Astro photography

I’m still a complete beginner at astrophotography. I started by holding my Nikon Coolpix 4500 to the Dob’s eyepiece and getting recognisable images of the moon and Mars. I soon invested in some proper afocal adapters: a “SuperView 40” Plössl eyepiece from Teleskop Service, which has a T-thread, and a ScopeTronix 14mm widefield eyepiece, which has a 28mm thread that couples directly to the Nikon. I also tried the ScopeTronix “Digi-T” adapters with some eyepieces, but the results were less satisfying. Some of my more recently purchased eyepieces (such as the Baader Hyperions and Pentax XW) also have threads which can be coupled to the Coolpix via a step ring. I’ve done some interesting comparisons of these in daylight and photographing the Moon. I’ve also experimented with the Coolpix’s undocumented “raw” mode.

In mid 2006 I decided that DSLR cameras were now cheap enough that it was time for me to get one. I bought a Canon EOS 350d with the intention of doing some “prime focus” astrophotography once winter’s dark nights arrive. Meanwhile, I’ve been getting the kit together. As well as the necessary adaptors to attach the camera to a scope, I’ve made a remote control that also allows computer control of the camera shutter with my Palm Vx PDA. I’ve not yet used the DSLR under the stars, but have done some daylight tests with my three refractors.

So, what about some pictures? The combination of English weather and full time work means I don’t get as many opportunities as I’d like to pursue astro photography (which is why I’ve bought cameras that also have daytime use) so there isn’t much to show yet. I have a few pages of recent photos, Moon photos, Mercury photos and Venus photos, including the June 2004 transit.