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Donation for Scope4SEN

February 12 2019, Anita Maier

Children with special educational needs and more vulnerable people should also be given the chance to look through a telescope and explore the Moon, the planets and the stars. Joanne & Patrick Poitevin took up the challenge to roll out the initiative Scope4SEN (Telescopes for Special Educational Needs) for the United Kingdom since end 2015. Schools for special educational needs and institutions for children with disabilities are donated a telescope, a binocular, and loads of education material through sponsorship.

https://patrickpoitevin.weebly.com/uploads/4/6/8/1/46815569/header_images/1478982112.jpg

Each school or institution who got this telescope will get the necessary support to use the telescope and all the material. So far they donated in 3 years about 600 telescopes, along with other educational material, such as binoculars, meteorites, SUNoculars, books, posters, magazines, stereoscopes, digital microscopes, planispheres, solar glasses, magnifiers, planetariums, CCD cameras, etc.

Picture

Once again, we have given support to this project at a value of 10,000 Euros and wish the association even more success in their endeavors!

 

Special Offer! The SUNocular 8×32 from Lunt

February 12 2019, Stefan Taube

Imagine a solar telescope that is just as manageable as a pair of binoculars, or a pair of binoculars that can be used to observe the sun as safely as if using a regular solar telescope. The SUNocular 8×32 from Lunt is precisely that. This unusual instrument for observing the sun is currently available at a special price of 98 euros. You will get 121 euros off the recommended retail price!

Lunt Sunocular

Lunt Solar Systems solar binoculars 8×32 SUNocular OD5

 

The SUNocular 8×32 features a permanently installed lens filter with a neutral density of 5, as is typical for sun filters designed for visual observation and allowing you to safely look at the sun. Since the filter is permanently installed, the SUNocular 8×32 is not suitable for use as binoculars for terrestrial observations. In order to ensure that there is no confusion on this point, we have classified this product under the Solar Telescope rubric for the sake of simplicity.

The SUNocular 8×32 allows you to see the photosphere of the sun. This layer, approximately 500 kilometres thick, creates almost all of the sun’s radiation in the visual spectral range. The photosphere shows sun spots with an eleven-year activity cycle.  We are currently between two cycles, and for this reason there are very few spots to be seen. But that will soon change, and this instrument allows you to be very well prepared when the change comes. You can observe, at any time and from any location, new sun spots appear as well as their day-to-day development.

The SUNocular 8×32 has all the typical features of a pair of binoculars of this size: central focus, dioptre balance, extremely rotatable eyepieces, carry strap and a very sturdy bag. Furthermore, the rubberised housing provides excellent grip!

By the way… The SUNocular 8×32 is also suitable for observing planets as they cross in front of the sun (transits) and for watching solar eclipses!

 

Improved Version of the Dobson LightBridge by Meade

February 7 2019, Stefan Taube

No other telescope produces the natural experience of the night sky as directly as a Dobson. Completely without a camera or any other electronic deflection – armed only with an infra-red lamp and star chart – discover nebulae, star clusters and galaxies.

Apart from good weather, two things are necessary to enjoy observation: As large a telescope as possible and a dark night sky. A Dobson is a reflector telescope with a relatively simple base. So, for your money, you’ll get a telescope that is bigger than others. The problem with the dark sky is, however, more difficult to solve. The Dobson telescope should fit in a car so you can drive to a good location for observing.

A large telescope that fits in a car is a contradiction in itself. This is resolved by the Dobson wire-mesh tube:

Gitterrohrdobson

This Dobson in the LightBridge series can be taken apart without tools.

As the figure shows, the telescope can be taken apart into relatively small parts. From left to right, you can see the rocker box, the mirror case, the tube rods and the carrier ring with the secondary mirror. On location, the truss tube Dobson can be built in a few minutes without any tools.

The manufacturer, Meade, was one of the first, with the Dobson telescopes in the LightBridge series to use this form of construction and at a price that is affordable for amateur astronomers. We can now offer the improved version, the LightBridge Plus.

