Kickstart Your Astrophotography with a Star Tracker

Introduction

“Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are”-  everyone has heard of Jane Taylor’s ‘The Star’ poem from the 18th century and wondered what they are and what they will find once they go there. Sure, no one has ever gone there so far, but the mysteries of the dull white dots in the sky have surely dazzled all generations.


Even if we can’t go there, at the very least, we can store pictures of them. From Galileo’s discovery of the telescope to the latest James Webb Telescope, humans have been keeping pictures of these heavenly bodies. But we do not live in the middle ages or have the equipment of NASA, so how can you photograph the sky in the dark today without noise or with most details? This is where star tracker comes in.


There are plenty of variables in play while doing astrophotography. Star trackers are a very common tool for professionals to capture noise-free, colorful, and high-definition images up in the sky. Here, we will talk about star trackers and how you can Kickstart your astrophotography with a star tracker.

What is a star tracker in astrophotography?

As mentioned earlier, a star tracker camera mount is a common tool professional astrophotographers use to capture clean, colorful, and detailed images up in the sky. So, what is a star tracker?


A star tracker is a motorized, equatorial mount that is fitted on top of a tripod but beneath your camera. The job of a move shoot move star tracker camera is to follow a fixed point in the sky- be that a star or planet- as they move with the rotation of Earth. 

Importance of Star Tracker

Astrophotography requires a long exposure time so that the camera can take more light. This would not be a problem in the case of Earthly objects like mountains or buildings as they do not move. But the heavenly bodies of the sky do move. A long exposure will result in a trial. 


Star trails are sometimes useful for astronomers, but that is not always the objective of the astrophotographer. But when you want a sharp, detailed Astro image of the sky, you use a star tracker.



Need for Star Tracker

We have talked about what star tracker has to offer in simple words. But that might not tell you the whole story to the professionals. In technical terms, let us look into the advantages of a star tracker. 


    • Exposure time- Here is the catch- you need to have an exposure of several minutes and also want to omit digital noises from the photograph. The only way to do it is by reducing the shutter time. Using a star tracker, you can do that.
    • ISO- ISO is the sensitivity of the camera. Using a star tracker increases shutter speed, which in turn reduces ISO. More ISO usually contributes to more digital noises. With a star tracker, you can reduce the ISO of the night sky below 1600 instead of 3200-6400.
  • Aperture- Astrophotography demands images of high sharpness, and the narrower the aperture, the sharper the image. Closing the aperture will bring two beautiful outcomes- less vignetting and lens aberrations.

  • Remember, to produce mesmerizing astrophotography of the sky full of stars, you need all these 3 factors to contribute. Using these benefits, professionals produce mind-blowing night sky photographs that you find online.

    Notes on using a Star Tracker for Camera

    It is not always bread and butter every time when producing astrophotography. Just using a Star Tracker will not produce those beautiful images of the sky. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are aiming to be an astrophotographer.

    Know how to use Photoshop

    One exposure is not enough when you are taking a shot with a star tracker. The foreground will be blurry as the camera moves with the movement of the star. So, you take two photos- one for the foreground and one for the sky.


    A complete photo is produced when you combine the two. How can you do that? You must have a working knowledge of photoshop to do that.

    Right Polar Alignment is Necessary

    If you align just any star with a star tracker, you might not receive the desired outcome. There is an unwritten rule that professionals use while taking images of the sky- Always point it to the stationary star in the sky. 

    That is usually the North Star for the northern hemisphere and South Star for the southern hemisphere. Why do we do it? We do it because all the stars in the sky appear to revolve around that star in a hemisphere. Aligning it with them makes the camera turn at the correct angle and speed.

    A Sturdy Tripod

    Since the shooting exposures are several minutes long, without sturdy tripods, your image will be ruined. If you are taking the shot outdoors, even the winds can cause a disturbance. Some tripods have a hook under the center column. For those tripods, add some weight to them to help your camera remain undisturbed by the wind.

    How to Set up a Star Tracker Mount for Camera?

    Now that you have learned the basics of a star tracker mount, it's time you learn how to kickstart your astrophotography with a star tracker. Even when professionals create tracked Milkyway photography, they have to first get their star tracker ready. So, let us look into the 4 steps you can set up a star tracker.


    • First thing first - Level your Tripod. This has to be the first step, as without leveling, how can you track a star properly?  
    • Secondly, mount a ball head. This will hold the star tracker. Do not use some cheap ball head as this must be robust and strong to hold the weight of the whole star tracker setup.
    • Thirdly, you have to slide the tracker on the ball head and ensure the apparatus is not quivering. When it's done, mount a second ball to hold your camera.
    • Lastly, when all the above 3 steps are done, attach your camera to the star tracker.

    After these 4 steps, you are ready to align it with a star or take a test shot to see whether you have the desired outcomes.

