Camera To Take Photos Of Stars

By | 19/11/2022

The all-time camera for astrophotography in 2022: tools and lenses to shoot night skies

The best camera for astrophotography: tools, lenses and tools for shooting the night sky



The all-time photographic camera for astrophotography needs to arrange to some quite specific requirements. Information technology needs to be able to keep its shutter open for at least 30 seconds – probable longer – and be able to shoot in RAW format for the post-processing, which is a big part of astrophotography. A tripod mount is also a must for those long exposures, as is a lens that’s wide in both aperture and bending of view.

So it’s quite a specific list. Only to exist off-white, if yous want to photograph the night sky
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and grab celestial events like the Perseid meteor shower
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or the Northern Lights
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, you lot do need to practice quite a bit of grooming, otherwise you’ll come back with essentially nothing to evidence for it. Light is in short supply when photographing the night sky, and so yous need to notice ways to maximise it.

In this guide, nosotros’ve not simply picked out the best cameras for astrophotography, but the unabridged suite of gear you tin employ to take incredible night-sky images. Nosotros start out with our picks of the best cameras for astro shooting, and so motility on to the all-time lenses – for more choice in this department, check out our guide to the best lenses for astrophotography
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.

From there, nosotros choice out tripods and other accessories, like star-trackers, filters and even telescope mounts for deep-sky astrophotography of star clusters, nebulae and distant galaxies. This is something of a separate chat, equally the earth of telescopes is an involved and circuitous i, but y’all can jump to our guide to the best astrophotography telescopes
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to learn more.

So, if you’re planning to experiment with nightscapes and capture unforgettable images of the stars, read on equally we lay out all the photo gear yous demand to make it happen. We have also a guide to handy
camera accessories

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if you’re looking for more options, and if you demand a bag to put it all in, we’d recommend one of the best camera backpacks
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.

Read more:
Astrophotography tips
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Cameras

(Prototype credit: Catechism)


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Canon’s showtime always full-frame astrophotography photographic camera is a winner

Specifications

Blazon:

Mirrorless

Sensor:

Total frame

Megapixels:

30.3MP

Lens mountain:

Catechism RF

Screen:

3.xv-inch vari-angle touchscreen, two.1m dots

Viewfinder:

OLED type

Max burst speed:

8fps

Max video resolution:

4K UHD at thirty/25/24fps

User level:

Enthusiast/professional person

Reasons to buy


+

Specialized total-frame sensor



+

30x Live View & viewfinder zoom

Reasons to avert


Cropped 4K video



Single SD carte du jour slot

Christmas came early on for astrophotographers when Catechism unveiled a fun surprise – the EOS Ra, a mirrorless camera
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specifically optimised for astro shooting, with an infrared-cutting filter capable of enabling four times the amount of hydrogen 656nm alpha rays. This means better transmission of deep red IR rays, for clearer and more vivid astro images.

The 30x zoom on the rear screen and electronic viewfinder is also handy for astro shooters, and if you pair it with an RF lens (nosotros’ve recommended one below then you can prepare to exist blown away by the image quality. The trick lies with the 30MP total-frame image sensor (Canon’southward previous astro photographic camera, the Catechism EOS 60Da, was an APS-C DSLR).

It’due south non exactly the cheapest option, merely for our money, this is simply your best bet for shooting the stars. An admittedly superb astrophotography photographic camera.

(Prototype credit: Time to come)


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Stunning depression light performance cheers to this terrific full-frame all-rounder’s insane ISO

Specifications

Type:

Mirrorless

Sensor:

Full frame

Megapixels:

24.2MP

Lens mount:

Sony-E

Screen:

3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, 921,600 dots

Viewfinder:

XGA OLED type

Max burst speed:

10fps

Max video resolution:

4K UHD at 30/24fps

User level:

Enthusiast/professional

Reasons to buy


+

Highly sophisticated AF arrangement



+

4K video capabilities

Reasons to avert


Imbalance with larger lenses



No drive or focus fashion dials

This isn’t a specialised astrophotography camera (they aren’t very common), but if you want a more general pick that’due south as adept at astro as information technology is at everything else, then we’d fully recommend the Sony A7 III. This full-frame mirrorless shooter from Sony offers 24.2MP of resolution and an expandable ISO ceiling of 204,800, which give yous a broad suite of options in depression light.