Meade Dobson Teleskop N 254/1270 LightBridge Plus

Meade Dobson Telescope N 254/1270 LightBridge Plus

The new LightBridge Plus has an improved rocker box. It is somewhat lighter, has notched carry handles, a pre-installed eyepiece tray and a friction brake for the height axis. The box can be taken apart without tools so it can be easily transported. Meade now fits these telescopes with an improved eyepiece holder that has a fine-adjustment knob for precision focusing and comes with a high-quality 2-inch eyepiece with a 26-mm focal length.

As with the previous version, the LightBridge Plus has a main mirror fan for faster alignment of the mirror with the ambient temperature. As expected, the optics are fully adjustable. Thanks to the fast aperture ratio, the tube is relatively short and the viewing height at the zenith is not too high.

If you’ve always wanted a telescope with a large aperture, but just didn’t know how you’d carry it around, a LightBridge Plus is a very good choice at a fair price!

 

Total Lunar Eclipse: Last Chance on the 20-21st January 2019

January 18 2019, Joshua Taboga

On the 20th in the Americas and 21st of January in Europe and northern Africa, we have the pleasure of witnessing the Moon on the big stage, once again.  As we sit in the front row, the Earth’s shadow will play a complementary role to center stage.

In contrast to the eclipse of Summer 2018, Europeans and North Americans will have to tough it out in the cold.  With clammy fingers in the waking hours and next to the telescope, we will admire a fascinating, rusty-red Moon. However, bearing the cold temperatures will be rewarding, since this lunar eclipse will be one of the last, extremely visible eclipses in Europe for some time.

Here, you can learn more about the total lunar eclipse and some observation tips.

The Lunar Eclipse of 2018 taken in Landsberg am Lech, Germany. Credit: Alexander Olbrich

Getting up Early – Akin to Moving Mountains

So why do it?  Why stand outside in the icy-cold, surrounded by snow and frost, while others are cuddled in their warm beds?
Easy!  We cannot fight our fascination for astronomy.  Astronomy is not something best experienced from your couch.  Gazing at a photograph does not place us in the place it was taken, as well as being there in person.  Which would you prefer?  Listening to music on your smartphone or bouncing to live music with the stage only a hand

 

Why this Eclipse?

Our American friends will have the pleasure of seeing the eclipse during more comfortable hours of the night, while those of us further East will need to get up early.  This eclipse will be one of the few, easily visible ones from Europe for several years and all of it will be visible from a comfortable height in the sky, so that the Moon will be observable from almost every village, city and garden – even with the bonus of a morning cup of joe in your hand.  Who wants to drive to the middle of nowhere or to a mountain in the middle of the night?
The next chance to see a Lunar Eclipse will be a ways off: six years from now on the 7th of September 2025 (Our North American counterparts only need wait until 26th of May, 2021). So, this Lunar Eclipse in the early morning hours will be worth the work!

 

Location and Date

On the 20th around dusk in the Americas, leading into the 21st of January in the early morning hours in Europe and Africa, around 5 hours of a rusty-red Moon will grace the night sky.  The visibility of this particular eclipse will stretch from the Pacific Ocean all the way to Eastern Europe.  Here in Europe, the Moon will rise already in the Earth’s shadow.

This is hot phase, in which the Moon is hiding in Earthly shadow, also known as totality, makes the moon resemble a piece of hot iron initially.  Eventually, our satellite will take on a brownish, rusty-red or copper color, making it impossible to look away.

For the best experiences, find yourself a nice dark area.  The Moon’s normal brightness is not to be expected.  In the Earth’s shadow, it will still glow faintly in the night sky and reflects only the refracted light, passing through the Earth’s atmosphere, from the sun back to us. Now our Moon will appear 25,000 times fainter than a bright, illuminated Moon.

 

That’s a good reason to find a dark spot or at least make sure you have an unimpeded view without street lights.

 

At 5:41 AM Get Outside, Europeans

3:35 AM CET (central European time) or 9:35 PM EST (20th of January) in North America is when the Moon enters the penumbra, but this phase is rather inconspicuous.  Once the Moon enters the Umbra at 4:34 AM CET or 10:34 AM EST, Europeans and Americans will be able to see a real difference in our satellite’s color. Our lucky friends in California will be able to see the entry into the umbra already at 7:30 PST on the 20th of January.

