken some incredible deep-sky images of galaxies and nebulae since he began the hobby. Andy took the image of the Lagoon Nebula shown above using his Newtonian Reflector telescope and Canon DSLR camera. 

Andy’s Equipment 

Primary Imaging Camera Canon EOS 450D
Primary Telescope Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 150mm Newtonian
Telescope Mount Sky-Watcher HEQ5
Filter Astronomik H-Alpha 6nm
Guide Camera ZWO ASI120MC-S
Software BackyardEOS

What does Andy love most about his gear?

“Simple and quite cheap”

Andy ETA Carina Nebula

Carina Nebula by Andy Latta from Bortle 1 skies.

The Camera

Andy uses a Canon EOS 450D (Rebel XSi) DSLR camera to capture images through his telescope. Despite being over a decade old, the 450D is a very capable camera for deep-sky astrophotography.

My first “proper” astrophotography camera was a full-spectrum modified Canon EOS Rebel XSi. This camera features a 12.2 MP CMOS sensor and can mount Canon EF and EF-S lenses. 

 

Canon EOS Rebel Xsi

Canon EOS 450D

The Filter 

The Astronomik H-Alpha 6 nm allows Andy to isolate and capture impactful light emitted by hydrogen gas in the night sky. This is the clip-in model that can be mounted inside of the Canon camera body.

A narrowband filter (particularly Ha) is a handy option for DSLR astrophotographers that wish to collect data on moonlit nights, and add dynamic details to existing emission nebula projects.

6nm Ha filter for Canon DSLR

Astronomik Ha 6nm

The Telescope

Andy uses a Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 150mm Newtonian Reflector telescope to capture deep-sky objects in the night sky. 

This telescope features a versatile focal length of 750mm, which is well suited for large nebulae projects, and medium-to-large-sized galaxies. 

Andy Pinwheel Galaxy

The Southern Pinwheel Galaxy by Andy Latta 

Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 150mm

  • Type: Newtonian
  • Diameter: 105mm
  • Focal Length: 750mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/5
  • Weight: 10.86 lbs (4.93 kg) 

Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 150

Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 150mm Newtonian

The Telescope Mount

The Sky-Watcher HEQ5 Pro is an intermediate-level GoTo computerized telescope mount. This is a reliable choice for astrophotographers looking to shoot long-exposure deep-sky images through a telescope.

The HEQ5 has a maximum payload capacity of about 30-pounds, so keep that in mind when deciding on your next mount for astrophotography. The larger Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro increases the capacity to about 45 pounds. 

Sky-Watcher HEQ5

The Guide Camera 

The ZWO ASI120MC-S is a planetary imaging camera and guide camera with a 1.2 MP CMOS sensor. Andy uses this camera for autoguiding his primary imaging telescope, and for planetary work.

ZWO ASI120MC-S

ZWO ASI120MC-S

Here is a recent photo of the planet Jupiter Andy captured using his Newtonian Reflector and the ZWO ASI120MC-S.

Jupiter

The Planet Jupiter by Andy Latta.

Thank you for sharing your backyard astrophotography set up with us, Andy! You can view his astrophotography on Instagram.

Be sure to fill out the form to submit your backyard for a chance to be featured, and don’t forget to include your Instagram handle to help grow your following. 

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