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Photograph the Milky Way this Summer

|Tutorials|0 Comments

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 explain how I photographed the Milky Way with my DSLR camera, using a wide-angle lens and a small star tracker mount. I'll also share the deep sky image of the Trifid Nebula I captured through my refractor telescope and a cooled CMOS camera. As far as astroph…

The Explore Scientific ED140 Apo Refractor

|Telescopes|6 Comments

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 comes to deep sky astrophotography. Specifically, an air-spaced triplet apochromatic optical design will share many of the same characteristics you'll find on a high-end telephoto camera lens. The biggest difference is - they usually reach much further. (The ED140…

Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

A New Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope for Astrophotography

|Telescopes|13 Comments

I've been given the unique opportunity to review a new Ritchey-Chrétien Telescope, the iOptron Photron RC6. This telescope has a longer focal length than any of my refractors, which I plan on putting to good use. The impressive 1370mm focal length means that this stocky red Ritchey-Chrétien is a perfect choice for astrophotography during galaxy season. I'm looking forward to some large, high-resolution images of galaxies such as M101, the Pinwheel Galaxy. With this added "reach" also comes an increased demand for focus and tracking accuracy. Added challenges include a strong need for an e…

mono astrophotography camera

Why I’m Switching to a Mono Astrophotography Camera

|Camera|23 Comments

A mono astrophotography camera gives backyard imagers in the city the opportunity to collect dynamic narrowband images from home.  Although LRGB image acquisition using a filter wheel requires some extra setup time early on, the flexibility of this configuration is appealing. Up to this point, I have not experienced the joys of shooting through a filter wheel. But I have experienced the extraordinary power of a monochrome sensor through narrowband filters. My latest experiences in the backyard have me wondering if I should have switched to a mono astrophotography camera a long time ago…

astrophotography lens

The Best Lens for Astrophotography (That You Probably Already Own)

|Camera|8 Comments

In my opinion, the best astrophotography lens is one that can capture a variety of images of the night sky in a reliable and consistent way. Not all camera lenses are created equal, and imaging a night sky full of pinpoint stars has a way of bringing out the worst (or best) of your lenses capabilities. In the following post, I'll share my experiences using 2 astonishingly affordable camera lenses for astrophotography. I shoot with both full-frame and APS-C sized sensor Canon DSLR's, so the lenses are both made by Canon. The Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, and the Rokinon 14mm F/2.8 wide angle lens…