"The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space."
--Carl Sagan

Milky Way
Our Milky Way, from Cygnus to Aquila. North Cascades, BC, Canada, Summer 2023.

I tend to go from one obsession to another in life, and the latest thing to capture my attention is astronomy.

I always thought that living in the city meant that on a good night, I could *maybe* get a fuzzy view of Saturn in my scope and anything beyond that was out of reach. I was so wrong! With a modern DSLR, a tracking mount (to counteract Earth's rotation), and the technique of image stacking (taking many long exposures of a subject and averaging the results into a single frame), it is possible to get some pretty impressive images of galaxies and nebulae more than 50 million light years away - that's around 500 quintillion km! It seems there is no end to what you can discover out there with this method.

Messier 100, the Blowdryer Galaxy

Messier 100: 56 million light years away, and captured with a 300mm lens on an ordinary DSLR.

If you're looking to get started in astrophotography and already have a DSLR, I would recommend a regular 300mm f/4 lens (the perfect balance between reach and ease-of-use for beginners) and a motorized tracking mount like the iOptron Skyguider Pro or the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer. You will also need a very sturdy tripod. There are so many great resources out there now that the learning curve really isn't that steep (at least not for the 'beginner' targets) - go here and here for ideas and tutorials.

You can have a look at my latest efforts here. Everything is a work in progress as I continue to learn, but it has been a blast so far!