Recent Astrophotography Articles

Is the Arsenal 2 for Advanced Photographers?

You may remember my 2019 review of the original Arsenal hardware. It was a block box you attached to your DSLR or mirrorless camera and it automated many of the tasks photographers face on a regular basis. The Arsenal sold quite well. While it had some good points that could speed or improve a photographer's workflow, it left a lot of buyers unhappy and it seemed to wind up on a lot of shelves and in a lot of drawers, rather than in camera bags. Now we've got Arsenal 2.

How to Safely Photograph the Sun

With long days and shorter nights, summer is a good time to consider getting into solar astrophotography. The Sun is also heading toward the active phase of its 11-year sunspot cycle and promises to make the Sun more interesting than the featureless cueball look of the sunspot cycle minimum. Solar astronomers use the count of visible sunspots as a measure of the solar activity, and sunspot cycle #25, as counted by astronomers, looks like it will be peaking sometime around 2024.

NASA's Webb Telescope Delivers its First Images

It has been 26 years since development started on the eventual successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. In that time, after numerous delays, cost overruns, one major redesign, and 10 billion USD, the James Webb Space Telescope has finally taken its first images.

A GoPro, a Selfie Stick, and a Satellite

Yes, you read the headline correctly, and the results are out of this world. NanoAvionics mounted a GoPro Hero 7 to an improvised selfie stick and attached it to their MP42 microsatellite to record the footage.

How To Take Stunning Night Photos

Night photography can be technically daunting. Even with modern cameras, it's not easy to capture high-quality night photos. While photographing the stars already requires high ISOs combined with wide apertures, capturing details in the landscape is even more difficult in the dark. In this article, I walk you through my night photography workflow, which combines image averaging with time blending and focus stacking to achieve high-quality results.

Can You Use the Canon RF 800 f/11 for Astrophotography?

Wide field astrophotography is quickly becoming an established niche that is increasingly available to more hobbyist photographers with the availability of better, smaller, and cheaper tracking mounts. But the smallest galaxies, nebulae, and planets have always been prohibitively expensive to capture. Can this lens change that?

Heads Up! Possible Meteor Storm on May 30-31

The month of May closes out with a New Moon (moonless sky), to which deep sky astrophotographers always look forward. This month brings a potential bonus of an intense burst of meteors, perfectly timed for North American astrophotographers. In fact, it’s so perfectly timed (for U.S. residents) that it falls on a Monday evening of a U.S. three-day holiday weekend.

The Holy Trinity of Landscape Astro Lenses

Are you using the right lenses for landscape astrophotography? The traditional goto lens for landscape used to be a 16-35mm or thereabouts, as long as it had a maximum aperture of f/2.8, it could double for night duty.

The Astro Mount We've Been Waiting For

About a month has passed since Skywatcher officially announced the Star Adventurer GTi, the smallest and lightest purpose-built GoTo astrophotography mount. But is it actually any good?

Pre-Summer Astrophotography Challenges

If spring has been a mixed bag of poor weather and few targets for you, as it has been for many of us, things are looking up as May rolls in. A total lunar eclipse highlights the list on May 15-16.

Light Pollution Is Totally Reversible

If you’re at all interested in astronomy or astrophotography, there is no escaping the effects of light pollution. Whether that means traveling to darker skies or using post-processing to reduce gradients, we all kind of wish it wasn’t there. Right?

Coming Soon: An Astrophotographer's Dream?

Australian Dylan O'Donnell's over-the-top astrophotography adventure videos often introduce us to new equipment. But his "HOTTEST New Astrophotography Products in 2022" video caught my eye. At the very least, it's a bit presumptuous to think that the hottest products come out in the first half of the year!

My Go-to Gear for Nighttime Landscape Photography

Shooting landscapes at night often calls for gear that isn’t entirely essential for shooting during the day. Here are some suggestions for shooting single images, as well as star trails and time-lapse photography.

Helpful Tips for Dealing With Light Pollution in Night Photography

Shooting the night sky, whether by itself or as part of a landscape, can be a magical thing. The problem is that with such low levels of ambient light, any manmade sources can quickly overwhelm the stars and ruin the frame. So, how do you deal with light pollution? This helpful video tutorial will give you some useful tips on how to avoid or mitigate it and come away with more desirable images.

