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AstroFest 2023 in London: why it’s worth a visit

February 1 2023, Marcus Schenk

If you’re an astronomy fan, you really shouldn’t miss this. The European AstroFest 2023 is taking place in London once again! On 3rd and 4th February, you’ll get the chance to experience all those products that make every observer’s heart beat a little faster.

We will be there too with our Omegon stand. You can experience our latest products live and up close.

 

 

Here’s a selection of the highlights:

MiniTrack: you can become an astrophotographer in the blink of an eye; the MiniTrack Astrotracker only needs a tripod and your own camera. With it, you’re ready in an instant to start shooting amazing nightscape pictures.

Neptune fork mount: you’ll be able to observe the night sky with your large binoculars more comfortably than ever before with the Omegon Neptune fork mount. This mount delivers superior stability, giving you the flexibility to reach any target in the sky. With an optional tripod, your binoculars become a solid observation station for the most amazing observing evenings.

Kolossus: the Omegon Kolossus is a new parallelogram mount for large binoculars. With it, observing stars is a pleasurable experience. You’ll feel as if your binoculars are weightless and almost floating in the air. This is achieved by a three-part swivel arm, 360-degree rotation, and a mechanism allowing you to perfectly balance your binoculars. For relaxed and fascinating observations that are simply more fun.

But: there’s plenty more to discover around the subject of astronomy at our stand!

What is AstroFest?
AstroFest is an annual astronomy event, rather like a trade fair, where astronomy enthusiasts from all over the world come together in London. Here you can listen to lectures from experts, discover countless telescopes and accessories, and take a closer look at the latest developments in the astronomy marketplace. If you’ve never been before, why not come along to the city on the Thames?

We look forward to seeing you!

 

The address:

Kensington Conference and Events Centre
The Town Hall, Hornton Street
London, W8 7NX

Comet ZTF visible in January

January 12 2023, Bernd Gährken

The discovery of dark matter is one of the greatest astronomical achievements of the last 100 years. Fritz Zwicky was the first to research this phenomenon. He recognised that gravity produced by unknown particles was a dominant force in our universe and that the majority of the matter in our universe is not visible. He was never awarded a Nobel Prize for dark matter as he died in 1974. But the significance of his discovery is clear today.

Zwicky’s domain was Mount Palomar. A new camera system there has been named after him. It was developed to detect transient objects with rapidly changing magnitudes, such as supernovae, gamma ray bursts, neutron star collisions, and moving objects like comets and asteroids.

In March 2022, the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) detected a new comet, which is able to cross over to being visible with the naked eye at the beginning of 2023. It will not be a bright object when seen with the naked eye, however it should already be clearly visible with binoculars or a telescope by the end of December.

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will reach its maximum magnitude of 5 mag and will then be visible in the sky near the Polaris for a few days. A dark sky is important for observation, a moonless night preferably. The Moon is waxing at this time and the full moon is on 5th February. The comet is circumpolar and visible for the entire night. However, the waxing Moon means that the moonless early morning hours will be ideally suited to observation. Finder charts can be found at:

https://cometchasing.skyhound.com/

It is 2 years since the last comets were visible from the UK. In summer 2020, comet NEOWISE adorned the sky. A comparable spectacle should not be expected for ZTF. But comets are unpredictable. Even NEOWISE was predicted to be much fainter than it was.

Neowise im Jahre 2020

Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 114 AZ telescope on special offer!

December 27 2022, Stefan Taube

With a telescope from Celestron‘s StarSense Explorer series, finding the best objects in the night sky to observe becomes child’s play – even without a star map!

You simply need to place your smartphone into the telescope’s mount, open the free app and the star map on the display will show you how to navigate to planets, binary stars, nebulae and distant galaxies.

We’re offering you the StarSense Explorer LT 114 AZ entry-level model for the special price of €269. This saves you €30 compared to the normal price!

Celestron

The LT 114 AZ is a classic Newtonian telescope with a primary mirror with a diameter of 114 millimetres. Using this telescope, you can see Saturn’s rings or Jupiter’s cloud bands and moons, which appear like their own small planetary system. But the brighter nebulae and star formation regions like the Orion Nebula are also not hidden from view.

