Not exactly an earth shattering revelation.

As the more advanced astrophotographers amongst you will have noticed, we don't stuff our optical tube assemblies with clothes and fill them with water. However, some people in our hobby have a mentality that telescope equipment should be like a washing machine. You bring it home. You install it. You read the instructions, and then it works first time and every time, performing its mundane task without variation.

Anybody who has actually done some astrophotography will know that this is simply not the case. It is quite possible to spend many tens of thousands of pounds on equipment and still spend months getting the whole thing talking to itself.

First of all, no astronomer's astrophotography kit is the same. We all started at a different time from a different stimulus. We've all built up our kit from completely different directions. This simple fact alone makes marketing any new astronomy product a minefield of compatibility.

It won't just "work" out of the box without ascending a steep learning curve and more than likely making a few custom modifications or additional purchases to suit you and your location. For example: How many SCTs come with a dew heater as standard? How many SCTs have a label on the box saying "dew heater not included"?

An astrophotograhpy setup is quite unique in the ranks of most hobbyist equipment. I can't off hand think of a hobby where such a wide and varied combination of optical, mechanical, electronic and computer elements must all be brought together and made to work in harmony. All the parts have to work properly. Not only that, they have to keep on working over and over again whilst we reel off a long line of subs over the course of a cold damp, and quite possibly freezing cold night.

Some people in astrophotography world still seem to insist, against all the odds, that everything *should* work first time, and indeed every time. Each time something does not work (or is perceived not to work) they instantly start questioning the item's value, and whether it should be sent away for repair, refunded or simply replaced.

This sort of attitude, although very valid for domestic white goods, is not so relevant for astronomy equipment. This sort of attitude is not going to get you the type of results you see on advanced astrophotographers' websites. Yes, I suppose things should work, and if something is blatantly dead on arrival, then, ok, perhaps it should be sorted by the supplier. However, generally speaking, astrophotography doesn't work out of the box!

Anyhow, nine times out of ten it is probably the user who is at fault.

A little more application to the problems and learning to develop some practical solutions would result in a lot less frustrated astronomers and a lot better astrophotographs.