I have been going through a lot of gear and software over the years in order to both learn about the equipment and to find what seems to suit me best. I am sure this list of gear and software will change over time but here is what I am currently using. I will also be doing videos on each piece listed here in order to give you an overview of things.
This is my main telescope at the moment. It is one seriously great little apochromatic OTA and creates next to now work load for my german equatorial mount. The glass is seriously clear and I have fallen completely in love with thing.
- The Orion SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian is a big 10″ aperture reflector telescope with a small price tag
- Gobbles up light for great views of deep-sky objects such as nebulas, galaxies, star clusters, and close-up views of more nearby targets like the Moon and planets
- Simple point-and-view Dobsonian design reflector telescope is easy and fun to use for the whole family
- Stable Dobsonian telescope base and Orion CorrecTension friction optimization system keeps reflector optical tube perfectly balanced in any position
What can I say about this mount. It is a complete work horse and services me extremely well. It provides everything you could possible need in a german equatorial mount and integrate with my computer system, via bluetooth, flawlessly.
This is my main imaging camera and has been a beautiful camera thus far. I have not modded the camera in any way and I have been using the standard setup with it. I highly recommend this camera.
Backyard EOS seems to be one of the major players when using Canon EOS cameras, and I quickly found out why. This thing is absolutely phenomenal and the support these guys offer is by far some of the best.
This is the software I use to control and take lights, darks, bias, and flats with.
I have read many reviews where people are stating the SSAG does not work well. I, however, have found that mine does the job quite nicely. It can be a bit finicky when trying to use it on nights when clouds occasionally pass by, but I believe that has more to do with PHD than the camera itself. I would definitely recommend this camera for those who want a good but cheaper alternative.
I use this scope for guiding and it works very well along side the Orion Starshoot Auto Guider. Having both of these together with PHD guiding is absolutely perfect and I have found no issues thus far with my guiding.
I use Astrotortilla for plate solving. This is a great way to center the object you are trying to capture within you camera’s view. I have found that it works extremely well but you do need to learn how to set it up. It’s also free which is always great. 🙂
Starry Night Pro is what I use for deciding on what I want to view. While a wee bit expensive, it is worth every penny as it not only integrates very well with my equipment, it also provides updates and a vast amount of knowledge about all kinds of things within our universe. Awesome program!!!!!
This is easily one of the must have pieces of software for anyone wanting to do astrophotography. It allows you to choose a guide star, using your guide scope and camera, and sync on that star. When the star moves even the slightest amount, it sends a signal to your mount telling it to correct itself. The proper use of this software will allow you to get some of the best shots in your life. It is another great piece of free software for astronomers.
This is a free piece of software that allows you to stack all your images in order to make one great image. This is an absolute must when processing images and you will never get a single image that is anywhere near the quality of stacked images. The reason is because there is always some sort of interference in the sky and by using multiple images, you can get the best parts and put them all together.
Photoshop is by far the greatest tool you can have when post processing images. There are other programs out there, such as Paintshop Pro, but you will find that almost everyone uses Photoshop and you will also find that a lot of the astrophotography processing toolkits out there require photoshop. So, you may as well save yourself a lot of time and just go for it at the beginning.
TheSky Imaging bundles the power of TheSky Professional, with the flexible Cameras+ module, and the TPoint telescope pointing module into a single package that helps you thrive in the universe of advanced astrophotography.
The ASI290MM Mini camera utilizes the Sony IMX290 1/3″ sensor (5.6 mm x 3.2 mm), with a 1936 x 1096 resolution (just over 2 megapixels). The pixel size is 2.9 um x 2.9 um. This camera provides a 12bit ADC and it’s QE peak is over 80%.
The ASI294MC Pro is the first camera in the world equipped with the latest Sony sensor IMX294CJK. This is one of the top-selling cameras from ZWO. I am just beginning to use this camera and I will be posting my thoughts soon.