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First steps in astrophotography: photographing deep sky objects

Fascination Astrophotography: Nothing but yourself, the starry sky on a clear night, your camera and the right accessories to capture the visual impressions. You will find the right equipment with us.

Anyone who has already successfully captured shooting stars or the night sky including the Milky Way in a wide angle will at some point want to photograph more and even deeper into space. Astrophotography is gaining more and more fans - and the long autumn and winter nights are perfect for getting started, as they offer plenty of time for photography. Because - and you have to consider this as a beginner - you should calculate exposure times of at least 10-30 minutes, but better 1.5 to 2 hours for deep sky objects. Experienced astrophotographers know that it can easily be 5 hours.


Preparation: What you need

A standard reflex camera including tripod, a lens in the range between 100 mm and 300 mm, a StarTracker, i.e. a handy astronomical tracking device, as well as warm clothes are part of the basic equipment of an astrophotographer. If you are really taking astrophotographs for the very first time, be sure to set the exposure time to (Bulb). After all, you do not want the camera to be set to night mode, but you want to determine the exposure time yourself.

Compensate for earth rotation: Astronomical tracking for long exposure times despite the rotation of the earth

For stars, planets and nebulae to shine really brightly in the photos later, the camera has to collect a lot of light, so you have to expose for a long time. Unfortunately, the stars change their position during the night due to the rotation of the earth. So you would have to turn the camera constantly if you did not want to show the stars as lines. Fortunately there is a technical solution for this: astronomical tracking. It automatically rotates your camera with the stars.

With our BRESSER StarTracker Astrophoto Mounting Set we give you the ideal basis to create impressive images of the night sky using long time exposure and even to make time lapse shots. With this compact and easy to use mount you can automatically compensate for the natural rotation of the earth. The built-in tracking motor rotates the mounted camera precisely against the earth's rotation, so that the stars remain point-like even with long exposures.

This set contains all components except for a camera and lens that are necessary for a quick and comfortable entry into the world of astrophotography: A stable tripod with carrying bag, a tripod head with fine adjustment, a pole viewfinder for StarTracker and a StarTracker astrophotomount with ball head. With the ball head, the camera can be aligned and locked in position at any time on any part of the sky. As soon as the tracking motor is switched on, you can immediately start with the long exposure.

Suitable for use with our BRESSER StarTracker Astrophoto Mounting Set are all cameras with 1/4 (6.3mm) tripod connection thread and the Bulb B adjustment option for long time exposure.

GoTo technology for sky observation at the touch of a button

For untrained observers it is difficult to orientate in the sea of stars with the naked eye. The search for deep sky objects is all the more complicated with the small camera viewfinder. These objects are usually invisible to the eyes - with the exception of a few objects - but they can be photographed easily if you know where to point the camera.

Especially beginners we therefore recommend a tracking with GoTo technique. At BRESSER, for example, we have a StarTracker GoTo kit for equatorial mounting. With the help of this kit, even beginners are able to observe celestial objects in just a few minutes, which they would have found with difficulty or not at all without GoTo. At the touch of a button, the GoTo system searches for planets, nebulae or galaxies for you and positions your telescope fully automatically.

Deep sky objects in autumn and winter for beginners

Now, in autumn, nobody who is interested in the starry sky can pass by the Andromeda Nebula, more precisely the Andromeda Galaxy. Our neighbouring galaxy is so large that it is already visible to the naked eye in places without light pollution and can therefore be easily found in the camera viewfinder. The beautiful duo of heart and soul nebulae in the constellation of Cassiopeia is an equally great entry-level object now in autumn. However, the two nebulae are no longer visible to the naked eye. But the nebulae are relatively bright - and at a focal length of 200 mm both are almost full format. Inside the two nebulae there are open star clusters, which with their nebulae at 135 mm make a beautiful composition.

The highlights in winter are undoubtedly the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades. Both celestial objects can be easily seen even with the naked eye. So they are also visible with every focal length. From about 85 mm focal length you can already see details. Use longer focal lengths, for example 200 mm, and you can capture the neighbouring objects Horsehead Nebula and Flame Nebula at the same time.