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The Whirlpool Galaxy M51 is about 31 million light years away, discovered by Charles Messier in 1773. I've always liked the looks of this unusual galaxy because of the distinct spiral arms and the other galaxy which appears to be next to it. Hubble shows that the other galaxy (NGC 5195) is actually passing behind M51. Taken with a 4.5 inch Orion reflector telescope.

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I went out a few days later and tried M51 again with my 8 inch telescope...06/02/2023

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The Horsehead Nebula below, within the Orion constellation. This was my first time attempting to get this nebula. I got a lot of glow from a nearby street lamp but the nebula does appear towards the center of the photograph. In the upper left is part of the flame nebula, another popular deep space object for astrophotographers. Taken with a 4.5 inch Orion reflector telescope.

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The Great Orion Nebula below, also known as Messier 42, is a fairly large nebula, about twice as big as the sun as seen from earth. (That is if you were able to see it without the aide of long exposure photography). In reality it is 2000 times the mass of the sun. It is located in the 'sword' of the Orion constellation. Much is said about the Orion nebula as it is very famous and popular with astronomers and photographers alike. Wikipedia article Here

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Messier 27 This next Deep Space Object (DSO) is known as the Dumbbell Nebula or Messier 27 located about 2/3 of the way from the star Deneb to Altair. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1764. These nebula are very difficult to see with the naked eye but can be viewed with long exposure photography and a telescope. Its apparent size from earth is only about 8 arcminutes (the moon is about 30 arcminutes). A nebula is generally just a cloud of dust and gas floating in outer space. Some nebulae, such as this one, are formed from the remnants of a dying star. The gas and dust are illuminated by what's left of the star, known as a white dwarf. These are known as planetary nebulae although they have nothing to do with a planet. The Dumbbell nebula is one of the brighter nebulae making it fairly easy to capture with shorter exposures. Taken with a Celestron 8SE. Processed with DeepSkyStacker and GIMP software.

dumbbell nebula

Andromeda Galaxy (M31), queen of the sky (Andromeda is a girl's name from Greek mythology). It has been difficult for me to capture correctly. I had to use a smaller telescope for this one because Andromeda is big, it takes up about 6 times the space that the moon does. The best scenario to capture these objects is at a secluded dark area away from city lights. A moonless night would be even better. I was not able to travel to such an area but I still wanted to capture anything that I could of the famous Andromeda galaxy. So I took this capture in a high light polluted area, close to street lights with a full moon. On top of everything else I discovered that the light pollution filter I was using was defective. Andromeda is still showing through. I did have to switch the original color photo to black and white because of the red to blue gradient caused by the defective filter. Although it's apparent size in the sky is bigger than the sun, it's much farther away. Light from the sun takes about 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach earth. The light from Andromeda takes about 2.5 million years. So what we're seeing is actually Andromeda from two and a half million years ago. Space is filled with billions of galaxies, one of them being the Milky Way which we call our home galaxy. Andromeda is the next closest galaxy to us. Taken with an Orion 4.5" scope. Processed with DeepSkyStacker and GIMP software.

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The fourth planet from the sun, Mars. It is difficult to get a sharp image of Mars with modest equipment. Mars is especially sensitive to the atmospheric interference of the earth's atmosphere. This is one of my better attempts to capture the red planet. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos. The characteristics of these moons are that they are odd shaped rather than round. Taken with a Celestron 8SE and a 2.5X barlow. Processed with PIPP and Registax software.

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The fifth planet from the sun, Jupiter. Jupiter has 4 larger moons, besides many small ones. The larger ones are known as the Galilean moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. The black dot on the image is the shadow of Io passing in front of Jupiter. Taken with a Celestron 8SE and a 2.5X barlow. Processed with PIPP and Registax software.

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The sixth planet from the sun, Saturn. Saturn has a total of 83 moons (reports vary) but only 7 are considered the major moons of Saturn with Titan being the largest. Titan is actually bigger than the planet Mercury. Taken with a Celestron 8SE and a 2.5X barlow. Processed with PIPP and Registax software.

