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Astrophotography - 101: How to get started.

Craig Stocks

Well-known member
2. If I would like to photograph deeper into Space, what telescopes would you recommend for shooting something like the Horse Head Nebula in Orion?:)
Lock up the credit card and fire up YouTube. Check out the AstroBackyard channel.

There are lots of decisions about telescopes but the mount might be even more important.
 

sog1927

Member
^^^This is amazing!^^^

:thumbs:
But wait! There's more! The "Pisces-Cetus supercluster" (the large collection of galaxies which contains our own Milky Way galaxy) is a filament a billion light-years long (nearly 6 sextillion miles). And it's just a small fraction of the observable universe. While the universe is believed to be "only" a little over 13 billion years old, the diameter of the observable universe is nearly 100 billion light years, or almost 600 sextillion miles (this is the "comoving distance", which takes into account the expansion of the universe *since* the light from the most distant objects was emitted -for a discussion of this see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe). That doesn't count the portions of the universe which we will never be able to observe because their light will *never* reach us, assuming they exist ;).

Like I said: big place, tiny people.
 

JoelM

Active member
I use a refractor for wide-field views like the Horsehead nebula in Orion and a reflective type, Maksutov-Cassegrain, for planetary/lunar. I also have a solar telescope just for looking at the sun. Lot's of info online. I like the cloudy nights website (https://www.cloudynights.com/index/). They are VERY newbie friendly. At this point, you don't want to use your MF gear to take pics, the smaller CMOS cameras, ZWI for only one example, will far exceed those using regular cameras.

Good luck as you thought Dante was wicked in this forum, you've got a new blood-letting experience heading right at you.

Joel
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
Lock up the credit card and fire up YouTube. Check out the AstroBackyard channel.

There are lots of decisions about telescopes but the mount might be even more important.
Thanks, Dante....er, I mean, Craig!!!!:thumbup:

It occurs to me, we are all doomed in this business. I appreciate all the help, I need it! LOL...
 
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dave.gt

Well-known member
Wait a minute... is? No, I mean.., crap, there are too many zeroes there. I need to
get my calculator!:bugeyes:

But wait! There's more! The "Pisces-Cetus supercluster" (the large collection of galaxies which contains our own Milky Way galaxy) is a filament a billion light-years long (nearly 6 sextillion miles). And it's just a small fraction of the observable universe. While the universe is believed to be "only" a little over 13 billion years old, the diameter of the observable universe is nearly 100 billion light years, or almost 600 sextillion miles (this is the "comoving distance", which takes into account the expansion of the universe *since* the light from the most distant objects was emitted -for a discussion of this see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe). That doesn't count the portions of the universe which we will never be able to observe because their light will *never* reach us, assuming they exist ;).

Like I said: big place, tiny people.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
But wait! There's more! The "Pisces-Cetus supercluster" (the large collection of galaxies which contains our own Milky Way galaxy) is a filament a billion light-years long (nearly 6 sextillion miles). And it's just a small fraction of the observable universe. While the universe is believed to be "only" a little over 13 billion years old, the diameter of the observable universe is nearly 100 billion light years, or almost 600 sextillion miles (this is the "comoving distance", which takes into account the expansion of the universe *since* the light from the most distant objects was emitted -for a discussion of this see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe). That doesn't count the portions of the universe which we will never be able to observe because their light will *never* reach us, assuming they exist ;).

Like I said: big place, tiny people.
Warning! Models are not necessarily reality. Red shift and distance are pretty well established, but comoving distance is just a coordinate choice in cosmology. We CAN'T see anything more than 13.7 billion lightyears away. We can make all sorts of guesses about "where is it now", but a) we don't know and b) it certainly doesn't look like what we see, as it has aged several billion years since then. Heck, when the background radiation we're now seeing was produced, it was just a few thousand light years away.

My favorite How Big is a Galaxy fact: Look at a picture of, say, Andromeda on your monitor. Make it fill the screen. During your lifetime, light will move about one pixel.

