Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: What have I done....

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    513

    What have I done....

    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

    Stephen

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    4,845
    What have you done? Good things Stephen...good things. ;-)

    I've looked into it, but have seen the hurdle that you describe. Good astro is a different ballgame and I do not have enough nights with good skies available to me. But...maybe I'll follow your lead.

    As for others, we occasionally see a shot or two. So it could be fun. But, for now, I'll sit back and enjoy.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    513
    Yeah, seems to be a thing that buying a new telescope always comes with cloudy skies. Really I knew that this time of year is not ideal for astro where I live (especially since the nights are starting to get much shorter) but thought that I'd make the leap now and give myself plenty of time to get familiar with the gear and process. Hopefully when the nights get longer again (and more clear) in later summer and into the fall I'll be a bit better able to take advantage of the better night conditions. But we'll see!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jayson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    1,767
    Welcome to the extremely frustrating and rewarding hobby. It has a big learning curve and I am in no way past it...just don't have the time to learn all that goes into it. When you get a good set of images and have everything workout...it is so rewarding to see stuff pop on the screen. I really enjoy the youtube channel of astrobackyard. There are a bunch of them, but he kind of goes through it a little more in depth and uses the same editing software I do. I tried pixinsight, but really haven't had time to learn how to use it. I still shoot with canon lenses and haven't bought a scope or full blown mount yet. I need a better backyard to do that...too many trees.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    513
    Thanks Jayson. Yeah, seems like there are a few good youtube channels on this stuff. I've been going back and watching the astrobackyard previous episodes. His website is pretty good too with writeups to go along with some of the topics (and not just all videos).

    I agree that pixinsight is definitely a different workflow. I tried it out on this shot actually and thought I had better results than using deep sky stacker and photoshop. Although I did do some tweaks in photoshop after most of the processing done in pixinsight. I followed along step-by-step with another youtube video by Nico from nebula photos where he processed an image of M42 Orion Nebula (Orion Nebula (M42) with a DSLR, Start to Finish, Pt. 2a - PixInsight - YouTube). That worked pretty well, but not sure I'd be able to do all the steps on my own or really have any idea what other tools pixinsight offers.

    Definitely a challenge, but honestly the learning curve is fun!

    Stephen

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    394
    I should be doing it on next fall-winter season. Waiting my newton to arrive and yet to get the guiding+imaging computer but hopefully be ready around september =)

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    513
    Awesome Karsaa! You're night shots are already awesome so I can't wait to see what you can do with a telescope setup! If you don't mind me asking: what did you get? Seems like a lot of astro gear is out of stock so waiting is the new normal.

    Stephen

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    394
    I am going to have skywatcher 150/750 pds newtonian, this is just when i have time to get from a friend who is selling this for me. I allready have skywatcher eqm 35 pro mount, so my setup is going to be bit heavy but gotta try on. Will be getting the eagle core computer and most likely zwo asi 120mm mini quide camera with somesort of lightweight guide scope. And for now going to use my R6 as a camera.

    Setup is bit heavy but the mount can handle it, only the guiding might suffer some, but we shall see =)

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Newfoundland, Canada
    Posts
    513
    That's awesome Kari, can't wait to see what you can do with that kit!

    I've been debating between the ZWO 120mm mini and the 290mm mini so I'd be interested to hear how the 120 works out for you. I hadn't heard of the eagle core before, but I checked it out and it looks great. I'm had a small laptop that I've been using with the free software NINA to run the mount and camera. Works for me so far!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •