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William Optics FLT 132

Capturing Orion with a Fluorostar 132

|Telescopes|10 Comments

I have recently had the incredible opportunity to try out an enormous 132mm refractor telescope for some deep sky astrophotography.  Connecting a DSLR camera to a telescope like this is something I never dreamed I would have the pleasure of doing. This is as good as it gets for fans of the apochromatic refractor telescope design. The William Optics Flourostar 132 is an F/7 triplet apochromatic refractor, designed to deliver superior deep-sky astrophotography performance.  The massive 132mm objective lens means that it collects light from objects in space at an impressive rate, whi…

Meade 70mm

Meade 70mm Quadruplet APO Review

|Telescopes|19 Comments

The Meade 70mm Quadruplet APO is a high-quality imaging refractor for wide-field astrophotography. This compact telescope utilizes FPL-53 ED glass to produce images with impressive color correction. The quadruplet lens system design results in an ultra flat-field, without the need for an additional field flattener. In November, I was given a chance to test the Meade 70mm Astrograph in my backyard. My excitement for this telescope should come as no surprise, considering my love for apochromatic refractors. The biggest question on my mind was just how flat the field be when using my DSL…

light pollution filters

Light Pollution Filters for Astrophotography

One of the most common questions I receive each day is which light pollution filter I recommend for astrophotography in the city. There have never been so many choices available, with each one offering their own advantages and disadvantages. Couple that with the fact that these astrophotography filters can be expensive, and you've got some tough decisions to make. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to use a number of filters designed to improve astrophotography performance. This includes both deep-sky camera and telescope configurations, and with wide-angle camera lenses. In the fol…

iOptron CEM60

iOptron CEM60 Equatorial Mount Review

|Equipment|15 Comments

The iOptron CEM60 is a center-balanced equatorial telescope mount that provides an excellent platform for visual astronomy and astrophotography.  What makes the iOptron CEM60 computerized telescope mount so special is its impressive weight to payload capacity ratio and the now famous "Z-shape" design. The design keeps the center of gravity directly over the center of the tripod (or tri-pier), giving the CEM60 natural balance. Because the center of gravity is also lower than in it is in a traditional equatorial mount design, it is also more stable. The iOptron CEM60 with my Expl…

Astrophotography with a 12nm ha filter

|Camera|8 Comments

With the aid of an Astronomik 12nm Ha filter, I can capture deep-sky images more often than ever before. With both the Canon EOS clip-in version for my DSLR and the 2" CCD round mounted version for the my dedicated astronomy camera, I collect photons in every moon phase. Despite the bright 80% illuminated moon this past Saturday night, I was able to capture some incredible deep sky photos of 2 deep sky emission nebula targets from my backyard in the city. Using my 102mm refractor telescopes, I collected isolated wavelengths of light on the Wizard Nebula in the constellation Cepheus, and Bub…

William Optics Zenithstar 61 APO Review

|Telescopes|18 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. You can order the William Optics Z61…

Andromeda Galaxy

Photographing the Andromeda Galaxy

|Galaxies|20 Comments

With summer coming to a close, I had one last chance for some deep sky astrophotography under dark skies. Choosing an astrophotography target at a dark sky site requires some serious thought. The key is to focus on an object that will benefit from broadband color data without the need for harsh light pollution filters. After much deliberation, I decided to spend this rare occasion with my sights set on the Andromeda Galaxy. Cataloged as Messier 31, Andromeda is a massive spiral galaxy that demands attention. This month, it's well placed in the night sky for your next astrophotography projec…

Narrowband images with a color camera

Narrowband Images with a Color Camera

|Narrowband|24 Comments

Narrowband imaging with a color camera is not only possible, but I have found it to be an excellent way of adding detail and structure to my astrophotography images. If you currently own a one-shot-color camera or DSLR, I highly recommend trying some narrowband filters with it such as Ha (Hydrogen-alpha). Ideally, you'll use a monochrome astronomy camera for narrowband (and LRGB) images, yet owners of color cameras can still tap into the benefits of narrowband filters before taking the big leap to mono. An example scenario is someone with a one-shot-color cooled astronomy camera such as…