Totality begins at 5:41 CET or 11:41 EST.  In Europe, the Moon will have dropped in the sky by about 10°, but the sight will still be excellent.  In comparison to the last Lunar Eclipse in Europe, then the Moon was already red by the time it reached 5° abover the horizon and reached a maximum of 16° before totality ended.

 

Phases of the Eclipse at a Glance

  1. Entry into the Penumbra 3:35 CET (21st of January) and 9:35 EST (20th of January)
  2. Entry into the Umbra 4:34 CET and 10:34 EST
  3. Begin of totality 5:41 CET and 11:34 EST
  4. Half-way point of the Eclipse 6:12 CET and 12:12 EST (21st of January)
  5. Exit of the Umbra 7:51 CET and 1:51 EST
  6. Exit of the Penumbra 8:50 CET and 2:50 EST

Roughly until 6:44 AM CET or 12:44 AM EST, we will be able to admire a rusty-red Moon with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope.  Lunar photography during the Eclipse should also be a breeze, even with standard equipment.

 

How to Photograph the Lunar Eclipse

During the Eclipse, it will be worth the effort to photograph the moment.  The good thing is, you will not need a whole lot of equipment.  A tri-pod and a camera, or a small telescope with a camera mount should do the trick.

With a stable camera, you should be able to capture the Moon with the surrounding landscape.  With an focal length of up to 200 mm and especially when the Moon is just above the horizon, you are sure to find photographing the event rewarding.

If you would like a close-up, in which the Moon takes up a third or half of the image, you will need a higher focal length of more than 500mm.  In such a case, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to shoot a nice lunar picture.  In the partial phases, short exposures will do – in the range of 1/100th and 1/10th of a second, while totality will require an exposure of several seconds.  The drawback here will be a blurring effect of the Moon, as a result of the Earth’s rotation.  With longer exposures and moderately sensitive cameras, consider using a tracking mount, in order to get a crisp photo of totality.

If you looking for a great telescope for a lunar eclipse, have a look at our Omegon Photography Scope 72/432 ED, which is a great instrument for nature and astrophotography at moderate focal lengths.  The set-up is both a lens and a spotting scope, all in one.

 

The Lunar Eclipse of 2018 captured with a stabilized camera.  Mars is visible below. Credit: Marcus Schenk

Photography Tips at a Glance

  • Stable tri-pod or tracking mount, as well as a lens or a small telescope
  • Recommendation: a camera with a cable or Bluetooth remote, as well as a timer
  • The camera should feature a manual focus, allowing you refocus to see a crisp edge on the Moon
  • The exposure should be manually configurable, or at least feature exposure correction
  • Experiment with the aperture and ISO values – you have plenty of time to do so

 

For now, we say clear skies and enjoy!  Until next time!

We wish you a happy new year!

December 31 2018, Anita Maier

Astroshop.eu wishes you all the best for the new year and scores of beautiful observations.

We look forward to meeting you again in 2019 with advice and deeds, as well as special offers.

Your Astroshop.eu team.

Is a Dobsonian telescope right for me? | with product recommendations

December 30 2018, Marcus Schenk

A simple Dobsonian or a GoTo telescope? – a question whose answer you first have to decide on. You should also choose your telescope based on what you would like to observe or experience in the night sky.

Did you know that there is also a system with something like ‘a bit of GoTo’?

But how do you find out if a Dobsonian telescope is right for you? In Part 1 of this post, we’ve put together a few questions to help you find your preferences.

Following on, in part 2, there are product recommendations for three different telescope series, with you can use to explore the night sky.

 

Part 1

Are you an observer for whom a Dobsonian telescope is suitable? Or do you need a telescope with an equatorial mount? Decide which using the following questions:

 

1. Do you only want to observe or also to take photos?

There are two types of observing: the visual and photographic. Which do you prefer? If you are a visual observer, then a Dobsonian would probably be the right choice.

1 Yes I want to observe visually.
2 I do not know yet, maybe both.
3 Taking photos is more important to me than observing visually.

