I've been a keen photographer for about 10 years now and even when I didn't own telephoto lenses I kept tilting my camera towards the night sky in hopes of capturing something spectacular. My passion for astronomy has made me think about buying a good telescope for a few years now, but now seems to be the time when I have both the money and time needed to get into astrophotography. My current DSLR is a Canon EOS 550D, and after comparing various telescopes I'm orienting towards the Orion 4,5" and 8" reflector-tubes. I've got some very basic questions which I hope someone would be able to answer for me. What kind of equipment do I need to attach my DSLR to a normal telescope, or should I invest in one of Orion's "astrophotography" models? Since I don't own a laptop (I know, shocker) would it be possible for me to buy a tripod which would both follow the celestial object I'm tracking and allow me to program my camera with a longer exposure than the 30 seconds my current Canon allows.
I'm thankful if someone out there could answer these questions or give me some general advice for starting this hobby. I'm also interested in seeing your results with astrophotography and general discussion around the matter is of course welcome.
@isomeri: In order to attach a DSLR to a telescope, you need something called a "T Ring" which attaches to the EOS lens mount, and another component called a "T Adapter", which connects the T Ring to the telescope.
When looking at buying a telescope for astrophotography, you should spend more money on the telescope mount than the telescope itself, at least to start with. I'm not an expert, but I can tell you that a good mount is essential. You need one that can smoothly track a location in the sky, instead of visibly stepping to track it, so that you can get crisp long-exposure shots.
Edit: I should add that you can connect your 550D to a computer, and remotely trigger it in Bulb mode to expose it for as long as you want.
@isomeri: Honestly, I have no idea. My knowledge of telescopes is very limited. I know that you need a mount that can smoothly track the sky, but in order to find that, you'll have to talk to someone who knows more about telescopes. If you have any more questions about the photography side of it, don't hesitate to ask me.
I may as well add some moon pictures. Here's the standard shot:
And here's one I took during a lunar eclipse:
I've tried to get lightning, but I live in a location where lightning storms are very rare, so I don't get many chances. We usually get a few in June, so I'll see what I can get this year.
@isomeri: Thanks. The stars show up better when you use a small aperture. For example, that picture of the eclipse was taken at F/11. Unfortunately, the moon ended up being not very sharp in the picture. Using a tripod probably would have helped. I try to use every picture as a learning experience.