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Complete Guide to Astrophotography

Complete Guide to Astrophotography

The Complete Guide to Astrophotography 2019

The night sky is teeming with spectacular sights just waiting to be imaged, but where do you begin? The Complete Guide to Astrophotography has the answer. Inside you'll find a course like no other - all the techniques and tutorials you need to progress from simple smartphone imaging to fully autoguided deep-sky shots, plus in-depth processing advice.

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited
$12.95(Incl. tax)

in this issue

1 min.

My first astrophoto was a shot of the constellation of Orion with a DSLR camera on a tripod. It was a little out of focus but still gives me a great sense of pride. The thrill of capturing that shot is something I’ll never forget. But as proud as I was of my first astro image, I soon began to wonder how it could be improved. What could I do to increase the sharpness of the stars, how could I get my photos to show the orange-red colour of Betelgeuse and capture more detail in Orion’s Sword? Trying to answer those questions led to a long period of pestering fellow astrophotographers for advice, reading up on the subject in books and magazines, and poring over catalogues to find more capable equipment.…

1 min.

Capturing the night sky for posterity is a gripping passion and thanks to digital technology it’s one that has never been easier. That said, it still poses a challenge. The days of wet processing may be long gone, but now there are new camera functions to uncover and much to consider when creating an imaging setup. To make things easier, we’ve split the astrophotography section of this special edition into chapters. We begin with nightscapes – images that are similar to the views of the constellations and the Milky Way that you would see with the naked eye. From there we head out into the Solar System, to the Moon, the Sun and the planets, and finally beyond the influence of our star and into the realm of deep-sky objects,…

1 min.

A good place to start with astrophotography is by taking ‘nightscapes’ – wide-field, panoramic images of the heavens encompassing bright stars and the Moon, and perhaps set against a horizon. Nightscapes are particularly good when that great sweep of stars that makes up our own Galaxy, the Milky Way, takes centre stage. Constellations also make great subjects in panoramas. Your astrophotos can also reveal the movement of Earth by capturing star trails and tracking the changing positions of the planets over time. You don’t even have to look beyond Earth’s atmosphere as there are meteor showers to watch out for and, depending on the time of year, ethereal noctilucent clouds or the shimmering greens and reds of the striking aurora borealis. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN 10 Equipment We walk you through the kit you’ll…

1 min.
which dslr lens?

There are several DSLR lenses that are useful for astrophotography. Standard DSLR zoom lenses have maximum focal lengths of 50-70mm and can capture the main constellations, brighter sections of the Milky Way and detail within aurorae. To capture the larger constellations or large auroral displays, a wide-angle lens with a focal length of 16-28mm is needed. DSLRs also have high ISO settings compared to film cameras, and you can use these with the higher magnification of 100-500mm focal-length lenses to capture bright stars in asterisms or clusters. If you can go for fixed-focal-length lenses, all the better: they can be easier to focus than zoom lenses and often have wider aperture settings, enabling more light to get to the sensor.…

3 min.

Many of us use a compact camera or smartphone to take everyday pictures, so why not turn them on the night sky? Smartphones can be used for bright twilight subjects such as planetary conjunctions and there are plenty of apps available to help you get the most out of this sort of photography. Today’s compacts, on the other hand, can take reasonable images in low-light conditions and some even have manual modes that let you take full control of the camera’s functions. The ability to adjust some camera settings for yourself will make for much improved images. A good example is the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mk III compact. It lets you keep the camera’s shutter open to the starlight for up to 30 seconds and its 24.2-megapixel sensor allows for…

1 min.
tech talk:

Aperture (f/number) This is the diameter of the lens that allows light to reach the imaging chip. The amount of light let in can be increased or reduced with an iris in the lens – this determines the f/number. A low f/number (such as f/1.8) gives a wider aperture and lets more light in. Sensitivity (ISO) The ISO is an international standard for the sensitivity of the chip in digital cameras. Setting this to a low value like 100 gives high-quality images that need more light; high values like 3,200 let you photograph faint targets, but with a decrease in quality. Exposure (Shutter speed) The shutter speed determines how long the imaging chip is exposed to light. The slower the shutter speed, the longer the exposure and the more light strikes the chip. Many cameras…