Three Good Reasons to Use an Autoguider in Astrophotography

On my YouTube Channel I take a lot of astrophotography photos to show you what you can see in the nights sky, unfortunately though they are not always perfect and this is because the mount does not always track accurately and to get around this I have gone and got myself a guide scope.

In this article, I would like to list three good reasons why a guide scope would be useful in astrophotography.

The first and most obvious reason you would want to get a guide scope is obviously to guide and PHD2 a free open-source software makes and excellent job of this, especially when used with my Astroberry. If you would like to see an example of the PHD2 in action then please watch the episode below.

In the episode below I show a side-by-side comparison of the M65 galaxy, comparing tracking and non-tracking images.

Although the guided footage is clearly better than the unguided, I would like to point out that both captures have the same exposure and so on, it is just that guided footage involves less movement. So, there is more time to build up accurate data in the camera.

A guide scope can also be used to polar align your telescope. In fact, PHD2 comes with three different tools for polar alignment, and you can see me using one of these tools in the episode below. Using the tools in PHD2 for polar alignment is quick and easy, and you will find you can track the stars more accurately once you have optimized your telescopes alignment.

Three, a guide scope can serve as an electronic finderscope and this is quite helpful because the sensitivity of the camera can pick up some of the details that you might be missing as you can see in the episode below. The electronic finderscope image captured in PHD 2 it shows the LEO triplet however through the finderscope this was not visible.

In fairness, the guidescope does offer a smaller field of view than a standard finderscope, so I believe the jury's still out on whether you can replace your finderscope with the guidescope and use PHD2 as an electronic finderscope.

Why Did I Choose This Guide Scope Setup?

The main thing to consider when choosing a telescope is that it should be light and have at least a tenth of the focal length of your main scope.

That is why I went for the QHY mini guide scope, it is an ultra-light guide scope as it only comes in at about 120 grams. It is also quite small and has an all-metal construction the new version also has a dew cap. So, the lens is not directly exposed to the elements which keeps the dew off a little bit.

I chose the ZWO ASI Camera 120 mm Mini Mono again the reason I chose this one is it is the mini version, which I chose because it is so light its only 60 grams. I think is amazing and makes the whole guiding set up under 250 grams by choosing this lighter guide scope.

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