What's New

Choosing A Telescope

Telescope Aperture Considerations

Astronomical Sketches

Introduction to Planetary Sketching

Visual Observations

Refractor Dobsonian Style Mounts

Equipment Reviews

Favorite Quotes

The Bonds: Pioneers of American Astronomy

Saturn's Encke Minima and Encke Division

Nature and Travel Photography


Astronomy Humor


Recommended Astronomy Books



Here are some of my deep-sky astrophotographs I took in the early to mid-1980's.

During the early to mid-1980's I took deep-sky astrophotographs using Celestron 8 (C8) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (SCT). I would often head up to the mountains for long weekends with a friend. I brought my C8 and he brought his C11. Rather than pitch a tent I would sleep in the back of my station wagon while he would sleep in his van.

It was good to get away from the normal everyday cares and just focus on the basics: making sure we had enough food and drink, and take naps during the day so we could image at night. At night while guiding the exposures it was pleasant to sit back and watch the stars as they slowing pinwheel overhead from dusk to dawn.

Here is a photograph of my friends C11 in the foreground and my C8 in the background with Meade 4" mounted on top. I sometimes used the Meade 4" with the Lumicon Easy Guider to get wider field of view images and guided through the C8.

Closeup photograph of Celestron 8 with Meade 4" SCT piggybacked on top. The finder was University Optics 8 x 50mm right angle correct image finder. To reduce the likelihood of dew forming on the corrector plate a heating element was wrapped around the front of the tube assembly and secured with duck tape. It was low tech, but it worked.

For my astrophotography I used an Olympus OM-1 body which was lightweight, reliable, and had a mirror lockup. In addition I used an Olympus Varimagni Finder help obtain sharp focus. This accessory magnified the image from 1.2x to 2.5x. I still use this camera today for my aurora and lunar eclipse astrophotography.

To increase the speed of the film I hypered the film in a Lumicon Model 600 Hypering tank. After much experimentation I settled on using hypered Kodak VR 400 speed color negative film, which had good sensitivity to both the blue and red ends of the spectrum. Exposure times ran up to about an hour.

An Astro-Physics (AP) 8002 dual-axis drive corrector with declination motor used to make corrections during the exposure.

The standard spur gear drive that came with the Celestron 8 was not very accurate, so I replaced it with a higher quality Kencor worm gear drive. The declination motor of the AP 8002 dual-axis drive corrector is visible on the left fork tines of the C8. The connector for the heating element is visible in the upper right of the photograph:

Here are some of the deep-sky astrophotographs I took with the C8:


The Andromeda Galaxy M31


The Great Hercules Cluster M13


The Great Orion Nebula M42


The Pleiades or Seven Sisters Star Cluster M45


The Pinwheel Galaxy M33

Ursa Major


All Photographs 2000 - 2015, Eric Jamison, all rights reserved. May not be used without written permission.