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Astrophotography -   When Things Go Wrong

We have all produced some, perhaps many, bad images. The images on this web site might give the false impression that it is easy or that only very accomplished if not professional astrophotographers can produce such images. That is not true. It is true that most of us have learned many things the hard way but experience and "how to" can be shared. This page provides actual images taken by members of the club which show common errors that most of us have made and overcome. We continue to make some of these errors but modern digital photography yields immediate results and the ability to try again. These examples are provided to let you identify a problem you may be experiencing and provide some basic hints to correct or avoid the problem. Under each image we have provided the name (email contact) of a club member who is willing to mentor you on the problem and how to correct or avoid it.






Alt-Azimuth Mount Field Rotation



Alt-Azimuth Mount Field Rotation







Bumped the Mount



Bumped the Mount







Excessive Thermal Noise



Excessive Thermal Noise




No Filter



No Filter

Image of M-45 the Pleiades taken with a simple achromatic or doublet refractor. Though visually stunning through the same telescope, the more sensitive sensors of a DSLR will quickly reveal that a doublet lens is not fully color corrected, giving the stars a multi-color psychedelic appearance. Adding an astronomical narrow band pass filter would have minimized that problem, but not fully. This is not a problem, however, with a true apochromatic triplet or quadruplet lens refractor, and any SCT, Newtonian reflector and quality camera lenses, where very little if any residual colors around such astronomical objects is evident.

Contributed by . . . Klaus Brasch


Jupiter Incursion



Jupiter Incursion

This was a first or 'framing' shot of the Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392). The colorful rainbow effect was produce by Jupiter, a very bright celestial object, being slightly off axis and out of the telescope's field of view. The issue was resolved by installing a dew shield on the scope to block or prevent the light from Jupiter striking the optical coatings on the forward corrector plate. Equipment" 10" Meade f/6.3 Schmidtt Cassegrain Telescope, Canon Rebel XTi (DSLR) camera.


Out of Focus



Out of Focus




Out of Focus - Lunar



Out of Focus - Lunar




Over Exposed



Over Exposed




Light Polluted Skies



Light Polluted Skies

Image of the Rosette Nebula taken under heavily light polluted skies. The overall yellow hew on the image is due to various light sources in and around any urban setting, even in Flagstaff where low pressure sodium street lighting is common. Although image processing can reduce such effects, a narrow band pass filter that excludes most of the offending wavelengths, would be far more effective and produce a higher contrast and better color balanced image. Check Nebulae Gallery 4 in the Photo section of our website for an image of the Rosette taken with a similar telescope and an IDAS LPS-V4 narrow band pass filter.

Contributed by . . . Klaus Brasch


Target Off Center



Target Off Center




Under Exposed



Under Exposed











The following was retrieved from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrophotography

on February 28, 2016

Astrophotography

"Astrophotography is a specialized type of photography for recording images of astronomical objects and large areas of the night sky. The first photograph of an astronomical object (the Moon) was taken in 1840, but it was not until the late 19th century that advances in technology allowed for detailed stellar photography. Besides being able to record the details of extended objects such as the Moon, Sun, and planets, astrophotography has the ability to image objects invisible to the human eye such as dim stars, nebulae, and galaxies. This is done by long time exposure since both film and digital cameras can accumulate and sum light photons over these long periods of time. Photography revolutionized the field of professional astronomical research, with long time exposures recording hundreds of thousands of new stars and nebulae that were invisible to the human eye, leading to specialized and ever larger optical telescopes that were essentially big cameras designed to collect light to be recorded on film. Direct astrophotography had an early role in sky surveys and star classification but over time it has given way to more sophisticated equipment and techniques designed for specific fields of scientific research, with film (and later astronomical CCD cameras) becoming just one of many forms of sensor.

Astrophotography is a large sub-discipline in amateur astronomy where it is usually used to record aesthetically pleasing images, rather than for scientific research, with a whole range of equipment and techniques dedicated to the activity."

The license terms of this written work from Wikipedia may be found at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/











Astrophotography on the CAS Website


Astrophotography on the Web






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