Getting Started in Astronomy Imaging

Taking images through your telescope has never been easier. What used to be complicated, time-consuming and expensive is now accessible to people who've never used a telescope before. Getting started in taking pictures of the night sky is orders of magnitude simpler than it was decades ago when film reigned supreme.
Now, with modest equipment budding astrophotographers can achieve amazing results right out of the gate, but navigating all that gear can be overwhelming. In this episode of Space Junk Podcast, we'll explore strategies and gear to get you off to a roaring start taking images that will please your family, friends and all your social media followers.

Timestamps for Getting Started in Astronomy Imaging

01:00:00:07 - 01:00:25:29

Tony: Welcome back, Space fans, it's time for another episode of Space Junk podcast, I'm glad you're here with us. If you are a beginning imager or thinking about, maybe you'd like to be an imager in the hobby of amateur astronomy, then this is the episode for you, because I'm with my friend Dustin Gibson from OPT, who is the only person that I would actually openly admit knows more about imaging than me. So I, Dustin, how are you doing?

01:00:27:09 - 01:00:29:24

Dustin: Just been more obsessed with it than you have. That's all, Tony.

01:00:30:09 - 01:00:36:00

Tony: Maybe that's it. I said, "openly admit" there's a lot of people that know more about it than me, but I won't admit to it.

01:00:36:18 - 01:00:50:29

Dustin: Oh, yeah, yeah, same here. I talk to people. I talk to kids now all the time. They just blow me away with their knowledge of this stuff. 12 and 13 year olds that are putting me to shame put my images to shame too, which is great. It's exactly what we want.

01:00:51:09 - 01:01:16:26

Tony: I know, I think, more than any other aspect of the amateur astronomy hobby, this is the one that's changed the most. Getting started with taking pictures of the night sky has gotten just orders of magnitude easier over the decades than what it used to be. And so that is an amazing opportunity for people getting starting in the hobby now. And hopefully with this episode, we'll get you on the right track again with getting started on this.

01:01:18:17 - 01:01:49:20

Tony: Yeah, that's the goal we're going to talk about beginning astrophotography and, you know, we've covered we've covered a lot of different aspects of this, but what it means to truly get started, whether you're jumping over from the visual side and you've been doing astronomy for a while visually or just, hey, I want to jump in, but I just want to take pictures. You know, most people already have a camera of some sort, even if that's just an iPhone or something like that. But a lot of people have, you know, DesLauriers and lenses as well. And so that's more than enough to get started with.

01:01:49:22 - 01:02:16:10

Dustin: And that's what we're going to talk about, you know, is how to get under those dark skies that we mentioned in every single episode. That's right, that life changing experience that you know, I'm going to plug again right now, which is get out under the Milky Way, under dark skies and let it change your life because it will. But yeah, it's this is the episode for how to get started and what equipment is needed to get started at, you know, the most base level.

01:02:16:20 - 01:02:56:12

Tony: That's right. And now it used to be that you kind of needed to get your feet wet with telescopes and how to use them and setting them up and aligning them and all of that stuff with observing in mind that needed. That was the part where you generally started there. You thought about eyepieces and then you asked the salesman, Well, what can I see with this? And he would tell you things that you could see or not see with that particular telescope. And then you would think twice, I should like to take some pictures. And so, you know, you work on what you would need to do to get that because you kind of needed the base knowledge of how to operate telescopes because the learning curve for taking pictures was so high, you didn't want to take them both on at the same time.

01:02:56:14 - 01:03:14:08

Tony: So it was always better to start learning your telescope, learning the night sky, learning how to align it first and then go and say, OK, let me see what I got to do to attach a camera to this thing. And so but nowadays, I don't think that's a requirement, do you? I mean, I think you could just jump right in started.

01:03:14:10 - 01:03:47:06

Dustin: You definitely can, you know, even in a short time. You know, I've been doing astronomy less than a decade, which blows my mind because it feels like, I mean, honestly, this whole new chapter of my life started when I started doing astronomy literally changed my whole life, as we've, you know, kind of told this story in multiple podcasts. But, you know, going into astronomy, having everything shift. But even that since that moment, astronomy itself in the way people do it and how they get started has changed. It's changed a lot in the last five to seven, eight years.

01:03:47:21 - 01:04:19:21

Dustin: And when I got started, it was all about versatility. And that's what you would see when people were making recommendations because imaging hadn't really picked up the steam that it has now now. Imaging has everybody wanting to get into it. You see all these beautiful pictures on Instagram and Facebook and all the other social media outlets. And so it's like it's not something that's uncommon now. Most people have seen a space image, and before nobody even had any idea that this was something that you could do from your backyard.

01:04:19:23 - 01:04:34:01

Dustin: It was like if you saw a space image, you just assumed Nasser, you know, 10 years ago. If you see it, you just assume, yeah, that was probably taken by Nasser or or something a university somewhere. But you never just thought, Hey, that's that's my 12 year old neighbor.

01:04:35:12 - 01:04:45:18

Tony: That's right. Yeah, it could have been some rock star. I use that term relatively. Some rock star Astro Imager that was always you always see pictures and Sky and Tel

01:04:45:27 - 01:05:18:27

Dustin: or whatever that had dedicated their entire lives, and life savings to the process. That's all. Those things were the assumptions. And so now it's just not that anymore. And even the versatility aspect. When I jumped in, I went to. I asked everybody I could, Well, what were the things I should get? What should I look for? And you get a million different answers. But one thing that came up a lot is, well, you're going to want to do both, you're going to want to do visual and you're going to want to do astrophotography. And so get something that's ultra versatile. And you know, it was it was good advice.

01:05:18:29 - 01:05:50:03

Dustin: It was true. I didn't want to do both, but what I found in what I'm seeing more from the people getting into the hobby is that while people want to do both, the vast majority of their time spent in the hobby ends up being with imaging because it's a shareable experience where there's a community built around it. That is a little easier to connect with because you have, you know, this evergreen content once you take a picture that you can share and you can share globally, whereas with visual, you can absolutely so share it. It's still a great experience.

01:05:50:05 - 01:06:21:21

Dustin: You can go to star parties and and enjoy the community, but it's then in there and then in there only there's nothing remaining from it after the fact other than the experience and the memories of it. And so, you know, it's one of those things that I think has shifted where that versatility matters less because versatility doesn't necessarily equal simplicity. And I think simplicity is starting to dominate where people want something. That is practical, it's easy to take out, it's easy to set up.

01:06:21:29 - 01:06:46:00

Dustin: It's not going to be cumbersome and heavy and all of these things, and it's just really reliable and you don't have to tinker with it a whole lot. So even though those original systems that jumped into were ultra versatile and you could do everything with them, they were kind of the jack of all trades, master of none. Whereas if you're going to be spending 95 percent of your time sharing in the community, most people now are just going directly into kits designed for imaging.

01:06:46:28 - 01:07:34:14

Tony: Yeah, and it's been probably the biggest area of growth, I think, in the in the hobby ever because of the way in which the entry point is so low now that that you can start imaging straight away so you don't have to feel bad if you don't want to do eyepiece observing, although you do miss a certain connection with your telescope in the night sky and things like that by by not doing eyepiece observing. But, you know, there's still a connection to be made through imaging, and I've slowly warmed to this right eye because the condition of most of our night sky is now that most of us have to live under our sort of mitigating the any, any observing visual observing that you may want to do because it's just getting harder and harder.

