A Compact Star Tracking Tripod


The next giant leap for mankind is to the stars. While we are mostly earthbound — for now — that shouldn’t stop us from gazing upwards to marvel at the night sky. In saying that, if you’re an amateur astrophotographer looking to take long-exposure photos of the Milky Way and other stellar scenes, [Anthony Urbano] has devised a portable tracking setup to keep your photos on point.

When taking pictures of the night sky, the earth’s rotation will cause light trails during long exposures. Designed for ultra-portability, [Urbano’s] rig uses an Arduino UNO controlled Sanryusha P43G geared stepper motor coupled to a camera mounting plate on a small tripod. The setup isn’t designed for anything larger than a DSLR, but is still capable of taking some stellar pictures.

55mm Exposure Comparison

A quartet of buttons and indicator LEDs allow [Urbano] to adjust the tracking speed and display the current speed; the key here is that it doesn’t require re-calibration for each use. The entire setup fits inside a standard camera bag, which makes for easier treks out into the wilds — away from light pollution — to truly capture the night sky.

[Urbano] has designed the project to be accessible to most amateur makers, but if you’re looking for a more involved setup, check out this star tracker — it uses 3D printed parts and has lasers!

[Thanks for sharing your project with us, Anthony Urbano!]



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