 

2. What do you value more? – the optics or the mechanics and electronics?

Dobsonian telescopes consist of a wooden box with plain bearings, called a ‘Rockerbox’, and a Newtonian mirror OTA. A clear emphasis here is placed on a larger OTA diameter. The mechanics remain simple. The advantage – you get a large aperture telescope for relatively little outlay, with which you can observe a lot.

1 I put more emphasis on a great optics for a low price.
2 I cannot commit myself, maybe both.
3 I am a fan of complex mechanics that controls my telescope via slow motions and worm gears.

 

3. Quick assembly or precise alignment?

Dobsonian telescopes consist of only two parts. The advantage – just two parts can be quickly transported and reassembled at the observing site. They are often much quicker to put together than a telescope with a tripod, equatorial mount, several counterweights and the OTA itself. You do not have to align a Dobsonian telescope to the celestial north pole, you are tracking in both axes’ directions.

1 I want to set up my telescope quickly, I can’t be bothered with all the complexity of assembling and observing with an equatorial set up.
2 I would like to have GoTo, but only if the setup does not take too long.
3 I’d rather spend more time putting the system together and precisely aligning it.

 

4. Do you prefer observing the Moon and planets, or observing galaxies?

A medium to large Newtonian telescope is of course also suitable for planetary observing. But the strengths of a large mirror lie in its greater light-gathering power. This makes many Dobsonian telescopes suitable for observing nebulae and galaxies. Bu if you are more interested in the Moon and planets, then a refractor telescope would be the better choice.

1 I want to observe nebulae and galaxies.
2 I want to observe nebulae and galaxies, but how am I supposed to find them?
3 I am interested in the Moon and the planets, but there is so much light pollution where I live that I cannot observe galaxies very well. An automated telescope would have to find them.

 

5. Exploring the night sky with a star map or using a GoTo system?

Dobsonian telescopes are almost always manually controlled instruments. In other words, there is no GoTo system here that slews to objects at the push of a button. You have to guide the telescope purely manually to the object of your choice with the help of a star map and then track it manually. But what is the advantage of that? Quite simply – the night sky will eventually become your familiar hunting ground that you know like the back of your hand. You’ll become a real expert at finding deep sky objects. And you will develop a feeling for tracking objects. The other thing is that it’s a lot of fun, and every time you find an object there is that little thrill of achievement.

1 Of course, I want to find the objects myself using a Dobsonian telescope.
2 I’m afraid that I’m not so good at orienting myself.
3 I’m not really interested in star hopping – there are GoTo telescopes for finding astronomical objects.

 

6. Naturally experiencing the night sky using only a little technology?

Observers repeatedly report that they can enjoy a natural experience to the maximum with a Dobsonian telescope. There is no complicated technology here that needs to be made to work. No, naturally experiencing the night sky without any motor noise is the most important thing.

1 I want to visibly experience the night sky in a clear simple and natural way.
2 I would like to be able to to add a little technology if I want.
3 No, this manual control idea is not for me. State-of-the-art technology and GoTo systems would be my first choice.

 

Your answers

If you answered most questions with a 1, then you are definitely a ‘Dobsonau’. You should immediately buy a Dobsonian telescope – perhaps one of the three examples detailed below?

If you’ve answered most questions with a 2, then you’d like to observe with a Dobsonian, but GoTo systems also tempt you. The Onmegon Push+ Telescope with object navigator (see below) would be the way to go.

If you answered most questions with a 3, then you’d better use a GoTo system. Here, we have a large selection.

 

Part 2

We have three Dobsonian telescopes in our program: the Omegon Advanced X Dobsonian telescope for beginners, the Omegon ProDob for intermediates and experts and the Omegon Push+ with push-to-technology.

 

Omegon Advanced X Dobsonian telescope – for getting into deep sky observing

These telescopes are a great way to start visual deep sky observing. Explore star clusters, hydrogen nebulae, planetary nebulae, and even galaxies with their spiral arms. With a 200mm lens aperture, this telescope will show you hundreds of interesting objects. If you want even more light, you can also use the Omegon Advanced X N 254/1200 or a real ‘light cannon’, the Omegon Advanced X N 304/1500. Of course, ‘excursions’ to the Moon and the planets are also possible.

