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Can a Dobsonian Telescope Be Used for Astrophotography?

Astrophotography has become increasingly popular among amateur astronomers, allowing them to capture breathtaking images of the celestial objects that populate our universe. While there are many different types of telescopes available for this purpose, one common question that often arises is whether a Dobsonian telescope can be used for astrophotography.

In this article, we will explore the capabilities and limitations of Dobsonian telescopes for capturing stunning astrophotography images.

Understanding Dobsonian Telescopes

Dobsonian telescopes, named after their inventor John Dobson, are a type of Newtonian reflector telescope that provides excellent views of celestial objects.

They are known for their large aperture, usually ranging from 6 to 24 inches, which allows for superior light-gathering capabilities.

Dobsonian telescopes are widely popular among amateur astronomers due to their ease of use, affordability, and ability to offer fantastic views of deep sky objects.

Zhumell Z130 Reflector Telescope

The Limitations of Dobsonian Telescopes for Astrophotography

Dobsonian telescopes excel at providing remarkable visual observations, but they do possess limitations in astrophotography.

The mount design poses the primary challenge. Typically, Dobsonian telescopes have a simple alt-azimuth mount, which enables easy movement and navigation.

However, this mount type lacks the necessary tracking capabilities for long-exposure astrophotography.

Long-exposure astrophotography involves taking images with extended exposure times, capturing faint details of celestial objects.

To achieve this, the telescope needs to counteract the Earth’s rotation, which would otherwise cause the objects to appear blurry.

This is where equatorial mounts shine, as they can be aligned with the Earth’s rotational axis to accurately track celestial objects as they move across the night sky.

Still, capturing stunning astrophotography is possible using a Dobsonian telescope with creative solutions.

One approach involves utilizing shorter exposure times for capturing brighter objects like the Moon, planets, and certain bright deep sky objects such as star clusters and galaxies.

Another possibility is to experiment with image stacking techniques, which combine multiple shorter exposures into a high-quality single image.

Enhancements for Astrophotography with Dobsonian Telescopes

Although Dobsonian telescopes may not be the first choice for dedicated astrophotographers, there are some enhancements that can significantly improve their performance for astrophotography purposes:

1. Motorized Dobsonian Mounts:

One option is to upgrade to a motorized Dobsonian mount, which can add tracking capabilities to the telescope.

These mounts compensate for Earth’s rotation, allowing for improved long-exposure photography.

Motorized mounts come in various forms, such as simple clock drives or more advanced computerized systems with accurate tracking capabilities.

2. Using a Barlow Lens:

By using a Barlow lens, the effective focal length of the Dobsonian telescope can be increased, resulting in a larger image scale.

This allows for capturing finer details of the celestial objects while using shorter exposure times.

However, it is worth noting that using a Barlow lens may also magnify the telescope’s inherent optical limitations.

3. Prime Focus Astrophotography:

Another method is to attach a camera directly to the Dobsonian telescope’s primary mirror using a T-ring and adapter.

This technique is known as prime focus astrophotography, where the telescope’s primary mirror acts as the camera’s primary lens.

This offers the advantage of utilizing the full aperture and light-gathering capabilities of the telescope.

If you are on a budget you might want to get a phone adapter and try catching photos with it.


While Dobsonian telescopes have certain limitations, enthusiasts can use them effectively for astrophotography.

By making necessary adjustments, modifications, and applying techniques, photographers can capture breathtaking celestial object images.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced astronomer delving into astrophotography, a Dobsonian telescope serves as a valuable tool for your journey to unveil the universe’s wonders.

Don’t forget to consult our experts’ guide, where they have thoughtfully chosen our top 5 picks for the best telescopes suited for astrophotography.


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