How to Photograph Stars

Taking photos of star formations and galaxies seems difficult and expensive, but this video gives some helpful tips to encourage photographers to try using inexpensive equipment:

The first part of the video explains how to capture a basic photo of the stars and amplify the faint light of constellations. You will simply need a DSLR camera and a sturdy tripod. Switch over to manual mode and use camera settings such as these (this may vary depending on lighting conditions, but you could try it as a starting point):

  • Aperture: Somewhere around f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed: Long shutter speed such as 30″
  • ISO: Somewhere around 800

The video offers the idea of using a notecard to block the light while pressing the shutter button to eliminate vibrations. But I would suggest just using the self-timer mode or a remote shutter if you have one.

photograph stars

Photographing Stars

However, the next move includes a telescope, so if you do not have access to a telescope, you are not likely to get the results shown in the video. If you do have a telescope, the following ideas are quite interesting:

  1. Place a compact camera up to the telescope eyepiece and take a photo.
  2. Purchase an adapter for your SLR and attach it to the telescope instead of the eyepiece.
  3. Purchase a webcam with interchangeable lens and use a similar adapter technique as item 2.

The webcam idea was interesting because after taking a fairly blurry short video, the narrator used composite imaging software to combine the video frames into a single, clearer image. The examples in the video were high quality amateur photographs that could inspire individuals with an interest in astronomy. With a small investment in the extra adapters, photographers with a telescope may capture their own images of nebulae, planets and star formations they can see with their telescope.

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