Also, weighing just 650g, this is a relatively light camera, which is handy if you’re heading out to remote locations to capture your astro images. Having a iii-inch tilting touchscreen is useful for shooting from low angles, and the pick of E-mount lenses includes loads of groovy options for astro photographers.

While there has been a successor to the A7 Three in the form of, inevitably, the Sony A7 4, we reckon the Iii is a better selection for astrophotographers, every bit the Four is a massively high-spec option that’s going after serious professionals. Its arrival also ways we could encounter the price for the A7 Three showtime to drop.

(Epitome credit: Hereafter)

Delivers high resolution, high-speed shooting and value

Specifications

Blazon:

DSLR

Sensor:

Full frame

Megapixels:

45.7MP

Lens mountain:

Nikon F

Screen:

3.2in tilting touchscreen, 2.36m dots

Viewfinder:

Optical

Max burst speed:

7fps

Max video resolution:

4K UHD at thirty/25/24fps

User level:

Enthusiast/professional

Reasons to purchase


+

Spectacular levels of detail



+

Lovely treatment



+

Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid


Pedestrian live view AF

Mirrorless cameras don’t accept information technology all their own way. At that place are still some fantastic DSLRs
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out there for astrophotography and the D850 has to be one of the best. Information technology’s total-frame 45.7MP sensor still delivers some of the all-time images we’ve seen from camera, and while the ISO might non be quite the best around, it’s still very well controlled. Information technology can as well shoot at up to an extended sensitivity range that’s equivalent to 108,400 (Hi2), while there’due south a ISO ceiling of 25,600. The build quality is excellent, while the handling is fantabulous – those shooting in poor light will appreciate the illuminated body mounted controls that can easily exist switched on, while the large and bright optical viewfinder volition make framing up piece of cake. AF functioning is stunning, but information technology’s let down past the clunky focusing speed when using the rear screen. Battery life is brilliant though at over i,000 shots per charge – something event the best mirrorless cameras will fifty-fifty struggle to come close to.

(Image credit: Rod Lawton)


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A brilliantly well-rounded mirrorless camera

Specifications

Type:

Mirrorless

Sensor:

APS-C

Megapixels:

26.1MP

Lens mount:

Fujifilm X

Screen:

three.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.62m dots

Viewfinder:

XGA OLED blazon

Max burst speed:

15fps

Max video resolution:

C4K & UHD at 60/50/30/25/24p

User level:

Enthusiast

Reasons to purchase


+

six.5-end in-body stabilization



+

Classic controls and layout



+

60p 10-bit 4K internal video

Reasons to avoid


Complex burst & video fps options

Fujifilm’south flagship mirrorless photographic camera, the Ten-T4 is a brilliant all-rounder that’s a good option for astrophotographers. While you might not get much utilise from the six.5 stop in-body image stabilization system if y’all’re shooting in a tripod, the clever vari-bending touchscreen will make it a breeze to compose shots in both landscape and portrait orientation. The classic body-mounted controls on the X-T4 make it a joy to use (and that scrap easier to set-up in the dark), while the image quality doesn’t disappoint. The 26.1MP APS-C sensor performs very well, while in that location’s a great option of fast primes out there to match with the X-T4.

How we examination cameras

Why y’all can trust Digital Camera Globe


Our proficient reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services and then y’all can choose the all-time for you. Find out more almost how nosotros test.

We test mirrorless and DSLR cameras both in real-world shooting scenarios and in carefully controlled lab weather. Our lab tests measure out resolution, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio. Resolution is measured using ISO resolution charts, dynamic range is measured using DxO Analyzer test equipment and DxO Analyzer is also used for dissonance assay across the photographic camera’s ISO range. We use these real-world testing and lab results to inform our comments in ownership guides.

