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Anyone have some good advice on space photography?

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posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 08:04 AM
Greetings guys,

I have recently taken up stargazing with an old highschool buddy of mine. He has a telescope (910 mm) - very basic stuff - and I have an old Sony DSLR (aplha700) and a T-mount which allows me to mount the camera directly to the telescope.

My friend has some optics which allows for a greater magnification, but aren't compatible with the camera mount, so I'm looking into buying and extension tube online.

Thus far we've been able to get some good pictures of the moon, and a few not so good ones of Jupiter, which aren't very detailed, but you can make out the moons which is still pretty cool.
We should also be able to get some pretty good pictures of Saturn. Next step would be the Andromeda galaxy or the Pleadies I think, but doubt we'll be able to get any kind of pictures from them.

Here is a picture I took of the moon yesterday - 4/20/2013.

Model:SONY DSLR-A700
Shutter Speed:1/15 second
Focal Length:910 mm
ISO Speed:100


If anyone has some good advice, I would love to hear from you.
I'm thinking everything from the camera settings (Shutterspeed, ISO etc.), equipment (lens filters, extension tubes etc.) or space stuff we should check out.
We only have limited funds, so the possibilities for big upgrades are small. But I am finding this quite fascinating, so perhaps in time.

I uploaded this on the Member art forum because my approach to photography has always been artistic. There might have been a better forum to ask in, but coulden't figure out which one.

Here is a LINK in case you are interested in checking out some of my other work.
edit on 06/06/12 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)

edit on 06/06/12 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 09:39 AM
reply to post by Mads1987

nice picture , I cant wait till the wife and I get her mead lx200 telescope ( her b day present)

I just wish we had it when Jupiter was so close to us last year .

how do you like the camera your using . that will be next thing on her wish list .

posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 10:05 AM
reply to post by freedomSlave

Thank you.

I'm pretty happy with my camera. It's relatively old, but powerful, and has a large ISO range. But I am sure you could settle for a smaller model with a newer camera.

I would go for a lot of MegaPixels. My camera have 12, but I wouldn't have minded if it had 14 or more. It's usually not that important since most people never print anything much bigger than 6 MP, but in this case it does have it advantages.
High ISO. In the case of the moon you don't need it, but if you wanna catch the moons of Jupiter it is useful. My camera goes up to 6400 ISO.

I'm not really sure what the standards are for shutter speeds, but I'm sure most standard DSLR have what you need.
If your telescope is on a computercontrolled tripod you can track objects which allows you to use longer exposure times. But without such a device you're rarely be able to take a picture with much more than 1 sec exposure. Is my experience anyway.

I also experienced that the telescope would shake a lot when I took the picture. So need to use a 2 sec time release to make it work. I imagine most DSLR cameras come with similar capabilities.

posted on Apr, 20 2013 @ 08:55 PM
reply to post by Mads1987

thank you I will keep that in mind

when we get it all ready to go i will post some pics too

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 02:11 AM
You can send CarriedOnWind a message and she might be able to give you some advice. She has been experimenting with a lot of long exposure astrophotography lately. A lot of standing around in the dark at -25C.

Atmospheric distortion will be a big part of the problem with Jupiter. Amateur astronomers solve this by taking many short exposures and stacking them with tailored algorithms. Sounds complicated but these days it's automated with freeware such as StarTrails. Software for stacking has functions for doing flat field correction, hot pixel elimination and dark field correction too which really improves the final post processed image. Stacking itself takes a blurry featureless Jupiter and makes it look like a ten meter telescope was used. You will need a stable tracking mount to image for stacking purposes.

If you have a fairly good SLR it should have a intervalometer function which you can set up to take continuous shots automatically at specified intervals. If you don't have this function but have a Canon, even just a point and shoot you can download CHDK software that goes onto the memory card and provides an intervalometer function and hundreds of othr handy upgrades too such as increased aperture and exposure settings, motion detection triggering fast enough to catch lightening, raw file capture, and manual control of focus.

Another option is to hack the front cover off of a USB, HD webcam, unscrew the lens and tape what's left of the camera to the telescope's focuser without an eyepiece. Download some free astronomy imaging software so you can control aperture and exposure etc manually and away you go. I like the cheap Microsoft LifeCams for doing this.

edit on 21-4-2013 by dainoyfb because: of typos.

posted on Apr, 21 2013 @ 06:59 AM
reply to post by dainoyfb

Interesting stuff. Thanks for the insight.

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