A Messier Road Trip Through the Sky

March brings the Spring equinox, hope for improved weather, and the possibility of a marathon road trip through the sky via the Messier list of astronomical objects. Note: it’s not supposed to be a “messy” list.

7 Tips for Better Milky Way Photos

It’s springtime, which means that for most of us around the world, the core of the Milky Way galaxy, or the “Galactic Bulge,” will be prominently visible in the night sky roughly through the end of summer.

What Exactly Is Image Stacking?

If you have ever seen images of deep space objects like nebulae and galaxies while perusing the internet today, you may have wondered why they look the way they do. I mean, it’s not all difficult to point your camera up and take pictures of the night sky. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

Creating a Night Sky 360 VR Panorama

Creating a 360 VR panorama (also referred to as 360x180 degree panorama) has been an interesting side-challenge to take on for photographers, but in the past few years, it has been simplified to the point where phones, such as the Google Pixel series, make taking a VR panorama practically a point-and-shoot affair. But shooting one of the night sky remains a worthy challenge.

5 Ways to Improve Your SkyGuider Pro

So, you’ve gone out and bought an iOptron SkyGuider Pro. You’ve assembled it, read the instructions, maybe even watched a YouTube video on how to use it, and you’ve got the basics down. But you find yourself wondering if it could be better. Yes, it can be heaps better.

Planning the Right Place and Time for Astrophotography

Time flies by. We’re already into February. Have you got your astrophotography planned out for the year? For astrophotographers, knowing what’s up in the sky and planning is the key to getting an interesting shot.

Fstoppers Reviews the Clear Night Filter: Enabling Astrophotography With a Drone?

If you’re into astrophotography, a drone typically isn’t your camera of choice. That’s why I was surprised to see Haida’s release of a light-pollution reducing filter for the new Mavic 3, which they’re calling the NanoPro Clear-Night Filter. Does this filter change the experience of shooting with a drone at night?

A Low-Cost Path to Astrophotography

I’m occasionally asked to recommend a camera to get into astrophotography. Of course, my first answer is to use the camera and lenses you already have. Beyond that, it’s difficult to recommend a specific brand and model because I don’t have every camera at my disposal, and we are blessed (cursed?) with a continuous stream of new and improved cameras. Here are some thoughts.

The Best Budget Camera for Astrophotography

With all the fanfare this past year over the latest developments in camera technology, it's easy to get caught up in gear envy. And that's completely natural. But what if there's a better camera out there that most of us have forgotten about?

Behind the Scenes Photographing the Horsehead Nebula

Astrophotography has always fascinated me, as the thought of capturing objects that are such unfathomable distances from Earth just blows my mind. This great video goes behind the scenes to show you the process of shooting one of the most well-known objects in the night sky and the sort of technique and effort that goes into producing a memorable image.

3 Deep Sky Winter Targets for Astrophotographers

For Northern Hemisphere astrophotographers wanting to try getting into the deep sky (outside our solar system) targets, here are three suggestions to start the Winter season, with the bonus that a stock (unmodified) DSLR or mirrorless camera can be used.

The Five Best Beginner Targets for Astrophotography

Astrophotography has become more popular than ever, in no small part due to the global pandemic, but also due to the availability of inexpensive portable tracking mounts.

Partial Eclipse, Partial Results

November’s astronomical events led me to plan for a week-long marathon astrophotography session. The catch was that it had to be around the full Moon, normally a frustratingly unproductive time for astrophotographers.

How to Photograph the Comet Leonard

After all the excitement we got last year from the comet NEOWISE, it's hard to believe that right now, there's another potential naked-eye-visible comet screaming through the solar system at 158,000 miles per hour.

Improve Your Astrophotography With Topaz Labs

Astrophotography and nighttime photography generally come with their own respective challenges. The biggest problem tends to be increased noise especially in the shadow areas of an image. But what if there was some incredibly smart software that could magically get rid of the noise and improve your images, would you use it?

A Complete Multi-Platform Guide to Astrophotography Processing

If you’ve ever thought about getting into astrophotography, you may have been dissuaded by the task of correctly processing your own images. There are countless guides online using a variety of programs, but they are either expensive and difficult to use, or are only available for a single operating system.

