Naive Newbie’s Journal of Astrophotography

Roughly Chronological Points to Work In

  • Selected AS/GT mount with photography in mind
    • “sturdy”;
      • Boy, was I wrong about that
    • “equatorial for astrophotography”.
      • Understood field rotation of alt-az even then
      • Didn’t know that most modern observatories are Alt-Az with de-rotators
    • Saw some images “from Ottawa” (Albert’s) and assumed I could easily do that
  • Put Nikon D1 on C9.25 / AS-GT and imaged a few things
    • M42: colours but very bad blur
    • Some clusters (e.g. 862/884): bad star trails, little detail
    • Saturn & Jupiter
      • Bright blurs
      • “Multiple” exposures (i.e. 4 or 5) stacked
      • Initially used eyepiece projection adapter to get magnification needed
      • Discovered advantages of prime focus + barlows, standardized on that
  • Read & studied, realized I jumped too fast
    • Mount overloaded
    • Polar alignment critical
    • RA drive stability critical
    • PED and/or Guiding needed for long exposures
    • Planetary stacking isn’t 3-4 images, it’s 1000
  • Gradual upgrade of equipment & skills
    • Mount to Losmandy G11
    • Video imaging
      • Capture
      • Learn registax processing
    • Master drift alignment
    • Shorten focal length to a short refractor
    • Learn PEC
    • Discover “76 second error” and other issues
    • Study PEC, upgrade worm, tune gearing
  • DSO Imaging
    • DSLR
      • Focusing is hard!
    • CCD
      • DSI: oversold again. Hard. Poor quality.
      • Focusing is hard!
        • Hartmann mask
    • Get autoguiding capability
    • Try CCD again
      • Monochrome imaging, focus on stability, round stars, understanding exposure
      • Eventually add 3-colour imaging

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