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Astrophotography | 14 Must-Know Starting Tips

|Telescopes|4 Comments

If you’re getting started in astrophotography, I am here to save you some time and frustration by learning from the mistakes of myself and others. Whether you're looking into a full-blown deep-sky camera and telescope setup, or just getting started with a DSLR and tripod, I think this article will come in handy. The following advice and tips were compiled by myself and the hundreds of responses I received when I asked the AstroBackyard community: “What's the most important piece of advice you'd like to give to beginners?” So get ready, because the advice I have may surprise you.…

Celestron StarSense Explorer Dob Review

Celestron StarSense Explorer Dob Review

|Telescopes|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…

Celestron NexStar 8SE Telescope Review

|Telescopes|5 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

|Equipment|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…

How I Captured the Boogieman Nebula

|Nebulae|3 Comments

In this article, I'll describe how I photographed the Boogieman Nebula (LDN 1622) in the constellation Orion using my camera and telescope. This was the first time I had ever captured this deep-sky object before, and one of only a handful of dark nebulae I have ever photographed.  LDN 1622 is a dark molecular cloud that is just shy of 10 light-years across in size. The Boogieman Nebula is surrounded by the intense hydrogen gas of Barnard's Loop and close by to other fascinating deep-sky objects like Messier 78. In this article, I'll cover everything from the astrophotography equipme…

Photographing Thor's Helmet

Photographing Thor’s Helmet from the City

|Equipment|1 Comment

In this post, I’ll walk you through my process of photographing a jaw-dropping nebula in the night sky known as Thor’s Helmet. As usual, there were a number of challenges in my way, but it wouldn’t be astrophotography without a little stress now would it? I am using an imaging setup that I have used in a while, and I think you’ll get some great tips for your next project by following along. I sincerely enjoy sharing these nights of deep-sky astrophotography in the backyard with you, and I hope you enjoy the final image. Astrophotography vs. Daily Life I don’t know about you gu…