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General Discussion => Hobbies & Crafts => Topic started by: GillE on January 04, 2020, 16:10

Title: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on January 04, 2020, 16:10
I want to learn how to photograph the night sky.  Hubby has a telescope with a camera adapter.  Has anyone ever tried this and, if so, please could they advise me how to go about it?  I'd really love to capture features such as the moon, Mars and the Milky Way.
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Simon on January 04, 2020, 19:24
Too much light pollution around here for that sort of thing.   :(
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Clive on January 04, 2020, 20:45
I'm not an astrophotographer but  I think Sam has a lot of experience in this field.  Taking photos of celestial objects is made difficult because of the Earth's rotation which is magnified through the lens of a telescope.  It means that the image at best will blur and at worst will trail.  The Moon is definitely your best bet as it's so bright but catch it before first quarter otherwise the craters will be washed out by the light. 
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: sam on January 05, 2020, 19:17
I'm not an astrophotographer but  I think Sam has a lot of experience in this field.  Taking photos of celestial objects is made difficult because of the Earth's rotation which is magnified through the lens of a telescope.  It means that the image at best will blur and at worst will trail.  The Moon is definitely your best bet as it's so bright but catch it before first quarter otherwise the craters will be washed out by the light.

I do :-)  what camera are you thinking? What telescope, aperture etc?

For the moon you will need some form of filter BG20 might help but neutral density.....

Earth rotation is a pain.. .but lots of short exposures work well...
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: sam on January 05, 2020, 19:19
Too much light pollution around here for that sort of thing.   :(

Not true. The right filters help, less so now we don't illuminate our street with sodium lamps... but you can do pretty amazing things inside big cities...
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: sam on January 05, 2020, 19:19
Good starting point for all things stellar: https://in-the-sky.org/
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on January 06, 2020, 21:01
It's a Celestron Astro-master 130 (https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/cat/user-reviews/celestron-astromaster-130-eq-review-r2406) telescope.  I have a T adapter which means any Nikon DSLR can be connected directly.  I'd prefer to use my full-frame D850 but I fear it may be too heavy, in which case I'd resort to my cropped sensor D3300.  Insofar as aperture is concerned, the camera connects to the telescope via the lens mount which means I cannot use a camera lens.  Therefore, there's no aperture.  If I were to photograph the night sky without the telescope I could mount the D850 onto a tripod and use a Sigma 150-600mm sports lens with a F5.6 aperture or possibly a lens with a shorter focal length and a faster aperture.  I have a variety of ND filters, for 1 stop up to 10 stops.

Thanks for the link to in-the-sky which looks very informative  :).
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: sam on January 07, 2020, 19:59
It's a Celestron Astro-master 130 (https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/cat/user-reviews/celestron-astromaster-130-eq-review-r2406) telescope.  I have a T adapter which means any Nikon DSLR can be connected directly.  I'd prefer to use my full-frame D850 but I fear it may be too heavy, in which case I'd resort to my cropped sensor D3300.  Insofar as aperture is concerned, the camera connects to the telescope via the lens mount which means I cannot use a camera lens.  Therefore, there's no aperture.  If I were to photograph the night sky without the telescope I could mount the D850 onto a tripod and use a Sigma 150-600mm sports lens with a F5.6 aperture or possibly a lens with a shorter focal length and a faster aperture.  I have a variety of ND filters, for 1 stop up to 10 stops.

Thanks for the link to in-the-sky which looks very informative  :).

I had meant the aperture of the telescope.

Looks likely that the counterweight on that telescope wouldn't cope with the full-frame TBH. You will likely get similar magnification with your  typical lenses. I'd do that for the moon, with some form of ND filter.

The benefit of a correctly setup telescope is that you should be able to use the RA wheel to track the object.

Oh I meant to post before:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a25697/beginners-guide-to-astrophotography/

http://www.astropix.com/html/i_astrop/toc_ap.html

https://astrobackyard.com/beginner-astrophotography/

Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on January 07, 2020, 20:11
Thanks Sam  :) .
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on January 10, 2020, 20:48
Well, I had a go at tonight's 'Wolf Moon'.

(https://i.ibb.co/pbXxkBy/1214-1218.jpg) (https://ibb.co/sb32XdH)

F2.8, ISO 800, 1/3200 sec, focal length 200mm.

