What’s the Bare Minimum to Get Started?

What you need to get started

What do you really need to get started? A camera and a tripod. I first became interested in astrophotgraphy after pointing my slightly above average point-and-shoot camera at the sky and setting the timer. If you already have a DSLR and some lenses, you might just be looking for a tracking mount for your camera for a few hundred dollars.

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Easy Astrotortilla Setup & Configuration: Plus Advanced Custom Options Settings

I have since moved on to using Astrophotography Tool and the integrated plate solving using ASPS and PlateSolve2. The information below is still relevant, especially if you’re using BackyardEOS or BackyardNikon, but I find plate solving through APT easier and more reliable.

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My First Shot

M42 2-16-05 1

This was my first attempt at a Deep Space Object taken all the way back in 2005. You might be able to make out that it’s M42, the Great Orion Nebula… the core of it at least. Having only used point and shoot cameras my entire life, I didn’t realize the importance of manually focusing using the Meade DSI camera and the scope’s focus. I also lacked any understanding of field of view. I think these were 4×5 second exposures.

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