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SOME 'HOW TOs' OF ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY... (RASNZAPS)
Astrophotography doesn't have to be the hobby of the professional astronomer. People with cameras as cheap as a few tens of dollars have been enjoying imaging the heavens over the years. My first experience at astrophotography was with a 'Box Brownie' photographing the Southern Cross from my backyard many years ago! Off course, as time goes on you may want to upgrade your equipment, but the sky is open for all to shoot! With some basic knowledge and a little practice you too can create images that will "wow" your friends. Below are some links to various features of this addictive hobby...
Please note that this page will be slowly upgraded as new articles are written and information comes to light...
PIGGYBACK AND TRIPOD ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY:
Piggyback and tripod astrophotography are usually the first place where people start. It's fairly easy and the equipment doesn't have to cost the Moon. For information on piggyback and tripod astrophotography by Chris Picking (New Zealand) click here.
FOCUSING ON FOCUS:
You spend an hour (or night with film) imaging under a cold sky, download your images (or rush off to the camera store) only to discover the stars on the images are all blobs - arrghhh! You've been bitten by the focus bug!! Two main things ruin an image - the target object isn't centred, the guiding was poor and the stars are streaks, or the stars are all blob balls due to poor focus. John Drummond discusses some ways to reduce this problem which has afflicted astrophotograpers over the decades - click here.
SOME GUIDANCE ON GUIDING:
As mentioned above, poor guiding can result in an image with streaks for stars as opposed to pinpoints. Good guiding is essential for good astrophotography. Basically there are three ways to reduce streaking - 1, let the telescope mount track on the stars as they move (okay for piggyback imaging but no good for prime focus (imaging through the telescope), 2, put a crosshair on a star and manually guide the scope n RA and Declination so that the star stays behind the cross during the exposure, 3, let the telescope autoguide on a star using a computer, webcam (or similar), and a telescope with motors on the RA and Dec and that can 'talk' to the computer. John Burt speaks to this problem in an amusing slide show at the following URL: