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astrophotography mosaic

Creating an Astrophotography Mosaic

|Nebulae|0 Comments

I have been spending a lot of time photographing the night sky towards the core of the Milky Way. My 80mm refractor has a focal length of 480mm, which magnifies many deep-sky objects in the area of Sagittarius.  The Lagoon Nebula and the Trifid Nebula lie very close together in the night sky, as far as emission nebulae go. With the right camera sensor, and a wide-field imaging refractor (such as the Radian Raptor 61), you should be able to fit both objects within the same field-of-view.  When the photo below was taken, my framing was a little off. I could have fit both objects…

William Optics Cat 71

William Optics RedCat 71 First Look

|Telescopes|1 Comment

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…

ASIAIR Plus review

The ZWO ASIAIR Plus Has Arrived

|Equipment|18 Comments

The ZWO ASIAIR Plus is the third generation of the popular ASIAir wireless controller. This tiny red aluminum box aims to replace your laptop computer, imaging software, USB hubs, power supply, and even your WiFi connection.  The goal of this device is to make collecting images of deep-sky objects (or planets) easier, and automated. You can control everything on your smartphone or tablet (iOS and Android) from inside the house. The "Plus" improves on several aspects of the previous "Pro" model, including a 2.5X faster I/O speed and an enhanced antenna for a stronger WiFi signal. Cap…

Backyard of the Week | October 4, 2021


The AstroBackyard Backyard of the Week highlights astrophotography setups from around the world. A "backyard" can be a balcony, driveway, garden, or wherever else you set up astrophotography equipment at home. By taking a behind-the-scenes look at the equipment amateur astrophotographers use to take deep-sky images, you can get a better understanding of the process. This week’s backyard astrophotography equipment profile comes to us from Michael Melwiki in the United States. Location: Michigan, United States  Michael Melwiki Michael has an incredible collection of as…

Andromeda Galaxy

My Best Image of the Andromeda Galaxy Yet

|Galaxies|6 Comments

My latest photo of the Andromeda Galaxy is my best effort yet. I have been taking deep-sky astrophotography images for over 10 years now, and this might be my favorite photo of space I've ever taken. This detailed image was captured using a small refractor telescope, with a mirrorless camera attached. The image reveals the incredible, dusty spiral arms of Andromeda, in incredible detail.  On October 17th, 2020, I rented a one-bedroom Airbnb to photograph the Andromeda Galaxy under dark skies. I spent the entire night outside collecting images of this galaxy with my camera and telesc…

refractor telescope for astrophotography

Why You Should Start with a Refractor Telescope

|Telescopes|23 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…

Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula


The Orion Nebula is one of the brightest nebulae in the night sky, and is visible to the naked eye. This magnitude 4 interstellar cloud of ionized atomic hydrogen contains a young open cluster of four primary stars known as the Trapezium. The M42 nebula is part of a much larger nebula system known as the Orion Molecular Complex, which extends throughout the Orion constellation including objects such as the Horsehead Nebula, M78, and Barnard's Loop. The mighty Orion Nebula is arguably the most spectacular deep sky object in the night sky. I sincerely hope that you have the privilege&n…