Power Stations for Astrophotography: Empowering Your Stargazing (complete guide)

Astrophotography, the art of capturing the breathtaking beauty of celestial objects and astronomical events, requires not only a keen eye and technical skill but also the right equipment. A clear night sky, a high-quality telescope, a capable camera, and a sturdy tripod are fundamental tools of the trade. However, one piece of equipment that often goes unnoticed but plays an instrumental role in the process is the portable power station.

A portable power station is a compact, mobile power source that can keep your equipment running, especially in remote locations where traditional power sources are unavailable. It ensures that your cameras, laptops, and other astrophotography equipment are powered throughout your stargazing sessions.

If you’re looking for a quick recommendation: The Jackery Explorer 300 is a great lightweight model that can provide power to smaller devices, while the EcoFlow River 2 Pro is a more powerful option if you need more power-hungry devices.

This article will serve as a comprehensive guide, explaining how to use power stations for astrophotography, which equipment can be powered by them, and how much power and capacity are needed for various types of equipment. We’ll also provide helpful tips on what to look for when buying a power station. So, let’s dive in!

Understanding Power Stations

Before we delve into the specifics of using power stations for astrophotography, it’s essential to understand what a portable power station is and how it works.

A portable power station, also known as a battery-powered inverter, is a device that stores electrical energy and can supply power to a range of devices. Unlike a traditional power generator that uses gasoline, diesel, or propane, a portable power station runs on a large-capacity battery that can be charged from a regular wall socket, a car’s 12V socket, or even a solar panel.

At its core, a power station consists of a high-capacity battery, an inverter, and various output ports. The battery stores electrical power, the inverter converts the stored DC power into AC power (the type of power used by most electronic devices), and the output ports (USB, AC, DC, etc.) provide ways to connect your equipment to the power station.

The capacity of a power station is measured in watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh), which gives you an idea of how much power it can deliver before needing to be recharged. The output power, measured in watts (W), indicates the maximum power that the station can deliver at any given moment. This is an essential factor when considering what devices you can power.

Understanding the working principles of a power station can help you use it more effectively and extend its lifespan. For example, knowing that a power station can be charged through various means helps you plan how to keep it charged during extended astrophotography sessions. Understanding the capacity and output power can guide you in selecting a power station that suits your specific needs, and knowing about the different output ports can help you prepare the necessary cables and adapters.

The Role of Power Stations in Astrophotography

Now, you might be wondering: how do power stations fit into the realm of astrophotography? Here’s the thing: many pieces of astrophotography equipment require power, and if you’re in a remote location or out in the field for an extended period, you’ll need a reliable power source.

Consider a typical astrophotography setup. You’ll likely have a motorized mount for your telescope to track celestial objects accurately. This mount needs power to operate. Then there’s your camera – whether it’s a DSLR, mirrorless, or a dedicated astronomy camera – it will also require power to capture long-exposure images throughout the night. Furthermore, you might have additional accessories like a laptop for image processing and a dew heater to prevent condensation on your telescope – both of which also need power.

A portable power station can simultaneously provide power to all these devices, keeping your setup running smoothly. With a power station, you won’t need to worry about your camera battery dying in the middle of capturing an incredible celestial event or your mount losing power and interrupting your star tracking.

However, it’s essential to consider the power requirements of your equipment when selecting a power station. Different devices have different power needs, and you’ll need a power station that can meet these needs. In the next section, we’ll delve deeper into how much power is typically needed for astrophotography equipment and how to choose a power station that can handle those requirements.

Choosing the Right Portable Power Station for Astrophotography

When it comes to selecting the right portable power station for your astrophotography needs, there are several key factors to consider. These include the capacity of the power station, the types and number of output ports, the power requirements of your equipment, and the physical size and weight of the power station.

