Difference between DSLR and CCD astrophotography

The difference between DSLR and CCD astrophotography cameras is pretty immense. Most people when searching for astrophotography equipment for beginners choose DSLR astrophotography because they either already have one or they are far cheaper to start with. When you go from DSLR astrophotography to a monochrome CCD you lose live view, but gain chip cooling. You lose color but gain sensitivity. You can lose pixels but gain resolution. Wait a minute! How can you gain resolution if you lose pixels? Easy, you no longer have the Bayer matrix turning every four pixels into one so your monochrome CCD in effect… Continue reading

Total Lunar Eclipse 04/15/14

Last night I was able to not only view, but image a total lunar eclipse. There are a lot more lunar eclipses than there are solar for us to view. That doesn’t make them any less amazing. The weather cooperated wonderfully as a front blew through earlier in the day making sure that the air was extremely clear, although cold. As the clock passed 1:30am the shadow on the moon started to grow. At first it was so dim you really didn’t even notice it. It took me looking at the moon through binoculars and at the images from two… Continue reading

Getting Started: Budget Astrophotography released

Here it is, Getting Started: Budget Astrophotography, finally! After almost a year the astrophotography book tons of people suggested I write is done and I had an absolute blast making it happen. Sure it was a lot of work, but it was also a ton of fun testing out theories and building projects. After all, if I can’t make sure it works I certainly don’t want to suggest you try it. Inside you will find a ton of information including a complete image processing walkthrough using only freely available software, tons of do it yourself projects and much more. If… Continue reading

ATIK 383L Mono CCD, my new camera

I recently purchased an ATIK 383L Mono CCD to branch out into mono imaging. I have been using my Nikon D7000 DSLR as my primary imaging camera for years but recently decided that it was time to make the step up to the big leagues and do some serious narrowband imaging. After looking around for a while I decided that the ATIK 383L Mono CCD Camera with Kodak KAF8300, 3362H x 2504V Sensor, 5.40um Pixels, USB 2.0, Thermoelectric Cooling available on amazon would make an excellent camera to start with. At 8 Mega Pixels it has the resolution I wanted… Continue reading

Young moon, a slim waxing crescent

I have no idea what has me so fascinated by imaging a young moon (taking an image of the moon when only a very small slice of it is lit, a slim waxing crescent or ‘young moon phase’). Once when I saw someone else’s image it just really blew me away. Unfortunately where I am and where I shoot it is very difficult because of trees and light pollution. Here is a young moon I managed to get on January 3rd which I was pretty impressed with. Sure, I would love to go younger but I was almost shooting in… Continue reading

Zhumell Z8 Dobsonian Review, not all dobs are equal

After purchasing my new Zhumell Z8 Dobsonian I thought I would share some information on it. In doing research for my upcoming book “Getting Started: Budget Astrophotography” I was in need of an 8″ Dobsonian telescope. Lots of people have this type of telescope so it is absolutely one that needed to be discussed in the book. Like most people, I wanted the best scope for the best deal I could get and I had heard a lot about Zhumell Dobsonian telescopes, that led me to Hayneedle. If you are curious about the design of the Dobsonian, read more at… Continue reading

Messier Astrophotography Reference released

The Messier Astrophotography Reference is a little surprise for you, as it was pretty much an unexpected book! When I was starting out in astrophotography I was constantly hunting for images that would give me a good idea of what I would see in my images. The problem was that I was in a middle area where most of the images were either far too nice looking to compare to mine, or far too simple. Even when I found a few, they had not done all of the Messier objects so I really could not do more than a few… Continue reading