Doing Professional Astrophotography requires an extreme amount of experience and skill.
Doing it the easy way can be rewarding for beginner Astrophotographers.
Your Images won't be great, but they can be good enough for self satisfaction.
Using Dedicated CCD Camera's require VERY LONG exposure times. This requires great skill and a LONG time to do it. But there is a quick and nasty way to do it which yields results that I am happy with for now. I am only trying to see what I can do. I am not comparing my Images to anyone else's.
Grab yourself a Cheap Canon DSLR. I bought a New 1100D for about $300
This Camera as you buy it will NOT provide many useful results. The reason being it will require Long exposure times the same as a Dedicated CCD Imager. But it can not do these long exposures because DSLR's have way to much Image noise for long exposures. The only acceptable Image I did with a Stock camera was the Orion Nebula. It is so bright that 40 second exposures are acceptable. The Max limit for a DSLR was around 5 minutes before the Noise was to high and was not removed with stacking.
There is a Filter inside the DSLR that removes 90% of the Red Light. And the Red light is were most Nebula's appear. More specifically the Hydrogen Alpha Wave length. Removing this Filter means exposure times are now 10 times shorter than a Dedicated CCD Camera. And they are short enough that image noise is easily removed. IE, A 5 Min Modified Camera exposure is about the same as a 50 Min Stock CCD exposure.
Removing the Filter can be done with a Lot of care, and take your time. I followed the Instructions on the Web and I removed the Filter from my New 1100D in about 2 hours. If you don't feel you can do it their are people around who will do it for a price.
It's not all Good news. There is a Price to pay in what the images look like. I am happy with mine so far though.
Imagine what would happen if you took a nature picture were the Red light was 10 times more sensitive than the Blue and Green light.
RESULTS of MODDING
There are two Images of the Horse Head Nebula in my Image pages. The first one was prior to modding the camera. Even at 5 min subs the Nebula looks pretty poor. The second one after modding the Camera is only 2 Min sub. But, Wow. What a difference the Modding made.
The Stars do turn out mostly white though. The reason is they are so bright they saturate the CCD including the Green and Blue. I have taken one of the Large Magelanic Cloud. I did adjust the Color balance to make it look more natural. It is in my Image pages.
Lets look at what I have done with a Max exposure time of 5 Min per Sub image.
Yep, You get a Red picture.
Not good for Nature pictures. But acceptable for most Nebula's as they emit mostly Red light. There are some Nebula's which are Blue and Green. They will only be shown as Red because the exposure is too short for the Blue and Green to appear. A small price to pay for Beginners. The Thrill of getting your first Image is worth the Red images. Maybe in a Year or Two I might start using a Dedicated CCD camera. But the thought of 10 Hours of exposures to get a good image just turns me off for now.
MEADE 8 INCH SCT CELESTRON 11 INCH SCT C11 HYPERSTAR F2