01:07:35:02 - 01:08:05:06

Tony: But it can easily be overcome by some of these imaging solutions. And so I feel a lot better about going into imaging as as a first time than I used to when we first started this podcast. The first episode we ever did, the very first one, which one was better, and it's still our most listened to episode. Maybe it's because the first one and I nobody went to more. I hope that's not the case, but you never know. Yeah, but but you know, we talked about what why we liked visual versus for imaging astronomy.

01:08:05:14 - 01:08:37:15

Tony: And I think now my I've sort of evolved over this viewpoint. I'm always going to have one, an eyepiece oriented telescope that's my main telescope. And but I do see and I actually enjoy imaging the Andromeda galaxy, for example, or the Orion Nebula, because the views I'm going to get through those, whether it's my DSLR or whether it's just my phone is going to be a lot better in many cases than what I'm going to see through an eyepiece looking at it with my eyes. So I've been a bit of a convert here.

01:08:37:29 - 01:08:50:21

Tony: If you want to go straight in, if you don't know anything about astronomy and you want to go straight into imaging, I now say, and this is a big deal if you're just let's do this for the first time that it's OK, go ahead and become, yeah,

01:08:50:23 - 01:09:20:24

Dustin: it's weird hearing you say that because I spent the first probably seven episodes trying to to argue this point with you. But, you know, I agree. I think both are really important parts of the experience. And it's challenging, though, to have a phenomenal visual experience. I mean, you can have a great, especially with the planets. Don't get me wrong, you have a great visual experience from cities anywhere in the world. If you're looking at the brightest objects, the Moon and the planets, and it's limited to that.

01:09:21:23 - 01:10:05:07

Dustin: If you get under dark skies, a visual experience can. I mean, you can go out every night of your life and not see it all. It's it's amazing under dark skies, but dark skies are harder to come by, and most people can't easily access them. You know, access them just whenever they want. They have to make a trip of it and drive in and plan and then the clouds roll in and there are problems associated with it, right? Like things happen that can shut those nights down. Whereas with imaging, they're little, little tricks that you can use, like narrowband filters. So who cares if the moon's out and you can get a few hours in without having to travel too far? And you know, the triad filter was a game changer for everyone because then it's like, Well, I can do narrow band imaging with the color camera from my backyard and not go anywhere.

01:10:05:09 - 01:10:41:08

Dustin: So the number of nights that people use their equipment skyrockets, it goes way up. And so, you know, I just think that imaging has a lot of advantages, but my advice today is going to be a little different than it would have been even five years ago, where I would have said get something that's versatile so you can really see which direction you want to go. I would say the opposite now. I would say, you know, limit yourself, but limit yourself to success in the direction you plan to go. You know, because if you buy something that's simple, that's designed specifically for that purpose, your likelihood of success is going to go way up.

01:10:41:10 - 01:11:14:00

Dustin: Your likelihood of frustration is going to go way down. And I think, you know, that frustration is the killer. That's what ends up putting telescopes in closets that they never get out of. And I would say, you know, definitely go the route that you think you're going to enjoy the most and you can use just about any telescope with very, very few exceptions for both types visual and imaging. It just takes a little more work. But if you wanted to take an imaging rig and make it visual, you could, with exceptions like the Raza, you know, but everything else like you can make it work.

01:11:14:11 - 01:11:40:29

Dustin: And so I would say just really commit to the way you think you're going to want to go and go down that path and really try to enjoy the experience and and, you know, get above that frustration curve where you're buying into all of the engineering and all of the work that you know, the manufacturers and and all the designers have put into making it a simple, high likelihood of success. You know, part of the hobby that equipment

01:11:41:16 - 01:12:03:25

Tony: when you say you don't need to worry about versatility anymore or as much. What do you mean it's it's better to buy a special purpose rig for a certain thing, like a special purpose thing for observing or photographing the Milky Way or photographing nebulae or photographing the planet, you could buy specific set ups for each of those. Is that what you mean?

01:12:06:00 - 01:12:37:20

Dustin: Yes, I do, it's just like photography. You're never going to hear a photographer go to someone and say, you only need one lens. You want to be a really good photographer like you want to get into photography as a hobby, you're only ever going to need one lens. I've never heard that ever, and I never will for at least from any photographer. That's that's really doing something epic. It's just not great advice. You know, you need different lenses for different applications in different lighting and different everything. And so I think that with this hobby, it because it is a photographic hobby.

01:12:38:12 - 01:13:10:17

Dustin: The same advice applies. And I'd say, yeah, commit to the type that you find is most interesting to you if it's planetary. It's a very different system than if it's Milky Way or if it's visual. These are different systems and they have different applications. And I would say, you know, I know it feels like boxing yourself in, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I know at face value it feels like it. I really don't think it's a bad thing. And I think that you can really get familiarized with your system in a deeper way.

01:13:10:19 - 01:13:36:08

Dustin: If you're committed to using it for the design purpose that it was engineered for that you're not going to necessarily experience. If you're trying to make something, do everything. Look at your scope, Tony. I mean, do you love your scope? Yes, right? I mean, it's you have a 20 inch massive seven foot tall scope that is one of the least versatile telescopes I've ever seen. There's nothing about it. That's versatile,

01:13:37:01 - 01:13:41:09

Tony: But it is ideally suited for visual observing.

01:13:41:11 - 01:13:59:11

Dustin: For what you do, it would be incredibly challenging to beat. Yes. So your experience in what it is that you enjoy every time you go out and use it, you're going to love your hobby, you're going to love what you do because you have something that boxed you in to your interest rate.

01:13:59:13 - 01:14:34:10

Tony: The only because I am primarily a visual observer and the the I need to overcome the limitations of the light pollution that I live under. I have to compensate because I can't build an exposure up over time. I have to compensate for that with aperture. And so I have a 20 inch telescope that collects a lot of light so that I could see faint things with more detail. And it is really good. And I consider it my my light pollution beater. I guess, because I can I can get past a lot of light pollution just by having that aperture,

01:14:35:12 - 01:14:40:01

Dustin: I'm certain there's a cooler way to describe that telescope than light pollution beater.

01:14:40:25 - 01:14:42:11

Tony: But I know,

01:14:43:12 - 01:14:46:21

Dustin: I know if you if you try hard, you can come up with something that

01:14:46:23 - 01:14:49:20

Tony: I guess the image that conjures up isn't beautiful. Yeah.

01:14:50:22 - 01:14:52:24

Dustin: Oh yeah. It just doesn't sound all that tough,

01:14:54:22 - 01:14:57:18

Dustin: especially for as epic as that telescope is as well.

01:14:58:02 - 01:15:20:27

Tony: That's one of the many things it does, but it is what I consider its most important attribute because I need to collect photons to get them into my eyeballs so that you do. I could see detail and I can't. I don't simply don't. My eyeballs, human eyeballs do not have the ability to accumulate exposure, at least not yet. So I have to overcome that. Well, we may invent one. I don't know.

01:15:21:02 - 01:16:01:24

Dustin: Hey, seriously, man, seriously, we may. But yeah, that's exactly that's the limiting factor. And so what you're describing there is, you know, the the human eye. You can't change the exposure time like you can with the camera. And it's something that's very basic, but not something you think about unless you end up doing photography. But that's the advantage of cameras, is that you can do a one second or a, you know, five minute or one hour exposure and just collect light that entire time. And it all accumulates. And then your image is the sum of all of those photons, whereas the human eye, it basically refreshes or, you know, gives you an exposure time in quotes of one sixtieth of a second, roughly.

