How do I take a beautiful photo of space?

What can you capture?

LJ Rich taking picture with smartphone and telescope
  • The Moon: see the Moon's craters by holding your smartphone up to a telescope.
  • Star clusters: a compact camera and a telescope capture shots of star clouds beautifully.
  • Jupiter and Saturn: Watch the clip to see how Mark turns a telescope into a zoom lens.

You can take beautiful photos of the stars and Moon with a camera alone, but combining it with a telescope massively increases the possibilities. Even the cheapest telescope lets you enter a new realm of astrophotography.

Whether you have a compact, digital SLR or even a smartphone camera, you can take some stunning photos of planets, galaxies and nebulae with a basic telescope.

Mark Thompson and LJ Rich show you how to take stunning photos of night sky objects using a camera connected to a telescope

What could you do with your telescope and camera? See what other enthusiasts from the Stargazing LIVE Flickr group have managed to capture:

A total lunar eclipse This 2007 total lunar eclipse was captured by John Talbot using a compact camera and telescope. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. The only sunlight to reach it has had its blue frequencies filtered by the Earth's atmosphere, leaving the Moon a faint reddish colour. © John Talbot
Surface of the Moon Zooming further into the Moon with a 200mm Newtonian reflector telescope, Paul Wharton was able to resolve the detailed craters on its surface by simply using his smartphone camera. © Paul Wharton
Surface of the Sun It isn't just night time objects that you can photograph. Using a compact camera and telescope with a special H-alpha filter, Mike Crowle was able to see sun spots (dark spots), faculae (bright regions), filaments (dark threads) and prominences (fiery outer structures) on the Sun. Remember never to view the Sun without a safe filter. © Mike Crowle
Saturn with its rings Elsewhere in our solar system, the rings of Saturn were visible to Stephen Cheatley through an 8 inch Newtonian reflector telescope. This image is a single frame of a video he captured using his smartphone camera. © Stephen Cheatley
Trapezium star cluster at the heart of the Orion Nebula Travelling over a thousand light-years deeper into space, this photograph of the Trapezium star cluster at the heart of the Orion Nebula was taken by Dawn S by holding a compact camera up to the eyepiece of a 16 inch telescope. © Dawn S
Aldabaran red giant star Aldabaran is an ageing red giant star found in the constellation Taurus (the "Bull"). It is almost twice as large as our Sun and shines around 150 times brighter. Ziad El-Zaatri captured its beautiful light using an entry-level digital SLR camera connected to Catadioptric telescope. © Ziad El-Zaatri
Rosette Nebula With the help of computer software, you can unlock stunning colour and beauty in your astronomy photos. This image of the Rosette Nebula was taken by Mike Greenham with an unmodified digital SLR camera and refractor telescope. The resulting image you see is composed of 50 individual shots stacked together on a computer. © Mike Greenham
Andromeda Galaxy At 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda Galaxy is our closest large galactic neighbour. It is visible to the naked eye, but by combining a refractor telescope with a digital SLR camera, light pollution filter and simple computer software, Steve Dean captured this beautiful scene in magnificent detail. © Steve Dean

NEXT: Unlock the power of a webcam and computer

Stargazing LIVE can be seen on BBC Two at 8pm on 7, 8 and 9 January 2014. Photographs displayed in the above video are courtesy of Adam Ryder, Sergei Golyshev, Chris Swatton, Mark Chance Photography, Stephen Usher, Andrew Houghton and Mike Crowle from the Stargazing LIVE Flickr group. Remember to share the photos you capture here too.

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