A brief explanation of astrography telescopes
Astrography telescopes are specialized and high-quality instruments. They can be used for general observation and research purposes. They can be used for astronomical objects such as galaxies, planets, or stars.
Before we look at the best astrography telescopes, we need to be clear about the differences between astrography and astrophotography. So let’s get started!
What is astrography? How is it different from astrophotography?
Astrophotography and astrography are not the same thing. But what exactly is the difference?
- Astrophotography is the photography or imaging of astronomical objects, celestial events, or areas of the night sky.
- Cameras and or telescopes are used in the process of imaging objects such as galaxies, planets, star clusters, and nebulae.
- There are different kinds of astrophotography including deep-sky, landscape, Milky Way, and planetary.
- The major aim of astrophotography is to create interesting or beautiful images, rather than make scientific discoveries.
Astrography is usually:
- Not so commonly used.
- The use of a telescope to observe or study astronomical objects.
- The mapping and recording of movements and positions of celestial objects over time.
- Astrography can include imaging but for the purpose of scientific research.
What kind of telescope do you need for astrography?
The kind of telescope you need for astrography will depend on what you want to observe and record. Some telescopes are better suited to deep-sky imaging or observation, while others are designed for planetary work. Astrophotography requires specialized equipment such as cameras and filters. These will help you to capture the data and later enhance your images.
Astrography is not just limited to visual observation. Radio telescopes can also be used to map the universe and study cosmic phenomena such as black holes and pulsars. This kind of telescope is not easily available to the amateur astronomer and is more likely to be used by professionals. Radio telescopes are also very expensive instruments normally housed in observatories.
Both visual and imaging telescopes are much more accessible and within the price range of a keen amateur astronomer. So if this describes you, then what kind of telescope should you buy for astrography?
Astrography telescopes are not limited to a particular design and can be of any size. Some telescopes used for astrography are small backyard ones and others are much larger and housed in observatories.
Depending on the objects you want to observe or photograph, you’ll need special filters to observe only the wavelengths of light you need. High-quality lenses will also be necessary to study the specific properties of the object and to capture enough detail.
With advances in technology and manufacturing of astronomical instruments including cameras and telescopes, high-quality equipment is more accessible than ever to the amateur astronomer.
The importance of choosing a good astrography telescope
It is very important to understand what you need in a telescope. Astrography is no different. The ideal telescope for you is the one that will help you study and observe the objects you are interested in with sufficient detail and accuracy.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an Astrography Telescope
If astrophotography is what you want to do, then you need a telescope that will be suitable. Such a telescope will have:
- a larger aperture to let in more light and make your images brighter and with better detail
- a focal length that is suitable for the type of targets you want to image or study. For example, many galaxies appear very small in the telescope I use which has a focal length of 650mm. To get more detail, I need a longer focal length of 1000-2000mm.
- high-quality optics which will reduce distortion and produce cleaner and sharper images.
- a quality motorized mount that will enable you to track the motion of the stars. The mount also needs to be very stable so that vibration will not move your telescope when taking photographs.
- a reliable design that is easy to use and maintain.
- ability to attach different cameras. You need to ensure that any telescope you buy will be suitable for any type of camera. This includes DSLR or astronomy cameras.
- the right price. This will depend on your budget and what you want. Don’t sacrifice quality for cost, but also don’t overspend especially if you are just starting out.
Once you have worked out what you want to do with your telescope, considered your level of experience, and thought about the above factors, you’ll be ready to make your choice of telescope.
Comparing some of the best astrography telescopes
I’ve put together a list of what I believe are the best eight telescopes for astrophotography:
Celestron Edge HD 8
This telescope has excellent quality aberration-free optics. The aperture is 8 inches, which is a good size for letting in lots of light. It can be used for observing or imaging the planets and the moon. It’s also possible to get this OTA with the Celestron Advanced VX mount. It’s a very popular scope with quite a long focal length. This would be an excellent choice!