01:16:02:03 - 01:16:27:27

Dustin: So you're getting 60 exposures for every one exposure you would get if you're doing even one second exposure. So you get a lot more light with the camera than you would with the human eye. And that's why you have such a huge telescope like you're describing is so you can gather all that light at once. You know, my warning to you when I sent that scope to you, though, was, Man, don't point this thing at anything bright. You're going to create a laser. Shoot it out the back of the telescope.

01:16:28:20 - 01:16:31:15

Tony: The Moon is definitely blinding and having,

01:16:31:20 - 01:16:36:03

Dustin: yeah, oh yeah, you look at the full moon with that man, there's just zero chance of survival.

01:16:36:05 - 01:16:40:15

Tony: Yeah, it's pretty bright gas shadow. It's definitely dangerous

01:16:41:11 - 01:16:44:26

Dustin: and don't ever let a kid look at look at the full moon through that

01:16:44:28 - 01:17:18:14

Tony: thing. Yeah, that's quite a bit of photons. So the we're going to talk about specific gear here in just a minute, but maybe we should spend a little bit of time introducing the various sort of categories of imaging. I guess that's how I look at it. You know, there's there's various categories of which I would say are the following, and you could add to these if you want. I think there's a wide field astrophotography wide field, meaning getting the whole sky time lapses and there is planetary photography, and then there is deep sky photography.

01:17:18:16 - 01:17:20:12

Tony: Do you think of any others?

01:17:21:01 - 01:17:57:06

Dustin: Yeah, I think that's fair. I would say that, you know, wide field, though, could be broken up into landscape as well. You know, like landscape wide field, where you have the Milky Way in front of a really, you know, beautiful mountain or whatever. You know, you see a lot of those types of images, which are a little little bit different because the Earth is spinning. And so, you know, the sky has a relative motion, you know, as the Earth spins underneath it. And so because the the either the land or the sky, you have to you have to set, you know, either you're tracking Mount to follow the sky or just set a tripod down that's going to follow the Earth.

01:17:57:14 - 01:18:26:08

Dustin: But it adds a layer of complexity when one is spinning and the other is not. And then the other way would just be taking pictures of the sky wide field like you're describing huge chunks of sky where the landscape is out of the image. So the sky is isolated, which you can just track with it then and just do like. That's where you see the big stretches of the Milky Way in high detail because you can take multiple images and not have any movement in the images, right?

01:18:26:10 - 01:19:00:02

Tony: So I think the thing that would delineate all of this is the kind of tracking that you do and exposure times, for example, you know, the exposure times for and the magnifications that you would use for taking a picture of Saturn or the Moon or even the Sun would be quite different than what you would do for, say, the Ring Nebula or the Andromeda galaxy. And even then, it would be different for a wide field taking pictures of the entire Milky Way. So all of those, I think exposure time differences, aperture, things matter.

01:19:00:04 - 01:19:24:08

Tony: So you are getting one scope to do all of that well, as you were just saying, isn't really a good idea. Versatility isn't going to help you here. But the good news is, I think that the prices of all this stuff has come down to the point where you could actually reasonably get a Milky Way set up or a planetary setup or, you know, deep sky setup and still not break the bank.

01:19:25:00 - 01:20:02:25

Dustin: Yeah. And that's that's what I mean by the versatility thing. It's not that those telescopes still don't. Exist, I mean, take the Ph.D., for instance, I think this is such a phenomenal telescope. I really do. From Celestron it, it can pretty much do everything. It's probably the most versatile telescope out there. But in order to get all of those benefits, you have to buy a lot of different accessories. So you're going to buy the scope. And then if you want to shoot it wide field, you have to buy something called the hyper star. And kind of what I was getting at isn't that this one telescope can't do at all. It's that you could, for the same price, get telescopes that are designed specifically for those functions that are much smaller or easier, more portable.

01:20:03:23 - 01:20:20:25

Dustin: Like, let's say, the hyper star is roughly a thousand dollars for a thousand dollars. You could get a radiant sixty one and shoot wide field on an Apple, you know, refractor that's going to produce, you know, in my opinion, much better images than something like a hype star. Even though hyper star is,

01:20:22:16 - 01:20:52:21

Dustin: you know, is a great tool in super fast, very fun to use. You know, its correction at the corners. All of those things are just going to be better across large sensors on something designed specifically for it, then trying to force another telescope to do that job. And so that's that's what I mean is that, you know, for the same money, you could probably get multiple lenses. You could have your photography bag kind of how I like to think of it with with all your different lenses and your tools for whatever functionalities you want to do

01:20:54:10 - 01:20:57:06

Dustin: instead of trying to force one lens to do everything.

01:20:57:28 - 01:21:09:09

Tony: Yeah. So think a little bit about those different areas and what you think you would like to get started doing and then you could get some pretty inexpensive gear to help you do that and.

01:21:11:03 - 01:21:41:24

Tony: I think we should probably talk a little bit about some of the ways in which imaging works. And then the kind of processing you'd have to do afterwards, just a basic workflow kind of thing. And then we could talk about some gear because I think that's important in whenever you are imaging the night sky, you need to overcome the Earth's rotation. Like, like Dustin just talked about, you want to keep the telescope pointed at the same part of the sky as it appears to go over our heads. It's actually the Earth turning underneath it.

01:21:42:09 - 01:22:16:12

Tony: You want to compensate for that motion, which means that you need to either have an outsize amount in which case certain things will happen to your image over time. Or you need an equatorial mount where you need to worry about polar alignment. There is no, I think, better way to go one way or the other, because there's things you can do to compensate. If you have an outsize mount, for example, and an altitude azimuth mount and you're tracking the sky. You have to worry about this thing called field rotation, where the the field kind of rotates underneath your in your image plane.

01:22:16:14 - 01:22:51:26

Tony: If you're exposing for longer than, say, I don't know, five minutes or so, but it's not an issue if you go under that. So I wouldn't worry about that too much as a beginner. So a decent mount that overcomes the motion of the Earth and that's polar aligned if you have an equatorial mount is important. So you have to do that alignment and then exposure time is going to be the thing. You're going to spend a lot of time figuring out how long should you expose the image for? And one of the things you can do is this thing called stacking, where you can take a whole lot of images of short exposure.

01:22:52:15 - 01:23:22:29

Tony: And let's say you take ten second exposures. You might not see much in your individual image, but if you took one hundred of those, then those exposure times add up so that you've got an exposure of well over a minute or ten minutes. However, many of those you accumulate and you can start to see detail and things like that, that's a huge ability to have with with them. And then, of course, you have to process your image with software to get all of this stuff done after you've had a night observing. So there's an overview of your workflow that you're going to be doing.

01:23:23:01 - 01:23:42:27

Tony: And regardless of the kind of observing you're imaging, you do, whether it's the night sky, whether it's the planets or deep sky. So you want to think about, I think, what kind you'd like to get started with. And I guess Dustin, if I had a question for you, what would be, do you think, the best place for a beginner to start?