I'd like to get more detail but perhaps my gear isn't sufficiently sophisticated.
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Simon on January 10, 2020, 21:14
That's brilliant, Gill!   :thumb:
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: sam on January 11, 2020, 06:26
Well, I had a go at tonight's 'Wolf Moon'.

(https://i.ibb.co/pbXxkBy/1214-1218.jpg) (https://ibb.co/sb32XdH)

F2.8, ISO 800, 1/3200 sec, focal length 200mm.

I'd like to get more detail but perhaps my gear isn't sufficiently sophisticated.

Nice shot... yeah bit more contrast if you have a few filters
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on January 11, 2020, 08:51
What filters do you suggest, Sam?

I just compared my photo against those on the BBC website and Iím pleased with how favourable the comparison is 😀.  I still want a better shot though.
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Simon on January 11, 2020, 10:32
I know it's cheating to some extent, but you can achieve quite a good contrast enhancement simply by using Photoshop.
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on January 11, 2020, 11:48
I did use editing software with that photo and it looks ok to me - perhaps the contrast is a matter of individual monitor calibration?  :dunno:
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Simon on January 11, 2020, 11:55
I'm sure that is a factor, Gill.
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: sam on January 12, 2020, 20:31
What filters do you suggest, Sam?

I just compared my photo against those on the BBC website and Iím pleased with how favourable the comparison is 😀.  I still want a better shot though.

First couple on here..

https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/acatalog/telescope-lunar-planetary-filters.html
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: sam on January 12, 2020, 20:32
I did use editing software with that photo and it looks ok to me - perhaps the contrast is a matter of individual monitor calibration?  :dunno:

Yes! Big time.
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on January 12, 2020, 22:02
Good idea, Sam.  I checked the price for a ND filter to fit my 105mm diameter camera lens - £219! It sounds as if I'd be better off trying to hook up my camera to hubby's telescope and buying a £15 telescope ND filter instead.

There's a local astronomy group (https://www.lincsastro.org) near us, although when I say 'near', nowhere in Lincolnshire is actually near anywhere else.  It's all relative.  Anyway, I might visit them and see what they have to say.




Just for the record, I am most definitely not getting into astronomy - I just want to take pretty pictures.
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: sam on January 13, 2020, 20:21
Good idea, Sam.  I checked the price for a ND filter to fit my 105mm diameter camera lens - £219! It sounds as if I'd be better off trying to hook up my camera to hubby's telescope and buying a £15 telescope ND filter instead.

There's a local astronomy group (https://www.lincsastro.org) near us, although when I say 'near', nowhere in Lincolnshire is actually near anywhere else.  It's all relative.  Anyway, I might visit them and see what they have to say.




Just for the record, I am most definitely not getting into astronomy - I just want to take pretty pictures.


Sounds like a good places to go... and getting into astronomy is about taking great pictures....

also look at http://fedastro.org.uk/  - might find another group closer???


Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Clive on January 17, 2020, 20:44
To be fair Gill, your Wolf Moon photo was very good for a first timer.  A Moon filter can be purchased from Amazon for under a tenner. 
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on January 19, 2020, 20:17
I went up into the Lincolnshire Wolds with some astronomers last night.  They were very helpful and I think this shot of Sirius and Orion came out best of all my efforts:

(https://i.ibb.co/MPHJwjD/850-1325-NR.jpg) (https://ibb.co/XFPG0dZ)

Shutter speed was a little slow but I'm happy enough.
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Clive on January 19, 2020, 21:00
That's a brilliant photo Gill.    You've captured lots of fainter stars in Orion too. 
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Simon on January 19, 2020, 21:24
Great photo, Gill!   :thumb:
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: sam on January 21, 2020, 20:20
Ace stuff!!
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on January 21, 2020, 21:30
Thanks guys  :) .
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: GillE on April 06, 2020, 22:02
I think I'm getting better  :)

(https://i.ibb.co/Sxgts8Q/moon-stackafphoto.jpg) (https://ibb.co/JdTvB4x)
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Simon on April 06, 2020, 22:26
Good photo!   :thumb:
Title: Re: Night Sky Photography
Post by: Clive on April 07, 2020, 10:52
Excellent Gill.  The craters will stand out even more when the Moon is at first quarter or less.  Try taking a photo of Venus in the western sky and you might find the Pleiades star cluster appears to the right in the same shot.