Advanced Stargazing: Astrophotography

Most stargazers are content with just using their eyes, whether unaided or looking through a pair of binoculars or a telescope. You may be one of them, but every so often, you may see such a beautiful sight in the night sky that you want to photograph it.

There are a few different ways you can capture astronomical images using a camera:

  • Starscape astrophotography uses just the camera lens to capture the image, as you would with a daytime landscape shot. In starscape astrophotography, you can get images of entire constellations of stars at once.

  • Telescope astrophotography uses your camera mounted onto the eyepiece socket of your telescope, which uses the telescope to collect much more light than your camera lens could, and so gives much more detailed close-up images of faint astronomical objects images. You need to buy adaptors to attach your camera to your telescope.

  • Afocal astrophotography is much like telescope astrophotography, but rather than mount your camera onto the telescope eyepiece, you just point your camera down the eyepiece and snap a shot of what the telescope’s looking at. This is much more straight forward, and requires far less effort, than proper telescope astrophotography, but you can still get some great images, especially of the Moon.

Astrophotography takes a lot of patience, so don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t work the first time you try it. By persevering, you can end up with some stunning images – not as good as those taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, of course, but even more important to you because you took them yourself!

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