If you do not want to spend a lot of money, but are looking for a great value-for-money telescope, then an Omegon Advanced X is the instrument for you.

Omegon Advanced X 203/1200

The Omegon ProDob – deluxe Dobsonian with an excellent friction system

ProDob Dobson telescopes come with a particularly good 2″ Crayford focuser and a deluxe friction system. Once an object is centred in the eyepiece, tracking is even more accurate and precise – even at very high magnifications. There is no juddering or anything (as with instruments with Teflon bearings), as when slewing the telescope it almost floats to the next object. The reason for this is a ball-bearing system in the elevation axis and roller-bearings in azimuth. And also, the friction level can be set to your needs. High magnifications are also possible with a Dobsonian.

Omegon Dobson Teleskop ProDob N 203/1200

The ProDob from Omegon comes in a range of apertures:
– ProDob N203/1200 with 8“ diameter
– ProDob N254/1200 with 10“ diameter
– ProDob N304/1500 with 12“ diameter
– ProDob N406/1850 with 16“ diameter

 

Omgeon Push+ – control a Dobsonian telescope using your smartphone

With the Omegon Push+ Dobsonian, you can travel to the planets, nebulae and galaxies in the universe whenever you wish. You do not even need to be very knowledgeable about the night sky, because the telescope guides you using a push-to-system to any object you wish to observe. All you need is an Android smartphone and the SkySafari 4.0 app.

The Omegon Push+ and Push+ Mini telescopes bridge the gap between a purely manual Dobsonian and a GoTo telescope. So to speak: ‘A bit of Goto’, so to speak – as the Push+ can still be slewed manually, as is common with Dobsonian telescopes, but also using your smartphone and built-in fine-step encoder in the telescope,

The high-resolution encoders allow the system to take you to any astronomical object you desire. Your smartphone functions as a display screen and at the same time orients you in the night sky. A crosshair shows you the position of your telescope in real time. You can decide, at any time, whether you want to use the push-to-system or prefer to control the telescope completely manually – it’s nice to have the choice!

Omegon Dobson Teleskop Push+ mini N 150/750 Pro

The Omegon Push+ is available with a 200mm (8″) OTA or as a Push+ Mini with a 150mm (6″) OTA:

Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Pro Dobsonian telescope
Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Dobsonian telescope
Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Skywatcher Dobsonian telescope

Merry Christmas

December 24 2018, Anita Maier

Once again, we stand at the door of the holiday season.  The first cold days lay behind us and we all look forward to a nice cup of hot cocoa to warm our cold hands.  Oh… and clear-sky Winter nights!  In the past few years, Astroshop has shared several bits of exciting news with stargazers at the end of each year.  At the end you will find a great holiday tip from us.

Astroshop in Dutch

The Belgian Astronomy dealer Astromarket now belongs to the Astroshop family.  With a bigger and more diverse team, we can advise Dutch and Belgian customers in their own language.  Another positive side-effect: as a current customer, you can take advantage of a larger product range, as well as a new show-room in Hasselt, not far from the German border near Aachen.

Mead Telescopes with Service from Distributor

As of August 2018, Astroshop is an official distributor of the well-known telescope brand MEADE in 15 European countries.  Our experts possess extensive knowledge of the Meade product range, meaning you get competent advise and all-around technical service from Astroshop.

 

Your Own Wide-field Photos with the MiniTrack LX2

The Omegon MiniTrack LX2 is a fully mechanical and extremely compact travel mount, with which you can capture wonderful photos of the night sky.  The magazine Sky & Telescope has awarded the MiniTrack the coveted “Hot Product 2019” award.

By the way

Many other product announcements, regular sales, and other news can be found on our blog on the Astroshop.eu website. Or just like and follow us on Facebook!

 

Tip: the Christmas Comet

Just in time for the holidays, an astronomical highlight awaits!  The Christmas Comet, as many have called it, 46P/Wirtanen will take the stage.  On the 16th of December, the comet will reach its closest distance to Earth, and for the following weeks should be visible to the naked eye and easily with a set of binoculars.  In the New Year, we have the pleasure of witnessing a Lunar Eclipse on the 21st of January.