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Blood Moon

I took this photo June 30, 2015. There were several large fires burning in Canadian forests around that time that had made the news. The ashes and particles from the fire spread into the atmosphere and caused the sun and the moon to have a dark orange tint. Except, this was taken in Tennessee, a thousand miles south. The ashes from the forest fires had apparently spread out over a very large area. This is the moon well above the horizon. The sun also, earlier that day was a dark orangish color. I admit it was concerning to me at first until I discovered the cause, forest fires in Canada. I didn't realize that the effects could spread that far...

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The Ring Nebula The next image is one of the smaller objects I've photographed. This planetary nebula's apparent size from earth is about 3.8 arcminutes (the sun is about 30 arcminutes). Not possible to see with the naked eye, but visible with a telescope and long exposure photographs. Also known as M57, it was discovered by Charles Messier in 1779. Wikipedia link The Ring nebula is located about 3/4 of the way from the star Altair to Vega. Taken with a Zwo ASI585C camera through a Celestron 8SE telescope. Processed with DeepSkyStacker and GIMP software.

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Triangulum Galaxy (M33) . This was taken in an area with heavy light pollution. Not the best of scenarios to do astrophotography. The Triangulum galaxy is the second closest galaxy to us after Andromeda. It is amazing to me that this is sitting up in the sky every night invisible to the naked eye. But with a small telescope and a long exposure photograph it is brought out into the open. This was taken with a small 4.5 inch Orion telescope. Processed with DeepSkyStacker and GIMP software.

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Last Night

The Bubble Nebula There was a clear sky last night, October 29, 2022, so I took my telescope out and attempted to get some more images. I've been trying to get a photo of the Bubble Nebula because I think it's kind of cool. Nasa link Plus, it's available this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. I've seen photos online that are pretty impressive but every time I try to shoot it I only seem to get part of the 'bubble'.

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So I attempted a different technique last night with a different scope and got more of the 'bubble' to come out. If you look closely at the strange shaped 'star' in the middle, you can see the faint outline of a bubble. This nebula was discovered by William Herschel in 1787. Taken with a 4.5 inch Orion telescope. Processed with DeepSkyStacker and GIMP software.

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The Moon

Here's a short video I took of the moon through my new telescope. I took the video with a Nikon DSLR through a 2.5 X barlow lens. The scope is a Celestron Nexstar 8SE on a tripod. The telescope is stationary, not moving, what you're seeing is the moon moving through the field of view of the scope. The more that you magnify with the telescope, the faster the moon appears to be moving. Taken June 5, 2022 evening.


Here's a photo I took with my small telescope of the famous star group the Pleiades. It's also known from various cultures by different names and has been recognized down through history for thousands of years. Wikipedia Link says that "the earliest known depiction of the Pleiades is likely a Northern German Bronze Age artifact known as the Nebra sky disk, dated to approximately 1600 BC." One of the more well known names given to the Pleiades is The Seven Sisters. I wanted to know which of the several stars in Pleiades they considered the '7 sisters' so after a little research I was able to label the 'sisters'. All from Greek mythology of course....

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The Great Conjunction

The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn took place December 21, 2020. The two planets will not be this close in alignment again for several hundred years. What is even more 'cool' is the fact that this took place on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year (and longest night). Normally you would not be able to see 2 planets together at the same time through a telescope. You would have to move the scope from one planet then to the next. Saturn had been drawing closer and closer to Jupiter for several weeks and on the day of conjunction they appeared to be right next to each other. This is what they looked like through my 5" Meade telescope.

Video: May have to pause video to let it buffer...

Patial Solar Eclipse The following is one of my first attempts at astrophotography. Someone had given me a small tabletop telescope that had an adapter for a camera. It also had various filters, one being a sun filter. I should have cleaned the filter before I used it as there appears to be water spots on the image but I was still able to capture the partial eclipse. This was taken in Franklin, Tennessee October 23, 2014. The bands were some clouds out that day, almost covering the sun. The dark smudges are sun spots. You can see the moon on the bottom making a partial eclipse.

