Astrophotography First Attempts

Jun 12, 2017 • David Moulton

The weather has finally gotten warm enough, and the sky clear enough to try some astrophotography with all the stuff I bought over the winter.

I spent time learning how to get a fairly good polar alignment. I still have work to do on that, but it’s getting better.

I was able during April and May to get out on a few nights and take some shots. I did not yet at that time have a guide scope, so I didn’t have much luck with exposures of more than about 30 seconds. Here are a few examples:


M51 - Taken in early April

This one worked better than I thought it would. I think the problems in this photo are mostly in the post processing. I have since learned how to process things a little better. Here is the photo after I revisted it and reprocessed.


This is a lesson to go back and revisit photos already taken when you learn better techniques for post processing.

I’ve also tried a little planetary photography, namely Jupiter. Saturn will have his turn, but for now it’s the big guy. This is my best attempt at Jupiter so far. Not too bad for a beginner if I do say so myself.


That is about 20 stacked photos. I’ve not been able to capture anything better than that so far. Might try again tonight!

Here is my current setup, in my back yard.

My Setup

This includes:

  • C9.25 on a CGEM mount
  • Celestron 70mm travelscope
  • ASO120MC-S guide camera
  • Unmodified Canon T6i

I’m pleased with the initial results from this setup. Most advice to people new to astrophotography is to purchase a small APO refractor and start there. This is good advice, and will serve most everyone well. For me, I had most of the equipment already to start using my current telescope, so it seemed like the best course of action to go with what I had. I will eventually purchase a refractor to shoot with.