Astrophotography

11th February 2010
During the next few months you will see increasing numbers of astrophotography images appearing on the site. I had always had an interest in this field of photography, and indeed, I went as far as purchasing a telescope a couple of years ago. Unfortunately for me my camera did not easily mate to the telescope and my plans where thwarted.

Wildlife photography will not be forgotten but this will probably be practiced more on holidays to Scotland. It has become increasingly difficult to find the hours necessary to get out with the camera. Anyone who has taken wildlife images before will realise that to take a successful image can involves hour behind the camera and in preparation before a shot is fired!

Astrophotography has the advantage of supply suitable candidates to image every night but is not without its complications. Perhaps the most frustrating is the weather! I am lucky to live at a fairly dark site (looking across the River Trent flood plain) but the weather is a constant pain. Last night for example I had placed the scope outside at 7.30pm and left it to cool down to the outside temperature. I then spent the next four hours covering and uncovering the scope as frequent snow showers rushed through! Eventually, just before midnight I gave up and called it a day.

Cost is another issue. It is difficult to get long exposure images of deep sky object in particular on a small budget. Currently I have two scopes piggybacked together, enabling one scope to take the images while I guide that scope with the other. At present I manually guide, meaning I place a star in the centre of the eyepiece and try and keep it in that position while the camera is taking the image, not easy! In the future (and at more cost) I will use a guide camera to do this through a laptop computer.

Happily for me those freezing cold nights, and early mornings, stood on the patio may soon be over! We are extending our house and have negotiated with the boss to convert some of the garage into an observatory and warm room. I will post some images on here for those who are interested in due course.


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