The Best Astrophotography Accessories
Complete your dream astro toolbox with this list of the best astrophotography accessories recommended by experts at OPT! Learn why these tools help improve your images and experience. Stock up for a stress-free night under the stars.
Are you new to the hobby? Check out our guide on how to get started in astrophotography for beginners with tips and techniques for your success. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Top Astrophotography Accessories
- Red light
- Cable management tools
- Portable power
- Narrowband filters
- Collimation tools
- PoleMaster (polar alignment tool)
- Finder scope
- Focal reducers
- Vibration suppression pads
- Bahtinov mask
- Laser bracket
- Dew heaters
- Cleaning kits
A Red Light Headlamp
To get the best images, many astronomers travel to dark sky sites. Using a red light headlamp gives you the advantage of being hands-free to set up your gear and keep your dark-adapted night sight. The red light allows you to see in the dark without ruining your adapting "night vision."
Cable Management Tools
Building the perfect setup will include many accessories with cables of their own. Astrophotography tools like the ASIair Pro will help solve the cables getting mixed up from different accessories and reduce cable snags, which can damage your gear. The tools like the Pegasus Astro Pocket Powerbox and the PrimaLuceLab Eagle Core, provides power outlets to connect and control your gear easily. Say good-bye to beautiful setups hidden under cables!
While out at dark sites, power sources are seldom. Power packs can charge your electronic devices for hours. The Celestron Power Tank is popular for its lightweight design, making it portable for travel, as well as engineered with Lithium making it a great tool to guarantee hours of equipment use.
While accessories for Milky Way photography are similar to imaging deep space like the use of filters, narrowband filters produce more powerful results because they help collect the specific wavelengths of light from deep space. The Radian Triad Filter is one of the most popular filters because it has proven time and time again to capture stunning images of the cosmos in light-polluted areas.
If your scope uses mirrors, like reflectors, collimation tools will be crucial for time-saving and for precise focus. Ensuring your mirrors are properly aligned is an essential step if you want to get good images of the night sky. If you're traveling to another location, it's very common that your equipment might need to be realigned when you set up. Make sure you have a collimation tool that fits your scope handy.
The QHY Polemaster eliminates the frustrating aspects that can happen during polar alignment. Save time with this highly sensitive camera! You can start polar aligning before the night sky becomes truly dark with its high sensitivity and achieve perfect pinpoint polar alignment under 5 mins.
Improve the tracking of your equipment with an autoguiding setup! A guide scope like the TPO UltraWide Guide Scope will help you achieve pinpoint stars throughout your imaging sessions. Autoguiding is possible by using a separate camera (guide camera) and attaching it to the guidescope, then while using software, it can track a star (known as a guide star) and send corrective commands to the mount ensuring the star does not drift.
The Telrad Finderscope makes a great astrophotography accessory because of its red circle view. The Telrad's red circle view makes it easy to compare to star charts and find objects. For example, a galaxy located 4 degrees southeast of a star becomes simple to locate because your visual reference points are clearly defined.
Focal reducers shorten the focal length and speed up the focal ratio of a telescope giving you brighter and wider views of the universe.
Vibration Suppression Pads
Keep your telescope stable during windy conditions or any unforeseen bumps to your telescope. When there is unwanted shaking to your telescope it can ruin your long nights of imaging. The Celestron Vibration Suppression Pads fit between the bottom of the tripod legs and the ground. They work on any surface: grass, dirt, concrete, asphalt, wood, etc.
You can never have too many tools to help make focusing easy and get those sharp, clear images! A Bahtinov mask sits on the front of your scope and turns your stars into easy to see diffraction spikes. Line up those diffraction spikes, and you will know you have perfect focus.
When doing long exposure imaging, the heat of your equipment and the cold of the night will create moisture on your equipment's optics. Dew heaters and dew shields can prevent the disappointment of setting up, excited to start capturing a new beautiful galaxy and then having it ruined in the next 30 minutes by frost and dew on your mirrors or lens.
Like other tools, equipment will get dirty. Cleaning your equipment with regular household cleaning products can be damaging, so stock up on a telescope cleaning kit tested by astronomers proven to keep your mirrors and glass spec free! You don't want to mistake a fingerprint for a new galaxy out there!
What does your dream astrophotography toolbox look like? Tell us in the comments!