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Just in time for Christmas – gift sets for star gazers

December 4 2019, Marcus Schenk

Rudolph the red-nosed … bah. Once again Christmas is nearly upon us. Are you still looking for a Christmas present? But haven’t got the patience of a saint to search through telescopes and accessories? Most people have hardly any time for shopping in the so-called tranquil Advent time. Finding the perfect gift is a tough nut to crack, but to be certain you’re not grinding your teeth we have the perfect solution for you!

Our telescope gift sets are perfect for your loved ones. Eyepieces, filters and star maps are all here, and Rudolph and his friends will have them winging their way to you in no time. Take a look at our telescope sets!

Infographic: Winter Astronomy Highlights 2019/2020

November 29 2019, Marcus Schenk

The winter is getting really cold again, but there is no better time than this for really good, early evening, chances to observe the stars. And what will lure you outside better than the Hunter of the Skies, the Seven Sisters or the Eye of the Bull?

The sky calendar with the interesting events for the next three months: the astronomical infographic “Winter Astronomy Highlights 2019/20” shows you when a glance at the sky will be worthwhile.

We wish you lots of fun with your observing!

December

1st of December: Planet alignment

At dusk there is a lovely meeting of the planets Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. They are accompanied by the waxing Moon.

11th of December: Saturn meets Venus

The planets Venus and Saturn meet today at dusk, above the northwest horizon. Look out for the difference in brightness between the two as they race past one another, less than 2 degrees apart.

11th of December: The Moon meets Aldebaran

Already in the early evening we can see Aldebaran, the Eye of the Bull, as it appears above the horizon. However today it reveals itself with the almost fully-illuminated Moon. A great evening for observing planets and double stars.

13th of December: The Geminids

If the sky is clear in the evening, it’s best to take a look to the south. Because the Geminids shooting stars appear to originate from the constellation Gemini. To be more precise: from a point two degrees above the star Pollux. The best time for observing is between 21:00 CET and 6:00 CET. At 120 meteors per hour, the Geminids are among the most reliable shooting stars. However this year the full Moon will disrupt the view. Nevertheless, you should not miss this event.

23rd of December: The Moon meets Mars

Early risers take note: one day before Christmas it’s worth getting up early and taking a look at the sky. At dawn a delicate crescent Moon shines, just 10% illuminated, and meets up with Mars, the god of war.

23rd of December: The Ursids

The Ursids are a meteor shower that you can keep your eye on all night. This is because they originate from Ursa Minor, from which these meteors get their name. However these beacons speed across the sky more slowly than the Perseids – at around 35 kilometers per second.

29th of December: Moon meets Venus

As soon as it gets dark we can see them shining above the horizon: the Moon and Venus. Even if this is not the most astronomically interesting event, under a clear twilight sky this sight is probably one of the most beautiful. This evening the Moon can be seen as a wafer-thin crescent and Venus shines in all its splendour.

January

4th of January: The Quadrantids

The Quadrantids are a meteor shower originating from the constellation Böotes. The New Year almost begins with an astronomical fireworks display, which brings us about 120 meteors per hour. In the evening the half-lit Moon is still high in the sky: wait until it disappears under the horizon before you start observing – then it will be dark. Böotes is one of the spring and summer constellations and so now, in winter, it – and therefore also the radiant – does not rise until after midnight. Then observing can become very interesting. Oh and yes, wrap up warmly, because patience is required when observing meteors.

5th of January: The Moon’s Golden Handle

A fascinating event: the Moon’s Golden Handle. Like a handle of light, it breaks the Moon’s darkness just beyond the terminator. We look at Mare Imbrium in the region of Sinus Iridum crater and the high Montes Jura mountain range. The Sun rises here at the boundary between light and shadow. While the crater is still in darkness, the Sun bathes the circular-shaped peaks of Montes Jura in light. A golden ring in the dark.

18th of January: Mars meets Antares

Antares is a red supergiant in the constellation Scorpius. It shines with an intense red light and resides at the very bottom of the class M spectral type. If it stood in the place of the Sun, Antares would reach beyond the orbit of Mars. But today Mars and Antares meet only visually for us in the sky. Compare the red colours of these two celestial bodies.

27th of January: Venus meets Neptune

One very close, the other very distant: our neighbouring planet Venus meets up with the outpost of our solar system. With just the naked eye, however, we can admire only Venus. But less than a degree north we meet Neptune, which reveals itself in a telescope as a small blue disc.