01:23:43:05 - 01:24:16:23

Dustin: Yeah. Planets are kind of its own thing because, like you mentioned, there are different types of exposures and different ways to go about it. Different magnifications that you need and planets really end up being its own type of photography that you really have to kind of commit to that direction because it requires a lot of focal length and very, very fast exposures. Essentially, live video is how that works and which is kind of the opposite of the other types of photography we're dealing with. But and it can be a little more expensive. The cameras actually are not very expensive because they don't have to be cooled.

01:24:17:11 - 01:24:52:14

Dustin: They, you know, in this fast frame rate cameras are typically small sensors. They're not terribly expensive. So, you know, it's really the telescope in the Mount that have to use it. You end up spending the money on. Mm-Hmm. But I would say where people get started, man, ninety nine times out of 100, we see the same thing and we get this question, you know, multiple times a day. And people typically start with very small, very portable, can throw it in a camera bag, kind of tracking head or just a tripod itself, and they go out with the camera.

01:24:52:16 - 01:25:16:21

Dustin: They already own to do nightscape photography to take pictures of the stars for the first time with the camera they already own. You know, they went to Best Buy and they got a canon camera, right? And they want to use it for the first time. But instead of taking pictures at the house, they just want to point it up and see what's in the night sky. We see this all the time and, you know, honestly, just a really good,

01:25:18:18 - 01:25:48:21

Dustin: just a really good tripod and a really good like even a pan had a panning head that you can put the camera on so that you can keep it level and you can change direction where you're pointing at left, right up and down. That's where most people start, and they really don't have to be expensive for like the very top end, super stable, portable tripods and pinhead bundles that we sell, we sell them on our home page. They, you know, and it comes with 3D and tripod, which is, you know, the best portable tripod we offer.

01:25:48:23 - 01:25:52:28

Dustin: Those are under four hundred dollars for the whole kit. That's where most people start

01:25:54:26 - 01:26:26:01

Dustin: because there's nothing to it. There's zero learning curve. It's like, Well, I already have the camera. That's the learning curve is learning to use your camera, but putting it on the tripod with a panning head, then it's literally once your camera's on there, point it at what you want to take a picture of, focus it and take the. Picture and that's it, and that's how people generally get their first photos of space in, they do that and there it's a way to explore the night sky for the first time in, you know, deeper detail than what you could visually because you're doing these longer exposures.

01:26:26:03 - 01:26:51:21

Dustin: Like I said, even if it's one second exposures, every second you put in a different part of the sky and it's like, Oh my God, there's a galaxy right there. I had no idea. There's Andromeda, there's the Orion Nebula. You never see this stuff. And then all of a sudden you're like, Look at there's stuff all over the sky. I had no idea. You know, and so that's where people start, unless they want to jump in at a little bit deeper level, which is the same kit.

01:26:53:17 - 01:27:29:18

Dustin: Just with a tracking head, like you said, the Earth is spinning, which makes the sky look like it is. And so you want to follow the night sky as you're doing longer exposures. Otherwise what happens if you're doing an even longer exposure than we're talking about before? Like, let's say you're doing 30 seconds, then you start to see the star streak in the image. So instead, what you do is you have a mount that moves the camera at the exact rate the Earth is spinning and in the opposite direction so that it freezes the stars where they are as that exposure is running and those those tracking mounts are not terribly expensive, you know, and we sell them as kits.

01:27:30:00 - 01:27:52:20

Dustin: But that whole kit with again, the Radian tripod with the star tracker from skywatcher and you know, the and that's called the star adventurer. The tracker is. So all of the general term for these mount heads is called star trackers and then the the ball head that goes with it. The whole kit is under a thousand dollars, actually under $800 799 for the whole kit.

01:27:53:07 - 01:28:00:05

Tony: And that's the I just want to introduce it. That's called the Star Tracker Astrophotography Bundle on their website, if you want to look.

01:28:00:07 - 01:28:29:27

Dustin: Yeah, yeah, and those are there because this question is one of the most common questions is just, Hey, how do I? I don't, you know, I already have a camera, but I just want to dive in, what do I need? And so it's this is the one button kind of way to jump in and know you have exactly what you need because we find that people end up building these kits over and over and over and over again every single day on our website. So instead, it's just, hey, here's the kit that everybody's building anyway. It's just all together and discounted a little bit if everything's bought together,

01:28:32:02 - 01:28:48:29

Dustin: And so that's that's the way that most people are getting started because the learning curves are just so small you don't have to hook a computer to it. You have to do any of that stuff you don't have to bring out. I mean, they're run off Double-A batteries. You don't have to bring like a, you know, a big car battery out with you or anything like that.

01:28:49:01 - 01:28:50:13

Tony: You know, we talked about using what

01:28:50:21 - 01:29:13:21

Dustin: people used to do before these, like portable lithium came out. And you just put the camera on there and you're off and running pointed at what you want to see. It comes with a polar scope, so your polar alignment super easy. It's just it's the way to get started. And honestly, even if you're not just getting started, I still use star trackers as much or more than I used, you know, my high end equipment.

01:29:14:26 - 01:29:59:09

Tony: I agree. I have both of these, I have the the radian tripod and the Star Trek or Star Adventurer Mount, and what I don't have is this is this U.A. ball mount that I've just ordered. I'm hoping to get that pretty soon. But the the that is a complete basically, it's a universal mounting system for any kind of telescope that is too heavy. You could use it for visual. You could also use it for wide field putting your DSLR on and it'll track the sky. All of this is basically a little miniature equatorial mount, and I can't believe the quality in all of this stuff is so good that they're very lightweight and that all just works for double days will run at least the my experience as I've let it.

01:29:59:11 - 01:30:23:14

Tony: I've used it on an entire night and I use these what do you call them? Nickel metal hydride rechargeable A's and on. I can run that mount on a whole night of a charge on one of those, and those are notorious for not holding the charge for very long. So. So it's, you know, really portable. The whole thing is, you know, again, one look at it and you kind of know how to use it exactly.

01:30:23:16 - 01:30:56:15

Dustin: There's nothing to it. And that's why I love it is because you throw it in the car and it's just always there because it's so small. I literally have my entire kit in my camera bag. So the tripods on the side of the bag, you know, we're all just about all camera bags at this point had slot for the tripod and then the ball hid in the tracking head or inside the camera bag. And I just leave that with me. And so if I want to go somewhere and bring the camera, it's like, I don't have to. It's all the stuff I already have with me, my camera, my lens and this whole kit. And I can do astrophotography wherever I end up going.

01:30:57:22 - 01:31:28:07

Dustin: And it's, you know, for for the price tag, I feel like that's a really good way to get started. If somebody already owns a camera, if you don't, that's where the, you know, the kits that have a little more detail put into it for, you know, like high end astrophotography or kits that come with the telescope, with the camera. That's why we put those together. But these are designed specifically for people that already have a camera. They just say, I just want to get started in astrophotography, have the camera. What else do I need? This is it.

