Equipment

The astrophotography equipment category is a useful resource for beginners that want a better understanding of the gear needed for astrophotography.

The type of astrophotography equipment needed for each area of interest can change dramatically, but in general, a tracking mount, a camera, and a telescope/camera lens are the bare minimum.

For those that like to remain portable, and take nightscapes from dark sky locations, a star tracker is recommended. They allow you to maximize the amount of light collected through your camera and lens, and present new creative opportunities.

If you are hoping to collect detailed pictures of nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters, a more robust tracking mount and a telescope are better options.

My primary interest lies in deep-sky astrophotography of galaxies and nebulae, using a refractor telescope on a tracking equatorial telescope mount. If you’re looking for a fantastic astrophotography telescope to get started with, you can’t go wrong with the William Optics RedCat 51.

astrophotography telescope

I typically use wide-field instruments to capture large nebulae in the night sky using specialized filters, but you may be interested in other types of astrophotography including being able to photograph a planet up close.

For this type of imaging (planetary astrophotography) the equipment profile changes quite dramatically from a wide-field nebula setup. A telescope with much more focal length is recommended (2000mm) and a dedicated astronomy camera with a high frame rate.

A popular camera for solar system photography is the ZWO ASI290mm Mini, thanks to its 2.1 MP monochrome sensor. This is the camera I used to photograph Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Useful Equipment Links

William Optics RedCat 51 Review

William Optics RedCat 51 Review

William Optics is a company known for creating high-performance apochromatic refractors and constantly updating and refining their designs. The RedCat 51 Petzval APO is the latest creation from the company that can’t sit still, and it is bound to shake up the industry once more. I am fortunate enough to have been granted early access…

Celestron CGX-L Telescope Mount – First Look

Celestron CGX-L Telescope Mount – First Look

The Celestron CGX-L is a robust, professional-grade computerized equatorial mount with an impressive 75-lb payload capacity. The deep sky astrophotography potential of the Celestron CGX-L is obvious, and I intend to experience this benefit first-hand. The CGX-L is the largest equatorial telescope mount I have ever used for astrophotography, with payload capacity that surpasses the…

Using A Canon 300mm Lens for Astrophotography

Using A Canon 300mm Lens for Astrophotography

If you watched my video about Comet 46P Wirtanen, you may have noticed that my imaging gear included a Canon EF 300mm F/4L USM Lens. This may have seemed a little odd to those that are used to seeing me use a telescope for astrophotography, but a camera lens like this can be a great…

Optolong L-Pro Filter Review

Optolong L-Pro Filter Review

I’ve recently had a chance to review the Optolong L-Pro filter (2 types) for astrophotography from my light-polluted backyard in the city. Unlike many of the filters I used in the past, the L-Pro is suitable for both stock and astro-modified DSLR cameras (it includes a UV/IR block). I’ve always had trouble collecting images with…

The Foundation of Every Great Deep Sky Astrophotography Rig

The Foundation of Every Great Deep Sky Astrophotography Rig

Over the past eight years, I’ve had the pleasure of using several telescope mounts for astrophotography. Some were substantial imaging platforms that included features such as autoguiding and periodic error correction (PEC), while others simply tracked the night sky at a sidereal rate in a compact and portable package. The payload capacity and features of…

Astrophotography with a DSLR Camera and Small Telescope

Astrophotography with a DSLR Camera and Small Telescope

This week, I returned to my roots and enjoyed some deep-sky astrophotography using a DSLR camera and small telescope. Don’t get me wrong, dedicated astronomy cameras and heavy-duty mounts are great, but my latest imaging session in the backyard was a breath of fresh air. In this post, I’ll share my early results with a…

The Impressive Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox (Review)

The Impressive Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox (Review)

The Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox is an ingenious device that allows you to streamline your deep sky astrophotography setup. The goal of this little blue box is to replace your current mess of power cables running to various devices on your telescope with a single, lightweight power source. The Pocket Powerbox includes (4) 12V outlets…

Photograph the Milky Way this Summer

Photograph the Milky Way this Summer

I recently returned from an unforgettable astrophotography trip where I photographed the Milky Way under some of the darkest skies in the Eastern United States. The Cherry Springs Star party is an annual astronomy event where night sky enthusiasts come together to appreciate the true beauty of an unspoiled night sky. In this post, I’ll…

The Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor

The Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor

I am thrilled to tell you that I recently got my hands on a brand new Explore Scientific ED140 CF APO Triplet Refractor. If you’ve been following AstroBackyard for some time now, you’ll know how I feel about APO refractors in terms of astrophotography performance. The refractor telescope design has many unique advantages when it…