Skip to Content


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,…

beginner astrophotography kit

This Astrophotography Kit is Less Than $2K (and works amazing)

|Camera|12 Comments

Astrophotography is about more than just the pictures you take, it’s about an overall positive experience along the way. I don’t like seeing people quit because they’re frustrated and confused. It doesn’t have to be that way. When starting out, I think it's important to choose a setup that is easy to use, and not overly complex. As you learn more about astrophotography, you can gradually upgrade your kit to include more advanced equipment.  In this post, I am going to break down an extremely practical and affordable astrophotography setup under $2000 that will allow you to t…

William Optics Cat 71

William Optics RedCat 71 First Look

|Telescopes|11 Comments

Late last month, William sent me a William Optics RedCat 71 for review purposes. I will continue to share my results using this apochromatic refractor telescope, and will likely purchase it after the testing period if I have the option. At the time of writing, I do not know when the RedCat 71 will be available for purchase. I would imagine there will be limited stock available before the end of the year, but that is pure speculation.  I know that there are a few RedCat 71 units being tested in other parts of the world right now as well. The Cat 71 was designed to be an ultra-flat, w…

Radian Raptor 61 Review

Radian Raptor 61 Review

|Telescopes|27 Comments

The Radian Raptor 61 is a triplet apochromatic refractor telescope for astrophotography. It features a compact design with features custom-suited for wide-field, deep-sky astrophotography. Since the Raptor arrived in September, I have taken some of my best astrophotography images to date with it. In this review, I'll share all of the image examples I have collected since the prototype arrived at my door.  This compact telescope was designed for astrophotography with a camera attached, not visual observations through an eyepiece. If you're interested in taking pictures of deep-sky ob…

refractor telescope for astrophotography

Why You Should Start with a Refractor Telescope

|Telescopes|28 Comments

If you're getting started in deep-sky astrophotography, I believe that a compact apochromatic (APO) refractor telescope is the best possible choice. A compact APO refractor is portable and lightweight, making it a smoother transition from the camera lenses you may be used to. In fact, in many ways, a high-quality apochromat is very much like a telephoto lens.  If you're interested in photographing nebulae and large galaxies in the night sky through a telescope, this article should shed some light on the decision-making process ahead of you.  In 2020 I worked with Radian Tele…

Celestron RASA Review

Celestron RASA 8 F/2 Review

|Telescopes|34 Comments

The Celestron RASA 8 F/2 Astrograph is a modern astrophotography telescope with an optical design that allows you to collect deep sky images using short exposure times. Based on the popular 11" version, the 8” model is the most affordable RASA (Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph) in Celestron’s lineup. The RASA optical system presents a modern and practical approach to extremely fast deep sky astrophotography. I like to think of it as an evolved Schmidt camera for today's amateur astrophotographer. Related Post: 10 of the Best Astrophotography Telescopes in 2022 I should start off by s…