01:31:28:27 - 01:32:05:18

Tony: Yeah. And the star adventurer Mount, as I said, has so many features on it that come out of the box, you know, more expensive, way more expensive mounts, you know, have as well. Like, it's got different sidereal or it's got different tracking rates. You can, whether you're tracks on the Moon stars, all of that's different, different rates and you can just dial it in on a dial. And it's really simple to use, just kind of dovetail dovetail mount plus and this I couldn't believe the version that it has with it as a. A counterweight so that you can keep the strain off of the mount system itself, so that it easily attracts easier and you don't run your batteries down

01:32:05:21 - 01:32:08:00

Dustin: when you can put heavier cameras on it or bigger lenses

01:32:08:07 - 01:32:09:05

Tony: have your camera system,

01:32:09:12 - 01:32:39:12

Dustin: which is awesome. So, yeah, it really is a complete system. And like you said, it has the different traffic tracking rates. But one that I think is really cool is that, you know, it has the lunar tracking rate which people use for, you know, tracking things like the eclipse and different stuff. But it also has reverse tracking rates for people that do one star trails. I mean, you've seen really cool like beautiful star trail images where people do the landscape and then it's got the star trails in it. Well, that's a way.

01:32:39:14 - 01:32:44:07

Dustin: If you're tracking the opposite direction, you can speed up how quickly you can grab those star trails.

01:32:44:17 - 01:32:51:08

Tony: Really? Is that right? So is that for people who don't have the patience to wait for the Earth to turn, they just want? Yeah, exactly. Hurry up and get it.

01:32:51:17 - 01:32:56:03

Dustin: Yeah, yeah. You don't want to sit there for 45 minutes. It's like, Well, now you're getting to star trails even faster.

01:32:56:10 - 01:32:59:04

Tony: You have it there and everybody can do that. That's funny.

01:32:59:28 - 01:33:00:21

Dustin: It makes sense, though.

01:33:01:00 - 01:33:28:25

Tony: I guess so. Yeah, especially if you're like patience, which I guess a lot of us do in this day and age. So why not? But. So this this particular bundle doesn't have a camera, and it's designed for people who already have an SLR, a DSLR. So what if you don't have one? And I just want to go into a brief little segment on what is a good DSLR to get for if you want to use it for astrophotography? Do you have any recommendations?

01:33:29:05 - 01:33:59:28

Dustin: If you ask 50 photographers, you're going to get 50 different answers. I can give you my answer. Sure. Yeah, my answer is and it's it's definitely known I get messages just about every single day about this. I love Fujifilm cameras and I was super proud of them. They got Camera of the Year again saw on camera decisions. I feel like that happens every year, though, because Fuji just kicks ass and they know it. They don't make full frame cameras, so they went from APS-C, which is under full frame.

01:34:00:00 - 01:34:38:25

Dustin: So it's a crop sensor. They skipped full frame. I guess they felt like it was a saturated market and went directly to medium format, which is bigger than full frame. And I think on both both ends, they just absolutely crush it for like usability, for simplicity. And then just for images that that just blow you away. I love it in there. They're not expensive. And that's the other thing, you know, you compare him to anyone else and it's less expensive and in my opinion, much better image quality. And they've got really unique features like they don't have a Bayer matrix or a typical Bayer matrix on their APS-C sensors, which I thought was like, how innovative.

01:34:38:27 - 01:35:11:08

Dustin: Instead of having a repeating pattern of like our GB red green, green blue over and over again, their pattern repeats every I think it's like every thirty six pixels instead of every four so that you can get a little bit bit cleaner color out of your images and not have quite as much color noise, those sorts of things. But they've just done a lot of innovative things to really put out just quality cameras. And that's why they keep I mean, they keep winning every award that's out there, man. But I I love Fuji cameras and I have I've been shooting them since.

01:35:11:19 - 01:35:14:04

Dustin: It's got to be. It's going to be 10 years now.

01:35:14:20 - 01:35:29:29

Tony: Yeah, and you've ever since I've met you. You've been talking really good things about Fuji. So good. Well, I just wanted to give people a recommendation in case they did not have one. And of course, you can use it for other things besides astrophotography. But this is this is one of those, well, well-suited for the hobby.

01:35:30:01 - 01:36:04:18

Dustin: So look into that. Yeah, exactly. And that's another one of those times where we're talking about versatility over something that's isolated specifically for astrophotography like the Fujifilm cameras. Great. It's never going to compete with a camera that's designed specifically for astrophotography like a, you know, an ally or a Z W.O. or, you know, a Y or any of these cameras that have cooling. And the only purpose that they're there for is for astrophotography. I mean, those cameras, they're going to win by default every single time, but it's because they're only designed for that specific function and they don't have to make any concessions to anything else.

01:36:05:00 - 01:36:19:21

Dustin: Whereas, you know, Fuji cameras have to be great at astrophotography, but they also have to be great at taking pictures at the park right and taking pictures for four weddings and all that stuff. So they have to again be, you know.

01:36:21:23 - 01:36:31:02

Dustin: They really have to kind of just settle into what's the best versatility, not necessarily what's the best functions for astrophotography?

01:36:31:15 - 01:37:07:05

Tony: Right. So while a camera with the lenses that come with it, the 50mm or the zooms or whatever it is you get with your rig, are great and well-suited for wide field and landscape photography or astrophotography like the Milky Way or wide angle views of the sky. They can also be used for planetary imaging, but not with just the lenses that come with it. So let's let's move just a little bit to planetary imaging. You can still use this mount that we just got through talking about this, this tripod and and rig for imaging the planets.

01:37:07:07 - 01:37:15:28

Tony: But you need, I think, a couple of other things. Would you agree you'd need some kind of maybe a small refractor and some way to attach your DSLR to that?

01:37:16:27 - 01:37:48:27

Dustin: Yeah, yeah. And actually before before I go on because it is my job to not mislead people, you know, I just said that I use Fuji cameras and that I think that's the best for people doing imaging. You know, I'm talking about the cameras that I enjoy the most, but people getting started in the hobby. My recommendation probably would actually be if you're just going to be using it for this and you never owned a camera before would probably be canon. And I don't use canon cameras. I haven't used canon cameras, but most of the industry does. Most of the people doing astrophotography do.

01:37:49:08 - 01:38:26:08

Dustin: And so most of the products that are available are available for canon. And so it's something to take into consideration. There's probably 10 to one products available for canon cameras that there are two Fujifilm. So I should back that up a little bit and say if there if this is something that you've never done and you don't have a preference or leaning to one or the other, then you know, definitely consider the fact that, like different filters are only going to be available for canon and different mounting options. All that stuff, because canon is still just such a massive brand so widely used that it's when manufacturers are making the decision.

01:38:26:10 - 01:38:40:05

Dustin: Who do we provide this product if we can only make one product? Who do we make it for? They're always going to lean toward the camera that's most widely used. So that's something to consider if you're getting a camera that you think is going to be mostly used for your photography.

01:38:40:15 - 01:38:52:13

Tony: Yeah, that's great advice. And I have to I could backup kit the canon as well. I've used I've used several like the rebels and a few others in the past period and the relatively inexpensive look man.

01:38:52:15 - 01:39:23:12

Dustin: I don't know much about canon. I like I said, I've never shot canon, so I don't know much about it other than the fact that I see people take images. I mean, the one that Bray Falls just released this week, he shot a Canon 6D on a radiant sixty one. It's got the horse head in the Orion. I don't know if you've seen it yet. No, but it is just absolutely unbelievable. Like literally to the point where when he said it as like, I didn't believe it. I'm like, There's no way you shot that on a DSLR. There's no way.

01:39:24:17 - 01:39:30:29

Dustin: And so, yeah, it's I know they are more than capable for sure. It's just not something I have much experience with.