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Total Solar Eclipse Franklin,Tennessee Aug 20, 2017 a little after 1:00 PM. That's no moon, that is the sun...The bright section in the photo is the sun being eclipsed by the moon. The apparent size of the sun and the moon from the earth are almost the same, at 30 arcminutes, although the sun is 76 million times bigger than the moon by volume. As you can see, the clouds were also trying to cover up this rare event over the Nashville area. I photographed the event with just a regular Nikon DSLR. Trying to capture this was a little difficult trying to get the shutter speed just right and protect my eyes from the sun. The event cast an eerie shadow over the 6 of us standing on the back deck of our condo trying to observe the eclipse with our special cardboard solar shield glasses.

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Time Space and Matter


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I got a kick out of this meme that someone posted on Facebook. I'm not trying to get religious on you but it actually makes a pretty good point. Where do people think "matter" (the substance of all things) came from? Do they think matter just came into existence from nothing? Those who believe in a creator could argue that God came into existence from nothing. Makes about as much sense. Right? Or, do they think that matter has always existed? Again, one could argue that God has always existed. Makes about as much sense. Right? I'm not trying to argue the existence or inexistence of a creator, but just the fact that matter exists and no one can explain how it got here seems to open up endless possibilities. So, there appears to be only 2 possibilities, either matter popped into existence "magically" or matter has always existed. Which could it be? A third possibility might be that this is all the figment of someone's imagination, maybe our own imagination. But this would seem to step outside the realms of logic. For one thing, to have an imagination, there must be a consciousness. Can consciousness exist without matter? (I think that's a thought for another discussion). But let's just say as far as science is concerned, it would seem that matter has always existed. Logically and scientifically you can't get something from nothing so it must have always been here. (Now we're back to saying a creator could have always been here). But moving on, another question could be, "Is it possible for there to be nothing"? Some scientists are now saying that empty space isn't really empty.


But, what about all of space, that is, out past the stars that we can see? Our universe of stars, galaxies and planets does not go on forever. There apparently is an end to the universe. Maybe there is an end to the universe but space goes on forever. How can it not? When we get to the end of our observable universe are we going to run into a brick wall? With a sign that says End of the road? I've read that if the universe was infinite with no limit to the stars and galaxies then the night sky wouldn't be so dark as it is now. That actually makes sense. So then maybe out past our observable universe, space really is empty. Empty infinity. And the universe that we live in is the only universe that exists. Actually, no one can prove that. Space is infinite. Who knows what may lie out there?


One thing for sure, matter exists in this universe. Not only does matter exist but consciousness exists. If consciousness didn't exist then none of this really wouldn't matter. (No pun intended) Again, can consciousness exist without matter? This is an important question for those who believe in God. One would assume that God has consciousness. But exactly what does he consist of? Is it possible that matter and consciousness are the same thing? Like what Einstein said about the relation between energy and mass? (Energy = Mass times the speed of light²). In other words, mass can be converted to energy. Like ice to water. Different form of the same thing. Consciousness has to derive from something, right? It appears that humans gain consciousness when their brain (which is just matter and energy) develops to a certain maturity. How is that possible if consciousness to some degree doesn't exist in matter? Or, does the brain have anything to do with consciousness at all? Animals have brains, even insects. Are they conscious? Do they consider their existence? Is consciousness an outside force that enters into a body at will? Is consciousness what we call a spirit?


A note about time: They talk about "if given enough time" evolution happens, etc. But we've already had enough time. Enough time for anything that could possibly happen to happen. Trying to figure the odds of something happening doesn't apply anymore. Because even if the odds are next to impossible, then it has already happened. That's because time has no beginning, think about that. You can get in your time machine and go back 13 or 14 billion years to the beginning of our universe, the 'big bang', but what about before that? They say that time began at the big bang. Nonsense. How many big bangs occurred before OUR particular big bang that we live in? There could have been a hundred, a thousand, a million, infinite big bangs. An infininte amount of universes. In our present time we think about how much mankind has "advanced" over time. We think about the caveman and how he began to use tools, makes the wheel, learns how to use metals. He advances to write things on clay tablets. He continues to advance himself as time goes on to this very day to what we consider high technology and advanced knowledge. It was through the process of time that this all came about. And yet, there has never been a beginning to time. In some other universe way before ours, this has already happened and the intelligent life there has advanced way beyond where we are. I don't know, maybe there is a God, maybe this is where he came from. Who knows? I used to think this "multi-verse" thing which is popular today was the musings of crazy people, not so sure anymore.


