Reaons to Use a Tracking telescope for Viewing the Stars

Are you a stargazer struggling to capture clear, detailed images of celestial bodies? Tracking telescopes can enhance your night sky exploring experiences by providing accurate tracking movement.

This article explains why a tracking telescope should be your next astronomical tool, discussing its benefits, how it works, and valuable tips for maximum results. We promise this will lift your star-witnessing adventures to an entirely new level!

Understanding the Difference Between Tracking and Guiding

Tracking and guiding are two essential techniques in astrophotography, with tracking referring to the ability of a telescope to follow the apparent motion of celestial objects, while guiding involves making adjustments to keep those objects centered in the telescope’s field of view.

Definition of tracking and guiding

Tracking in astronomy refers to the motion of a telescope as it follows the apparent movement of celestial objects across the sky. This keeps an object-centered within the telescope’s field of view, making observations and photography easier.

Guiding, on the other hand, is a more advanced technique often used in astrophotography. It involves using additional equipment to compensate for inaccuracies in tracking and keep an object precisely positioned over more extended periods.

While both techniques are essential for observing and capturing stunning images of galaxies, nebulae, or other deep sky targets, guiding provides increased accuracy necessary for high-resolution astrophotography.

Importance of tracking in astrophotography

Tracking is a crucial aspect of astrophotography, allowing for longer exposure times and improving image quality. By keeping the telescope aligned with the apparent motion of the stars, tracking ensures that they remain in focus and avoids blurry images caused by their movement across the sky.

This tracking accuracy is critical when capturing faint objects such as distant galaxies and nebulas. Without tracking, these objects may appear blurred or indistinct in photographs.

So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced astronomer, investing in a tracking telescope can significantly enhance your ability to capture stunning night sky images.

Differences between the two techniques

Tracking and guiding are two techniques used in astrophotography to capture clear and detailed night sky images. The main difference between the two is how they achieve accuracy in tracking celestial objects.

Tracking relies on the movement of the telescope’s axis, allowing it to follow the apparent motion of stars over time. On the other hand, guiding involves using additional equipment, such as autoguiders or computerized systems, to make precise adjustments and keep objects centered within the telescope’s view.

While both methods can effectively capture stunning images of galaxies and nebulas, tracking offers a more straightforward approach for astronomers observing distant targets without complex setups or equipment.

The Benefits of Using a Tracking Telescope

Using a tracking telescope offers several benefits for stargazers and astrophotographers. Longer exposure times are possible, resulting in improved image quality and the ability to capture faint objects.

Additionally, a tracking telescope allows for tracking moving objects in the night sky with greater accuracy.

Allows for longer exposure times

Tracking telescopes allow for longer exposure times when viewing the stars. This is because the telescope’s axis can move with the apparent motion of the stars, keeping them in focus for extended periods.

Longer exposure times are essential in astrophotography as they capture more light from faint celestial objects like galaxies and nebulas, resulting in more precise and detailed images.

Using a tracking telescope, astronomers can capture stunning photographs of the night sky that showcase its beauty and complexity.

Improved image quality

Using a tracking telescope can significantly improve the quality of your images when observing the night sky. A tracking telescope reduces blurring and captures more light from distant celestial objects by allowing for longer exposure times.

This increased exposure time produces sharper and more detailed images of stars, galaxies, and nebulas. With improved image quality, you’ll be able to capture stunning photographs that showcase the beauty of our universe.

Easier to capture faint objects

Tracking telescopes make it easier to capture faint objects in the night sky. These objects, such as distant galaxies and nebulas, are often too dim to be seen with the naked eye or even through a regular telescope.

However, by using a tracking telescope, which can accurately follow the motion of these faint objects, you can capture their beauty and detail in astrophotographs. With longer exposure times made possible by tracking, you can bring out more light from these objects and reveal their intricate features.

Whether you’re an aspiring astrophotographer or enjoy exploring the wonders of the universe, a tracking telescope will enhance your ability to observe and document these elusive celestial treasures.

Ability to track moving objects

Tracking telescopes have the impressive ability to track moving objects in the night sky. This is especially useful for avid stargazers and astrophotographers who want to capture the beauty of celestial bodies in motion.

Whether it’s a passing satellite, a fast-moving comet, or an orbiting planet, a tracking telescope ensures you never miss a moment. With its precise tracking capabilities, you can keep these objects centered within the field of view, allowing for more straightforward observation and stunning photographic opportunities.

So get ready to witness the captivating dance of the cosmos with a tracking telescope!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Tracking Telescope

Consider the mount type (equatorial or alt-azimuth), portability and setup time, cost and budget, and compatibility with other equipment.

Mount type (equatorial or alt-azimuth)

Equatorial and alt-azimuth are the two main types of mounts used in tracking telescopes. An equatorial mount is designed to align with the Earth’s axis of rotation, allowing for easy tracking of celestial objects as they appear to move across the sky.

This mount type benefits astrophotography and long-exposure photography, as it can accurately follow stars throughout their journey. On the other hand, an alt-azimuth mount moves up and down (altitude) and left to right (azimuth), making it more straightforward to use but less suitable for precise object tracking over extended periods.

When choosing a tracking telescope, consider your specific needs and preferences when deciding between these two mount types.