01:39:31:12 - 01:40:10:21

Tony: Toward the end of this episode. I want to talk about some resources and people you can follow to see what's possible with some of the people who've been at this for a while. Yeah, absolutely. You could learn a lot from these guys. There's a lot of really high quality people out there taking and helping others to take good images, so we'll point those out to you here in just a bit. So planetary imaging, I want I want to talk about that just a little bit. To me, this is the one of the most exciting kinds of images that I imaging that I enjoy doing the most because I can get individual details out of the planets using relatively relatively inexpensive cameras.

01:40:11:10 - 01:40:48:00

Tony: You could use a DSLR for this, but there are actually dedicated planetary imaging cameras you could buy from places like me and Celestron. And all of these other places actually do an outstanding job and they don't cost a lot of money. The the the beauty of this is that you get to use this thing called high frequency imaging or basically taking a video of the planet because they're so bright through an optical system. You can use these really fast frame rates and then only select using software. The best images out of all of those that you out of the thousands that you might have taken, and you can assemble some absolutely breathtaking results.

01:40:48:02 - 01:40:58:06

Tony: So I think this is a very rewarding way to go, and it's one of my favorite ways to use imaging in the hobby. So I don't know. What do you think about all of that? Do you have some?

01:40:58:11 - 01:41:06:24

Dustin: Well, it's good that you you lean toward that because it's really the only type of photography that your telescope can do. Well, you know, good match.

01:41:06:26 - 01:41:07:15

Tony: Yeah, my scope.

01:41:08:00 - 01:41:33:25

Dustin: Yeah, yeah, exactly. I agree. As far as cameras go, if you want to not have to invest a lot in a camera and still be able to get incredible results. Planetary camera started like one hundred and fifty bucks and these are these are. Really good cameras and even the top end cameras are still under a thousand way, under a thousand, I mean, five six hundred bucks get you a camera that you can do world class imaging with, and that's that's not an exaggeration.

01:41:35:17 - 01:42:06:21

Dustin: You know, as far as the other pieces of it which are really looking for is you want something with with long focal length and good aperture because aperture, you don't want to limit your resolution. You know, you're already going to have a few things stacked against you when you got that much focal length, that much magnification, you know, the the sky above you, the turbulence above you would call it seeing seeing conditions. That's going to matter a lot. It's kind of like looking down a hot desert road and you see all those heat waves. That's what is above you as well.

01:42:06:23 - 01:42:50:06

Dustin: You get all that moisture in the atmosphere and you're looking through that stuff. But then imagine if you were looking down that same road through a telescope, you can imagine that it would amplify all those distortions, and all you would be able to see is those distortions. You wouldn't even be able to see anything behind it at that point. And that's what happens when you put a lot of magnification, too much magnification behind, you know, bad seeing conditions. And so that's something that you really have to get lucky with is the seeing conditions. And that's exactly why these cameras we talk about have such high frame rates is because it's quite literally called lucky imaging, where the majority of the time you're looking up, it's going to be really hazy.

01:42:50:08 - 01:43:40:02

Dustin: It's going to be really kind of muddy images because the seeing conditions aren't going to be perfect. But let's say you're running, you know, 20 frames every second. There are going to be tiny, tiny gaps where that scene condition just levels out for a fraction of a second and is perfect, right? So if you're doing multiple minutes with several frames, you know, maybe several dozen frames a second, what if you only took those images where the scene conditions above you were absolutely perfect and then stacked all those together and threw away all the rest? You know, that's how lucky seeing works, and that's why you're running so many frames so fast is because you, you know, you're going to throw most of them away, but the ones you keep are going to be absolutely flawless and crisp, and you're going to stack all those together and get a really sharp image.

01:43:40:11 - 01:43:54:06

Dustin: That's how that's how it works. But in order to do that again, you have to have long focal length, which means you have to have a good mount because the longer the focal length, the more any problems that exist in the Mount, in the tracking are going to make themselves visible.

01:43:55:01 - 01:44:26:06

Tony: That's right. You're magnifying everything with high magnification. Long focal length equals high magnification, which equals your eye magnifying all of it. Not just the thing you're trying to look at the atmosphere between any vibrations that happens all getting if you're at 100, power your magnifying everything else by 100 times. So it's something that definitely consider. I've always called what you're talking about. Looking imaging is the poor man's adaptive optics because there are just one maybe a few tiny percent of the thousands of images that you're going to take will be any good.

01:44:26:08 - 01:44:40:11

Tony: And you. And the good news for you as a beginner is you don't have to do this manually. There's there's software, some of it free that you can get that will select these images for you and stack them up into a really nice picture and you'll be amazed at the results.

01:44:42:03 - 01:44:55:10

Dustin: I mean, you've seen it happen. Isn't it wild? How different? Even even within the same second, you can have two images that look nothing alike. Yes, because one is just absolutely crisp and the other is just throwaway garbage.

01:44:55:27 - 01:45:25:08

Tony: Yeah, most people don't think about it, but our very thin atmosphere above the Earth is roiling constantly and in the summertime its really bad. That's why everybody likes the high mountains, then cold temperatures, because the air gets very stable and that that boiling of the atmosphere is at its minimum. You don't get so much of that, but everywhere you go, it's it's going to be a problem. And fortunately, there's really inexpensive ways to overcome those limitations or overcome those. Yeah, it's

01:45:25:10 - 01:45:57:21

Dustin: It's not bad. And I mean, you can see all the different cameras that exist. There are a lot of cameras that exist for this on the OPT Corp. website. I mean, we have a planetary cameras and solar cameras page under the cameras tab. And when you pull that up, it's shocking how inexpensive these cameras are. And what's even more shocking if you've never seen one is how tiny they are. When they show up, they look. They look fake. I mean, they're, you know, they're barely bigger than, I mean, what? Like, maybe your thumb, the whole camera, probably like the size of your thumb.

01:45:57:23 - 01:46:22:11

Dustin: It's tiny. And this thing is completely contained. You know, it has zero buttons on it. It's just a USB coming off of it to run to your computer. The computer pulls in all those frames. And yeah, I mean, it's a really fun way to do it. And the same cameras that work for planetary also work for solar. They just obviously have to be protected behind a solar. Telescope or a solar filter right

01:46:23:01 - 01:46:51:18

Tony: These cameras, unlike your DSLR, don't have lenses, so you need to put them on a telescope to act as a lens for it. So let's talk about that just a little bit. Are there some? This, I think, is where the biggest difference is going to be, whether you use a planetary imaging or if you're doing deep sky imaging. So I don't know how you want to handle that, but do you want to talk about a good planetary scope, maybe for imaging? Or is there a good scope that does both?

01:46:52:04 - 01:47:19:20

Dustin: Yeah. Yes. So generally, what people need is long focusing most. Most people use SC's. So Schmidt Cassegrain telescopes that would be like the Celestron, the Meade's. We have a few Orion's people use. The TPO are CS a lot because of the value. They're not very expensive in our seas. You know, are they have a great reputation for just very clear, you know, crisp images.

01:47:20:05 - 01:47:22:12

Tony: That's a telescope design that's got Ritchie Creighton.