M
 
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dave.gt

Well-known member
So, the universe is a "ball", according to the link. What lies outside of the universe "ball"?:)

Not sure how to relate to that with a photograph, but I am thinking about it.:)
 

sog1927

Member
Warning! Models are not necessarily reality. Red shift and distance are pretty well established, but comoving distance is just a coordinate choice in cosmology. We CAN'T see anything more than 13.7 billion lightyears away. We can make all sorts of guesses about "where is it now", but a) we don't know and b) it certainly doesn't look like what we see, as it has aged several billion years since then. Heck, when the background radiation we're now seeing was produced, it was just a few thousand light years away.
Hence my careful use of the weasel words "believed to be". ;)

My favorite How Big is a Galaxy fact: Look at a picture of, say, Andromeda on your monitor. Make it fill the screen. During your lifetime, light will move about one pixel.

M
I like that. A lot.
 

sog1927

Member
So, the universe is a "ball", according to the link. What lies outside of the universe "ball"?:)

Not sure how to relate to that with a photograph, but I am thinking about it.:)
Not really - it's just that we can only see a little over 13 billion light years in every direction because that's how far light has been able to travel since the Big Bang. That's an *observable* sphere with a radius of 13 billion light years (which is believed to much larger "now" because the expansion of the Universe is believed to have continued while the light was traveling to us) centered on your very own eyeballs. There may be stuff outside that sphere, but we will *never* be able to see it because at those distances the Universe seems to be expanding so fast that the light will never get here (unless the Universe starts collapsing at some point, which is not currently believed to be the case but has certainly been proposed as one possible fate of the Universe). Think of that stuff as being "over the horizon" for photographic purposes. Or outside your light cone (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_cone). Or whatever works for you. ;)

And, of course, most of the stuff in the observable universe seems to be made of something we *can't* see (and therefore can't photograph) - because the estimated mass of the visible stuff is way too small to have kept galaxies from flying apart long before we got here. Whatever this "dark matter" is, it's , well, *dark* (as in "it doesn't seem to interact with electromagnetic radiation at all and only seems to interact with ordinary matter via gravitation"). Sort of like Greta Garbo after she retired. Only without the sunglasses. Or the accent.
 

sog1927

Member
Hence my careful use of the weasel words "believed to be". ;)
Looking at my original post again, I see that I used an insufficient quantity of weasel words. My apologies. For all I actually *know*, the Universe suddenly sprang into existence a little over 63 years ago. All else is speculation.
 

Craig Stocks

Well-known member
Just in case you don't have your credit card fully locked up...

High Point Scientific (sort of a B&H of telescopes) has the Celestron AV-X mount on sale for $699. It's a very good entry level equatorial mount which is the type needed for astrophotography. https://www.highpointscientific.com/celestron-advanced-vx-equatorial-mount-91519

The examples here (Andromeda Galaxy, The Pleiades, Orion Nebula) were taken using:

Celestron AV-X mount
Sky Watcher 8 inch Quatro reflector telescope (800mm focal length @ f/3.9)
Baader MPCC coma corrector
Celestron SkyPortal WiFi wireless adapter
iPad with Sky Safari Pro app.
Sony a7r2 with an appropriate adapter
Velo intervalometer

Note that post processing is just as important and involved as the photography itself. Generally you take many short exposures (30 to 60 seconds each) and stack them together to reduce noise which allows you to bring out subtle dark details. These are probably three of the easiest targets because they're big and bright (about the size of the full moon).

I plan to pick up a Canon adapter and try some with my Cambo / IQ4-150 but with the current live view design I don't think I'd be able to focus. I also expect to get a lot of vignetting so it's more of a curiosity at this point.
 

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MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Craig,

Where were you? When I lived in Southern California, there were dark skies within an easy drive. But now I'm in NYC, and it's hopeless.

Gorgeous work!

Matt
 

Craig Stocks

Well-known member
Craig,

Where were you? When I lived in Southern California, there were dark skies within an easy drive. But now I'm in NYC, and it's hopeless.

Gorgeous work!

Matt
Thanks. These were taken in my front yard about 30 miles from Peoria, Illinois. I have a dark enough sky I can set up the telescope and then go inside and watch TV while it's doing its thing.
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
Craig,

Do you sell prints of your work? I am interested in possibly having one of your prints hanging on my wall.:thumbup:
 
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