Dive into Astrophography Tonight!

The first images I took of the sky were from a point and shoot camera sitting on a stationary tripod. There’s fun to be had with equipment you might already have, but never thought to point at the night sky. That first point and shoot camera was a 2.1MP Fuji Finepix on a rickety tripod (that I still use on occasion). Unfortunately, I’m unable to find those wide-field shots from 12 years ago, but below is a single over-processed 30 second frame from my DSLR on that rickety old tripod taken last September in humid 95 degree heat. This was from when I first started to get back into this, but I’ll be getting back to the data to improve on the processing. The inset is of M31, the Andromeda Galaxy.

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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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Setup Workflow

I found this helpful to create when I was starting out. I found myself missing steps, and having to go backwards time and again. I don’t need checklist every time I go out anymore, but creating something similar yourself will definitely save you some time when your just getting going. It will also help you work out the most efficient way to get through your setup. Here are the steps, in order, that I perform every time I setup for an imaging session. This would be considered a top-level workflow, as each of these steps have steps underneath them. Click on the linked steps to see more detail about each step.

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How Everything Works Together

There are a lot of bits and pieces of information out there that you have to piece together yourself to figure out how all of this stuff works together. As soon as you figure out how one piece works, there’s another piece of the puzzle. Hopefully I can put this into perspective and outline all the pieces.

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