01:47:25:13 - 01:48:00:06

Dustin: Yeah, the TPO ones are phenomenal. They're very challenging to get right now. Supply chains are just so messed up, man. Its all messed up globally with everything, everything you know I have. I have a friend that was just telling me he's like, I've been trying to buy a car for like four months and I don't know right now I'm like, Man, you're preaching to the choir. I know all about it. Even our industry, the small telescope industry is feeling the same thing. But yeah, the those telescopes are great, but really what you're looking for is aperture and magnification, which is kind of the opposite of what we were talking about earlier.

01:48:01:03 - 01:48:33:23

Dustin: So, you know, bigger is generally going to be better and so is longer focal length. And people typically look for things like a smaller central obstruction, which is your secondary mirror, something that's blocking the light path into the front of the telescope so that you get better contrast to your images. But that stuff all really like that one. Those those worries, those concerns are a little bit secondary to the other ones. No pun intended there. But the second they are, yeah, they are.

01:48:34:12 - 01:48:59:03

Dustin: What you really want is a telescope that, isn't so big that you're not going to want to take it out or anything like that. But but honestly, just get a bigger telescope and apply the rules of visual astronomy. If you do that, you're going to find a good telescope for planetary imaging honestly, like that's a good way to think about it. If it's good for visual, it's probably going to be good for planetary imaging because visual, you need that aperture and generally people want that focal length.

01:49:00:02 - 01:49:30:03

Tony: There's so much to cover in a beginning episode that we're not going to hit all of it, but I would. I would like to just sort of summarize a little bit. So you want a halfway decent tripod, halfway decent mount. We'll get you. We'll get you pretty far. This this bundle that we talked about was definitely good for beginners and gets you, well, well into planetary imaging, especially if you either use a DSLR or one of these planetary cameras with a small telescope attached to the end of it. Whether it's a Schmidt Cassegrain optical tube assembly or something, Richard Creighton

01:49:31:21 - 01:49:38:03

Tony: design, whatever it happens to be, those would be really great for looking at the planets with an even some deep sky objects.

01:49:39:24 - 01:50:16:22

Tony: And these cameras are are while the planetary ones especially are not very expensive, the deep sky ones where where I think we should go next, that's a category that has to meet a lot of very specific requirements because the things you're going to be looking at are incredibly faint their way down in magnitude. You in some cases cannot see them through an eyepiece with your eyeball. So you need a large aperture telescope with a relatively wide field of view. We call this fast and in a lot of optical tube assembly is a very fast, wide field can see a lot of different things.

01:50:17:02 - 01:50:47:06

Tony: It's counterintuitive, but in telescope design, a long focal length, it's actually quite easy to get. High magnification is much easier to make than to build something that is very wide field. You know, it's like to design an optical system that can see a big area of the sky requires a lot of complicated machining and optical creation or optical figuring. So these scopes tend to be more expensive.

01:50:47:14 - 01:51:09:21

Tony: They tend to gather more photons, and the cameras associated with them need to also be physically large so that they can collect all of the stuff that the short focal length telescope can see. So these have a lot of advantages and and but they also tend to be the upper range of. Astronomy imaging gear, would you say?

01:51:11:03 - 01:51:44:23

Dustin: It's definitely going to be more expensive, you know, than the hundred and fifty dollars price point that we were talking about before, but it's because they have a lot more features. For one, the sensors tend to be bigger. So whereas the sensors for planetary start very, very small, I mean, you know, the size of a penny, you know, or even smaller for some of them is very, very small. You'll see that you know these these sensors get very large, even in the medium format, which is larger than full frame. So they get they get very large, they're much higher resolution.

01:51:44:25 - 01:51:53:28

Dustin: So one of the most popular cameras right now is called the Z O Sixty Two Hundred, and that cameras is 62 megapixels, which is really

01:51:55:18 - 01:52:26:22

Dustin: Looking at this from five years ago, a 62 megapixel camera for four thousand dollars would have been the people would have laughed at you if you said that would have been possible. You know, they would have just been like, yeah, right? Maybe 50, fifty four thousand dollars, you know, but but sixty two megapixels is like ungodly big. You can print on the side of a skyscraper with 62 megapixels. So, you know, it's just monstrous resolution. But what people look for in deep space cameras is the first thing you're going to look for is cooling.

01:52:27:00 - 01:52:59:16

Dustin: You're going to be doing longer exposures, which means you're going to be accumulating more heat, more thermal thermal noise in the camera sensor. And so that stuff will show up in your images. So what you want to do is you want to get that sensor is cool as you possibly can, especially in the summertime and really just keep the whole thing cold and that that keeps that noise out of the images. So you look for cooling, which makes the camera's bigger in size. They're not going to be these tiny little micro cameras. They're going to be a little bit bigger because, you know, the back half of the camera is just a big peltier's cooler.

01:52:59:18 - 01:53:06:09

Dustin: And you know, you've got passive cooling on as well. But those structures have to be there on the camera to pull that heat away. So

01:53:07:27 - 01:53:40:21

Dustin: Cooling is generally the first thing. And the other thing is, you know, you really you get a lot more people wanting to go with monochrome cameras when it comes to deep space stuff so that they have a little more control over their filter usage because obviously color cameras already have filters on them. I say, obviously, it's it's obvious if you've been doing it a long time, but if not, you know, it may not be. But that's how color cameras give you. Color images is they have color filters already on the pixels in a repeating pattern called a Bayer matrix that goes red, green, green blue over every single pixel.

01:53:41:26 - 01:54:22:04

Dustin: But, you know, because it already has filters and filters don't bring things in. They keep things out. It means you're rejecting light. And so you don't want to have any filters that you don't absolutely have to have. And so people, you know, in order to get the most possible photons will get monochrome sensors that don't have those filters on there so that they can only use the filters they want to specifically like. They can make every pixel on there with a red filter. Gather red photons, right? Or, you know, hydrogen alpha specifically without having those green and blue reject, you know, half of the pixels or more just by by existing on the color sensor.

01:54:22:06 - 01:54:25:09

Dustin: So you get a lot more people going the monochrome route on cooled cameras.

01:54:28:10 - 01:54:34:01

Tony: Right. And we're going to have a whole episode on filters coming up because that is that is a topic that we can. It's a deep topic.

01:54:34:08 - 01:54:45:21

Dustin: Yeah, there's a lot to talk about there, and it's something that I think is very confusing for people to not just the types of filters, but even the sizes in which ones work and which filter wheels. And do you even need them and all that stuff, you know?

01:54:46:09 - 01:55:19:21

Tony: So that's something as a beginner, you don't need to worry about right away, but these are things that you will eventually start thinking about as you get better in the hobby. And then there's also this situation where you might want to think about CMOs detectors versus CDs. That's also an entire episode. So. So. But for the purposes of beginning and getting started, I think the scale of all of these different ways should give you some information of where to get started. And I would just say that, you know, on a on a personal level, one of the things that.

01:55:20:15 - 01:55:55:05

Tony: I am starting to admire as I get older and I see what people have done with various things and their hobbies or just their general skill levels is when people start to really commit to a single thing and do it really, really well. The results are just astonishing as a silly example. I was watching this show about people in Japan who were really into ramen. I mean, they loved ramen, and these chefs dedicated their entire life to making good bowls of ramen and nothing else.

01:55:55:07 - 01:56:27:17

Tony: They didn't think about any other kind of food. And I thought to myself, You know, that is spectacular, because here's a person who does one thing and does it really well. And one of the things you're going to discover in astral imaging is that there are people out there who are like that. Let's say you just love the planet Saturn, and you just wanted to get the best pictures of the planet Saturn. You can become known for that. You can be the Saturn guy. And to dedicate yourself to one small aspect of it so that and it could be really, really cheap to do some of these things.