We particularly recommend a trip to the Moon with this compact, easy-to-use instrument! Of course, you can find the Moon without the app. However, the telescope is also fitted with a classic red dot finder to make this even easier. You can use the telescope with or without the support of your smartphone, depending on your preference.

New binoculars from ZEISS: SFL series

December 15 2022, Stefan Taube

True lightweights among high-performance binoculars: ZEISS SFL

  • Ideal for observing birds and other animals!
  • Very lightweight and compact for nature walks!
  • Very high quality ZEISS lenses for lifelike colours and fine details!

ZEISS SFL

With the ZEISS SFL binoculars (SmartFocus Lightweight) special moments can be easily experienced. The binoculars are optimised so that they are as lightweight and compact as possible.

The new ultra-high definition (UHD) concept provides lifelike colour reproduction and ultra high detail. Thanks to its SmartFocus design, the focusing wheel is perfectly positioned and enables fast precision focusing – even when wearing gloves.

The optimised ergonomics and a large exit pupil provide a relaxed, undisturbed view.

The binoculars are available in the following versions:

ZEISS SFL

 

New mount from Skywatcher: the AZ-GTiX WiFi

December 5 2022, Stefan Taube

Skywatcher is introducing a new mount from the AZ-GTi series. These altazimuth mounts feature:

  • Low weight and compact design
  • Motorisation with computer control (GoTo)
  • Integrated WLAN to connect to a smartphone or tablet

The new version, the AZ-GTiX WiFi, offers a higher load capacity and two saddle plates for mounting two instruments, for example a telescope and a camera, side-by-side.

77227_4

The AZ-GTiX mount can be used with any sufficiently-large camera tripod with a 3/8-inch photo thread. Skywatcher also offers the mount in a set with a tripod: AZ-GTiX WiFi with tripod.

The AZ-GTiX mount has a built-in WLAN module so you can control it wirelessly using a smartphone or tablet. All you need to do is install the free SynScan app for iOS or Android. Using its servo motors, the mount slews the telescope to any of the 10,000 celestial objects that you can select via the app.

All mounts in the AZ-GTi series can be found here in our shop.

Telescopes for children and young people: 3 perfect present ideas – Video with English subtitles

December 2 2022, Marcus Schenk

Looking for a present for your children? In this video, we give you tips and advice to help you find the right telescope. We have selected three different models, which are suitable for beginners. Additionally, we show you which accessories you realistically need. Watch the video and discover the fascinating world of astronomy with your family!

Products shown in the video:

AC 90/1000 EQ-2 telescope

Omegon Advanced 130/650 EQ-320

Omegon 152/1200 Advanced Dobsonian

17.5cm rotating star chart

Astronomy torch Astro-Flashlight

Book for children and young people 

Cronus eyepieces

Astronomy Highlights in Winter 2022/2023

November 30 2022, Marcus Schenk

Mars at opposition, two planetary occultations by the Moon, the Geminids and beautiful triangular arrangements between the Moon and the planets. This winter, there are many reasons to look towards the stars. And you should join in!

In the “Astronomy Highlights in Winter 2022/23” infographic, you can find important celestial events for the next three months. Have fun observing!

December

02/12 Conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter

When darkness is upon us, we can gaze at the Moon and Jupiter on the south-eastern horizon. The gas giant will be blazing with an intensity of -2.5 magnitudes.

05/12 The Moon occults Uranus

The Moon and the planets travel along an imaginary line known as the ecliptic. This is the plane along which the planets and the Sun appear to move. Every now and then, the Moon occults one of the planets. And that time has come once again, as the dark side of the Moon approaches and occults Uranus at 5:34pm.

07/12 Conjunction between the Moon and Plejades

In the early hours of 7 December, the almost-full moon reaches the Golden Gate of the Ecliptic, which is flanked by the famous Hyades and Pleiades star clusters.

08/12 The Moon occults Mars/Opposition

Mars is at opposition to the Sun today and is  shining particularly bright and looks magnificent through a telescope. During this year’s opposition, the planet reaches a diameter of 17 arc seconds and a height of 66 degrees above the horizon from central Europe. And today is also a double event as, in the early hours of 8 December, at around 6am, our Moon occults the Red Planet.