Unistellar eVscope eQuinox smart telescope
This is quite a fast telescope, with a focal ratio of 3.9. This is a Newtonian reflector design with a modest aperture size of 114mm. It can produce high-resolution images of 4.8 megapixels. It is built with a high-quality design, and the software makes it easy to use for both viewing and imaging.
Check out this video for more information about the Unistellar eVscope eQuinox
Photron RC6 Ritchey-Chrétien
This is a 6-inch aperture telescope. This scope is designed to give very good astrophotography images with no coma or aberration effects. The tube prevents unwanted light from entering from the outside, which can often affect your images. The longer focal length of 1370mm makes it perfect for smaller galaxies and other deep-sky objects. It has a high-quality Crayford focuser, which simplifies focusing. This one really packs a punch!
Check out this video about the Photron RC6
Sky-Watcher Evoguide 72 APO
This has an aperture of 72mm and a widefield focal length of 242mm. This would make an excellent guide scope or a widefield imaging scope. It is an apochromatic doublet that is free of any optical aberration. At F/4.8 it is also very fast. Another one to check out!
Orion 6” f/4 Newtonian Astrograph
Very nice rolled steel construction of the tube. It is a very fast instrument with a focal ratio of 4.1 meaning you can gather the same light as other scopes in less time. It is fairly sturdy and easy to collimate and use. This is a reflector design. many have commented that the focuser is also very good.
Orion is a great name in the industry, so I advise this one!
Here is a video overview of this telescope in the field from Galaxy Hunter
PlaneWave 14-Inch CDK f/7.2 OTA Telescope with Fused Silica Optics
This has a very large aperture of 14 inches. It is not as fast as some of the other scopes in this list as it has a F ratio of 7.2. If you want to get in close to your target, this scope has a focal length of a whopping 2563mm. Great temperature-resistant optics. This telescope is professional level and will not disappoint!
TPO 8” Carbon Fiber f/8 Ritchey
A reflector telescope with a focal length of 1625mm. The OTA is built with carbon fiber for stability and durability. Has great optics which are aberration and coma-free. The focal ratio is F/ 8. This one is also well worth considering.
You can see a video showing the unboxing and installation of this scope here
Celestron NexStar 4SE
This is suitable for beginners and more advanced users. It has a GOTO mount which is easy to use. The computer system has 40,000 objects loaded into it so finding your target should be easy once you learn the basics. The aperture is only 4 inches which is not very big. The focal length is 1325mm which is convenient for many objects. The optics are reasonably good also.
Take a look at this video review to inform your decision.
I’ve put these top astrograph telescopes into a table so you can compare them:
|Telescope||Focal Length||Focal Ratio||Aperture||Price|
|PlaneWave 14-Inch CDK f/7.2 OTA Telescope with Fused Silica Optics||2563mm (101-inch)||f/7.2||14 inches (356mm)||$14,500.00|
|CDK14 Astrograph f/7.2 with Fused Silica Optics – PlaneWave Europe||N/A||f/7.2||14 inches (356mm)||N/A|
|PlaneWave CDK14 Telescope – Deep Space Products||2563mm (101-inch)||f/7.2||14 inches (356mm)||$14,500.00|
|Celestron EdgeHD 8″ OTA with CGE Dovetail Plate – OPT Telescopes||2032mm (80-inch)||f/10||8 inches (203.2mm)||$1,199.00|
|PLANEWAVE 14″ CDK CORRECTED DALL-KIRKHAM TELESCOPE 140101Q fused silica||2563mm (101-inch)||f/7.2||14 inches (356mm)||N/A|
|Orion 6″ f/4 Newtonian Astrograph Reflector Telescope – High Point Scientific||610mm (24-inch)||f/4.1||6 inches (152.4mm)||$599.99|
|Celestron NexStar 4SE Telescope – Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users – Fully-Automated GoTo Mount – SkyAlign Technology – Amazon.com||1325mm (52-inch)||f/13||4 inches (102mm)||$699.00|
|TPO 8″ Carbon Fiber f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Reflecting OTA Telescope – OPT Telescopes||N/A||f/8||8 inches (203.2mm)||$1,499.00|
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