28th of January: The Moon meets Venus

Another chance to see this beautiful sight: Venus and the narrow, 12% illuminated, crescent Moon. Until around 20:00 CET we can easily follow the two brightest bodies in the sky, before Venus disappears below the horizon, often in haze, a good 40 minutes later.

February

4th of February: The Moon’s Golden Handle

As on the 5th of January, today we can once again observe the Moon’s Golden Handle. This is caused by the illuminated peaks of Montes Jura mountain range on the dark side of the terminator.

10th of February: Mercury’s greatest eastern elongation

Mercury is nimble and only rarely visible. But right now our shy friend reveals himself in the evening sky. It is positioned at its greatest angular distance from the Sun and is barely visible in the growing twilight. For this you need a very good view of the horizon, cloud-free and clear weather, and binoculars with which you can discover Mercury.

27th of February: The Moon meets Venus

The second beautiful sighting of the crescent Moon and Venus at dusk. Meanwhile we can follow the splendour of the bright and shining Venus in the sky for some time – as it only disappears under the horizon at around 22:00 CET.

ZEISS cashback promotion: these binoculars make giving presents twice as much fun!

November 26 2019, Betty Lux

Experience the true beauty of a winter’s day – with ZEISS binoculars every walk in the countryside turns into an adventure. Secure yours now – during the period from 25.11.2019 to 19.01.2020, after your purchase you will receive a generous refund to your account following a valid online registration!

You will be twice as happy with the following models this year:

  • Terra ED: Get €50 back – both with the Pocket versions in grey/black and the popular Terra EDs in 8×42 and 10×42. The Terra ED Compact models in 8×32 and in 10×32 are also included this year!
  • Victory Pocket: These stylish compact instruments are available in both 8×25 and 10×25 models with €75 cashback.
  • Conquest HD: All ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars are also included in this cashback promotion! Depending on the model, you will receive between €100 and €150 back.

ZEISS cashback promotion

It’s so easy:

ZEISS binoculars enhance every winter moment in a unique way. Their modern design plus the brilliant and sharp image they provide make these binoculars a faithful companion for when you are out and about. Whether for yourself, or as a special present under the Christmas tree – giving presents becomes twice as much fun!

New Starfleet: The Omegon PRO Apochromats for Astrophotographers

November 19 2019, Marcus Schenk

These photos almost look like you were there. As if Captain Kirk was giving me a personal tour of the Pleiades on his command bridge screen on the Enterprise. However, what you see in the pictures below are images taken with the new Omegon PRO apochromats. And we swear, they were all taken from Earth 😉

So on to more beautiful photos.

Omegon’s new doublet, triplet and quadruplet refractors are a real compact Starfleet for astrophotographers who value brilliant and needle-sharp photos of the universe. The lens apertures range from 65mm to 107mm. There’s the right telescope for everybody.

Der Omegon Pro APO 60/330 OTA

The Omegon Pro APO 60/330 OTA.

Features include: Ohara FPL-53 glass for a true-colour image, CNC tube, hybrid rack and pinion focuser with, ball bearings and 360° rotation, tube clamps, dovetail bar, viewfinder shoe and Vixen-style dovetail bar.

The Pleiades with reflection nebula, APO 71/450 Quadruplet, Canon 6Da, 32×180 seconds, Image: Philipp Keltenich

The Andromeda Galaxy, APO 71/450 Quadruplet, Canon 6Da, 25×240 seconds, Image: Philipp Keltenich

And here is the fleet of telescopes at a glance:

  1. Apo 60/330 Doublet OTA #60852
    A small doublet apochromat for travel and for striking panoramic pictures.
  2. Apo 71/450 Quadruplet OTA #60855
    For fantastically beautiful, true-colour and flat images right up to the edges of the field of view. Here you don’t have to worry about how to attach a field flattener to your camera, because it’s already built-in. A great flat field apochromat!
  3. Apo 72/400 Doublet OTA #60853
    If you like to travel and love shooting large-area objects, you will love this refractor. A clear picture and only 400mm focal length, it captures the Andromeda Galaxy and similar objects.
  4. Apo 80/500 Triplet OTA #60856
    An apochromat with a clear and true-colour image, even at very high magnifications. The expertly-crafted 2.5″ focuser is larger than that of most 80mm telescopes. The advantage: so much illumination that even your full-frame camera will have fun with it. By the way, we also stock the carbon version of these apochromats: chic, thermally-stable and even lighter.
  5. Apo 90/600 Triplet OTA #60858
    Weighing just 5 kilograms but with a 90mm aperture: this apo refractor is suitable for your mount at home or for travelling under a dark sky. The 2.5″ focuser holds your camera in a stable position all night long.
  6. Apo 107/700 Triplet OTA #60859
    Sophisticated three-lens design with Ohara glass for a clear and true-colour image. A 3″ focuser offers you a generously illuminated field of view and an enormous load-bearing capacity – a great advantage for heavy cameras.

