Narrowband filters produce exceptional results and are ideal for blocking detrimental light pollution. A hydrogen-alpha filter can take great monochrome pictures of nebulae and should be on the list of every DSLR/CCD imager.
Three pieces of equipment are essential
- Equatorial mount
- Imaging camera
The most important part of all. This tracks the sky, cancelling out the rotation of the Earth and keeps the target centred on the sensor. A portable mount such as the Skywatcher HEQ5 is perfect in that it delivers high quality tracking yet is portable enough to be carried quite easily.
Starting out in astrophotography requires careful planning and a good working knowledge of equipment. Once the equatorial mount and telescope are set up, the mount has to be aligned on the north celestial pole NCP of the sky. This is near to Polaris, the north star and is just an extension of the Earth’s axis into space. Once the mount is aligned on the NCP it should be able to track the target for at least a five to ten minute exposure. There’s a lot of information on polaralignment routines on the internet and you can purchase inexpensive software to assist with the procedure.