Like many people I had always been interested in the amazing pictures of space. However I didn’t have access to a telescope let alone the giant research telescopes used to make such pictures. At least this was what I believed for a very long time. Today a beginner astrophotographer can get started relatively easily. Thanks to places like CloudyNights with welcoming communities, DSLRs, and telescopes themselves becoming much more obtainable.

Canon T7i 60s @ 1600 ISO/ WO ZenithStar 61 / SkyGuider Pro

…Polar Alignment

This was a single frame from my camera. If you zoom in on the image you’ll notice all my stars are shifting slightly. This was due to a poor polar alignment on my part. Still this shows you what can be achieved relatively easily as this was the first picture I ever took.. With a bit of practice you’ll be shooting pretty round stars in no time.

Once I got my hands on my first telescope I knew I was going to be hooked. The weather was getting cold but there was no way I was going to let that deter me. So I quickly did my best to setup a mobile command center. I had my mount and telescope ready to go well before the sun went down.

Mobile Cart Generation One

While this wasn’t the best setup I’ve ever come up with it sure did work. Setup/break down took no time at all! I try not to waste things if I can as you see from the recycled Amazon box and kids cart.

As the nights went on I knew I wanted a computerized mount as I am a total geek. Being slightly sleep deprived one night I took the plunge and started ordering on amazon. Everyday I waited anxiously for my packages to arrived. As I waited I began reading about all the cool other ways I could computerize my experience as well. However after shelling out what I felt was quite a bit I couldn’t afford many of the items. I was pretty sure I could build them though! So once again I took to amazon on a sleepless night and ordered a few Arduino’s and blank PCBs.

The Arduinos ended up arriving before my new mount. So I quickly got to work with my bread board planning what all I wanted my Frank-N-Duino to do. During this I ended up crafting myself an AllSkyCam, Arduino Weather Station, Arduino Focuser, and a few other side projects. Once the mount arrived all bets were off and I was back outside. As such the mobile cart saw a few upgrades

Mobile Cart Generation Two

Since then I’ve been lucky enough to visit McDonald’s Observatory and image from there. I also got to take part in their 82″ and 107″ Special Viewing Nights. They were amazing and I recommend them anyone in range of visiting or who loves astronomy.