How to build a star tracker!

Rather than go through another hardware review today, I thought I would share a different kind of hardware with you – the DIY kind!  Over the weekend I embarked on a little project on building a device to track stars as they move across the sky (even though it’s really the earth that’s moving and not the sky).  Now granted, there are better ways to build star trackers, but many involve electronic motors, are more complex (in my mind anyway), and can get kind of costly (at least from what I’ve read).  So, I figured I’d start simple, and go from there.  Join me in this adventure in building my first star tracker for under $20!

It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot in doing it, both about other methods, some of the short comings of this approach, but for the cost, figured it’d be a good entry into doing these kinds of things for comparison sake.  Check out the main YouTube video that gives a narrative on the process and my finished result:

The reference material I used for building this leaf-style star tracker came from a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology (sounds impressive enough to me!), so figured I should give credit here as well:

If you have thoughts, comments, feedback, or suggestions to either improve this one, on how you’ve made your own (or plan on making one), and even if you have shots to share made from DIY star tracker kits, please feel free to et me know via either the comments or email!  I will start a photo gallery for all shots shared and plan on updating that monthly with all the photos received, either via links in the comments or via email!

Happy (star) shooting, and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!

P.S.  Don’t forget, we’ve still got the Wacom Bamboo Fun Giveaway going on all this month!  Share your shots in the Flickr thread and you’re entered to win this prize worth $100 retail!  Thanks go out to the folks at Wacom for contributing this awesome tool for blog readers and podcast listeners!

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4 comments for “How to build a star tracker!

  1. August 17, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Woah, Jason! Star trackers? Great stuff to be sure! Why does everybody keep making new fun projects for a geeky guy like me?
    .-= Rich C´s last blog ..Reminiscent of Dot’s Diner….but then again, maybe not =-.

  2. August 17, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    This is awesome Jason! Well done… I’d love to see some sample shots taken with such a setup, I’m sure you can get some nice bright stars with this. This would make a great weekend project!
    .-= Dave Seeram´s last blog ..New Photo Assignment: Abandoned =-.

  3. August 18, 2009 at 3:47 am

    What an excellent project, sounds excellent, great fun..

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