Get to know the new Omegon apo fleet better, just click on the links and learn more on our product pages.

Omegon MiniTrack LX3: get ready for liftoff with heavenly photos of the starry sky

November 15 2019, Marcus Schenk

A photo of the starry sky that looks exactly how it would look on a clear night in the mountains or in the desert: this is a dream you can now fulfil with the new MiniTrack LX3.  The new mini-mount ensures you are well-prepared and is now even more powerful than its predecessor, the MiniTrack LX2.

MiniTrack LX3 Montierung

The new MiniTrack LX3 mount

It is much easier than you think to take a fantastic photo of the starry sky. You don’t even have to be an experienced astrophotographer. In a dark location, align the mount to the north celestial pole, attach your camera, wind up the mechanism and start your recording. With the MiniTrack LX3, anyone can conjure up a beautiful photo of the starry sky – almost as easy as boiling an egg

Until now you’ve almost certainly been aware of the MiniTrack LX2: a fully mechanical small mount that you can attach to any commercially available camera tripod and which is so compact that it fits into any luggage. The new version, the MiniTrack LX3, has been revised yet again and is now better than ever. Sky&Telescope magazine awarded the MiniTrack the “Hot Product Award” and the users of the MiniTrack are also certain: you can not only take beautiful photos. With the MiniTrack LX3, the starry sky presents itself as if it were on the catwalk.

What has changed?

  1. More load-bearing capacity: now you can attach a camera up to 3kg in weight.
  2. New Teflon bush for even smoother movement.
  3. Adjustable suspension system: you can slow down or speed up tracking, making it more precise and the stars rounder.
  4. CNC body: more stable and even more finely finished.
  5. An optical polar finder is already included. This allows more precise polar alignment of the MiniTrack LX3 – and you can expose your photo for longer.

 

Let yourself be inspired by the Omegon MiniTrack LX3  and learn more about the compact travel mount here.

Now in stock: The Vaonis STELLINA smart telescope!

November 6 2019, Elias Erdnüß

Vaonis STELLINA: innovative control, top-quality design, high-tech

Observing the starry sky through a telescope is an unmatchable experience. However, observing some targets can be an anti-climax or even a disappointment: faint nebulae and galaxies are often only visible as shadowy undefined spots of light.

Beautiful details and colours are usually only possible with the help of astrophotography, where the light captured by the telescope is collected and accumulated over long periods of time, creating stunning images of these faint deep sky objects.

Astrophotography however is a hobby with an extremely steep learning curve. For a beginner it can be many months before the first beautiful picture is produced. Even after mastering the first steps in astrophotography, it takes many hours of processing the images before the nebula or galaxy is revealed in all its beauty.

The fully automatic STELLINA smart telescope from the French start-up company  Vaonis  promises to combine the advantages of astrophotography with the direct experience of live observing. This is done in as user-friendly a way as possible since the telescope has no eyepiece, but instead has an integrated camera. This means that images are continually being collected and processed. Using a smartphone or tablet you can watch live as, over the course of a few minutes, more and more details of the target become visible.

The control and operation of the telescope is revolutionary and simple. At the push of a button, STELLINA orients itself completely independently using visible stars. The desired observing target is then selected using a smartphone or tablet. The telescope travels to the correct location in the sky – that’s it!

M83, the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy – with STELLINA, details and colours are clearly visible in the spiral arms.

Of course we at Astroshop were also curious whether  STELLINA  actually keeps its promises. Luckily, we have already been able to test it. As a matter of fact, we have never seen a GoTo telescope that can be controlled so intuitively and easily without prior experience. Even after a short time, the resulting pictures show an incredible amount of detail compared to what is expected from a conventional telescope. Although the quality of the images is not quite comparable to those from a professional astrophotographer, (here an automatic process can’t yet replace the expert), the images are almost immediately visible, not only after hours of processing. Therefore STELLINA is perfect for shared observing with friends and acquaintances.

Until now this telescope was only available by pre-order. From now on  Vaonis STELLINA is in stock and directly available. The ideal high-end Christmas gift!

New Starquest Telescope from Skywatcher

October 30 2019, Stefan Taube

Skywatcher’s new Starquest telescopes combine small optics with a lightweight equatorial mount in a new design. A lightweight aluminium tripod with a storage shelf is also included, the perfect telescope for easy transportation and a quick view of the sky.

