The Deep Space Course - 2023 Edition

Now available on Howtube!

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Have you always wanted to capture your own images of the beautiful nebula and galaxies in the night sky?  Believe it or not, you don't need a big telescope and heavy mount to create breathtaking photos!  Throughout this course you will learn how to find, capture, and process your own astrophotography images. 


Deep Space Course 2023 Version

The first edition of the Deep Space Course was released in 2018, and it was designed for photographers with a DSLR, star tracker (like the Star Adventurer or SkyGuider Pro), and a telephoto lens.  With this modest setup, and a little practice, you can start to capture some great deep space images.  

The Deep Space Course has grown considerably since 2018.  My main focus in the 2023 Edition was to have tutorials for each skill level - Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.  If you just bought a star tracker, and aren't quite sure how to use it, I'll take you through step-by-step and explain the general process.  Maybe you've been doing astrophotography for a few years, but still need a little help.  I've got an intermediate workflow that will introduce some new concepts and gear to increase the quality of your images and improve your tracking results.  Finally, for those looking to take things to the next level, I've got workflows for using a dedicated astro camera, narrowband filters, and Go-To mounts.  The 2023 Edition also includes my latest PixInsight tutorials.  While this program may seem overwhelming at first, I'll show you my simplified workflows that are actually very easy to do.  With a little practice you'll be much more comfortable using PixInsight!

For those shooting in the Southern Hemisphere, I have an entire section of the Deep Space Course dedicated to you.  We'll cover the polar alignment, and some ways to make it much easier.  Then we'll discuss a few objects that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Large Magellanic Cloud, Tarantula Nebula, Carina Nebula, and more.  We'll also do a full processing tutorial for each object. 





Course Layout

The 2023 Edition of the Deep Space Course has been largely redesigned.  I removed some of the redundant and outdated videos, recorded over 25 brand new tutorials, and edited some of the older videos to make them easier to follow along with.  

We'll start off with the Polar Alignment process, as this is the foundation of the entire astrophotography workflow.  You'll want to master your polar alignment skills as early as possible, to make the rest of your night easier.

Once you've got the hang of your polar alignment, you can choose which workflow you want to use - Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced.  The Beginner Workflow is designed for those with a star tracker, telephoto lens, and DSLR.  I'll walk you through the basics of setting up the tracker, balancing the counterweight, finding the objects in the night sky, what camera settings to use, and more.

The Intermediate Workflow is intended for the astrophotographer who has a few months or years of experience, and feels like they've reached the limit of their star tracker.  We'll incorporate an auto-guider into the mix.  This tiny camera and scope, when paired with the right software, will make your star tracker much more accurate.  I was able to increase my max shutter speed from ~30 seconds to 4+ minutes at 600mm!

We've actually got two distinct Advanced Workflows in the Deep Space Course.  The first workflow is for those who aren't yet ready to upgrade to a Go-To Mount.  I'll show you how to make the most out of your current star tracker, by adding a dedicated astro camera and narrowband filters to the mix.  This new gear will open up a new world of imaging possibilities.

If you're ready to upgrade to a Go-To Mount, then I've got an entire section dedicated to getting you through the process.  We'll talk about what you actually need, and how much you should reasonably spend.  Then we'll go through the basics of setting up the mount for the first time, including how to plug in all those cables.  From there, we'll carefully attach our gear, balance it, and watch for any rookie mistakes.  Finally, we'll take it out into the field and run through the full Advanced Workflow.

We do cover Camera Settings, especially ISO, and what works best for these various deep space objects.  As you'll learn throughout the course, there's no definitive answer.  We all have vastly different shooting scenarios - light pollution, lens / telescope, camera, filters, the object you're photographing, tracking accuracy, weather, etc...  My main goal here is to teach you how to determine the best camera settings for yourself.  Once you understand the fundamentals, you'll always know what camera settings to use on a given night.

Beyond that, we've got 2 videos for each of the 14 objects in the Deep Space Course.  The first video explains how to find the object in the night sky, what focal length works best, and some personal tips based on my experience.  The second video is a full-length processing tutorial.  I'll walk you through the entire workflow, from start to finish.  I also include my own practice TIFF and RAW files so you can follow along with me step-by-step.





What We'll Cover

While I was creating this course in 2018, I wanted to focus on the best nebula and galaxies for DSLR users with telephoto lenses.  Since we don't have the resolving power of a massive telescope, these objects had to be fairly large and bright.  I also wanted a nice mix of winter and summer objects, so you can go out and shoot any time of the year!  Below is a list of all the objects we will cover in this course.  Remember, each object will have a full mini-series of videos to go along with it, showing the full process.

In the 2023 Update I have included new data for quite a few objects in the course, including the Veil, Rosette, Lagoon, and California Nebula.  This data was captured with both mono and color dedicated astro cameras.  This will be a great learning experience, even if you still have a stock DSLR.  

The Southern Hemisphere objects are a little more tricky.  Some of them will require Narrowband Filters for the best results.  A few of the objects are very small, so a larger telescope and Go-To mount would come in handy.

I've made sure to include practice RAW, TIFF, and FITS files for each object in the course.  This will allow you to practice along with me, step-by-step.  Even if you don't have any good data from your own camera yet, you'll still be able to learn!


Northern Hemisphere:

  • Orion Nebula
  • California Nebula
  • Rosette Nebula
  • Andromeda Galaxy
  • Triangulum Galaxy
  • Rho Ophiuchi
  • Pleiades
  • North American Nebula
  • Veil Nebulae
  • Milky Way Core
  • Horsehead Nebula
  • Whirlpool Galaxy
  • Lagoon Nebula
  • Heart Nebula


Southern Hemisphere:

  • Carina Nebula
  • Centaurus A
  • Pencil Nebula
  • Tarantula Nebula
  • Large Magellanic Cloud
  • Running Chicken Nebula






Challenge Peter

The Deep Space Course features my "Challenge Peter" tutorial series.  This is where you can send in your own RAW or TIFF photos, if you are having trouble editing.  I will create a unique tutorial based off of your image(s), and show you some special techniques to fix any problems you may have.  This is a great way for everyone to learn more about editing photos!  If you have some images you would like to submit, please send an email to: [email protected]


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The 2023 Edition of the Deep Space Course is now available exclusively on Howtube! 

If you have any questions, please send an email to: [email protected]