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.
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.
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
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.