Lenses

(Image credit: Hereafter)

The fastest, widest-angle prime number lens for nightscapes

Specifications

Mounts:

Full Frame (Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony Due east, Sigma SA)

Elements/groups:

16/11

Angle of view:

114.ii°

Max aperture:

f/ane.eight

Min aperture:

f/16

Focal length:

14mm

Aperture blades:

9

Dimensions:

95.4x126mm

Weight:

1,170g

Reasons to buy


+

Incredibly fast wide-angle



+

Precipitous, make clean and bright Milky Way



+

Very quiet auto-focus

Reasons to avoid


Heavy and expensive

Is this the best lens for astrophotography
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and for shooting the Milky Way? Bachelor with mounts for full-frame DSLR cameras from Catechism, Nikon, Sigma and Sony (E-mount), this wide-angle prime lens from Sigma is all about speed. At f/1.8, it’s the fastest wide-angle lens in existence, and in dark conditions, that’s critical. Information technology means that a long exposure shot of the Milky Way, something that normally takes about 25 seconds to image, tin exist done in about ten seconds. Since stars begin to obviously mistiness in such images at 25 seconds, this Sigma makes much brighter, sharper astro-images possible. It’s also got an excellent (and serenity) auto-focus for employ in daylight. However, this is a heavy lens that only dedicated astrophotographers will desire to carry.

(Image credit: Future)


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A pro-spec constant-aperture f/2.eight ultra-wide zoom for the EOS Ra

Specifications

Mounts:

Canon RF

Elements/groups:

16/12

Angle of view:

110°

Max aperture:

f/2.8

Min aperture:

f/22

Focal length:

15-35mm

Aperture blades:

nine

Dimensions:

88.5x127mm

Weight:

840g

Reasons to buy


+

5-stop Image Stabilizer



+

Smaller than EF equivalent



+

No credible distortion

Reasons to avoid


Edge definition boilerplate

If you plump for an EOS Ra at the superlative of our list (or an EOS R5 or R6 alternatively) then this is the defended lens for you. While you lot could use Catechism’south EF to RF adapter if you’ve got some existing EF drinking glass, this is the lens to get for if y’all’re starting afresh. It’due south expensive, but this lens is stunning and makes the nearly out of the new RF mount. Focusing is fast and quiet thank you to the Nano Ultrasonic AF organization, while the build quality is hard to fault. A nice bear upon is the detachable lens hood, pregnant you can still used forepart-mounted filters with this ultra broad-angle lens. Optically, it’s incredibly abrupt, only if nosotros’re being picky, border sharpness could exist a flake better.

(Image credit: Nikon)


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It may be over a decade old, just this is yet the best own-make Nikon ultra-wide

Specifications

Mounts:

Nikon F

Elements/groups:

14/11

Angle of view:

114°

Max aperture:

f/2.viii

Min aperture:

f/22

Focal length:

14-24mm

Aperture blades:

9

Dimensions:

98x132mm

Weight:

1,000g

Reasons to buy


+

Wide viewing bending and fast aperture



+

Useful zoom range



+

Peachy build

Reasons to avoid


Vignetting and distortion at 14mm

A world beginning when it arrived back in 2008, it’south built upwards quite an impressive reputation since its launch, but has since seen a number of newer rivals appear on the scene in the shape of the brilliant Sigma fourteen-24mm and Tamron 15-30mm. This is still a cracking lens though. Build quality is fantabulous, with a rubber weather-seal featured on the mounting plate, but merely sentry that large forepart chemical element though. Optically this lens delivers excellent eye-sharpness, and holds up very well in the corners as well. If you want even improve performance in this area, and then the Sigma edges it just.

(Image credit: Samyang)


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Great prime lens for astrophotography on Catechism and Nikon DSLRs

Specifications

Mount:

Catechism EF, Nikon F

Full-frame uniform:

Yeah

Autofocus:

No

Stabiliser:

No

Diaphragm blades:

9

Max angle of view (diagonal):

114 degrees (Full-frame)

Dimensions (WxL):

87x106mm

Weight:

791g

Reasons to buy


+

Generous viewing angle



+

Superb image quality



+

Good build and handling

Reasons to avoid


Only for Canon and Nikon DSLRs

From Korean manufacturer Samyang’s XP stable of premium manual-focus prime lenses for Catechism and Nikon full-frame cameras, this 14mm f/two.4 is ideal for astrophotography. The lens is sold as the
Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4

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in North America. The high-quality glass is neatly wrapped in a really solid casing. The rubberized manual focus band gives a very assured grip and has a long rotational travel with a fluid feel. There’s no weather-seal ring on the mounting plate to guard against the ingress of dust and moisture. To exist fair, though, if y’all’re photographing the Milky way, you’ll need clear, dry and dust-free conditions.

