James Paulson's roll off roof observatory at the Sunridge Observatory site, taken in the summer of 1986, housing a 10 inch f/5 Cave Astrola Newtonian reflector telescope

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Beginner Astrophotography Bundle

Let's say you are interested in learning the ins and outs of doing some very basic attempts at sky shots, but you don't want to spend a whole lot of money right up. Perhaps you are primarily a visual observer who owns a Dobsonian telescope but has a passing interest in learning astrophotography without starting at the top of the price curve. At $159, the Orion Adventures in Astrophotography Bundle is an excellent concept and a simple product that will allow you to take your DSLR (or 35mm camera) and crank out some excellent wide field results.

I have built a setup similar to this using my LXD 75, a dovetail and the exact same camera mounting bracket shown in this picture for doing much the same thing. Using this is very simple, you simply align the polar axis of this mount to polaris, install your camera (with remote) to the mount and point it, turn on the tracking, wait about one minute and begin shooting. A setup like this can be imaging with your camera on an undisturbed mount for hours at a time while you casually browse the universe with your primary telescope. This device would be excellent for recording things like meteor showers, making a large view of the milky way, comet photography, or anything else that lends itself to some interesting wide field shots.

Personally I love doing wide field astrophotography and have been doing it for years. It is highly forgiving on polar alignment, generally does not require guiding (merely tracking) and can produce some really stunning results that do not require a tremendous amount of effort or setup time. If you have purchased this bundle, I would enjoy hearing from you.

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