Fotosen - Hmmmm...Link - Pentagon finally admits it investigates ufos

Fotosen - ok, so apparently I'm still wrong about the difference between outer space and the universe according to this site (I don't know if I buy it though....)

Great points to ponder. I can’t imagine a universe that ends tho. That would be weird. And if time machines existed how could someone time back to the ‘big bang’? They wouldn’t be able to breathe 😀 Just sayin’ 😁

Fotosen - Maybe the time machine has oxygen tanks? Yes, I know what you mean about the universe. I guess I used to get mixed up about the difference between the universe and outer space. (maybe I still am) But to me, outer space is just one big infinite space, no end. Our universe though is the result of the big bang, stars, galaxies, planets, etc, all spreading out from one central point. Since the big bang isn't 'banging' anymore, our universe becomes hollow on the inside, sort of like a balloon expanding and all the stars and planets lie on the surface of the balloon spreading out. (I didn't make that last part up, I read where they say that's the way it probably is...)

Link - Your body is an illusion

I listened to a podcast about these same ideas today. I'll try to find it for you. 

Fotosen - Thanks...Just for the record, I found the podcast on the Ben Shapiro show, the guy's name was William Lane Craig, and yeah, he was talking about the same kind of stuff....

I recently had a similar conversation with simpler vocabulary with a 10 year old. It's an endless circle of thought. Each direction leads back to the beginning but where exactly is the beginning? Or the end? Infinity is impossible to grasp. It has to end, right? But if it does; what's on the other side? 

Fotosen -  don't think infinity has to end, then it wouldn't be infinity. But if you had in mind our universe, the one that started with what scientists call the Big Bang, or what the Bible calls 'The heavens and the earth' then yes there was a beginning and there will probably be an end. What I want to know is what was going on before all of that happened?  Time goes on as far backwards as it does forward...

Very nice Blog. 

Fotosen - thanks dude!

Many interesting lines of thought and generalities.  Hope you take the time to expand on each one! 

Fotosen - thanks, will do....

Space Time Theory
This is a great lecture dealing with your post that is quite informative by Dr. Hugh Ross. 
Link Here

Nothing against religion or atheism, but instead of pondering how we got here or why we're here, how about we do things that make us and the other people around us happy. Find out how we can help in our local community. Educate ourselves. Show love and compassion in every aspect of our lives. Be understanding.

As living beings we will never 100% know how we got here or the size of the universe. It's all about people's perspective on life.

Favorite daughter
Cave men??? Blah!! Poop on the theory of evolution!:)

Nov/20/2022 06:28:08 AM
Drema Wakayama

Nov/30/2022 01:20:10 AM
Margery Garde

Dec/12/2022 12:04:45 PM
Nilsa Overlie

Jan/08/2023 04:18:28 PM
Orlando Srock

Jan/30/2023 02:20:22 AM
mis1006414rtjuny PNPpGzF RiJ2 Ggp2tHc

Apr/20/2023 11:37:38 AM
Zdravo, htio sam znati vašu cijenu.

What do you want to buy?

Jun/24/2023 09:11:55 PM
Sveiki, es gribēju zināt savu cenu.

Man nav nekā pārdodama
Lūdzu, angliski

Leave a comment or a suggestion for an Astro Phrase? You are welcome to. I will review your comment before posting, you know how that is...