01:56:27:19 - 01:56:57:18

Tony: It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. So I wouldn't worry so much about being all things to all people. It's great to learn all the different aspects of the hobby, and you should definitely do that if you're so inclined. Anywhere from taking pictures of wide area landscapes all the way down to just a section of a nebula, you know that's totally fine. But there's lots of ways we could take this hobby going forward in the future because the barriers are so much lower. So I would encourage you to look at all of these things when you get started. We're going to have more episodes on this.

01:56:57:20 - 01:57:32:27

Tony: We're going to talk a lot more about filters and CCDs and CMOS and what all of those different terms mean. But for today, the the things that we've talked about, I hope. You know, we'll give you a good leg up and where to at least start, and these kits that are on OPT Corp dot com are the best places to begin. And you know, and I would always encourage people to get in touch with them and ask questions as well to end the episode though to does. And I think we should probably talk a little bit about Selena and Evie scope, do you think?

01:57:33:05 - 01:58:08:25

Dustin: Yeah, let's talk about Stellina. Let's talk about the EVscope. You know these these are talk about innovation, right? I mean, they came out, they pissed everybody off when they came out, but they did, didn't they? And I still don't get it. I still don't like even today. I don't get it. Like, how can we all love this hobby so much and be so angered by innovation and new opportunities for new people? I just don't understand where people's frustrations come from in that, and it's not like it changed anything.

01:58:08:27 - 01:58:25:20

Dustin: They're both wildly successful telescopes. But yes, at first there was there was some drama around it where the community you have half the community saying finally, something that's truly set it and forget it. Just turn it on. A kid can use it from the second it comes out of the box

01:58:27:14 - 01:58:44:15

Dustin: and then the other half of the community saying This is destroying the hobby. I would never buy this. They're just trying to rip people off and all this stuff. And I'm like, Where does this anger and hate come from for you products? You don't like him and don't buy it, you know? Yeah, yeah. I don't know where it comes from.

01:58:44:17 - 01:59:18:06

Tony: These are these are telescopes from two companies. Selena is put out by a French company called Vaonis, and the the scope is put out by a company called UniStellar. These are one shot packages where you buy the telescope, and it does. It's their imaging telescopes. First, you turn them on. It finds the where it is in the sky, finds out when it is. It gets the date, the time all of this stuff by GPPs, you just turn it on and then tell it what you want to image and outcomes an image on your phone that you can do all kinds of things with.

01:59:18:18 - 01:59:31:28

Tony: They're not cheap, they're there, but they are not cheap, high quality. I mean, they're all there. They do what they do very well. And I've never seen a lower bar to entry for imaging in my life. Look into those you can get them on.

01:59:32:00 - 01:59:33:17

Dustin: You've used them quite a bit too, right?

01:59:33:29 - 02:00:05:08

Tony: Used them both. I haven't used the new ones. They've come out with newer ones since, but I've used both the Stellina and the EVscope. And I have to say that the the early IB scope used to have a electronic eyepiece on it. They've since taken that off. But the it was. I personally enjoyed using the Stellina better. It was a better experience, but it was also a thousand dollars more so. But the the quality and the and the imaging that that I got from that was just stunning.

02:00:05:10 - 02:00:31:14

Tony: I mean, like little. I put it on the back the tailgate of my truck, the both of them actually. But the Stelinna I put on the back of my truck turned it on and I had a picture of M31, the Andromeda galaxy that I just took my breath away and then I had to do in 57. What was the Reagan Nebula like? And so I had to do all these Oh, what's at one? Can I see em one? That's the one that always was the challenging one for me to see visually. Absolutely, nebula. And so, you know, boom, there it is.

02:00:31:16 - 02:00:33:21

Dustin: Exactly from anywhere.

02:00:34:22 - 02:00:57:14

Tony: On my phone! And then of course, I could just send that off to any kind of social media I wanted. So yeah, and and you can with all of these jobs, connect to other phones. If you're near one, you know, you can have a great gathering of family or friends over. You can all connect to the telescope and get the image on your phone. So it's quite revolutionary, I think. Yeah, yeah.

02:00:59:00 - 02:01:08:25

Tony: And finally, because we promised we should talk about people to follow, you want to talk about some really good images that people should learn about on Different Astro social media?

02:01:09:17 - 02:01:15:17

Dustin: Yeah, I've got another two minutes here for the next. I've got a meeting to jump into him and I've always got hard stops. I apologize.

02:01:15:19 - 02:01:17:04

Tony: I know that's not a problem, not a problem.

02:01:17:16 - 02:01:50:07

Dustin: But yes, I do. I think that, you know, Trevor, one of my one of my best friends, great guy astro backyard. You know, he is definitely somebody that I can tell you just one of the most genuine people I've ever met in my life. And he is as committed to this hobby as anyone I've ever seen. So somebody that gives you great advice and just kind of shows you the process of getting into the hobby astrobackyard on YouTube, go check that out. Just absolutely kills it in taking images that I don't know if I'll catch him one day, I'll catch him one day.

02:01:50:25 - 02:02:22:05

Dustin: But he, another great friend of mine, tagbackTV on YouTube. Very different. You know he has another massive following. I think it's like a million people on YouTube, but for good reason, one of the most entertaining people ever. And you know, he plays video game. On YouTube and just talks with the community while doing imaging and showing space images, so it's very different. But if you're into gaming and you're into astrophotography and you want to just hang out and have something that's in the background, it's relaxing and a funny guy to listen to.

02:02:23:02 - 02:02:53:21

Dustin: Tag back TV. Just a great channel to follow. And then, of course, Bray Falls, who we mentioned on here all the time because he's just he's legendary in in jumping into the hobby, you know, at an early age. Now he's just cranking out AirPods like every, every image it takes. I feel like he gets an iPod. And of course, galactic hunter, which is obviously, you know, the galactic honor on YouTube. They're doing just, I'm telling you, hanging out with him in the desert was one of the best experiences ever.

02:02:53:23 - 02:03:28:05

Dustin: They're just such great people. Antoine's, one of the funniest people I've ever met, ever and just really, really entertaining channel with great information, very honest information as well, where if they don't like something, they'll tell you and if they do, they'll tell you that too. And they expose the problems just as much as they expose, you know, the new innovations and everything else. So I think, you know, just to name a few because I'm running out of time, I wish I could name them all. But those are some of the top ones that I feel like are really, really great places to start, depending on the direction you go and check them all out and see which one you connect with.

02:03:28:07 - 02:03:44:06

Dustin: Most but right will name a few in each of these episodes so that we can really just kind of get people out there, you know, checking out the different channels and seeing things that people are doing because so many people are committed to sharing this hobby and in a meaningful way and are doing a great job at it.

02:03:44:19 - 02:03:52:07

Tony: All right. Well, thank you so much, Dustin. On behalf of Justin Gibson, I'm Tony Darnell. Thank you all so much for listening. And as always, keep looking up.

We hope you found this episode useful and apply these tips to your next star gazing session!

For more Space Junk Podcast episodes click here. Want some extra astrophotography help? Check out OPTU for astrophotography tips, tutorials, and videos!

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