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During the first three years of my astronomy hobby, I primarily observed through the eyepiece.  Then I took on the challenge of astrophotography.  I found that it was a very difficult to obtain deep sky images through the telescope optics.  So I focused (pardon the pun) on piggyback astrophotography where the camera uses a 50 millimeter (mm) to 200 mm lens and is mounted to the outside of the telescope.  This way the tracking errors are not as critical to the image as the telescope moves across the sky.

The first camera that I used was a fully manual Pentax K-1000 single lens reflex (SLR).  But it had its limitations, mainly that the focusing screen was not upgradable.  I then went to a Olympus OM-1 SLR, which I could replace the focusing screen to obtain precise focus of an image.  With both cameras I used 35 mm color slide and color print films which ranged anywhere from 100 ASA to 3200 ASA film speeds.  I used an off-axis guider unit between the camera and the telescope.  This off-axis guider allows the user to see a small area of the image with a small mirror directed to a guiding eyepiece. But I was required to hand guide the telescope with my eye on the eyepiece and my hand on a drive controller.  It was very boring to sit at the controls in the cold for one to two hours manually guiding the telescope.  It was really disappointing when the final images from the telescope and camera revealed that I wasn't a good guider.

But when I bought the Celestron C-11 telescope I learned more techniques to improve my images.  To learn more about my hardware and software check out the Equipment Page

Below is a table of the type of objects that I have imaged or plan to image.  You can click on either of the first two columns to take you to that area.  And from there you can select individual objects which will give you even more detailed information on how I imaged that object.

 

Galaxies

Images of distant galaxies which range from 2 million to over 40 million light years in distance from our home planet.

Clusters of Stars

As their name implies, they are ball-shaped.  In the largest globulars there are estimated to be over a million stars, and the stars in globular clusters are among the oldest in our Galaxy.

 Nebulas

There are numerous types of Nebula, most are gas and dust in the spiral arms of our Galaxy.  Mostly birthplaces of stars.  However, some Nebulas are not the stars birthplaces at all but rather their deathbeds.

Supernova Remenants

The most massive stars die in a altogether more spectacular way.  They have the shortest lives and then erupt catastrophically, spouting their remains into space at high speed.

Star Groups

Double stars of numerous colors including reds,greens, blues and orange, Stars are not just white like in the movies. 

Moon & Planets

Some of our closest neighbors are great to observe and to photograph.  I spent many an hour just looking through the telescope at the planets and moon from my home.

Comets

These elusive buggers are great to see when they pop into view.  However, you need to stay up to date with the comet hunters discoveries to be ready to view them.

Wide-Field Images

This was the best way for me to start doing beginning astrophotography.  After you see what the camera sees in 30 minutes you realize theres a lot out there that our eyes don't see.

All the images in this site are Copyright 1999-2012 by Kevin Hearst.
Commercial use of these images without the prior written consent or knowledge of the author is strictly prohibited.