So in a moment of weakness I decided to attempt some astrophotography. I've previously taken some milky way shots, star trails etc and have made a couple poor attempts with a star tracker and longer lenses, but never really did anything serious. So I did some research (really a lot of research) and ended up buying a a short refractor telescope and motorized equatorial mount. I went with the William Optics Zenithstar 81 refractor telescope and a skywatcher HEQ5Pro mount. For now I don't have any guiding and I'm just using my 5dmkIII for the photos. At some point I'd like to either get a modified dslr or dedicated astro camera, but definitely think I need to get comfortable with the setup I have before buying anything additional. Besides, this hobby can get very expensive if you keep chasing the gear (this must sound familiar to most photogs anyway!).

Turns out there is really a lot that goes into good astrophotography. I have a very basic setup and already there is a ton to learn and improve on. Just for starters there is mount setup and alignment, accurate focusing, target finding, tracking, image stacking, post processing.... Post processing is probably the biggest surprise so far: it is quite different stacking multiple photos and using calibration frames to try to draw out faint details in the stars. This could be a very deep rabbit hole, but it's definitely interesting and challenging.

Anyone else on here do any astrophotography? Be interesting to hear from others what they have tried and share stories and photos.

Anyway, here is one of the first astrophotos I've taken with my new setup that turned out well enough that I'm willing to share in public. It is the Flaming Star Nebula (IC405) on the right and left is the Tadpole Nebula (IC410). It is a stack of 45 exposures at iso 1600 and 60s. Comments and critique certainly welcomed!

Flaming Star Nebula by Stephen, on Flickr