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 Prasun Agrawal in Australia.
Location: Sydney Australia
I think Prasun’s images of his astro-gear outside in the backyard are my favorite submitted thus far. Look at that beautiful unspoiled sky above!
The thought of seeing the Milky Way from my backyard has always been a dream of mine, and one that Prasun is living. Thankfully, he is making good use of his sublime conditions and capturing absolutely mesmerizing images of space from his backyard.
Carina Nebula by Prasun Agrawal
|Primary Camera||ZWO ASI183MC Pro|
|Primary Telescope||Meade 70mm APO Refractor|
|Mount||Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro|
|Guide Scope||SVBony 30mm|
|Guide Camera||ZWO ASI120mm Mini|
|Camera Control||ZWO ASIAir Pro|
What does Prasun love most about his gear?
“It’s very easy to assemble setup, and allows me to begin imaging in less than 30 min, from the moment I open my garage door to start putting everything together!”
The ZWO ASI183MC Pro is a one-shot-color dedicated astronomy camera that is suitable for both planetary, and deep-sky imaging. The 1″ diagonal sensor has a resolution of 5496 x 3672 pixels at 2.6 microns/pixel.
This camera can also be used for solar imaging with the proper filters. It can record full 20.2 mp videos at 19 frames per second.
ZWO ASI183MC Pro
With 1×1 binning, this camera is a great match for Prasun’s wide-field refractor telescope (350mm). For longer focal length telescopes (1000mm+) binning 2×2 is a better fit in terms of resolution.
The Orion Nebula by Prasun Agrawal
When he’s not shooting unfiltered on a clear new moon night, Prashun uses an Optolong L-eXtreme filter to help isolate important wavelengths of light in the H-alpha and OIII bandpasses.
I have found this filter to be an excellent choice for those shooting in city light pollution, especially if you like shooting planetary and emission nebulae projects.
Optolong L-eXtreme filter
A telescope like this is best suited for large nebulae projects, not small galaxies or the planets. The optics of this refractor are top-notch, and I personally loved the Meade 70mm Quad APO when I tested it back in 2017.
Meade Series 6000 70mm APO
- Type: Quadruplet Apochromatic Refractor
- Diameter: 70mm
- Focal Length: 350mm
- Focal Ratio: f/5
- Weight: 4.5 lbs (2.0 kg)
Meade 70mm APO Quad
The Telescope Mount
I believe that 10 years from now, people will look back on the Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro and reflect on what a dramatic impact it had on the amateur astrophotography community.
A computerized equatorial telescope mount is essential for deep-sky imaging, and the EQ-6 Pro is one of the best options available in its category.
Sky-Watcher EQ6-R Pro
The Guide Scope
Prasun proves that you don’t need anything fancy to get the (autoguiding) job done. I’ve seen many SVBony astronomy products come up in my Amazon searches, and the SVBony 30mm has proven to be a valid option for those looking for a small guide scope to guide their wide-field telescope systems.
SVBony 30mm Guide Scope
The Guide Camera
The ZWO ASI120mm Mini is an affordable guide camera that allows you to improve the tracking accuracy of your telescope mount. The tiny monochrome sensor inside has a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels, which is suitable for locking on to a guide star or taking planetary images at high magnification.
ZWO ASI120mm Guide Camera.
Camera Control Software
The ZWO ASIAir Pro makes an appearance in this week’s feature. This raspberry-pi based mini PC allows Prasun to wirelessly run his imaging camera, autoguiding, and more.
The device stores the images that come through on the memory card inside, and the files can be transferred to his computer for processing afterward. I have recently reviewed the latest edition of this WiFi controller, the ZWO ASIAIR Plus.
ZWO ASIAir Pro
Thank you for sharing your backyard astrophotography set up with us, Prasun! You can view his astrophotography on Instagram.