In our review, nosotros were hugely impressed past how well this lens maintained its prototype quality when wide open, which is hugely important for astrophotography. It’due south markedly better than Irix’s rival 15mm f/two.4 Blackstone lens or a Sigma 14mm f/ane.8 DG HSM Art
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. Sharpness is both very good and extremely consistent across the image frame.

How we test lenses

We exam lenses using both real world sample images and lab tests. Our lab tests are carried out scientifically in controlled conditions using the Imatest testing suite, which consists of custom charts and analysis software that measures resolution in line widths/motion picture height, a measurement widely used in lens and camera testing. We find the combination of lab and real-word testing works best, as each reveals different qualities and characteristics.

Accessories

(Image credit: Vanguard)


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9. Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB tripod

Stable, flexible and packed with features usually found on higher-cease tripods

Specifications

Maximum load:

6.9kg

Maximum height:

173cm

Minimum height:

142.2cm

Folded length:

71.5cm

Number of leg sections:

three

Weight:

2.5kg

Reasons to buy


+

Sturdy



+

Excellent value

Reasons to avoid


Heavier aluminium build



Larger folded contour

The best choice for astrophotography and night-time landscapes is a full-size and very sturdy tripod. That’s a shame, considering the hobby unremarkably requires walking off into the wilderness where equipment is at a premium, but information technology’south nevertheless worth avoiding short travel tripods. That’south peculiarly true if your camera doesn’t have a tilting LCD screen, because yous’re likely to be pointing the camera upwards. However, you as well can’t beget for a gust of wind to ruin a long exposure photo. Weighing 2.4kg, the

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB tripod

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has three sections (the fewer sections, the ameliorate) and a ball head that rotates through 360 degrees. It too includes a quick-release plate and handy bubble levels.

Read more:
The best tripods right now
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(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)


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This lightweight star tracker is perfect for long exposures with no star trails

Specifications

Mount Type:

Ultra compact equatorial tracking platform

Motor Drive:

DC Servo

Tracking Modes:

Sidereal, Solar or Lunar tracking charge per unit for both Northern & Southern hemisphere; time-lapse photography (12hr/4hr/2hr rev)

Auto-guiding interface:

Built-in

Polar finder:

Built-in

Weight:

650g

Reasons to purchase


+

Straightforward assembly



+

Lightweight and portable

Reasons to avoid


Max 3kg payload



Battery life not great

The rotation of the Earth means that long exposures of the night sky are limited to about 30 seconds in length before the stars start to trail across the heaven. When exposures significantly longer than this are needed to capture enough light from celestial objects, it can be hard to know how to go nigh shooting them. The solution is a a star tracker
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 similar the Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mini, which is portable enough to have to any astro-shooting location.

What the Star Adventurer Mini does is tilt your camera to track the stars – once information technology’s been aligned with the star Polaris, that is. This can take some exercise, merely is easy once you lot become the hang of information technology – nosotros run through the basics in our applied landscape photography guide.

The Star Adventurer Mini is designed for 55mm lenses, though as nosotros discovered in our Star Adventurer Mini review, you can utilize it with significantly larger and longer zooms, and still get great results. Once you link information technology upwards with your smartphone via the Wi-Fi, the tracker is piece of cake to control, even if the app is a piddling buggy.

(Paradigm credit: iOptron)


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xi. iOptron SkyTracker Pro

An alternative lightweight, portable star tracker that’southward easy to align

Specifications

Mount Type:

Ultra compact unmarried axis EQ

Motor Drive:

Unmarried-centrality DC Servo

Tracking speed:

1X Cel, ane/2 Cel, solar, lunar, Northward/S

Weight:

one.2kg

Reasons to buy


+

Ultra portable



+

Affordable

Reasons to avert


1.36kg max payload

Another star tracker mountain much similar the Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mini, the iOptron SkyTracker is another reasonably affordable fashion into either long-exposure astro-landscapes, or ‘deep sky’ astrophotography using a zoom lens. Able to fit direct to regular photography tripods, and able to take a camera and lens weighing up to 3kg, the SkyTracker Pro has an illuminated polar telescopic for precise alignment with Polaris, the Northward Star. Information technology’southward best used with the TS-Optics Brawl Caput TS-BH-51AT.

