Beginner astrophotography telescope – The Best choice
You’re a beginner astrophotographer and you’re searching for a good telescope to start your hobbie? In this article you will find how to select the best equipement to start in astrophotography.
Which mount for astrophotography
In astrophotography we need a good and a solid mount to handle the scope. The mount is the most important equipement in astrophotography and can cost more than the scope.
The mount should be precise and motorised in order to track stars while the earth is rotating. In the market we can find 3 types of mounts :
Motorised mount in one or dual axis
As we said, as the earth rotates, we need to ensure that the mount moves at the same speed of the rotation of the earth (sidereal motion). This will allow us to keep the target always in the field of view and in astrophotography we’ll have a good and nice round stars.
Mounts can be sold with or without motors. If your mount doesn’t have motors you can simply buy one and attached to it.
One axis Right Ascension motor can be suffiscient if you want to image planets or the bright deep sky objects. For deep sky, and depending on your scope and the precision of your polar alignement, you can acheive up to 60 seconds of exposure! And that’s suffiscient for bright galaxies and star clusters.
Or this one :
Orion 7827 EQ-2M Electronic Telescope Drive
Dual axis motors
Dual axis means a motor for the Right ascension and a motor for Declination. This way your mount can move in all directions and that’s really useful when you want to autoguide when shooting deep sky objects.
Motorised mount with GoTo system
The best solution for a beginner is to buy a mount with a GoTo system. A GoTo system is combination of double motors (R/A and declination axis) with a computrised GoTo object location. That means you select your target on your hand controller or on your computer and the mount points automatically to it!
The GoTo upgrade kit can be sold alone and added to your mount :
This amazing kit has these features :
- Go GoTo! Upgrade your standard telescope or mount to enjoy computerized GoTo object location and tracking with this upgrade kit
- GoTo system Automatically locates and tracks more than 42,900 celestial targets with pushbutton ease
- Upgrade kit installs easily and requires no modification to the SkyView Pro equatorial mount
- Includes two motors, motor control box, motor covers, motor control box, GoTo hand controller, brackets, and more!
If you don’t have already a mount you can buy a mount that integrates a GoTo kit. There are many mounts available on the market but this mount in one of the the best for beginner astrophotographers :
- The heavy-duty Atlas EQ-G equatorial telescope mount and tripod has ample strength to support up to a 40-lb. equipment load to easily manage all visual or astrophotographic applications
- Select from among 42,900 celestial objects to explore using the intuitive menus on the computerized GoTo hand controller
- Internal DC stepper motors offer nine slew rates ranging from 2x to 800x sidereal and three tracking rates: sidereal, lunar, and solar
- Features a convenient CCD autoguider jack ; weighs 54 lbs. without counterweights attached
- Includes an illuminated polar-axis scope for easy polar-alignment, 13″ dovetail mounting plate, two 11-lb. counterweights, 12V DC power cable, RS-232 cable, and more – requires external 12-volt DC power source or AC-to-DC wall adapter (sold separately) for motorized operation
Which beginner telescope for astrophotogarphy ?
Now that you have selected your mount it’s time to choose a good beginner telescope for imaging the night sky. The scope should be easy to use, not so heavy, easy to collimate, and have a quick temperature balance.
Remember also that in astrophotogarphy there are 2 types of imaging : Planetary imaging and Deep Sky imaging. Some telescopes are designed for Planetary imaging like Maksutov telescopes :
The Maksutov-Cassegrains telescopes are the ultimate take-anywhere telescopes and excellent in Planetary astrophotography thanks to their high F/D ratio. Despite their small dimensions they pack a powerful punch. Their high-resolution, diffraction-limited optical systems are multi-coated to maximize contrast and image sharpness.
In the other hand, for deep sky objects we need a telescope with a low F/D ratio to quickly collect photons from distant galaxies, nebulas and star clusters. A good beginner deep sky telescope can be a Newtonian telescope :
This Newtonian telescope F/4 (800mm focal length) comes with dual-speed focuser incorporates a superb mirror-set with two significant advantages over competing products. A 2″ dual-speed 10:1 ratio focuser is included for excellent focusing precision. Additionally, the tube length has been slightly shortened to optimize performance for prime-focus photography. Even better performance for astro-photography, and visual use, can be achieved when used in combination with the Sky-Watcher Quattro coma corrector.
The big advantage of a Newtonian telescope is that it can be used for planetary and as well for deep sky imaging. With just a Barlow lens you can multiply the focal length of the scope. For example if you use a Barlow X3 the focal length of the Skywatcher Quattro will be 800 x 3 = 2400 mm ! That’s excellent for planetary imaging.
Our choice for best astrophotography telescope for beginners
For a simple and easy to use astrophotography telescope, we recommend the combination of a GoTo mount and a Newtonian telescope. In this way you’ll be able to image planets, moon and deep sky objects. You don’t have to point manually objects in the sky because the mount has a GoTo system. Astronomy and astrophotography become easy 🙂