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Hidden in the darkness of space are many gems of colors, shapes and sizes known as Deep Sky Objects (DSOs). When you look up into the night sky you may not be aware of the many nebulae and galaxies, not to mention the planets and comets, visible with an amateur telescope and a camera. You don't need a Hubble telescope or a James Webb telescope, you can capture amazing images with your own modest equipment. Here are some images I took with the popular Celestron Nexstar 8SE (about $1600 on Amazon) or my Orion Starblast 4.5 EQ (about $200) telescope. I used a dedicated telescope camera, the ZWO ASI585 but you can also use any digital camera, even a cell phone. These images are produced from several long exposure pictures stacked together and then processed in photo software such as Photoshop or GIMP.

Another Space Telescope

On July 1, 2023 the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Euclid wide-angle space telescope. Its destination was the Lagrange point L2 along with the James Webb telescope. Euclid is different than James Webb in that it concentrates on photographing large portions of space. It's objective is to better understand dark energy and dark matter. The Wikipedia article explains more Here

Artemis 1

Today, November 16, 2022, the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System rocket lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This is the first test flight of the Artemis mission to put man back on the moon. Click Here for NASA article.

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Artemis's Orion is back

December 11, 2022 The Orion spacecraft successfully splashed back down in the Pacific after a mission to the moon and back. Story Here


May 30,2020 Historic moment for the U.S. First time private enterprise sends rocket to the International Space Station.

More Mars Rovers

NASA launched another rover towards Mars today, July 30, 2020 from Cape Canaveral. They've named this rover the Perseverance which is scheduled to make touchdown Feb 18, 2021 on the Mars Jezero Crater. The interesting thing about this rover is that it has a helicopter aboard. This will be the first attempt of powered flight on another planet. Nasa has two other rovers operating on the planet, InSight and Curiosity. There are also six spacecraft orbiting the planet: three U.S., one from India and two European. China has recently launched a spacecraft with its own rover to land on Mars, Tianwen-1. The United Arab Emirates recently launched the Amal orbiter to Mars. Amal, which means Hope in Arabic will be the first Arabic mission to another planet. Click picture for article

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Update on NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover

The rover has successfully landed, February 18, 2021, see article Here


Elon Musk's Tesla passes close to Mars. Around February of 2018 SpaceX launched it's Falcon Heavy FH-001 rocket with a Tesla sports Roadster car as a payload. It is now orbiting the sun. Yes, for real....

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Click here for article

James Webb Space Telescope

After launching into space on Christmas day 2021, the James Webb Telescope continues to amaze with it's success and images. This telescope is considered the successor to the Hubble Telescope. It is able to 'see' farther to the edges of the universe and give scientists better understanding of our 'beginnings'.
Link Here to to keep up with it's progress.

NASA Photo
James Webb Telescope

Is Bob Lazar lying?

Back in 1989 Bob Lazar made some pretty wild claims. Things like working at a secret military base, working on flying saucers, attempting to reverse engineer the propulsion system of a flying saucer and working with a yet unknown element, element 115. He claimed to work close to Area 51 at a site called S-4. At the time of his revealing no one even knew Area 51 existed let alone S-4. He ended up getting in trouble for revealing top secret government information and claims his life was threatened. He claims his very existence was erased by the government, school records, employment records, etc. The following YouTube video was posted by Derek Van Schaik who looks at people's 'body language' to determine if they are telling the truth. Interesting conclusion....

Video - YouTube
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Speaking of UFOs

January 4, 2021 - The Corona relief bill contains provisions that the heads of intelligence agencies are supposed to release what they know about UFOs within 180 days. (Actually, since the time that this has already been released, it has been a disappointment to those looking forward to more information from the government on UFOs. Still interesting to watch their anticipation) Watch on Tucker Carlson with Nick Pope. Here

Also, check out this article about pyramid shaped UFOs confirmed by the U.S. Navy. Link here


This image was taken by Mast Camera (Mastcam) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 3466 (2022-05-07 07:58:16 UTC). Link Here

Source: Nasa
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Do you believe in UFOs?

'The Phenomenon' documentary by James Fox was released October 6, 2020, about the UFO phenomenon. I've watched several documentaries about this subject matter and this is probably the best produced video to date covering the last 70 years of the most important incidents.

