Ellis_JayGuiding For Great Results, by Jay Ellis


Unavoidable, impending, the Earth rotates. Although telescope mounts can counter this motion, small errors in our equipment, alignment, and other factors can cause drift that over time blurs images and causes loss of image sharpness. Guided exposures make astrophotography possible. Autoguiding has transformed what used to be a back-straining, error-prone, manual process at the eyepiece into a nearly automated procedure using a camera and computer software. This sounds simple, so what’s the catch?


For most beginners (and even veteran imagers), autoguiding is one of the hardest and most frustrating aspects of imaging. Autoguiding WELL can be a difficult skill to master.  In this class, you will learn about error sources that impact/degrade tracking and how to minimize these errors, an approach to optimizing your autoguiding process, and how to analyze your autoguiding sessions to determine results.

We will also discuss different types of autoguiding hardware configurations, mount calibration steps, when to re-calibrate, and how to choose a good guide star.

The goal is for you to leave this class with an understanding of autoguiding error sources, how to manage them, how to optimize your guide process, and minimize those nights that we all have where you sit and wonder “why is my tracking so bad?”


You are encouraged to be familiar with polar alignment, balancing a mount, and focusing, however some of this will be discussed during the class. 

Autoguiding techniques are not limited to CCD cameras, DSLR users can benefit as well.


Daytime session (1 hour 15 minutes)

Monday, May 18, 2020, (9 – 10:15 AM)