Friday, December 3, 2010

Orion Twin Star Computerized Reflector Telescope - Astrophotography For Beginners

Orion Twin Star Computerized Reflector Telescope

Mount Is Computerized To Find Objects

This telescope is excellent and has many positive reviews.  If you are looking for a computerized mount and scope, you cannot go wrong here.  As a beginner or intermediate Astronomer, you'll find this scope system to be easy to learn and affordable.

The mount can handle a low end photography package such as a 35mm Film SLR or a CDD Digital Camera easily.  Pricing is excellent through  Click on the image to shop and compare.

Priced at: $ 369.95    Check an Article about how reflectors work

Article on Astrophotography and Astronomy appears below.  Reviews are included for your consideration.  Click on "Read more" below:

    Clearly, most of us are looking for ways to spend real quality time with family and friends.  We probably think of Astronomy as a hobby, but doubt it will keep the interest of our children, or that it is complicated and boring.  Instead you will find it to be exceptionally rewarding, educational and interesting to share and learn with your children and friends.

   As a beginner or intermediate astronomer, you might think astrophotography is complicated.  For the most part it is not, you can use different methods to photograph the heavens without overly expensive telescopes and accessories.  Making good economical choices will allow a level of participation that puts beautiful celestial photographs in the family scrapbook.  The goal of this article is to promote the hobby of astral-photography as a family concept.

As a young child, my father purchased a 3" Refractor Telescope in order to teach and share with his children.  There were six of us, younger than me, but all were drawn to the telescope the first day it was placed in the backyard.  We learned where all the planets were, the major star clusters, nebulae, and the location of many constellations.  To 'pick' our interest more, we were taken on trips to the desert and mountains, just to bring the telescope and spend time together.  We had fire-rings, fishing, good outdoor cooking and astronomy at night.
Because it was dark and cold in the desert and mountains, it was best for viewing, both with the naked eye and our telescope.

 These trips together opened a whole new realm for us to enjoy, and that enjoyment came from closer interpersonal relationships with each other, and the new beauty we saw in the celestial night sky.  In order to make our experience with astronomy more enjoyable and keep us interested, dad bought a 35mm Minolta SRT 101(b) Camera (1967 ), and went on to teach us 'Piggyback' photography in the deserts and mountains.  Because there is less ambient light from the inner-city, general astronomy and photography in these areas brought incredible images before our camera and telescope.

Piggyback Astrophotography Basics: An Easy and Economical Option

There is nothing as seductive as an astronomical image of the black night sky filled with stars and colorful glowing interstellar gases and nebulae.  These types of images are not really available without photography.  The piggyback method allows that you attach a camera and telephoto lens to the equatorial mount.  There are affordable mounts available through online shopping.  Just 'Google' it and you will find many choices.  Some mounts allow you to attach the camera to the telescope tube, and others to the mount itself.  I am partial to mounting on the telescopes equatorial mount.  I also prefer a swivel type mount for the camera itself.  Mounting on the telescopes equatorial mount prevents need to offset camera weight by resetting the balance weight, and cuts down on vibration when you set and trip your shutter manually.

The best and easiest photographs are taken with an old fashioned film camera such as my father had purchased.  These can be bought through  E-Bay and other online sources.  Look for an SLR type Camera, either of the following will do: Minolta SRT 101(b), Pentax K1000, Canon F-1, Nikon F2, or an Olympus OM-1.  You can purchase some of them in used camera stores.  These are all 35mm cameras that allow you to attach additional lenses, and I would suggest a 50mm that will give you 10.5° x 15.8° of sky coverage, which is a good field of view for a timed exposure celestial image.  You will also need an 'MC Type Bayonet Mount’ for different lens attachments.

Film type is another consideration, long exposure times of 5-20 minutes pick up many stars and an undesirable green cast to the picture.  Some films also fail to catch the red glow in nebulas and Galaxies like the Milky Way.  This is because some film manufacturers intentionally block the films red sensitivity to make it more suitable for taking normal family photographs.  We've all heard about the 'red eye' effect, and this is intended to lessen the effect.  Since 2005, two color films became available that are good for Piggyback shooting, they are slide films such as: Kodak's Ectachrome E200 Pro, and Fuji's Provia 400F.  These are great films to use in open panorama piggyback photography.

You should also consider buying a computerized telescope mount that offers tracking of the altitude and azimuth during photography.  Some of these telescopes and mounts can be had for under $500.00.  The Celestron and Orion brands offer good scopes with computer tracking features.  This is important if you intend to take photos using long exposure times.  Five to twenty minutes of open shutter exposure causes star and planet trailing, and this ruins your photographs.  Short exposures can be taken either instantly (while snapping the shutter), or progressively for short periods while controlling the telescope by hand.  There is a fine art to controlling and photographing by hand, but it is and can be done.

Note:  There is allot of information about astrophotography available.  The specifics should be checked, especially if you are new to photography itself.  Much quick learning can be had online for no cost whatsoever.  Another option is to get involved in an astronomy club.  You and the children can develop new friendships and learn through sharing with others.  The photography aspect of this hobby is the best part.  In order to enjoy it to the fullest, capturing the astonishing images you see, and some you can't, is the beauty of the hobby.  Specific technical teachings are outside the scope of this article.

Batteries are a consideration for the camera.  If you have a camera brand with metering circuitry, you should buy additional batteries.  Most, if not all SLT (single lens reflex) cameras have what is called 'spot or center weighted' metering.  The metering device itself takes batteries; commonly the Minolta SRT uses 1.35v PX625 mercury batteries.  Your camera of choice may take a different type.  Just make sure you don't run out of battery power.
Once you have fitted your camera mount to the Equatorial Mount and purchased the items discussed, it's time to go on a trip to the mountains or desert for a photo shoot.

Load up the family, bring a few friends and go have some real fun.  Don’t leave out the other things you do as a family on such outdoor expeditions.  I'm sure the kids will be thrilled about this trip and fall in love with astronomy.  It is special just to get out into the mountains or desert with them.  They will remember family trips like these for the rest of their lives.  It creates bonds through memories that last forever.

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