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I would like to present here some of my astrophotography tools. There are lots of things to consider when starting this kind of photography, so I
really recomend this link from Jerry Lodriguss, a well known astrophotographer. He goes deep in to the hart of astrophography explaining all about it
from a technical point of view. http://www.astropix.com/HTML/I_ASTROP/TOC_AP.HTM
Nowadays due to the lack of good astrophotography films, we use more and more digital cameras. Their capturing cips (CCD or CMOS) are very
sensitive to light, cameras can be modified and adapted with specialised astrophotography filters, and most important, the raw image you get can be
quickly imported to a PC and in a matter of minutes you have a final image. If you were to do that on film, it would take days if not weeks to proces
the film, scan it, and so on.
For meteor photography we still use film cameras, because it alows us to take long exposures (from 5 to 30 minutes or more). Making an exposure
for longer that 10 minutes with a digital camera is very dangeorus for the sensor and for the built-in procesor and other electronic parts.
During a meteor shower we place 4 to 5 cameras in a flower-like rig, covering about 360 degrees of the sky. This increases the probability to capture
luminous meteors or even fireballs.
The photographic tripod is a must in astrophotography. Used mainly for exposures from 1/30 up to seconds or minutes if necessary. It keeps the
camera steady and reduces lots of unwanted vibrations. It's good for sunsets, sunrises, planet moon conjunctions, meteors, scenic images, lots and
lots of things. The problem is... one tripod is never enough, especially when owning several cameras.
If you are thinking about deepsky objects or widefield images you need long exposures. That means upping the ante! A special setup using an
equatorial mount (capable of good automated star trecking) and a guiding scope. On top of this you can mount your camera with a standard optical
lens, or using a astronomy telescope (usually a really good refractor) as a lens for the camera. This way you can take exposures up to hours with
incredible results! Earlier i said that exposures for more than 10 minutes with a digital camera is dangerous. Thats right! To realise images with an
exposure time up to several hours, we usually take lots of images of maximum 300 seconds (5 min) and than combine them in specialised
astrophotography software. It's a very tedious job but with great results!
Astrotrac TT320X-AG mount (on the left) . Vixen 60mm f/12 (guide scope and from time to
time used for sunrises, sunsets, eclipses, moon, solar spots) - on the right.
Cameras, lenses and other
Canon EOS 500
Canon 50mm f/4
Carl Zeiss Jena Sonnar 135mm f/3.5 M42
Pentacon 200mm f/4 M42
Soligor 28mm f/2.8
Remote trigger for digital and film camera
Tripod head, very usefull in piggyback