The top 10 Golden Rules of Astrophotography
1) Don’t use Internet images as reference, just as a source of inspiration. You don’t have to beat anybody. You have to beat your previous image.
2) Don’t try to emulate the images of a guy imaging from Atacama desert with a 16″ Ritchie-Chretien. He is a lucky (and probably rich) man.
3) Put your scope under a dark sky as soon as possible. Remote imaging can be a good option.
4) Go to narrowband imaging only if there is no other option. It requires a lot of hours catching light… Make sure that there is no other option!
5) Some people say that the equipment is not important in photography but the creativity is the real key… Believe me, in astrophotography the equipment matters. Allocate a reasonable amount of money to each item (mount, optics, CCD). If you have to choose, then priorize the mount. Yes, the mount. You can imaging with a good mount and poor optics but the opposite is a nightmare.
6) Digital processing techniques for astronomical images are complex and the experience can be very frustrating if you try to be a self-taught astrophotographer. Ask for help on your first steps processing images.
7) Your current imaging gear has some weakness and thinking on selling it to buy a new (and more expensive) one? Wait. Analyze the flaw, ask colleagues about the point and try to solve it. Some imaging gear require some DIY to do it work properly.
8) Don’t waste your time with cheap imaging gear that doesn’t work. Wait, save and buy the expensive piece of equipment that everybody knows that works.
9) The learning curve in astrophotography takes time. Be patient.
10) Share your images and experiences. Reserve time to socialize. This is a hobby to enjoy with other astrophotographers.
The rules above are not absolute truths but just the more remarkable experiences that GalaxiesSoup has subjectively concluded after many years of imaging. We hope these rules help you on your passion imaging the sky and avoid to fall into errors where we fell before.
Do you have some rule or experience? email us with it!