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Numerous factors affect the choice of a telescope for astrophotography. The principal considerations should be your objectives, your experience, where you intend to use the instrument and hence its portability, and budget available.

 Key choices will be the focal length and aperture of the telescope, although these must be decided in conjunction with optical quality and cost. If you are a beginner and want to photograph the Moon and the larger planets, such as Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Venus, a good-quality telescope with a reasonably long focal length is needed. However, if your intention is to concentrate on a particular type of astrophotography, such as deep sky work (eg photographing large nebulae, galaxies or star clusters), a "fast" (ie wide aperture) shorter focal length telescope may be preferable.

Portability of equipment is an important factor which is sometimes overlooked. Astronomical telescopes tend to be quite large instruments and as they become more powerful and sophisticated the size and weight tends to increase. Working locally may be quite practical, particularly if a little help is available with transportation. However, should you wish to use the telescope in a remote and suitably dark location, or even travel by air, the instrument must be chosen with the particular limitations in mind.

If you have some experience of astrophotography, perhaps having worked for some time with a particular telescope, it should be easier to understand the limitations of your current equipment and how it might be improved. However, it is always worth seeking the advice of those with greater experience in a similar field. This is comparatively easy to do via clubs, national associations and the various forums available on the internet.


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