Astrophotography – Some objects for beginners

Beginning with astrophotography can be a bit frustrating. You bought all the equipment and now you want to see some results. Now you are out there in the field. It is already getting dark and cold and you still have to get all the cables right… You still have to do the mount alignment and then you face some IT problems… When you fixed all that and you focused the camera, it is probably already dark and it is time to move the telescope to the object of desire.

You catch the first frame and… nothing but a couple of dots. You increase the exposure time but all you get are a few more and brighter dots. Your fingers are getting already stiff and you begin to ask yourself what you are actually doing out here. Your wife is at home on the warm and cosy sofa drinking a delicious cup of tea…. welcome to the world of astrophotography!

In this little article I want to present a few sky objects which are relatively easy to locate because they are so bright. This will usually help to locate the object and center it in the telescope. Even with small exposure times you already get astonishing results.

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An article from in the “Dark Sky Travels Magazine”!

Recently Dark Sky Travels Magazine contacted me and asked if they could publish one of my blog articles in their magazine. The article describes how one can use DeepSkyStacker to stack conventional DSLR camera RGB frames. Of course I didn’t say no and in the end it just happened and I saw my article on page 42/43 in Issue 4 of the DarkSkyTravels magazine!

I am very happy about that opportunity and the chance to share my experience this way.

Thanks and clear skies!

Trifid nebula M20 & open cluster M21 from La Palma

LocationLa Palma / Spain
ObjectTrifid nebula (M20) & open cluster M21
Guidingyes, QHY5-II Mono via OAG
Barlow lensnone
Luminance8x 600s, bin: 1x1
Red7x 150s, bin: 2x2
Green7x 150s, bin: 2x2
Blue7x 150s, bin: 2x2
Total exposure~2h12m

Tonight I decided to image the Trifid nebula (M20)
which is quite “close” to the Lagoon nebula M8 from my last session. The seeing tonight was around ~2.4″ which could have been better – but certainly it was still sufficient.

Back in 2013 I already imaged the Trifid nebula with the same equipment but from Boeblingen. It is interesting to see the difference here.

For post-processing I used the free software DeepSkyStacker and GIMP. The full resolution images is available here.

Clear skies!

Sunset at Roque de Los Muchachos

After hiking some hours on the Caldera on La Palma we passed by at the Roque de Los Muchachos on our way back down. We arrived there at the right moment – right before the sunset 🙂 The photos have been taken with a Fujifilm X-T1 camera.

Clear skies!

Last updated: June 16, 2022 at 13:16 pm