Skywatcher Newton 130/650 Starquest EQ

Skywatcher Newton 130/650 Starquest EQ

The high-quality Starquest mount contains a worm gear with 122 teeth on each axis. This ensures high stability and sensitive manual tracking with the easy-to-use flexible shafts – even beginners can easily cope.

The correct telescope to choose from depends on your preferred application:

  • The refractor AC 102/500 shows large sections of the sky. Large objects such as nebulae, open star clusters or comets can be observed with it.
  • The Maksutov MC 102/1300 is particularly compact. Despite its small size, this telescope has a very long focal length. It allows high levels of magnification, and is a real specialist for the Moon and planets – but also planetary nebulae and double stars can easily be observed with the Maksutov. With this selection of potential objects and the rear-facing lens position, the Maksutov is ideal for the balcony observatory in light-polluted cities. Another advantage is the closed optical tube: the mirror cannot become contaminated.
  • The Newton 130/650 telescope is the best compromise. It has the widest aperture and therefore collects most light. Even faint nebulae can still be identified. The Newton telescope is also particularly inexpensive due to its design. However the relatively long tube has the greatest lever effect on the mount.

More information and all the models can be found here in Astroshop.

Mercury transit 2019: these products will turn the transit into an experience

October 11 2019, Marcus Schenk

We only see a Mercury transit every 3.5 to 13 years. On 11 November 2019 this rare event will take place once more. An inferior conjunction occurs as Mercury crosses in front of the Sun and we can observe this in broad daylight. Don’t miss the astronomical highlight of the year! But what do you need to observe it? With the following products you will be well prepared for a successful sighting.

Warning: never look directly at the Sun without a suitable filter. A solar filter is always required for observing.

Solar filter film  

The Baader AstroSolar solar filter film is available in various sizes, it is effective and very good value. Use the film to make your own solar filter which you can then attach to the front of your telescope.

AstroSolar-Sonnenfolie

The AstroSolar solar filter in 210 x 297mm format

 

Mounted solar filter

Is do-it-yourself not really your thing? Then a ready-mounted filter is the perfect solution for you. The Omegon filters for smaller telescopes or the Baader ASTF filters are good value and are available for many sizes of telescopes. You simply choose the diameter that suits your telescope and attach the filter to the front of your telescope. Before long you will be safely looking at the Sun and discovering sunspots – and of course Mercury.

Tip: to be certain which filter will fit your telescope, measure the outer diameter of your tube before making your selection.

Omegon-Sonnenfilter

Omegon solar filter mounted on a photoscope

Solar filter for binoculars and cameras

You can also follow the Mercury transit with binoculars. Just by attaching two normal solar filters? This works particularly well with the AstroSolar binocular filter.  They are laterally cut in such a way that they don’t make contact even with objective lenses that are very close together. This is also an advantage for DSLR cameras: the flattened filter edges makes it possible to attach a camera flush to a telescope or a mounting plate.

ASBF-Filter

ASBF filter for binoculars and cameras

Herschel wedge

Even more contrast is on offer from the professional for solar observing: a Herschel wedge. Combined with a ND3.0 filter it can be connected to a refracting telescope. The advantage: you see the Sun in front of a black background, and the granulation and sunspots appear in unimagined levels of detail.

 Herschelkeil

A Herschel wedge offers a beautiful picture of the Sun with a refractor

H-alpha telescope

You will experience a bit of the action when  observing the Sun in H-alpha light. In a very narrow, deep-red band with a wavelength of 656nm you can observe a very active Sun. Prominences flare millions of kilometers into space and are changing rapidly. Even when you see no sunspots on the Sun, there is almost always something to see.

H-alpha-Sonnentelekop

H-alpha solar telescope from Coronado

Mercury transit T-Shirt

For huge fans of astronomy: show your passion for astronomy with the new Mercury transit T-shirt. It shows the progress of the transit with all the important information and timings. So anyone can look to see when Mercury will appear in front of the Sun, or how long we still need to wait until the next transit.

Omegon-T-Shirt-Merkurtransit

Omegon Mercury transit T-shirt

Smartphone adapter

Photographing the Sun swiftly and simply: with a smartphone adapter you can quickly take beautiful pictures of the Mercury transit. It works really well with small telescopes. Simply attach the Omegon smartphone adapter to your eyepiece, and soon you will be capturing these astronomical moments for ever.

