I was thinking if there is any way to make my own telescope with help of magnifying glass(convex) and concave lenses arrangement so that I can take photo of space or planet like moon or mars.

I know there are some lenses(200-500 mm) which can take space images, but I'm looking for any cheap way to take space images. In general the question should be, how to make telescope but I also want to know what should be the aperture, exposure and ISO setting for space photo.

  • \$\begingroup\$ See How to shoot images from a home telescope using a digital SLR? for attaching a telescope that you already have (or that you buy or build). But it sounds like you're interested in finding out how to actually make such a telescope, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Nov 30, 2015 at 16:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Many people make their own telescopes, and there's lots of information freely available on the Internet as well as books dedicated to the subject. On the other hand, you don't need a telescope at all to take photos of stars. So I think this question is both too broad and unclear, but you'd do well to start by picking up a good book on astrophotography. \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    May 17, 2018 at 14:00

3 Answers 3


You should know that the big astronomical observatories sport giant telescopes that are actually telephoto lenses for specialized cameras. That being said, you can mount most any camera to binocular or telescope. Mounts and clamps are available on the web that clamp most any camera (with its exiting lens) to the eyepiece of common telescopes. This position is called “afocal”. You can do this by placing binoculars on a tripod or ledge and hand-hold the camera so the camera lens just kisses the eyepiece lens. Such a lash-up is likely the best way for you to get space pictures.

Most “space pictures” are shots of the moon or planets taken with super big telescopes either in space orbit or placed atop mountain locations. You can make space pictures but you will never achieve what the big boys get.

More advanced astrophotography use special adapters to mount your camera to commonly available telescopes. Two methods A. the camera lens is removed as is the telescope eyepiece, these are replaced by the camera. This is called “prime” position. The camera utilized the telescope’s objective lens as its telephoto optics. B. The camera telescope adapter contains the telescope eyepiece. The camera with lens removed is positioned so the image formed by the eyepiece is projected on film or sensor.

In astrophotography , most objects are too dim to photograph unless the exposure is minutes or hours long. To accomplish, the camera/telescope must be placed on a motorized mount that tracks the object, keeping it centered during the extended exposure.

Also, you should know that high magnifications are not achieved easily. To achieve you need large diameter objective lenses. As a rule of thumb, 35X power per inch diameter of objective lens. You can get lots more magnification but it will be “empty” meaning the image is magnified but resolving power is low. In other words, a 100x magnification might image a distant newspaper but if the magnification is empty, you can’t read the words.

Fine astronomical photography can be accomplished with simple and inexpensive equipment. You just must accept that the learning curve is a bit steep.


Can you make your own telescope? Certainly, people have been doing it for centuries.
Can you make your own camera interface for a telescope? Certainly, it's just a piece of black metal pipe with a flange to match your camera's lens ring.

Would it be feasible for YOU to do so? That's impossible for us to answer. We don't know how good you are with designing and building quality optics and precision mechanical components, or if you have the equipment to manufacture them even if you could design them (it requires a bit more than a hacksaw and screwdriver).

Would it be economical to design and build such things yourself? Almost certainly not, unless you happen to have all the materials and tooling already as scrap from other projects. A camera attachment ring for a telescope for example can be purchased online for $50 or less, if you were to design and build several prototypes before you got it perfect, you'd end up paying more than that in materials alone.
Similar with the telescope. Building one can indeed save you a bit of money from buying one from a decent brand, but to get the high quality optics you want requires long experience with lens building, a workshop with expensive and highly specialised equipment (the vacuum bell to coat the lenses especially), and a high degree of skill in mechanical engineering and metalworking.

Unless you have access to all of that (which would suggest you work at or otherwise have access to an optical design workshop for a university or major research center, in which case you'd not have to ask this question) it's almost certainly not feasible for you to build a telescope and associated equipment to mount your camera to it from scratch, and certainly not cheaper than you'd be buying them.


Do you have any of these 200-500mm lenses?

One simple piece of equipment which can greatly improve your images is a so called "Barn Door Tracker". It's a very cheap to make and will allow you relative accurate tracking over long periods of time, depending on which type you build. There are several ways to build them and you can even build one motorized.

What Alan Marcus answered pretty much sums up everything. One thing to keep in mind is that even if you build your own telescope you still will need a mount, preferably a so called EQ or Equatorial Mount Depending on what load it needs to carry it doesn't come cheap.


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