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How to attach a camera to your telescope

Last Updated: 06.12.21


If you’re passionate about astronomy you most definitely need to learn as much as possible about this subject. Stars, planets and the universe’s entire existence outside the Earth is simply fascinating. And, while we may not know too many things, we could only hope for technology to advance in the future so that we can conquer the universe and learn all about its secrets.

A good way to start is to have your own telescope so you can prepare to see amazing stuff beyond our planet. Imagine the stars, the Milky Way galaxy, the moon, and the planets, all through your own eyes. And, since it is said that a picture is worth more than one thousand words, why not try to share what you see with others? Bring joy and happiness in their lives, make them curious and fascinated by the outer space. If you want to do that, you can take pictures of what you see through the telescope with the help of a camera.

So here are some tips on how to attach a camera to a telescope and get wonderful pictures from this combination.

Choose your telescope wisely

First things first, you will need a professional telescope. A good telescope for the money doesn’t have to cost you a fortune but should be powerful enough to reach the moon and the other planets. If you cannot afford to buy a professional one from the beginning, you might as well check second-hand pieces that are still in excellent shape.

If you plan on going for the latter, make sure to carefully examine all pieces and check out for flaws, scratches, electrical problems or any other inconveniences.

There are three types of telescopes, each coming with their own benefits and downsides. The reflectors mainly gather light by using a mirror at the end of the main tube. They are quite affordable and easy to handle, so they are mainly used by beginners who want to learn more about how to correctly use a telescope.

Refractor telescopes use a lens that is attached to the tube’s front and represent the most common type of telescopes available on the market. The quality of the lens, as well as the aperture,  represent the main features of a refractor telescope that could make it cost up to several thousands of dollars. Nevertheless, refractor telescopes are the ones you will most often see in observatories and they are also good for beginners.

Last but not least, the compound telescopes use a combination of lenses and mirrors to gather light. Their main feature is their compact and lightweight design. This allows them to be easily carried around. Compound telescopes are also quite affordable. However, since we are mainly talking about hand telescopes, these won’t serve your photography purpose too well.

You can buy a new telescope for adults that is professional and has great features for under one thousand dollars so think wisely if you really want to pursue this hobby. There are more affordable ways of taking pictures of the sky, but this one will guarantee you unique and high-resolution shots of everything that is happening out there in the skies.


Choosing the right camera

Secondly, you also have to take into consideration the quality of the camera you are going to use. A DSLR camera is the best option because it has great zooming options and features professional lenses that can help you focus better and take clearer shots of the moon and the planets.

If you don’t afford a DSLR camera you can also use a film camera or your regular smartphone camera. When using a film camera things will be a lot more difficult because you don’t get to see exactly the picture you are taking until processing the actual photo. However, the perk is that the zoom you are using is not digital so it won’t lower the quality of the photo.

Last but not least, if you want to use your regular phone camera you should also avoid using the digital zoom if you want high-quality pictures. Nevertheless, the latter is the most affordable option and a great way for beginners to experience with afocal astrophotography.

How to use your camera and telescope to take good pictures of the moon

Depending on the type of camera you use, as well as the technology on your telescope, attaching the camera to an actual telescope could prove quite a challenge. The simplest way is by using a regular T-adapter you can easily purchase online or in regular photography shops. Most of the modern telescopes feature an eyepiece holder with an external thread so it will be easy for you to purchase a T-adapter that fits your DSLR camera and telescope model.

There is also the case when you are using older technology, in which case you will require the wonders of a 1 1/4 -inch adapter to come with the aforementioned thread.

Once the camera is linked to your telescope you can start playing with the focalization and magnifying features to ensure you have a clear shot of the sky.

Remember that the moon is the closest celestial object to the Earth and so the brightest one. This makes it extremely easy to locate in the sky and will help you improve your photography skills.

Don’t use a sky map or a digital telescope until you’ve had your way around the moon and the closest stars because it will take you more time to learn how to correctly focus your camera and telescope in order to have clear and bright pictures.



Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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