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Dark Skies
Star Parties
Solar System
Light Pollution
Film Based
Web Cam

Astrophotography Equipment

Telescopes Methods and Mounts Cameras Guiding Software
There are several methods that can be used to capture astronomical images.

Using this method photographs are taken by holding the camera in front of the eyepiece. With this method both the camera lens and the eyepiece are used to focus the image on either film or digital chip.This can be an easy method for capturing bright objects like the moon or planets.

The thing to watch out for is vignetting. Certain eyepiece and lens combinations can cause darkening of the edges. If your camera has a zoom you may see this happen if you zoom the camera in. Vignetting can be reduced by keeping the camera lens very close to the eyepiece lens.

Several eyepiece manufacturers make adapters specifically for use with their eyepieces.

Prime Focus
  In this method the telescope is used in place of the cameras lens. This method requires either an SLR or CCD camera. A prime focus adapter or (T-Adapter) is used to connect the camera to the telescope. You will need to find an adapter specific to your camera.
Focal Reducer

This is often used in combination with a prime focus t-adapter. A focal reducer as it's name suggests reduces the focal length of the lens system in a telescope .A Focal Reducer lens is used mostly with a CCD or film camera. A focal reducer works by concentrating the light cone produced by the scope into a smaller, yet brighter circle. Because the light cone at focus is actually smaller and the detector stays the same size, the field of view also increases. A wider field of view allows relatively large objects to fit within the frame of a tiny CCD chip.

Because the focal ratio of the lens or telescope is reduced, the time required to image an object is also reduced. When imaging faint objects, the integration time is a significant factor, and a significant reduction is achieved by employing a focal reducer.


This method can be used to take wide field pictures. This is a great way to capture images of the milky way. The camera is mounted on a telescope which is used for tracking.

Obviously the requires a telescope mount that can track. Guiding software is also useful to accurately keep the image in place.

Camera on a Tripod

The simplest way to capture the moon and some star clusters. If you have a good digital camera with a good (fast) lens this is the simplest way to capture astronomical images. Exposures need to be short sine the earths rotation sill cause objects to move in the sky and therefore in you image.

Often allowing the movement can make some interesting pictures. The stars will appear as streaks. Long exposures centered on the north celestial pole cause circles in the image.

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