14/12 Geminids

If the skies are clear in the evening, look towards the south. You will see the Geminids meteors emerging from the constellation of Gemini. Or more precisely, from a spot two degrees above the star, Pollux. With 120 meteors per hour, this shower is one of the events with the highest fall rates. In the early evening, up to 10pm, you can view it undisturbed by the Moon, as this is when our satellite appears over the horizon.

Lunar phases:

08/12 Full moon, 16/12 Waning quarter, 23/12 New moon, 30/12 Waxing quarter

January

01/01 Conjunction between the Moon and Uranus

Over and over, encounters or occultation between the Moon and planets take place along the path of the ecliptic. At the start of the new year, the Moon scrapes past Uranus at a distance of only half a degree.

03/01 Conjunction between Moon and Mars

Two bodies are competing for brightness today… the Moon and Mars. Both appear in the eastern skies when darkness falls. The Moon passes eastward beneath Mars.

03/01 Quadrantids

The next meteors are on their way to us – the Quadrantids. This meteor shower originates in the constellation of Bootes. The meteors shoot across the sky at a maximum rate of 120 per hour. The Moon only leaves our field of vision in the early hours of the morning.

16/01 Pallas at opposition

With a diameter of 588 kilometres, the asteroid Pallas is the second largest in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. During its opposition, it is so bright that we can easily see it with a small telescope and, theoretically, even with binoculars. To tell it apart from the stars, you should use a star chart whilst observing.

22/01 Conjunction between Saturn and Venus

A good view of the horizon is essential for this event. During twilight, the stunningly bright Venus outshines the considerably weaker, but still bright, Saturn above the western horizon. From 5:30pm, we have an hour-long opportunity to follow this celestial pair, both of which become weaker and then disappear into the haze.

23/01 The Moon near Venus and Saturn

An attractive event for all who are interested… Today a slim crescent moon joins the planets Venus and Saturn. Together, they are a dream team for a wonderful twilight photo.

30/01 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

This evening, the Moon visits the Red Planet. During the night, our satellite draws nearer until both objects are around one degree apart in the morning hours.

Lunar phases:

07/01 Full moon, 15/01 Waning quarter, 21/01 New moon, 28/01 Waxing quarter

February

15/02 Conjunction between Venus and Neptune

Venus and Neptune come to within 0.25 degrees of each other – a very close encounter between two very different planets. Whilst Venus beams like a floodlight, Neptune shines 50,000 times less bright.

22/02 Conjunction between Venus and Jupiter

This evening, the crescent moon appears with two planets. A beautiful view which you should not miss.

27/02 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

This evening, Mars and the Moon can both be found in the constellation Taurus.

Lunar phases:

05/02 Full moon, 13/02 Waning quarter, 20/02 New moon, 27/02 Waxing quarter

The PrimaLuceLab experience

November 24 2022, Jan Ströher

PrimaLuceLab, the Italian manufacturer from Porcia, specialises in high-end astronomy accessories. Products includes the high-quality PLUS range of prism rails, support rings and clamps, together with adapters, guiding systems, radio telescopes and a variety of products for holistic astrophotography solutions. PrimaLuceLab’s aspiration is to make astrophotography uncomplicated and accessible for all – this aspiration is fully realised with their specially developed PLAY software and their EAGLE, ECCO, ARCO, GIOTTO and SESTO SENSO series of products. The aim is to create a complete package that functions as simply as possible and makes the technology behind astrophotography as convenient for all users as it can be: a PrimaLuceLab experience, so to say.

PrimaLuceLab EAGLE control unit

When combined with the PLAY software, this system comprising various PrimaLuceLab products offers a complete set-up for all telescope models, regardless of brand. The PLAY software is very clear, user-friendly, offers an all-in-one solution with full ASCOM compatibility and works providing you use at least an ESATTO micro focuser or the SESTO SENSO 2. Instead of various software applications, you have everything combined in one clear and simple solution – indeed the name PLAY suggests the simplicity of the application – which allows even beginners to engage in astrophotography in an uncomplicated (yes, playful) and yet immediately successful manner. All other PrimaLuceLab products can be controlled using this software.

