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Next Stargazing Feb 18th
Next Stargazing Feb 18th

Tutorials

  • Aligning a Computerized Telescope for Imaging

    Aligning a Computerized Telescope for Imaging

    Note: For specific instructions on aligning various models of computerized telescopes, see the Aligning a Computerized Telescope section of theTelescope Basics site. Below are general recommendations for aligning for CCD imaging. Most computerized or goto telescopes need to be aligned...

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  • Choosing a Target

    When you first start imaging, you will probably want to take pictures of the objects you are familiar with from visual observing. This will allow you to see your favorite objects in spectacular new detail. Eventually, you might also want...

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  • Finding Celestial Objects

    Finding Celestial Objects

    Computerized telescopes are becoming increasingly popular. These telescopes make finding celestial objects extremely easy. However, there are still many non-computerized scopes out there, and even for users of goto scopes there are some tricks necessary for getting the exact picture...

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  • Capturing Images

    Capturing Images

    The telescope is now focused and we've determined how to find and center a target. Now the fun part! The following section walks you through the basics of taking basic exposures in black and white (the next section covers color)....

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  • Color Imaging

    Color Imaging

    It is recommended that you spend some time taking black and white exposures to learn the basics of focusing, finding, and capturing images. Once you have these techniques down you are ready to start taking images in full color! For...

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  • Capturing Images with a Webcam

    Taking pictures with a webcam can be one of the easiest ways to get into astronomical imaging, and it can yield incredible results. Since webcams are used to image the moon and planets, factors such as light pollution and tracking...

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  • Focusing

    Focusing

    Accurate focus is critical to obtaining high-quality CCD images. One of the many advantages of CCD imaging over film astrophotography is that achieving focus is much easier with a CCD camera. However, there are still some tricks to getting a...

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  • Guiding Tips

    Using a self-guiding CCD camera, the Track & Accumulate function, or a CCD autoguider, involves acquiring a guide star and then calibrating the autoguider in order to make corrections for slight tracking errors. Below are some tips for more easily...

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  • Exposure Times

    Determining the proper exposure time is as much an art as a science. For deep sky imaging, suffice to say that longer is always better, at least until light pollution starts to overwhelm the image. From a very dark location,...

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  • Assembling the Telescope

    Since there are different requirements for imaging than for visual observation, the setup of your telescope will likely be slightly different for CCD imaging than you may be used to for visual observing. Everything must be more precise when it...

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  • Balancing for Imaging

    Balancing for Imaging

    Properly balancing your telescope is one of the most important steps in setting up to take CCD images. Improper balance is also one of the biggest sources of problems for imagers. Taking some extra time to understand the concepts behind...

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  • Polar Aligning your Mount for Imaging

    Polar Aligning your Mount for Imaging

    Accurate polar alignment is critical for CCD imaging. Field rotation, a trailing of stars near the edges of an image, can result from improper polar alignment. Even short exposures such as planetary images can benefit from good polar alignment as...

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