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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…

iOptron SkyGuider Pro Review

iOptron SkyGuider Pro Review

|Equipment|34 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 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 time indoor…

Altair Hypercam 183C review

Altair Hypercam 183C Review

|Camera|31 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…

Remarkable Dark Skies at Cherry Springs

The Cherry Springs Star Party is an annual astronomy event held in Coudersport, PA.  This incredible gathering of amateur astronomers always coincides with the new moon for truly breathtaking views of the Milky Way. The lack of light pollution in this area is the reason for a truly unforgettable view of the night sky. This year, my Fiance and I made the 3 and a half hour drive from Ontario to Cherry Springs State Park for 3 nights of astronomy camping.  This is the closest dark sky preserve from my home in St. Catharines, Ontario.  Naturally, I brought all of my astrophotogra…

Short Nights and Hot Sensors

|Nebulae|2 Comments

The hot nights of early summer astrophotography start late and end early. The warm temperatures at night make their presence known in my DSLR images in the form of noise. My latest deep sky project involves capturing data on NGC 6888 in H-Alpha with a DSLR.  My highly portable astrophotography equipment allows me to move the entire rig around the yard based on my imaging target. This month, I have been getting a head start on summer Astro targets in Sagittarius such as the Omega Nebula. This means waiting until after midnight for my targets to rise high enough in the Southeast f…

Canon astrophotography filter

SkyTech Canon Astrophotography Filter Review

If you shoot in light polluted skies with a DSLR, listen up. I've recently got my hands on an affordable new astrophotography filter for my Canon T3i. Whether you shoot with a modified camera through a telescope or a stock DSLR with a camera lens attached, a light pollution filter will help you shoot longer subs. Longer image exposures mean a deeper view on your subject. The SkyTech Canon EOS Clip Filter In the past, I have used light pollution filters such as the Astronomik CLS, and IDAS LPS clip-in models on my Canon DSLR. In this review, I will be testing 3 filters from SkyTech tha…