The ESATTO micro focuser

Functionality and technology are continuously tested and further developed by PrimaLuceLab. Products are always checked in the in-house workshop before they are sent to the warehouse or prepared for shipment. I was able to see this for myself during a visit to the company in October 2022. There, the founder and president of PrimaLuceLab, Filippo Bradaschia, gave me a live demonstration of the PLAY software functionality using a complete set-up comprising a Sky Watcher AZ/EQ5 mount, a cooled QHY163 monochrome camera, PrimaLuceLab EAGLE/ARCO/SESTO SENSO products, together with a Sharpstar 80mm apochromatic refractor. I was impressed by the overview of the operation as well as the functionality! The software even replaces the mount’s hand-held control. Filippo Bradaschia compares this to buying an Apple©™product: PrimaLuceLab offers you a complete experience and ensures that the individual components are all compatible with one another: the PrimaLuceLab experience!

Back in stock: Baader FlipMirror II

November 9 2022, Stefan Taube

Multiple faces – multiple uses

Baader’s multi-purpose flip mirror is back in stock! In combination with its level camera connector, the FlipMirror II offers a third connector, ideal for accessories such as off-axis guiders or calibration lamps for spectrographs.

63172_1

 

The FlipMirror II can be permanently mounted on the telescope as its optical finish is comparable to that of a high-quality zenith mirror. The flip mirror can also be used for visual observation.

Why do you need a flip mirror?

Unfortunately, every telescope only has one connector on the eyepiece side despite there being a large range of accessories that you may want to connect: eyepieces, cameras, off-axis guiders, guiding eyepieces, spectrographs and many more. For astrophotography and spectroscopy, these components need to be mounted at the same time.

The FlipMirror II provides more opportunities for this than other flip mirrors and it also provides solid screw adaptors. This is why multiple thread adapters are included amongst the accessories.

Baader_Flip-Mirror

 

Video: Solar observation with telescopes and filter tips (with English subtitles)

October 19 2022, Marcus Schenk

Want to observe the Sun? Welcome to the solar observation club!

In this video we show you how to easily observe the Sun, sunspots or solar prominences using your telescope. Additionally, you will learn which filters and what additional equipment you need for this. Finally, fantastic images of the Sun await you. A guide for beginners and other fans of our central star. Solar observation is fun!

But beware… Never observe the Sun without a suitable solar filter! And never leave children unattended with a telescope or binoculars near the Sun!

Good to know: We will have a partial solar eclipse on 25 October. Secure your solar filter and solar eclipse glasses now – our stocks are limited.

From the video:

 

  1. Take care when observing the Sun
  2. What you must consider
  3. The technique of white light observation
  4. What is it and what can you see?
  5. Which filter works for me?
  6. What to consider for solar lens filters
  7. Glass or foil and finding the correct filter size
  8. How to locate the Sun quickly in your telescope
  9. Herschel wedges for refracting telescopes
  10. Observing solar prominences and chromospheres
  11. Impressions of the Sun in H-alpha


Products shown in the video:

 

Omegon 45791 solar filter

Omegon ProNewton N 153/750 OTA

iOptron GEM28 GoTo LiteRoc mount

Baader AstroSolar solar eclipse glasses

Astrozap solar filter for external diameters of 232 to 238mm

Baader AstroSolar® OD 5.0 A4 210x297mm solar filter film

Baader AstroSolar ASTF 200mm telescope solar filter

Omegon 150mm solar filter

APM Herschel wedge 2″ FastLock

MEADE 2″ Herschel wedge with ND3 filter and ceramic plate

Omegon Pro APO AP 72/400 ED Quintuplet OTA apochromatic refracting telescope

Coronado ST 40/400 OTA PST Personal Solar Telescope

Coronado ST 40/400 0.5Å OTA PST Personal Solar Telescope

Daystar QUARK H-alpha solar filter, Chromosphere

Daystar QUARK H-alpha solar filter, Prominence