Discovery Astrophotography with ZWO ASTRO

Astrophotographer’s Story: Chien-Yu Chen

Q1: At first, congratulation that your nice image won #ASIWEEK. Can you introduce yourself to us?

First, I want to thank all ZWO judges for their affirmations. I’m appreciated to be the winner of ASIWEEK. My name is Chien-Yu Chen. I’m a 16-year-old senior high school student from Taiwan. I love astrophotography, physics, and music.


Q2: Why do you love astronomy and when did you start astrophotography? What does it mean to you?

I think astronomy is mysterious and professional. I have been engaged in astrophotography for one year. By doing astrophotography, I can discover the beauty of the universe.


M45 & NGC1499
Modified Canon EOS RP + Canon RF 85mm f/2

Q3: What gear do you use for astrophotography? Any pictures of them?

For Deep Sky imaging, I use WO FLT 91, ASI533MC Pro, iOptron GEM28. I also have WO RedCat51. For wide field, I use modified Canon EOS RP, Sigma 135mm f/1.8 art, iOptron SkyGuider Pro. You can see them in the down picture.


Q4: We see that you have taken photos of Deep Sky and Planets. What different feelings do they bring you?

I prefer shooting Deep Sky because I think Deep Sky objects are fantastic. I tend to photograph planets during major celestial events such as Lunar Eclipse.


Total Lunar Eclipse 2021
Canon EOS R + Kenko SE-GT102M
Horse Head Nebula
ASI533MC Pro + WO FLT91

Q5: What do you think is the most difficult part of DSO and Planetary imaging?

I think image processing is the most difficult part. Equipment can be solved with money, but image processing requires continuous practice. Somebody uses good equipment but can’t get good photos.


Stacked vs. Processed

Q6: How long on average does it take for you to process one astrophoto? Do you have any experience that you can share with us?

I don’t take long time to process astrophotos. I spend an average of 1-2 hours processing one astrophoto. I use PixInsight now, and I think it’s powerful.

Q7: Is there anything you want to tell beginners?

You can search for information online or communicate with friends who also do astrophotography. You can start with a brighter target like M42 or M45. I advise you invest more exposure time on the same target instead of shooting several targets at once. I believe you will get good results.


M45-My first deep sky image

Q8: Your ASIWEEK image “M78” was outstanding! How did you capture it?

This object is bright enough that I could get lots of detail with only 6.5 hours exposure. I only use less than one hour to process this image. I think it’s a good target for beginners.


 ASI533MC Pro + WO FLT91

Q9: Where do you normally take your astrophotos?

I mostly take my astrophotos on my balcony, but it has serious light pollution. I sometimes go to Mountain Hehuan, which has Bortle2 sky. As for this M78, I took this picture at a homestay which is also located in Mountain Hehuan.


Yuanfeng, Mountain Hehuan
Qingjing Starry House homestay, Mountain Huhan

Q10: Your introduction says that you are only 16 years old. How do you balance your study and hobby?

Since I can process images quickly, image processing doesn’t take up much of my reading time. I can also study while taking astrophotos on my balcony because I shoot automatically with ASIAIR.


Cygnus Loop from my balcony (Bortle8 sky)
ASI533MC Pro + WO RedCat51 + STC Duo-Narrowband Filter
M38 and surroundings (balcony)
ASI294MC Pro + WO FLT91 + STC Duo-Narrowband Filter

Q11: We see that you are the president of your school astronomical club. Do you have any club stories to share with us?

I am the president of the Astronomical Club of Taichung First Senior High School. During club class time, we will teach our members about astronomical knowledge, such as astrophysics, constellations, and astrophotography. Since we’re 30th this year, we’ve also released the Astronomical Desk Calendar for 2022.


Astronomical Desk Calendar
Club Class Time

Q12: What ZWO cameras do you have? What do you think of it or them?

I have ASI462MC for guiding and planet photography. I just bought ASI294MC Pro for deep sky imaging. I am satisfied with ZWO cameras.

Q13: What does your family think of your interest in astrophotography?

They think it’s a good interest because they can discover the beauty of the universe through these astrophotos. They support me a lot.


Q14: What achievement have you made on astrophotography during 2021? What goal do you have for 2022?

Because it’s just my first year of astrophotography, I don’t have many achievements. In AstroBin, I got a Top Pick and four Top Pick nominations. In the ZWO Facebook group “ZWO ASI Cameras”, I won the ASIWEEK once. In 2022, I want to capture more special DSO. I also want to get on APOD though it’s difficult. I will do my best for better astrophotos!


Top Pick-NGC6726
ASI533MC Pro + WO RedCat51


Top Pick Nomination-Hyades and Taurus Cloud
Modified Canon EOS RP + Sigma 135mm f/1.8


My 2021 Astrophotography Review

Q15: What’s your impression of ZWO? Is there anywhere you think we can do better? Please feel free to tell us.

I think all ZWO’s products are great. I especially like ASIAIR because it makes astrophotography quite easy. I can just control my equipment with my phone without having to bring a computer. I hope ASIAIR can add mosaic planning function like NINA. Then I don’t need to copy the coordinates to the phone one by one. This will make ASIAIR even better.


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