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.


    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!
    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!

    Il nuovissimo Astroinseguitore 2-in-1: gli sconti festivi sono ATTIVI ora!

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    Customer Reviews

    Based on 1101 reviews
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    M
    Martin Taylor Taylor (Arboleas, ES)
    MSM

    I have had the Move Shoot Move a couple of months or so now and have used it a few times. I think it is a great product, along with the accessories. They are smaller and lighter than the bigger star tracker I used before and easy to set up and use. I have also used it for time lapse. The results were good, but I think I can do better with a different setting, still learning!! All in all very happy with it and recommended for night and time lapse photograpy.

    B
    Bae DoYoon (Eunpyeong-gu, KR)

    Easy to use star tracker (Newest 2-in-1) - 2022 Milky Way Season is coming!

    C
    Claudiu Daniliuc (Brasov, RO)
    Great little tracker

    Exactly what I need, a small, lightweight tracker which can be aligned to polaris in no time. Perfect for landscape astrophotography.

    P
    Pancho Valladolid (Pasadena, US)
    MSM Timelapse

    I've only had the chance to use the MSM tracker once but it was mostly for a motion Timelapse. It did great! Installed the MSM tracker onto my tripod then attached my ball head on it. Placed my camera and started my Timelapse. It was very easy to use and I'm looking forward to using it more as a motion Timelapse rotator. Maybe learn how to track the Milky Way one of these days.

    J
    Jorge G.H. (Los Realejos, ES)
    A million stars

    Compré el MSM hace unas semanas, y aunque solo lo haya podido probar en 1 o 2 ocasiones, estoy muy contento con los resultados !
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    I bought the MSM a few weeks ago, and although I have only been able to try it 1 or 2 times, I am very happy with the results!

    A
    Arun Christopher Manoharan (Waukesha, US)
    Move Shoot Move rotator can do more than what its advertised for

    I got the MSM rotator back in May but didnt get a chance to try it till now. On my first outing with MSM rotator, I tried to photograph M31(Andromeda) and I was able to track the galaxy for 45 seconds on a 300mm lens!, took multiple shots and able to stack for a nice picture of Andromeda. And I only used the laser for polar alignment. MSM rotator works well even for deep sky photography if the camera+lens is light enough and well polar aligned. I got awesome pics of milky way on my second outing with 2+ minutes exposures on focal lengths upto 50 mm and I was able to track andromeda again for 45 seconds. MSM rotator is so compact when comparing other full size trackers. I can put it in my camera backpack all the time. This to me is a great investment and I am happy I made the purchase.

    J
    Josué Vargas Castillo (Morelia, MX)
    Muy bueno

    No he tenido mucha oportunidad de probarlo debido a la temporada de lluvias en mi zona, pero las veces que lo he usado han resultado muy buenas fotos

    J
    Julian Rohloff (Harsefeld, DE)
    Compact little star tracker

    The MSM tracker is a small and compact star tracker which is easy to set up for wide angle shots. For longer lenses I'm planning to get the wedge as well.
    Also the support is really great! I first received a faulty unit which was replaced very fast. Thanks a lot!

    F
    Faris Malaeb (Abu Dhabi, AE)

    Easy to use star tracker (Newest 2-in-1) - 2022 Milky Way Season is coming!

    S
    Stefano Brocco (Rome, IT)
    A fantastic star tracker

    MSM is a fantastic “pocket” astro-tracker.
    Despite its size it has a good load capacity which allowed me to use a 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens after careful alignment.
    It is a truly effective, reliable and light product for transport on any occasion.
    I chose the Basic Kit configuration (Rotator + Pointer) which fits in my camera bag.
    I recommend it to those interested in astronomical photos, in particular the Milky Way and star fields but I would not exclude galaxies too.