Deep Sky Targets

What's good to shoot? That's the easy part of the deep sky imaging business. The place to start—for northern hemisphere residents, anyway—is the Messier list. Most of these objects are bright, easy to find, and photogenic. The showpiece globulars, M13, M5, M22, M15, are particularly impressive and easy to capture targets for the novice DSLRer or CCDer.

Next up we hack a CAT. No, we won't be taking an axe to a pretty new telescope. "Hack" in the sense astronomy geeks use the word: to skillfully improve or modify a telescope. New amateurs tend to view the equipment side of SCT ownership as merely a process of buying accessories and telescope components from astronomy dealers. Some people do only that, but quite a few amateurs spend plenty of time dreaming up and making various "homebrew" items to improve their CATs. Amateur astronomers have always been known for their inventiveness, and this continues. In fact, most of the accessories—and telescopes—on the market today were originally whipped up by inventive amateur astronomers.


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