When these elements work in perfect harmony (which is not very often), it allows me to take very long exposures of deep space objects (DSOs) such as galaxies, nebulae and comets.
The majority of my astro-photography is done from my garden is Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire.
The telescope mount is by far the most important piece of my equipment. A good mount and a cheap telescope will take better pictures than the best telescope in the world on a poor mount.
I use a Skywatcher NEQ6 (I’d like an Avalon) which is an excellent mount for for what it costs. This mount holds the telescope securely and tracks the sky reasonably allowing my phots to have good detail with nice round stars.
The bottom telescope is my main imaging telescope. This is a William Optics Megrez 80/480 LOMO, it’s my pride and joy and I’ll never part with it. It is through this telescope that most of my images have been taken.
The top telescope is my guiding telescope which is used to guide the mount extremely accurately for long periods of time. This is a William Optics Zenithstar 80II DDG, although it looks similar to the Megrez it is not in the same league optically.
This is an Atik 314l+ which is 1.45 megapixels. This sounds quite measly but in astro-photography the size of pixel is much more important than the quantity.
This camera’s imaging chip is also cooled to 28°C below the ambient temperature to reduce noise (fuzziness on the final image).
This camera focuses on a single star and uses it to the guide to the mount. This guiding is accurate enough to reduce image shift of the main camera to less than 1/4 of a pixel in either direction.
Sometimes called autoguiding, this technique allows for much, much longer camera exposures than would be possible otherwise.