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Setting a Stellar Track Record

Just a quick post about getting started in long exposures with a tracking mount and a digital camera. What can you expect with just adding the tracking and no other complexity in your set of gear? Here's a good example of a single 10 minute exposure of the Milky Way using a stock Canon 6D camera and an ultra wide 17-40mm lens set at 17mm and then processed in Photoshop.

Clearly you can see the structure of the Milky Way, as well as the positions of various nebulae and clusters of stars.

Using a motorized mount is a great "next step" if you've been using a standard camera tripod but want to get deeper space images. My advice is that until you are experienced with polar alignments, to start with a very wide angle lens like this. You will find the resulting images to be more forgiving of small polar alignment errors. There are many motorized mounts on the market and you can start by loaning one from the Blue Door Astro Library to see what meets your needs. You can also borrow a camera from our library to see what you can capture.


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