Great targets for DSLR cameras on star tracker mounts include the Andromeda Galaxy and Perseus Double Cluster – both rising in the east in fall – and winter’s Orion Nebula, but beneath Orion’south Belt.

Read more:
The best star trackers
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(Image credit: Celestron)


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12. Celestron 93419 T-Ring Adapter

A useful addition to your astrophotography tool kitbag

Specifications

Compatible with:

Canon EOS cameras (other varieties exist)

Package weight:

0.05kg

Box dimensions (LxWxH) :

6.9×6.6×1.8cm

Reasons to buy


+

Snug connexion



+

Well made

Reasons to avert


Fix screws tin need retightening

If you do have a telescope, or yous retrieve yous might have occasional access to ane, a inexpensive T-Ring Adapter is a useful addition to your astrophotography kitbag. A standard spiral mount for cameras that screws on in place of a lens, it enables a DSLR body to be fastened to a telescope. The Celestron 93419 T-Ring Adapter, from telescope-maker Celestron, has a T-Ring specifically for Canon cameras, simply the Celestron 93402 is also bachelor for Nikon cameras. To adhere it to a telescope ways adding a T-Adapter uniquely designed for specific telescopes, which a telescope-owner volition usually take.

If you just desire to photo the moon
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, a great alternative is to simply put your smartphone
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up to a telescope’s eyepiece; it’s easy plenty to do free-manus, but the Carson HookUpz 2.0 Universal Smartphone Optics Adapter makes it even easier.

(Prototype credit: Hoya)


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13. Hoya Starscape Light Pollution Cut Filter

A slim filter that even works with wider lenses

Specifications

Available sizes:

49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, 77mm and 82mm

Reasons to buy


+

Reduces color casts



+

Improves dissimilarity and visibility

Reasons to avoid


Large sizes are pricey

A lite pollution filter will suppress the emissions generated by bogus lighting, reducing the yellowish/greenish colour caused by city lights that will stop y’all from capturing the night sky in all its glory. This spiral-on filter is available in a range of filter thread sizes has a corking depression profile, while it’s uniform with both wide- and super wide-angle lenses. Perfect for shooting both nightscapes and astrological photography at night.

Read more

Best light pollution filters

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(Paradigm credit: K&F)


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xiv. Grand&F Concept Natural Dark Filter Low-cal Pollution Filter

Coated to be tough, this is a premium filter for cutting unwanted calorie-free

Specifications

Bachelor sizes:

52mm, 58mm, 67mm, 77mm, 82mm and 100mm

Reasons to buy


+

Scratch and water resistant



+

Double sided nano coating

Reasons to avoid


Not the cheapest

Not the most affordable option out there, but this light pollution filter from K&F Concept has a number of prissy touches. Very slim at just three.8mm wide, it’due south also scratch and h2o resistant, while the filter is made from aviation grade aluminum alloy too. Optically, it features a double-sided nano coating to help stop yellow and orangish wavelengths of light from inbound the lens, with K&F Concept recommending using a transmission white balance setting and selecting a color temperature between 700K and 1,500K.

Read more:
The best calorie-free pollution filters

Read more:

  • How to improve your astrophotography: tips, tricks and techniques

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  • The best telescopes for astrophotography

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  • The all-time CCD cameras for astrophotography
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  • The best light pollution filters
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  • The best lenses for astrophotography
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  • The best star tracker camera mounts
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  • How to photograph a claret moon
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  • How to capture star trails
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  • Best head torch
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Jamie has been writing well-nigh all aspects of technology for over 14 years, producing content for sites like TechRadar, T3, Forbes, Mashable, MSN,
South China Morning Post, and
BBC Wildlife, BBC Focus and
BBC Sky At Night
magazines.

Equally the editor for www.WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com, he has a wealth of enthusiasm and expertise for all things astrophotography, from capturing the Perseid Falling star Shower, lunar eclipses and ring of fire eclipses, photographing the moon and claret moon and more.

He too brings a swell deal of cognition on action cameras, 360 cameras, AI cameras, camera backpacks, telescopes, gimbals, tripods and all manner of photography equipment.

Related manufactures

Source: https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/buying-guides/best-camera-for-astrophotography