CCD Cameras and Astro-Imaging Products
Astrophotography has always been a rewarding extension to the amateur astronomy hobby. Back in the days of film photography this was highly challenging, requiring lengthy exposures, but not so lengthy that the film would fog over from local light pollution. Much has changed in age of digital photography!
Modern digital imaging products allow the amateur astronomer to easily reach deeper into space, even from light polluted urban environments, and with much greater ease than in the past. The technology and cost of modern CCD cameras and autoguiders has reached a point where amateur astronomers with even modest budgets can achieve results that equal or exceed those of what professional astrophotgraphers were capable of only 25 years ago.
Modern CCD cameras allow the amateur astronomer to easily reach deeper into space, even from light polluted urban environments. Objects that are impossible to see from an urban environment reveal themselves to modern digital imaging techniques.
An autoguider is a small electronic camera that works in conjunction with a telescope mount to keep a celestial object from drifting during a photographic exposure.
The most common method of connecting a camera to a telescope is prime focus coupling, where the telescope effectively replaces the lens of a Digital SLR camera.
Focal reducers are primarily used in astrophotography to compress the light cone exiting the telescope down to a size closer to that of the CCD camera chip.
Filter wheels allow quick and easy filter changes during an astronomical imaging session without removing the camera or disturbing the telescope.
Many astronomical filters are designed for visual observing, but some are specifically designed to be used exclusively for imaging applications using CCD or Digital SLR cameras.
Piggyback camera mounts allow a camera to ride atop a telescope as it tracks the sky. Piggyback photography is used to capture of wide field images, such as comets.
Guiding reticle eyepieces are commonly used for training Periodic Error Correction of a telescope mount, refining polar alignment, and precise go-to alignment.