I think your gallery is amazing! Not only are your pictures of the sky wonderful, your other pictures and drawings are beautiful as well. I was blown away by the piano. I play guitar myself, love to draw and have an interest in physics and astronomy, so seeing your gallery was a real pleasure. May I ask what telescope/camera you use? Lately I've been thinking on getting my own first telescope in order to study the sky and take pictures of it.
Thank you very much for your kind comment! I'm really glad you like my gallery!
I started astronomy and astrophotography only 2 years ago, but I was so amazed by it that I already bought 2 telescopes, and I'm seriously thinking about buying my third soon My current setup is:
-Skywatcher 200/1000mm reflector. Its great telescope, but probably too heavy and hard to move around for a first scope. I'd recommend something a bit smaller to begin! But reflectors are great because you can get big apertures for a small price. -My scope is on an EQ5 mount. For astrophotography you need this kind of mount to take long exposures. It tracks the object you are looking at. These kind of motorized mounts are quite expensive, often more expensive than your telescope. But its the key to long exposure photography. These mounts are called equatorial (or german) mounts, and can have a small computer with a catalog of space objects in them. -Canon EOS1100D camera. Not the best camera for deep sky, but cant afford another one at the moment The camera is attached to the scope by a T2 ring and adapter. -A cls filter. Just a little filter that helps to remove light pollution.
Its a very basic (and cheap) setup, but works quite well! My scope is a bit too heavy for my mount, I will probably replace it by a more robust one. The next step is autoguiding. And feel free to ask if you have more questions I'm very happy to help!
Waow, that's amazing! I totally understand you about buying the telescopes - two years ago I started playing on an out-of-tune old classical guitar just for fun. I then started taking lessons once a week and since then I have bought both a western and a electric guitar and I still play... good hobbies stick Thank you for the great advice so far. Do you have any suggestions as to what I should look out for in scopes? What separates the expensive ones from the "cheap" ones? I'm a complete beginner, so it's probably a stupid question, but what is so important about the mount? Why pay so many money for the mount in proportion to the scope itself? And do you have to buy it separately, and can they match every scope out there? I actually thought the mount was inclusive when buying a scope. Sorry for the many beginner questions! I already have a Canon 600D so I don't need to worry too much about that just yet Good luck with your photography.
If you are already doing some photography, you're probably familiar with the terms of "aperture" and "focal length". It's the same with a telescope. Your telescope is like a "light bucket"; the bigger the diameter of your scope, the more light it gathers. The whole goal of astrophotography is collecting photons, particles of light. Bigger diameter = shorter exposures to gather detail in a distant object. Its very important. A good astrophotography scope is a f/5 or under. You can find this number by dividing the focal length (ex: 1000mm) by the diameter (ex: 200mm) = f/5.
This is valid if you want to shoot deep sky like me (nebulae, galaxies). These are very faint objects and need long exposures (several minutes). If you want to do planetary photography, things are a bit different since planets are very bright objects. To photograph the moon, mars, jupiter, saturn or venus, magnification is more important.
There are several types of telescopes: -I recommend a reflector (newtonian), because they are cheap and you can have a big aperture for a small price. They use mirrors, and are easier to make than lenses - thats why they are cheaper. They gather a lot of light. -Refractors (= lenses) are very expensive, and heavy telescopes. Thats what professionals use. -Cassegrains use both lenses and mirrors, they are hybrids. They are great for planetary (big focal length/magnification) and are very small. If you travel a lot thats a great choice, because they can fit in a backpack. But they will gather less light than a reflector.
My second advice is to choose from a well known brand. When you browse online shops you will see the same names again and again: Orion, Skywatcher, Omegon, Meade, etc. These are brands you can trust. Buy your scope from an online shop specialized in telescopes, and not a department store. (astroshop.eu is fine, bought a lot of stuff from them!)
About mounts: they are important because you are doing long exposures. When you look through a 1000mm scope, stars are moving really fast. The goal of an equatorial mount is to compensate for the earth's rotation, so the stars dont move in your pictures when you take your long exposures. Small motors make your mount rotate slowly to cancel the earth's rotation. You dont have to buy your mount separately from your scope, a lot of shops sell them together. When looking for a mount, an important thing is the weight it can support. If you buy a "light" mount (like an EQ3) and buy a new, heavier scope one year later, you'll have to buy a new mount... If you know you'll be serious about astronomy, better buy a heavier -and more expensive- mount. (like an EQ5, HEQ5, EQ6..) These mounts can support 10 or 15kg of gear, and you will keep them for a long time. Yes they are expensive, but in astrophotography its really important to be able to track objects precisely for long periods of time.
The best advice I can give you is to meet local astronomers. A lot of towns have local astronomy clubs and stargazing parties. This way you can try different types of telescopes before buying anything!
Sorry, it's been a few days. Thank you so much for your thorough answer! You answered perfectly; I understood everything clearly. In fact, I'm even more excited now! Though I might have to wait a bit more until I have enough money for equipment of fair quality. Actually last time I wrote I was in fact searching for local astronomy clubs, so maybe I will check it out one day - I love to talk/write about stuff like this. The sky is so fascinating and mysterious I want to do deep sky (ofc. also planets though), so it sounds like a reflector is the thing I'm looking for. Thanks again for explaining all this to me, I really appreciate it.