 

We wish you all clear skies and a wonderful holiday season with family and friends.  We thank you for putting your trust in us and we look forward to being a part of a happy and astronomically successful 2019!

 

 

Broaden Your Horizons with Augmented Reality Globes

December 17 2018, Betty Lux

Columbus, one of the leading globe manufacturers, has a tradition-rich history to show for itself.  Since the 1950s, the Duo-Series has long been produced in southern Germany by hand. Yet, hand-made and tradition do not exclude innovative ideas.  Columbus remains true to that concept, even today: the new 4D Globe App for iPhone and iPad gives your Duo-Globe a completely new dimension!

As a result of technological advances, the app can display additional information on top of the globe, such as weather data or geographic details.  A completely new animation of the Earth’s inner makeup create an awe-inspiring experience.  All Duo-Globes, even older models, have the makings of augmented reality and only with a few taps of a smartphone.  Check out our selection of Duo-Globes here. . The app is free to download in the Apple Appstore.

Die Columbus 4D Globus App

Other globe-makers have also jumped on the Augmented Reality bandwagon. Oregon Scientific has a series of new (childrens’) globes on the market, which take young adventurers on at trip around the world!  Special 3D effects with animals dinosaurs and special landscapes creates an exciting tour of discovery at every turn and for the whole family. The addition of a massive amount of interesting facts about continents, countries and cultures make the globes an excellent educational tool!

Oregon Scientific Smart Globe Adventure mit Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality paired with precise 3D printing technology: the US-based company, AstroReality has combined the two, to create incredibly, detail-rich and unique relief globes.  The app allows you to explore the Martian surface, for example, with a plethora of details.  Check out for yourself what you can discover on Mars – no personal interplanetary spaceship necessary.

AstroReality Mars Classic

The many other planet models, as well as EARTH and Lunar Pro, are not just pleasing to the eye.  Every space enthusiast will not want to let go of any AstroReality globe!

ASIAIR – astrophotography has never been so easy!

December 17 2018, Elias Erdnüß

The brand ZWO is, especially thanks to its powerful and user-friendly CMOS astrocameras, a frequently heard name in amateur astronomy.

With the ASIAIR control unit, ZWO now promises to fundamentally change the astrophotography scene! It’s a compact computer (Raspberry Pi), that is secured to the telescope of the mount. The device can do everything you expect a computerised telescope system of the 21st century to do!

Mount, camera, filter wheel, and autoguider are connected with the ASIAIR. Via an app for Android or iOS, everything can be controlled centrally and wirelessly via WLAN from the smartphone or tablet. You’ll no longer need to take your laptop with you to autoguide and to use cooled astrocameras. There are also advanced functions such as plate solving at the press of a button.

 

 

ASIASI communicates with the telescope mounts via the instrument neutral distributed interface (INDI) and so is compatible with most available GoTo mounts. The only snag: The device only supports ZWO cameras, autoguiders and filter wheels.

Other manufacturers like PrimaLuceLab with the EAGLE 2 are following similar approaches to computerisation. This one may feature higher performance and a wider range of functions, but there’s also the user-friendly ASIAIR for just a fraction of the price.

Sale: ZWO ASI cameras for a special price until the end of the year!

December 14 2018, Elias Erdnüß

For Christmas, there are lots of discounts on the extremely sought-after ZWO ASI cameras. The ideal present for demanding astrophotographers! Hunt around for your dream camera!

Especially interesting: The ASI 071 MC Pro! Save €291. With a large APS-C sensor, this camera is perfect if you want to switch from a DSLR camera without have to fiddle with smaller chips.

With the ASI 1600 MM Pro you can also save 10%. If you’re looking for a highly sensitive mono-camera that is perfectly suited to the combination with L-RGB or line filter sets, you’ve found your Christmas present!

ASI 290 Mini, the perfect autoguider, is also 15% cheaper! Strike now if you want longer flash times without guiding errors.

Of course, there are also many other models in the offer. The campaign ends on 31 December 2018, so don’t miss the opportunity. Merry Christmas from ZWO!

23.02.2019
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