How to Find and Photograph Deep Sky Objects

How to Find and Photograph Deep Sky Objects

Deep sky objects are some of the most fascinating celestial sights that can be seen through a telescope or binoculars. From bright nebulae and star clusters, to distant galaxies and quasars, these astronomical wonders have captivated astronomers for centuries.

In order to capture these amazing objects in photographs, there are a few steps that need to be taken. Before you begin photographing deep sky objects, it is important to understand the basics of astrophotography. This will include learning about optics, camera equipment, imaging software, and more.

Finding Deep Sky Objects

The first step in finding deep sky objects is to identify them in the night sky. To do this, you will need a good star chart or planetarium software program. These programs are designed to help you identify constellations and deep sky objects in the night sky. They can also provide information on the size, magnitude, and other characteristics of each object.

Once you’ve identified an object that you’d like to photograph, you need to locate it in the night sky. The best way to do this is with a telescope or binoculars. Depending on the type of telescope or binoculars that you have, you may need to use an equatorial mount or motorized tracking system in order to keep the object centered in your field of view as it moves across the night sky.

Setting Up Your Equipment

Once you’ve located your target deep sky object, it’s time to set up your equipment. Start by mounting your camera on a sturdy tripod or mount. Make sure that the tripod is securely attached and that all of the legs are level. You may also want to make sure that your camera lens is securely attached as well.

Next, connect your camera lens to your telescope or binoculars using an appropriate adapter. This will allow you to use your telescope or binoculars as a telephoto lens for your camera. Once everything is connected, set up your focuser so that it is aligned with the center of your target deep sky object.

Capturing Images

Now it’s time to take some pictures! Start by taking some test shots with short exposures (1-3 seconds) at different ISO values (100-1600). This will help you determine which settings work best for capturing images of deep sky objects.

Once you have determined the best settings for capturing deep sky objects, start taking longer exposures (10-20 seconds). Be sure to take multiple exposures at different ISO values (100-1600) so that you can combine them later into one image with more detail.

When taking longer exposures (10-20 seconds), be sure to use noise reduction techniques such as dark frame subtraction or flat fielding in order to reduce noise and improve image quality. You may also want to try stacking multiple images together using image stacking software such as DeepSkyStacker in order to create even higher quality images.


Photographing deep sky objects can be a rewarding experience but it requires patience and practice. By following these steps – finding deep sky objects; setting up your equipment; and capturing images – you should be able to take beautiful photographs of these amazing astronomical wonders.

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