Celestron 8" Telescope Prime Focus Astrophotography
Setup Circa 1995 - Photograph by Jefferey R. Charles
Modern equipment available to the amateur has streamlined these tasks immensely. With accurate alignment provided by the newer amateur scopes and mounts, one need not even SEE the object. If you have selected an object from the telescope's large library (THOUSANDS of choices), you can be sure the mount has slewed to the correct location. Cameras for astrophotography have kept pace too. No more struggling with accurate focus, loading film, changing filters, monitoring shutter time, etc.
Let's take a look at how an image was acquired in the "old" days, perhaps circa 1995. Start with careful set-up and accurate polar alignment of the telescope. Focus on an available star (sometimes a marathon of frustration in itself!). Acquire the object to be photographed in the field of view, assuming it can be seen (otherwise, just how good are your setting circles?). Find a guide star nearby, bright enough to do the job and center the guiding optics on it. Take a deep breath to let all vibration settle down, then open the shutter with the cable release. Now just, er, relax! Only an hour or so of awkward close monitoring of the guide star with tiring eyes, cross-hairs, correcting motors and joystick...
|Modern Remote Robotic Telescope|
Yep, there is a bit of nostalgic romance when doing things the old way. But this Old Dog likes the best of both worlds. I still like to get out under the night sky, but I now leave the cold temps and no-sleep marathon sessions to iTelescope's New Tricks, using world class gear.
Remote control and remote imaging is here to stay, and the results stand for themselves.