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Why Astrophotography

Hidden in plain sight

Since childhood, I was fascinated by space. One Christmas I got a telescope from my parents, that same night I was looking through the big rooftop window in my room and found Saturn. I could barely make out the rings but I still remember that feeling: “It is real! It is all out there and I can see it!”

For many years I have been a pure visual observer of the night sky. I have a 10′ Dobson to aid me. Actually I am not much of a Photographer, but one night after reading something online about Astrophotography I took my camera outside. I took some long exposure shots of what I thought would be the Milkyway.

I was stunned. I was blown away. I live in a quite light-polluted area. With the naked eye, I could only make out some very very faint streaks at the night sky. But my Camera? wow.

One of my first Images of the Milkyway. Sony Nex6 14mm, single Image, no flats (obviously).
What you see in the lower right corner is a ton of light pollution. And I think I played around too much in the image editing software 😉
Endless possibilities – Endless) challenges

I quickly realized that Astrophotography is an extremely wide field and I had just scratched the surface!
There is a lot of equipment, software, and knowledge out there I had absolutely no idea about. (I love to learn new stuff especially if it is techy)

I heard and read about: Motorized mounts, auto guiders, and guide scopes, polar scopes, Bahtinov masks, filters, stacking, stretching, motorized focusers, aperture (remember I was by no means a Photographer)… camera control software for Pc and many more…

But I realized at the same time none of these things are mandatory. I could learn and experiment step by step. Include them one by one. The only thing I needed was the will to invest time (yes and later Money) and my camera (I didn’t even own a Tripod, I borrowed one from time to time from my father, you can’t even imagine what kind of creativity I developed to replace the tripod when it was not here).

So is started top play around:

Milkyway above my House, just an experiment
Milkyway from my backyard. multiple pictures stacked- experimenting with tone mapping in postprocessing

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