A Beginner's Guide to Shooting Nightscape Photos

One of the neatest experiences after buying a dedicated camera is pointing it at the night sky for the first time and capturing beauty that is invisible to the naked eye. Doing so takes some specialized technique, however. This excellent video tutorial will show you how to take a compelling nightscape shot using nothing but a basic camera, kit lens, and tripod.

Testing Every Camera Mod for Astrophotography

If you have been using your digital camera for astrophotography, you’re probably aware that there are special astro variants of some of the more popular cameras. But how exactly are these special variants different, and can you modify yours?

5 Points for Photographers Testing the Waters of Astrophotography

This video from Cuiv, the Lazy Geek, a YouTuber with a popular following in the astrophotography community, brings up some considerations for photographers who are dipping their toes into astrophotography, including broad considerations and commentary on differences and difficulties traditional photographers may find as they explore astrophotography.

200mm Lens Shootout for Astrophotography

If you are at all interested in astrophotography, you may have wondered if your current lenses are up to the task of capturing sharp, distortion-free images of the stars. Something most modern digital lenses weren’t intended for.

A Constellation Astrophotography Project

Fall tends to be a “transitional” season for the astrophotographer. Summer constellations are still visible for early evening, but are quickly fading into the sunset. Late in the evening, some of the prominent Winter constellations are starting to come into view. In a few months these winter constellations will be high in the sky and well placed for astrophotography, so now is the time to do some planning.

Is This Affordable 35mm Lens a Good Option for Astrophotography?

Astrophotography has some specific and often more demanding requirements when it comes to lenses, and as such, it takes careful evaluation of potential options to know which is right for your work. For astrophotographers on a budget, there is the Viltrox 35mm f/1.8 AF, and this great video review takes a look at the sort of image quality and performance you can expect from it in practice.

A Beginner's Guide to Planetary Astrophotography

As we transition from summer to fall, two of the most photogenic planets, Jupiter and Saturn, have passed the point of closest approach (opposition) to the Earth for the year. Yet, they still make great targets for planetary astrophotography, especially since they are now high in the sky soon after sunset. As another bonus, photographing these planets does not require traveling to a dark sky site. This kind of astrophotography can be done from our backyards.

Astrophotography From $100 to $10,000

Astrophotography has quickly become incredibly popular these days, with the advent of increasingly smaller and affordable star trackers, and not to mention the global pandemic, which has forced people to make do with photographing what is immediately around them, or above them.

How Everyone Can Do Night Photography, From Beginner to Pro

Night photography isn't all about astrophotography and in fact, there are a lot of great shots out there waiting to be captured. In this video, see how night images of varying difficulties are made and use them as inspiration for your own shoots.

Rocket Launch Photography Challenges

Two successful SpaceX missions last week, one on each coast, prompted me to review my rocket launch photo procedures, particularly since the Monday (Sept. 13) launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base was the first after a long hiatus. For those of us in southern California, it was a photo op we were eagerly awaiting since it was scheduled for after sunset.

Scouting Landscape Photography Locations With Virtual Reality

For any landscape photographer who prioritizes getting the money shot over serendipitously stumbling on a picturesque scene, using apps to predict the weather and to visualize an image is a foundational aspect of their workflow. While there are some incredibly useful apps out there, there isn't much that could beat being able to virtually travel to a location and time.

An Astrophotography Review of the Sigma 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

It takes more than a wide aperture and the right focal length to make a good astrophotography lens. Sigma's 40mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens offers a slightly longer but still reasonable focal length paired with that wide aperture, making it a potentially useful candidate for astro work. This great video review takes a look at the lens from an astrophotographer's perspective and the sort of image quality and performance you can expect from it.

A Resource for Astrophotographers: 'The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide'

In a previous article (Easing into Astrophotography with a Telescope), I listed a few resources for stepping up to telescopic astrophotography. Beyond learning the basics of sky navigation and learning to extend your photographic equipment knowledge into long exposures, an introductory overview of astronomy is a good idea so that you are aware of the photographic possibilities available to you and the wide array of equipment that may be needed.