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Equipment

iOptron SkyGuider Pro Review

iOptron SkyGuider Pro Review

|Equipment|25 Comments

The iOptron SkyGuider Pro is a portable EQ mount that offers a reliable solution for astrophotography on the go. The SkyGuider Pro makes shooting long exposure nightscapes without star-trailing possible. On a stationary tripod mount, star trailing begins to show in exposures longer than 25 seconds. Depending on your camera's focal length, the stars could begin to trail even sooner. To combat against this, amateur astrophotographers counteract the rotation of the Earth using a tracking equatorial mount. The problem is, these EQ mounts can be heavy and obtrusive, making them spend more tim…

Altair Hypercam 183C review

Altair Hypercam 183C Review

|Camera|29 Comments

Thanks to my friends at Ontario Telescope and Accessories, a brand new Altair Hypercam 183C arrived at my door last week.  The striking purple exterior color of this one-shot color CMOS camera makes a bold statement, but it's the deep sky imaging capabilities of the cooled sensor that have captured my attention. There are many options available for deep sky astrophotography these days, and traditional DSLR images such as myself are left with some tough decisions.  One look at the data captured using a cooled CMOS sensor, and you will notice the astonishing difference this can make. Vie…

Astro Photography Tool Review

Astro Photography Tool for Camera Control

|Camera|16 Comments

I have recently installed the Astro Photography Tool camera control software on my dedicated astrophotography laptop. From my very first imaging sequence, I knew I was going to like this application. There is no better way to learn a new imaging application than to put it to use for a night of deep sky imaging. With clear night ahead of me, I dive into Astro Photography Tool to plan my Whale Galaxy astrophotography project. In the video below, I also discuss my ongoing transition from a DSLR camera to a cooled CMOS camera. The process of controlling a dedicated astronomy camera like the…

The telescope with a guide scope mounted

60mm Starwave Guide Scope Package for Autoguiding

|Equipment|5 Comments

Update (2018): I now use a ZWO ASI290MM Mini guide camera with a 60mm Starfield guide scope for autoguiding. This camera has a slender, lightweight profile and an impressive SONY IMX290 Mono sensor. It is also compatible with the ASIair WiFi camera control device. My friends over at Ontario Telescope & Accessories have sent me a new Altair GPCAM2 AR0130 Mono autoguiding camera and 60mm Starwave guide scope to use with my astrophotography setup.  In this post, I'll give you an early look at this practical autoguiding solution for deep sky astrophotography. If you are looking…

Bahtinov mask

Better Focus using a Bahtinov Mask

|Tutorials|7 Comments

A Bahtinov mask can help you achieve a sharp focus for your astrophotography images. This process is an essential step of any deep-sky astrophotography session. With so much time and effort put into your polar alignment and autoguiding accuracy, it would be a shame to spoil a photo due to poor focus. Over the years, I've had my fair share of deep-sky astrophotography focus mishaps. In many cases, I did not realize how bad the focus of my image was until I attempted to process the final image. You can avoid this unfortunate circumstance by using a simple tool that effectively confirms…