Astrophotography 101: Getting Started without Getting Soaked

Star Circle Academy
Star Circle Academy
Public group
Location image of event venue


Cost: $35 per person

Maximum attendance: 22

NOTE: The time is 7:30 PM Pacific Daylight Time (10:30 pm EDT)

Location: WEBINAR - i.e. from your computer anywhere in the world.

DATE: Thursday November 17th, 7PM PDT

Astrophotography is a sub species of night photography that requires more specialized knowledge, more discipline, and usually more investment in time and equipment (i.e. cost!). Those super cool pictures of nebula and galaxies do not happen by accident. Astrophotographers also have developed their own curious language with terms like guiding, tracking, mounts, GEM, integration time, flats, bias, and dark frames. The goal of this course is to provide the background information a potential astrophotographer will need to get started on the best foot - at the lowest investment.

Theory of astrophotography (long exposures, multiple exposures, integration time) Tracking (what and why) Lenses and cameras. Inexpensive solutions for equipment, mounts, software. Dark vs suburban skies Proper exposure(s) - with visual examples The top 3 challenges Recommendations, costs and summary. Q&A Resources (Clubs, Books, Web Sites) Note: If you're even moderately interested in Astrophotography, this class might save you from making 100s of dollars worth of bad investments.

Since this is a Webinar, please see IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS below for things to consider before joining the class.

Here is an image taken with a Canon[masked]mm f/4 on an inexpensive equatorial mount. (The bright spot at the bottom left of the Pinwheel Galaxy is supernova SN2011fe).

Here is a full color, high resolution image of the same subject taken using expensive apparatus.

Here is an example of the Milky Way taken "in town" using only a camera and tripod.

And here is an image taken in San Jose, with an 80% illuminated moon, light pollution and less then ideal seeing conditions.

There are successor classes you may be interested in, too:

Astrophotography 101 ( Getting Started without getting Soaked (this class)

Astrophotography 201 ( In the Field - capturing images in a dark environment not far from the Bay Area.

Astrophotography 301 ( Processing Your Image for best Results

You might also find

Night Photography 111 ( Catching the Moon interesting and helpful, too.


You should have a decently fast internet connection! Dial-up won't work for audio or the data content.

The dial in number to listen to audio is a (408) area code number. There is no 800/toll free number. If you're like me and have an unlimited US calling plan this won't affect you unless you are out of the United States. A hands-free headset or speaker phone is preferable even if you use a telephone and unfortunately the quality of some speakerphones is dismal.

If tying up a phone line won't work for you there is also an internet voice option (Voice-over-IP) that incurs no additional charges. To use VoIP you must have speakers and a microphone. VoIP is probably the most convenient even if you plan only to listen. If you do not currently have a headset I suggest getting a Plantronics headset with a microphone and a USB connection ( Such headsets can be found at Frys and Best Buy for from $25 and up. USB headsets with microphone can be used with Skype and many other online games, and calling tools. They come in many styles include behind the head and over the head, single ear, open ear and closed. Most laptops include speakers and microphones but the audio quality of these is generally very poor. Some webcams also include built in microphones but generally the quality of those is very poor.

In addition to the live attendance, where you can ask questions and follow along with the presentation, I will make available special attendee-only content on my BLOG.