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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:03 pm
Posts: 57
Location: Somerset,England
[EDIT - SPLIT FROM M42 GALLERY THREAD]


These shots are so cool, i'd like to try taking some shots like this however I have no idea where to point my 55-250mm lens, would that focal length even pick it up ? My Astronomy knowledge is very limited aswell being that I only recognize the Plough and Orions belt :oops:

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:48 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
With many short exposures and your lens you can surely take a nice photograph of M42!

Without any tracking options you can expect to get this sort of images: http://forum.belgiumdigital.com/f40/andromeda-2de-keer-and-orion-nevel-190353.html

Have a read at that site (Google translater?).

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Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:27 pm
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Location: Bristol, UK
Hi Tom,

You certainly dont need any expensive kit to start out in Astrophotography (AP). What you have already will get you going.

The biggest issue with AP is the Earths rotation and counteracting that. There are lots of ways for this to be done from expensive tracking mounts right down to Barn doors. I would suggest googling Barn door tracker, they are simple to make and can allow longer exposures through manual tracking.

M42 is a bright target so you can get away with short expsures, other object require linger exposures.

THe key is to take lots and stack.

Have a look at Deep Sky Stacker - free stacking software. To help you learn your way through the night sky get hold of a good planetarium or download Stellarium, which is also free.

Any other questions let us know.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:03 pm
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Location: Somerset,England
So stacking is a process of "lightening/highlighting" the sky by creating a composite of mutliple images ? What sort of exposure time and number of shots would you generally take ? Im asuming I'd use a low f-stop and higher iso than usual to minimise the appearence of the stars moving ?

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:46 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:27 pm
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Tom, there is a very large learning curve getting into Astrophotography. I would suggest searching the internet and you'll find lots of information.

Basically, you want to gather as much light as possible as the objects are dim. The easiest way to do this is to take many shorter exposures and combine them. There is something called signal to noise ratio (google that) which we want to improve by taking lots of exposures.

On the brighter objects such as M42 you can get away with 30 sec, providing you can achieve this without tracking. Aperture is key for AP so the larger the aperture the better for light gathering. Don't get this confused with being able to minimise stars moving. THe only thing aperture is going to do is allow you capture more light in less time. As I said above a lot of objects are very dim and require tens of minutes of exposure as a minimum, going all the way up to hours, in order to bring out detail.

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