    Star Tracker is an amazing tool for you if you wish to take Astrophotography. But remember, it is not a must, and you will still be able to capture beautiful, sharp images of the Milky Way in a good climate. With a star tracker, you will take the game to the next level.


    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis
    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis

    Nuevo Star Tracker 2 en 1 - Envio gratis

    Precio habitual $310.00 Precio de oferta$259.00
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    Opciones

    Customer Reviews

    Based on 1287 reviews
    84%
    (1078)
    14%
    (184)
    1%
    (18)
    0%
    (2)
    0%
    (5)
    K
    Krzysztof Morańda (Krakow, PL)
    NOMAD opinion

    NOMAD is an amazing device. Very precise and this is the most important in this type of device. On top of that, it's very small and incredibly lightweight so you can take it with you on any photography trip or longer family trip. It will fit into the smallest compartment of your backpack. Super. And finally, the bonus of being able to upgrade it with a scope or smartphone mount. For me, it's the perfect gear for night photography. I recommend it to the undecided.

    N
    Nerrel Loader (Sydney, AU)
    Easier to set up than I thought

    I received my Nomad from MSM within 8 days of ordering. I was a little daunted about putting it altogether, but it was much easier than I thought. Now I just need to have clear skies, with little moon shine, so I can take some practice shots and eventually get wonderful Milky Way photos. Who knows where this will lead me to on my photography journey. Thank you MSM & Alyn Wallace (RIP) who helped me make the decision to buy the Nomad. I have to say Hanna was most helpful, I couldn’t have done it without her assistance.

    K
    Koen (Geldermalsen, NL)
    Awesome mobile tracker

    Used the tracker last week in Spain. Incredibly easy to set-up and align. No trouble at all tracking my Sony A7IV + Sigma 14-24! If you want to see the images, go to my website www.koenvanbarneveld.com

    M
    Mihail Minkov (Sofia, BG)
    Absolutely amazing tracker

    I am extremely impressed with the qualities of the NOMAD star tracer. Very light and portable, with it you can easily shoot single shots and panoramas with precise tracking up to 4 minutes or more. Highly recommend!

    Z
    Zack Allen (Fresno, US)
    Solid

    Converting from the 1st gen tracker to the Nomad has been a welcomed upgrade.

    b
    bpp (Albuquerque, US)
    Eclipse and night landscapes

    I’m impressed with how well the Nomad works when polar aligned with the laser and the scope. Polar align takes less than 5 minutes and the results are consistent. Polar alignment at night keeps the sun in frame for 3+ hours during the day, and stars at night are pinpoint with 15-400 mm lenses at 4 minutes. The negatives are that the daytime polar align set up is not accurate enough to keep the sun in frame with a 600 mm lens for more than 20-30 minutes. There are a number of parts that are needed to use the Nomad (motor unit, polar scope, laser, scope/laser adapter. charging unit with USB cord, and wedge). The complete kit comes with a small pouch for the motor unit. I would be ideal if the kit include a carry case for all the parts.
    If anyone wants to buy my daytime polar align kit, let me know.

    C
    Capt. Marks (North Tonawanda, US)
    Solid piece of equipment.

    I haven’t done any night time astrophotography yet. I have put it on my tripod and mounted my camera and tested the drive. Appears to be working great. Now all I need is some clear nights here on Lake Ontario, spring is a tough season out eclipse was covered by very thick clouds. When I first received the NOMAD and picked it up I could tell it was well built, it felt solid. The top gear is precision cut . I am ready to go have my first target picked, T Coronae Borealis. I have no regrets purchasing the NOMAD and would recommend that anyone looking for a tracker to give it a try.

    R
    Ryan Anderson (Neenah, US)
    Just right!

    This was my first experience with a tracker and I was able to get it aligned well on my first outing and in just a few minutes I was capturing images! It is the perfect size and notches into my regular camera bag with ease!

    C
    Carlos Uriarte Castilllo (Premia de Mar, ES)
    Great tracker with great results

    I used this MSM tracker for the first time. My first impression was a well-built tracker. Well finished, with a very well-made fastening system and a very curious and precise polar alignment mechanism.
    Accustomed to my venerable Staradventurer, I was very surprised by the ease of use of this NOMAD.
    It's as easy as opening a door to fresh air.
    I loved how well defined its purpose was and it held up perfectly to positioning with my Sony A7SIII camera and my 70-200 to photograph the Virgo galaxy cluster. with 110 photographs from 30" to 135mm.
    To increase the exposure time I think it is very good to purchase the wedge and the polar finder.
    Excellent tracker. Very good invention!

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    J
    James R. (Denver, US)
    MSM Nomad star tracker

    Product is well built and performs solidly. Polar alignment is simple with the laser. My laser required a slight adjustment of the alignment screws which was a simple process with the provided allen wrench.