Not really. In fact, this is one of the most common misconceptions about ob­serving and imaging the night sky.

A view of part of the Milky Way, imaged with just a Nikon DSLR on a tripod and 15 seconds of exposure time. Photo: Josef BorgA view of part of the Milky Way, imaged with just a Nikon DSLR on a tripod and 15 seconds of exposure time. Photo: Josef Borg

While very helpful and necessary for certain types of astrophotography, telescopes are not always a necessity and can even be a hindrance at times. Imaging the Milky Way, for example, is one such example.

The Milky Way spreads across half the sky, and no telescope could ever fit the entire galaxy in its view, with the magnified view through a telescope always being way too close up for this.

All images you have ever seen of the Milky Way spread across the sky are, in fact, simply taken with a camera and a wide-angle lens.

What one does need is the ability to take a long exposure photograph, whereby the camera allows light to hit the sensor for a longer period of time than is usually allowed when taking a normal photo.

Just a 15-second exposure at the right settings and with the right camera and lens can give you an image of the Milky Way.

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