I also have collected the major filters so I can reduce the wavelengths of light for specific things that I want to look at, and I have an amazing mask that I use to focus, even on the dimmest of objects. I also bought a couple of books on Astro-Photography because, as everyone who know me would already expect, I wanted to learn as much as I could before actually going out on the cold winter nights blind (so to speak).

It was reading these books that I found out that I had one major error in my purchases. The AutoStar computer on the telescope allows me to key in an object I want to look at and straight away it will turn the motors so that the telescope will point straight at it, meaning all I need to do is choose the right eyepeice for the magnification that I want. However, there are two motors embedded in the main body of the telescope, meaning it can move in both the X, and the Y axis, but the night-sky moves in an arc. The problem with this is that although my equipment can find and track an obect in the sky, it cannot account for the twisting effect of the thing you are photographing. None of this is a problem when I'm just gazing at the stars, but when I photograph them, because I want to capture as much light and with that the wavelengths of light I can't see, I will be using long exposures of sometimes up to an hour.


To emphasize the problem, here is the first photo of the sky I've taken with my new camera. It wasn't done on a particularly good night for stargazing and it hasn't been processed in any way.

By pointing the camera towards the Pole Star and leaving it on a fifteen minute exposure, you can see how all the other stars around it appear to me moving - you geeks amongst us will know its us rotating and not the stars!

Taking this photo did give me an idea of what I can expect to see when I get to do everything properly because all I could see when I took this photo was the pole star and one other... just have a look at how many, and the colours, the camera was able to pick up!!!

To get around this problemI found that I needed a thing called an Equatorial Wedge, something that's not overly common for my type of telescope, and for that matter not very cheap. The cheapest I could get from Meade, the make of the scope, and get it shipped over to me was five-hundred pounds. Ebay here I come...

It took over two months before an Equatorial Wedge came up on Ebay for my telescope. It was an old one that someone had left in their garage for a couple of years and he had lost all the fixing bolts. The plus was that it was less than a hundred pounds. Three weeks later and it was fitted to my telescope, complete with new bolts I'd turn on the lathe at work :)


It was on my birthday in 2012 when everything I wanted, and needed to try out my new hobby, was fitted together. Unfortunately since then we have either not had any good nights for viewing or it has been too windy for me to do any photography (because of the shudder of the telescope with the wind hitting it.)

Ok, that's a lie, on New Year's Eve when I'd arranged a party at my house, the skies were clear, the wind was low and the stars were out - on the only damn day that I'd arranged for everyone to come round. I did think about leaving them to it while I disappeared outside with the telescope, but I wouldn't have made a very good host if I had.


With everything set, I do hope that soon there will be a good night for me to try out what I've learned and assembled... you'll have to pop back and see how I've got on.

Things that I want to photograph first are:



Eagle Nebula (Pillars of Creation)

Horsehead Nebula

Orion Nebula

Whirlpool Galaxy

Hopefully in the next month or two you will see a couple of these things posted on here ... fingers crossed :)


editOne of my greatest passions is in the night sky. I have always been fascinated by the stars, planets and nebulae up there, and my interest grew even more when I first saw the planet Saturn through a telescope. In the beginning of 2012, I set myself a plan to get the equipment needed to photograph the things I found so wonderful, abet most of them being many light years away.

The first piece of equipment I bought was a Meade LX-90 Telescope. This is an 8” scope, perfectly suited for a budding, amateur astronomer like myself. It is pretty much fully automatic (once it is setup) with a GPS module fitted as standard as well as the Autostar for control and finding of objects in the night sky. I have a range of eyepieces including an illuminated one for initial line-up and two CCD cameras for deepstar imagining, and a Canon EOS 500 DSLR for long exposures either through the eyepiece or from a mount I have added on the top of the scope – it’s a brilliant piece of kit.

“Pick up your feet... got to move to the trick of the beat”

Fred Deakin
Design Engineer / Author