Omegon-Easypic-Universal-Smartphone-Adapter

Omegon Easypic universal smartphone adapter

Omegon 70/400 Backpack with solar filter

If you are looking for a small travel solar telescope, then the Omegon Backpack 70/400 AZ is perfect. The set includes a finder scope, mirror star-diagonal, eyepieces and of course the appropriate solar filter. You get all of this together in a practical rucksack.

Omegon-Teleskop-AC-70-400-Solar-BackPack

Omegon AC-70-400 Backpack solar telescope

The Sun on your neck

When observing the Sun for hours on end you need to take precautions against sunburn. A normal hat only protects the scalp. But when you are bending forward and observing through an eyepiece then your neck is exposed to the Sun. Lunt offers appropriate protection against this: a sun hat with neck protection.

Sonnenhut-mit-Nackenschutz

Sun hat with neck protection

Finding the Sun made easy

Sometimes its hard to believe how hard it can be to find the Sun with a telescope without spending a lot of time searching for it. Finding it is much easier with the Geoptik 1.25’’ solar finder.

Simply attach the sun finder to your focuser and right away you can centre the Sun over your mount’s axes. The Euro EMC solar finder offers an alternative way of finding the Sun. It consists of a pinhole and a small screen onto which a small image of the sun is projected. Simply attach the finder to your tube using the Velcro straps included.

Geoptik Sonnensucher

Geoptik solar finder

Equipped with these you’ll be well prepared for the Mercury transit.

Special offer: Vixen binocular telescope BT-81S-A complete package!

October 9 2019, Stefan Taube

Binoculars are often underrated as instruments for astronomy. Yet the view of the night sky through large-aperture binoculars is a unique experience!

Binocular viewing supports our natural stereoscopic vision. It allows especially relaxed observing and offers a 3D effect that can only be achieved with a telescope by using a binocular viewer accessory.

Vixen BT 81S

Vixen BT-81S-A binocular telescope set

Compared to telescopes, binoculars have a larger field of view at lower levels of magnification. Therefore they are especially suited to observing star fields, open star clusters, dark nebulae and comets.

For many years Vixen, the Japanese manufacturer, has been offering an interesting range of astronomical binoculars with their BT series. Right now we are offering you the BT-81S-A as a complete package for a special price: you get the binoculars including a tripod, mount and eyepiece now for just EUR 1,699. You save EUR 200 compared to the manufacturer’s recommended price!

The BT-81S-A has two achromatic lenses with magnesium fluoride coatings. The colour-corrected fast lenses, with a focal ratio of f/6, combined with the special fork mount, allow an expansive visual stroll across the night sky which is truly addictive!

With an 81mm aperture, the BT-81S-A is among the smaller large-aperture binoculars. But in return it is easily portable, weighing 4 kilograms and being 480 millimetres long.

You can find more information and ordering options here in the Astroshop.

Celestron RASA Astrographs: Telescopes for Astrophotography

September 20 2019, Stefan Taube

The RASA range of telescopes were developed specifically and exclusively for astrophotography. They are very fast; with a focal length of f/2 they take pictures twenty times faster than a Schmidt-Cassegrain lens at f/10! Because of this a tracking control is not required, and generally fewer demands are placed on the mount!

The RASA 1100 model with a 279 millimetre aperture has already been on the market for some time, and Celestron is now also offering a smaller version, the RASA 800, with a 203 millimetre aperture.

Celestron Astrograph S 203/400 RASA 800

Celestron Astrograph S 203/400 RASA 800

This optical system is also within reach of smaller budgets with the RASA 800, particularly since it can be used with a smaller mount. The illustration above shows the RASA 800 with the AVX mount. This astrograph is optimised for astrophotography cameras with a 22 millimetre field diagonal. The larger RASA 1100 is the better choice for those who prefer to use a DLSR for their photography.

The abbreviation RASA stands for the developers’ names: Rowe-Ackermann-Schmidt-Astrograph. It is basically a normal, routinely-produced Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain instrument; that is with a spherical primary mirror in front of which is a corrector plate invented by Bernhard Schmidt. Instead of using a secondary mirror to direct the light path towards the Cassegrain focus at the end of the telescope, the camera sensor is incorporated in the prime focus. A corrector assembly comprising four lenses made of especially high-quality glass ensures optimal illumination.

Die RASA-Optik von Celestron

The RASA telescope from Celestron

As the term astrograph implies, RASA telescopes are designed exclusively for photography. There is no option to use an eyepiece. But if you are an amateur astronomer who specialises in astrophotography, you will not see this as a disadvantage, instead you will quickly learn to appreciate the advantages of the RASA telescopes.

07.12.2019
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