Portability and setup time

Portability and setup time are essential factors when choosing a tracking telescope. Many astronomers enjoy taking their telescopes on the go, whether for a camping trip or a night of stargazing in a remote location.

A portable tracking telescope allows for easy transportation and quick assembly, which means less time spent setting up and more time observing the stars. Additionally, portability is especially beneficial for astrophotography enthusiasts who may need to relocate their equipment multiple times to capture different celestial objects.

With a lightweight and easy-to-set-up tracking telescope, you can spend less time fumbling with complicated setups and more time enjoying the universe’s wonders.

Cost and budget

Choosing a tracking telescope involves considering the cost and your budget. While there are telescopes available at various price points, it’s essential to find one that suits your needs and your wallet.

Remember that higher-end models may offer more advanced features but come with a heftier price tag. Consider whether you’re just starting or a seasoned astrophotographer, as this can help determine how much you’re willing to invest.

Remember to strike a balance between quality and affordability when making your decision.

Compatibility with other equipment

Tracking telescopes must be compatible with other equipment to enhance your stargazing experience. Whether you want to attach a camera for astrophotography or use autoguiding devices, compatibility is critical.

It’s essential to check if the telescope mount can accommodate additional attachments like cameras and guiding scopes. By ensuring that all your equipment works together seamlessly, you can capture breathtaking images of celestial objects and make the most out of your tracking telescope.

Tips for Using a Tracking Telescope

Properly balance your telescope, create a dark and stable environment, use autoguiding devices, and choose the right magnification for stunning starry images. Read on to optimize your stargazing experience!

Properly balancing the telescope

Properly balancing the telescope is crucial for achieving accurate tracking and smooth movement. When a telescope is not balanced correctly, it can result in jerky or uneven motions, making it challenging to track celestial objects effectively.

You can minimize vibrations and maintain precise control over your telescope’s movements by ensuring that the weight distribution is even on both sides of the mount’s axis. This will ultimately enhance your observing experience and allow you to capture clear and steady images of stars, galaxies, and other fascinating celestial objects.

Maintaining a dark and stable environment

It is crucial to maintain a dark and stable environment to capture clear and sharp images of the night sky. This means reducing light pollution by finding a location away from city lights and using light filters when necessary.

Stabilizing your telescope setup is essential by choosing a sturdy mount and tripod. Any vibrations or movement can negatively impact image quality, so ensure your equipment is correctly set up on solid ground.

By maintaining a dark and stable environment, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the wonders of the night sky and capture stunning images of celestial objects.

Using autoguiding devices

Autoguiding devices are essential for astrophotographers who want to capture clear, sharp images of stars and other deep-space objects. These devices use a separate camera that tracks and guides the telescope’s movements, making small adjustments to keep celestial objects centered in the field of view.

This technology helps compensate for imperfections or tracking errors, resulting in more accurate and precise alignment. By using autoguiding devices, photographers can achieve longer exposure times without worrying about star trails or blurring, ultimately leading to stunning images of galaxies, nebulas, and other distant targets in the night sky.

Choosing the right magnification

Choosing the correct magnification is crucial when using a tracking telescope for viewing the stars. Magnification refers to how much larger an object appears through the telescope compared to what can be seen with the naked eye.

The combination of focal length and eyepiece used determines it. Regarding astrophotography, using higher magnifications may seem beneficial for capturing more detail.

However, it’s important to balance magnification and image quality. Using too high of magnification can result in blurry or distorted images due to atmospheric conditions or limitations of the telescope’s optics.

On the other hand, using lower magnifications allows for more expansive fields of view, making it easier to locate objects in the night sky and track them smoothly while taking long exposure shots.

In addition, considering your observing goals is also essential when choosing the correct magnification for your tracking telescope. If you want to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulas, lower magnifications may be preferred as they provide a broader view and allow more light into your images.


In conclusion, a tracking telescope has many benefits for viewing the stars and capturing stunning images. Its ability to track stars’ apparent motion allows for longer exposure times, improved image quality, and easier capture of faint objects.

Additionally, it allows tracking moving objects in the night sky. So if you’re passionate about stargazing or astrophotography, a tracking telescope is worth considering!


1. What is a tracking telescope?

A tracking telescope uses guiding techniques and sidereal tracking rate to follow the movement of stars across the night sky, making it an excellent tool for deep-sky observation.

2. How does a star tracker improve my experience of viewing the night sky?

Star trackers in telescopes help maintain focus on celestial objects as they move due to Earth’s rotation, providing enhanced clarity during night sky observation.

3. What makes a tracking telescope one of the best telescopes for imaging the night sky?

Tracking telescopes often have adjustable focal lengths, allowing you to zoom in and out without losing sight of your target, making them ideal for capturing images or videos of planets and other celestial objects.

4. Can I use any telescope for star tracking and guiding?

No. Telescopes specifically designed with Telescope guiding features such as Sidereal Tracking Rate would provide better results for Night Sky Observation or Deep Sky Imaging than traditional ones.

5. Why should I consider using a telescope with a sidereal tracking rate feature?

The sidereal tracking rate can approximately match the speed at which stars move across our field view, providing more explicit, prolonged observations during deep-sky viewing sessions.