Tips and help needed for Astro Photography

Joined
Jun 4, 2005
Messages
128
Location
NJ & MD
Hello,

I want to try out some night sky photography with my D2x and I was looking for some help. I've never shot anything like that at all (I'm used to sports and spot news). I'd really like to try to get something where the shutter speed is long enough that you actually get the spin of the Earth showing, where the stars kind of make a circle in the sky. Can anyone help me with this? I really have no clue where to begin. I figure I'll have to do some playing around to get something that really works, but any pointers at all would be a GREAT help.

Thanks a lot!
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2005
Messages
14,469
Location
Toronto Canada
First of all, you have to find the north star as that will be the centre of your spin. Make sure you're far enough away from external light sources (city lights, street lights, house lights, etc). Have you got a cable release, you'll need one. Get a good heavy tripod, and weight it down if you can. Then you start to play. Don't boost the ISO up or you'll get a lot of noise. I'd give it 5 minute intervals. There is a little program out there called AstoStacker which is perfect for this type of shot. Hopefully some others with more tech knowledge will chip in with some info regarding your settings, etc.
 
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
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6,099
Location
Denver, CO
I am about to do the some playing in this area also. Wife gave me the OK to purchase a Meade LXT-125 and camera adapter. We have a family camping trip up in the mountains of Colorado in two weeks and should be great for viewing the night sky.

Hopefully I can get the scope soon and do some panoramic moon shots. :)
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Messages
35,171
Location
Arizona
Real Name
Chris
Charles! You're gonna love that scope. The f/15 design of the Meade Maksutov's is perfect for any kind of lunar or planetary photography (and observation!) Be sure not to skimp on the eyepieces. Get a superwide for observing, but for photography through your scope, go with an orthoscopic or Plossl type eyepiece. Or just use it at the prime focus. At 1900mm the 125 should get the moon all in one frame - right to the edge!

It's great for planets too, here's some pictures of Mars from the opposition a couple years ago:
http://radio.weblogs.com/0101365/stories/2003/10/13/marsOppositionOf2003.html
 
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
6,099
Location
Denver, CO
Chris,

My plan was to do a direct T mount and basicly turn the scope into a manual focus lens. It has been a very, very long time since I played with telescopes and designs have changed a lot. I need to do some research on eyepieces it seems.

For deep space I would do image stacking and with wireless MLU of the D2x I should be able to get some nice images. I hope!
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2005
Messages
14,469
Location
Toronto Canada
Back to Mike's topic: I think you mean star-trail photography, instead of astro. Astro is photographing the planets and is far more expensive than doing star trails because of the equipment needed to magnify.
I'll see if I can dig up some websites which specialize in this.

Here's a good one with simple explanations and great pics
http://www.danheller.com/star-trails.html

http://www.apogeephoto.com/mag7-6/stars_moon.shtml

Read some of the comments at the bottom of this page for some great suggestions http://www.photo.net/learn/astro/star-streak

http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/I06/I0601/I0601.HTM

http://www.weather-photography.com/techniques.php?cat=astronomy&page=startrails[/url]
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2005
Messages
128
Location
NJ & MD
Hi everyone,

Thanks for the tips. It definately doesn't look as hard as I anticipated.

Sandi, those links are great. Sooo much help! Thank you VERY much!

So I'll try it out next week and post up the results if they aren't embarassing. Hah.
 
I

IxLr8

Guest
If you can, lock up the mirror before you shoot as well, with a long lense, even the mirror actuating for the shot will cause the camera to vibrate and give you a soft picture.
 
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