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William Optics Zenithstar 61 APO Review

|Telescopes|13 Comments

The William Optics Zenithstar 61 is a doublet apochromatic refractor telescope that excels in deep-sky DSLR astrophotography.  The Z61 is the most portable telescope ever made by William Optics, a company with a reputation for building beautiful astrophotography refractors. In this review, I'll tell you why I think the William Optics Zenithstar 61 is a top contender when it comes to affordable astrophotography telescopes.  I'll cover the features and specs of the scope, and share some examples of deep sky images taken using this refractor. [caption id="attachment_7179" align="a…

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|7 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…