Power and Capacity: As mentioned earlier, the capacity of a power station, measured in watt-hours (Wh) or milliamp-hours (mAh), tells you how much power it can deliver before needing to be recharged. For instance, a power station with a capacity of 500Wh should theoretically be able to supply 500W for one hour, or 50W for 10 hours. However, in practice, the actual output will be slightly less due to energy loss in the conversion process.

The power requirements of your equipment will vary. A DSLR camera may use around 10-20W, while a laptop could use anywhere from 50-100W. A motorized mount might require 20-40W, and a dew heater can use between 10-30W. Adding up the power needs of your equipment will give you an idea of the minimum capacity you should look for in a power station.

Output Ports: Power stations come with a variety of output ports, including AC, DC, and USB ports. Make sure that the power station you choose has the right types and number of ports for your equipment. For example, your camera and dew heater might be powered via USB, while your laptop and mount may require an AC or DC outlet.

Size and Weight: Portable power stations come in a range of sizes and weights. If you’re traveling to remote locations for astrophotography, you’ll want a power station that’s lightweight and compact, yet powerful enough to meet your needs. Remember, you’ll likely be carrying other heavy equipment, so every ounce matters.

Top Power Stations for Astrophotography

There are numerous portable power stations on the market, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Picking the right one is about more than just “finding the best” – you have to first know what you need, and then pick one that fits your requirements. For this article, we’ve selected two great choices, but feel free to look through our buying guides for small or large power stations!

Jackery Explorer 300

Jackery is known mostly for their outdoor-focused power stations: durable, weather-resistant, and easy to carry anywhere. The Explorer 300 is a pretty small model, but with almost 300 Wh capacity, it can charge most small equipment comfortably. At only 7 lb, it weighs next to nothing compared to most power stations, and still provides 2 AC and 3 USB ports.

If you want a little more, the Explorer 500 has almost twice as much power and capacity (500W, 518 Wh), but also 13 lb, making it still light enough to easily carry it around.

Best Lightweight Choice
Jackery Explorer 300
$ 299
Power: 300 W
Capacity: 293 Wh
Weight: 7 lbs (3.2 kg)
Buy from Jackery Buy on Amazon

EcoFlow River 2 Pro

If you need more power or capacity, the River 2 Pro is a solid power station with great value. While it’s not specifically designed for outdoor adventures like the Explorer series, it’s using state-of-the-art technology for batteries and safety, comes with 4 AC and 4 USB ports, and can keep your gear running through the night with its 768 Wh capacity.

If you plan on traveling for more than one night, EcoFlow also has great portable solar panels that can recharge your power station during the day if you can’t stop anywhere with an AC outlet to charge it.

Powerful & Portable
EcoFlow RIVER 2 Pro
$ 599
Power: 800 W
Capacity: 768 Wh
Weight: 17 lb (7,8 kg)
Buy from EcoFlow

If you need even more power or capacity than that, check out the Anker 757 (with 1,500W) or read our full guide to the best large power stations.

How to Use a Portable Power Station for Astrophotography

Using a portable power station for astrophotography is relatively straightforward. Here are some steps to guide you through the process:

Charge the Power Station: Before heading out, ensure your power station is fully charged. Depending on the capacity of the power station and the power source, this could take several hours.

Connect Your Equipment: Once on location, connect your equipment to the power station using the appropriate cables and ports. Remember not to overload the power station by connecting too many high-power devices at once.

Monitor Power Usage: Keep an eye on the power station’s charge level throughout your session. If it starts to get low, you may need to prioritize which devices remain connected.

Recharge as Needed: After your session, recharge your power station so it’s ready for the next outing. Remember, it’s better for the lifespan of the battery to keep it topped up rather than letting it drain completely.


Astrophotography is a fascinating hobby that allows you to explore the wonders of the universe without leaving the planet. Having a reliable portable power station can enhance your stargazing experience by ensuring your equipment stays powered throughout your observations. By understanding your power needs and choosing a power station that meets those needs, you can focus more on capturing the beauty of the night sky and less on worrying about your equipment’s battery life. Happy stargazing!

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