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6 DIY Star Trackers for Perfect Night Sky Photos. M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) photographed by David Hash with his Arduino-powered DIY “barn door” sky tracker.

6 DIY Star Trackers for Perfect Night Sky Photos

To photograph the stars, you need a gadget that can track the revolving night sky in a perfectly timed arc. Otherwise all you’ll see is streaks and blurs. You can buy fancy motorized “equatorial mounts” for telescopes and cameras, but it’s way cheaper and more satisfying to build your own simple “barn door” tracking mount using a long bolt or threaded rod as a drive screw. Tangent Error Minimized Tracker: a Double Arm Drive « How to Turn Your Old 35mm SLR into a New 21 Megapixel Digital SLR. If you have a 35mm film SLR camera laying around you may have some options that you have never considered.

How to Turn Your Old 35mm SLR into a New 21 Megapixel Digital SLR

What if I told you that you could take your old film camera and turn it into a 21 Megapixel Digital SLR for a fraction of the cost of a new DSLR? Well, as you may have guessed, that is exactly what I am going to discuss. I have to say up front this article is not intended to spark any debate or comment about film vs. digital as this is a useless and silly debate. And, no, you can’t really convert your film camera into a digital SLR. The digital part comes from the scanning of your film. Current 35mm Digital SLR Market Let’s first take a look at the current options in the DSLR arena before moving forward. Used 35mm Market All you have to do is go on eBay or Craigslist and you will have your pick of 35mm film cameras, many less than $100.

Math and Pixels Before discussing scanning we need to do the math first. Scanning. Double Arm Barn Door Drive. “The concept is fascinating to a lot of people.

Double Arm Barn Door Drive

Some could not resist performing a complete mathematical analysis.. “ - Dave Trott The stars appear to move because of the motion of the earth. If you are using a telescope at high power or are doing photography, you will need to have a telescope that “follows” them. Over the years, I have built several mounts for that purpose: This is the double-arm “barn door” drive which I invented many years ago. This device is designed to make it possible to photograph the stars with an ordinary camera, a couple of boards, some hinges and an inexpensive clock motor. A simple device like this can produce stunning photographs like this one of the Milky Way. The Milky Way Galaxy as photogrpahed by the Double Arm Barn Door Drive Or this one of comet Hale-Bopp. Astronomy Links Page. In 1971, when I started building telescopes, finding parts meant visiting plumbing supply houses, junkyards, surplus warehouses, and making lots and lots of phone calls.

Astronomy Links Page

With the Internet, everything you need is suddenly available, including used mirrors. Reflector telescopes. Easier to build, easier to use, and less expensive than a Dobsonian!

Reflector telescopes

So why do people build Dobsonians (like the one at left) more often than GEMS (the one below)? An Affordable, Motorized Barn Door. Barndoor Mount. Telescope Barndoor Project. While being able to track stars accurately may seem a daunting challenge, it is really quite easy, as long as we are talking about wide angle to slight telephoto camera lenses.

Telescope Barndoor Project

More powerful lenses (greater than 180mm) are probably best left for equatorial mounts, real worm gears, and likely a guide scope. The barn door mount I built took only a few hours of effort and cost only a few dollars over the tripod and camera ball mount I already had. A Beginner's Guide to DSLR Astrophotography. Constructing a Barn-Door Tracker(Sample section from the book) A barn-door tracker is a very simple, home-made, device.

A Beginner's Guide to DSLR Astrophotography

It will allow you to shoot longer exposures and track the stars to compensate for the Earth's rotation. Two pieces of wood are joined by a hinge. The hinge points at the north celestial pole near Polaris. Astronomy Boy: Barn Door Tracker. Build a Barn Door Tracker How was the 100 Hz drive frequency determined?

Astronomy Boy: Barn Door Tracker

First of all, we have carefully selected the dimensions of the mount and the pitch of the drive screw such that the screw must turn exactly once per minute (1 rpm) to track at the sidereal rate. We also know the characteristics of our motor and gearbox: motor step angle = 1.8° gearbox reduction = 30:1 gearbox output step angle = 1.8° ÷ 30 = 0.06°/step. This gives us the information we need to calculate the required drive frequency: desired drive rate = 1 rpm = 360°/min. 360°/min. ÷ 0.06°/step = 6000 steps/min. 6000 steps/min. ÷ 60 sec. CN FORUMS ARCHIVE Telescope Reviews: Simple Home-made Equatorial Tracking Platform. THE HINGED ASTROPHOTOGRAPHIC TRACKERBuilding a Simple Mount to Track the Sky In order to capture stunning views of the cosmos without trailing or blurry images you must track the sky to prevent the sky’s apparent motion from ruining your images.

CN FORUMS ARCHIVE Telescope Reviews: Simple Home-made Equatorial Tracking Platform

The sky's apparent motion doesn’t move in a simple left to right motion. It rotates overhead in a large arc once per day. Startracker, how to take AWESOME photos of the stars.