Watch trailer...


Found on Facebook. One of the coolest pictures of Neowise I've seen yet. Neowise is a comet discovered March 27, 2020 by the 'Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer' (Wise) space telescope. It was visable for severable days around July of 2020 even with the naked eye if you were in a dark enough area. I was able to see it in the Nashville, Tennessee area with binoculars. Neowise will be back in about 6,800 years.

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Definition of Space

Is Space Real? I used to think that outer space was an infinite void that you could man an imaginary space ship that goes faster than the speed of light and go on forever. What would you find when you approached the end of the universe? First of all we need to define the meaning of 'universe' Fotosen


Hubble Deep Field Image

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Click here to zoom this photo

This is another way to check out the stars and galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field photograph. Click where it says 'click here to zoom the photo' and it will bring up another image with a small image inset at the top right. Mouse over the small image to search the universe. (Well, a very small section of it....)

James Webb Deep Field Image

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This is James Webb's first deep field image taken July 2022. Compare it with the Hubble deep field above. This is taken from an area of the sky about the size of a grain of sand held at arm's length. Article Here

Telescope Sizes

What do they mean by an 8 inch telescope? There are all different sizes of telescopes (obviously) and there are different ways of describing their power. A common way of describing the smaller amateur telescopes is to give the size of the primary lens or mirror. If you say you have an 11" telescope then the primary lens or mirror will be 11 inches in diameter. This measurement is sometimes given in millimeters. An 11" telescope is the same as a 279mm telescope. My 8" Celestron is a 203mm. The Hubble telescope has a 94.5 inch (2400mm) primary mirror. The larger lens or mirror gives more light gathering area and usually better resolution for the object you are observing. But this also depends on several other factors such as the quality of the glass or the focal length of the telescope.

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My Celestron 8SE on a homemade wedge. (The wooden box looking thing). The purpose of the wedge is to set the base of the telescope at an angle in relation to the North star. This helps the telescope to track deep sky objects more accurately for the purpose of long exposure photography.

Astro Hangman

Here's my version of the classic 'Hangman' for astronomy. Created this while learning javascript. Guess the letters indicated by the stars. No noose or platform, just try and complete the phrase before 9 misses. New phrase usually every two or three days...

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The Photo Process

The nebulas (nebulae) and galaxies on this site are not the product of just connecting a camera to a telescope and snapping a quick picture. These are long exposure photographs where the camera's shutter is opened for several seconds to several minutes depending on how faint the object is in the sky. Also, several of these shots are taken and then stacked together through special software. There could be anywhere from a few shots to several hundred stacked together to produce one photograph. Planets are usually processed from a video.

You can use any kind of a camera, even your cell phone over the eyepiece of a telescope, but the camera or telescope has to be on a special tripod with a motorized tracking mount. The stars and nebulas are moving through the night sky and your camera must follow this movement precisely, especially when taking long exposure photographs. Several enterprising individuals have made their own homemade tracking mounts called 'barndoor tracking'. You can search these on youtube.

After you have taken several carefully focused and correctly exposed photographs, you can load them into special apps that are able to align and stack your photos into one image. Deep Sky Stacker is a free app that can do this, Registax is another one for planets. There are several others that can be used, some free, others at a cost. But, the process is not finished yet, the image from the stacking software is rarely ready as a final product.

Now you take your image produced from one of these stacking apps and load it into a photo enhancing app such as Photoshop($$$) or Gimp(free). You have to 'stretch' the contrast, the colors, the exposure, the hues and chroma, saturation, etc to bring out these faint objects hidden in the photograph. This can take quite some time trying to get just the right balance of everything to produce a note worthy image. This is only part of the story. Some amateur astronomers also use special filters which involves stacking all their images from different filters separately. These narrowband filters capture different elements from the nebulas and galaxies such as hydrogen, oxygen and sulfur. These filters help to bring out the fine detail of the DSO (deep space object). Many unsuspecting amateur astronomers have fallen down the rabbit hole of spending thousands of dollars for more and more equipment to get that 'perfect shot'.

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