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
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.
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-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.
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
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.
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.
June 26 2019, Stefan Taube
You can rely on PlaneWave Instruments’ professional CPWI software if you want to control your Celestron telescope via a laptop or PC.
This software is not only intuitive to use, but also lets you maximise the GoTo accuracy of your Celestron mount.
CPWI Telescope Control software is now compatible with all modern Celestron mounts, including:
You can download the software for free here on celestron.com!
PlaneWave Instruments Telescope Control panel
Some special features of CPWI software include:
- The built-in SkyViewer star chart is intuitive to use and allows you to easily navigate through the night sky by clicking and zooming.
- Advanced PointXP lets you create a highly accurate model of the night sky which uses more than 100 reference points to enable highly accurate positioning and tracking.
- Ideal for observatories: You can carry out alignment directly from the PC, save the alignment model and simply upload it again the next night you observe. Alignment can also be done entirely automatically using the optional StarSense module.
- Extensive internal database. Access to the SIMBAD professional astronomy database possible via the Internet.
- Worm screw periodic error compensation: PEC can be done from the PC via CPWI.
System requirements: Windows 7, 8 or 10 operating system, with USB 2.0 or 3.0 connection, 15MB hard disk space and 64MB RAM. Screen resolution of 1024×768 or higher is recommended.
June 17 2019, Stefan Taube
Diamonds really are astronomers’ best friends – at least since the Baader Diamond Steeltrack focuser has been available. It uses real diamonds in its drive system!
In contrast to conventional Crayford or rack-and-pinion focusers, the Diamond Steeltrack’s micronized drive system guarantees entirely backlash-free operation, is completely non-slip and torsion-free – and has a vertical load capacity of 6 kilograms!
Diamond Steeltrack focuser on a Celestron EdgeHD telescope
There are Diamond Steeltrack focusers available for Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, Newtonian telescopes and refractors.
The Steeldrive II motorized focuser drive with hand-held controller is now available:
Baader Steeldrive II motorized focuser drive with control unit
The Steeldrive II motorized focuser drive permits automated focusing of a telescope via computer, as well as precise and vibration-free focusing using the buttons on the hand-held controller.
A good focuser considerably enhances observing pleasure and is essential for high-end astrophotography. The Steeltrack focuser is currently the best possible solution available!
May 21 2019, Stefan Taube
We are pleased to offer the roll-off roof observatory GreenLine from DomeParts GmbH – now available at a great price. You can now realise your dream of having your own very own garden observatory. It’s also perfect for astronomy clubs.
The Greenline roll-off roof observatory is available in three sizes:
The larger size GreenLine Plus is perfect for astronomical organisations.
A GreenLine observatory in the exhibition area of the astronomy fair AME.
The advantages of a roll-off roof observatory compared to a classic dome observatory are clear:
- The observatory looks like a typical garden shed and so blends in perfectly in any domestic setting. The wooden GreenLine is not only well-designed, but looks great too.
- The roof can be fully retracted giving you an unobstructed view of the sky in every direction.
- The inside of the cabin adjusts quickly to the ambient temperature, eliminating turbulent air currents which can often arise with a dome opening.
GreenLine observatory with an Omegon RC on an iOptron CEM60 mount.
The open roof of the roll-off roof observatory offers plenty of room to manoeuvre even for a large-aperture telescope. Here in the picture the GreenLine observatory is equipped with an Omegon RC Truss telescope on an iOptron CEM60 mount.
The delivery time for a GreenLine roll-off roof observatory is around one month. You can put the observatory together yourself or let our construction team build it for you. Get in touch with us: We’re happy to give you advice and provide you with a quote.
April 4 2019, Stefan Taube
CEM series mounts from iOptron are already widely used in the US and are becoming increasingly well known in Europe too. The CEM25P mount for portable astrophotography with Newtonian telescopes of up to 6 inches aperture and the CEM60 mount for use in observatories have proved particularly popular.
With their new CEM40 and CEM40-EC with encoders, iOptron now provides a middle range mount capable of carrying loads of up to 18 kilograms. The CEM40 is hence ideally suited for astrophotography with telescopes of up to 8 inches (200 millimetres) in aperture.
The CEM40 is the latest addition to iOptron’s CEM series
The abbreviation CEM stands for centre-balance equatorial mount, i.e. for equatorial mounts which are supported at their centre of gravity. This design ensures an excellent relation between weight and carrying capacity. The CEM40 weighs only 7 kilograms and yet can carry OTAs up to 2.5 times heavier. The amazing carrying capacity of CEM mounts has been constantly reaffirmed by our customers – especially regarding the CEM25P.
The CEM40 comes equipped with an electronic pole finder, known as ‘iPolar’. A laptop is required to operate this however, so the CEM40 is particularly suitable for astrophotographers who already use a laptop for their camera. iPolar and built-in GPS provide easy and accurate alignment and GoTo computer control initialization.
The encoders installed in the CEM40-EC version ensure very high GoTo accuracy and allow worm gear permanent periodic error correction – a problem that all mounts suffer from. The CEM40-EC does away with the need for guiding with your astrophotography.
The CEM family now covers a wide range of load carrying capacities, offering a suitable model for every budget!
March 25 2019, Stefan Taube
Luminescent emission nebulae, supernova remnants and planetary nebulae are all particularly beautiful objects pertaining to the night sky. This applies both to the simple process of visual observation, as well as to astrophotography. Nature illuminates such nebulae in specific spectral colours: the red light of hydrogen, the blue-green light of oxygen ions and also in the colours of sulphur and nitrogen ions. Nebula filters enable these colours to pass through whilst blocking the diffused light of the natural luminance of the sky and of light pollution. The result is a marked increase in contrast.
With the Nebula Booster NB1, the filter specialists IDAS are introducing a new, very high-performing filter of this type onto the market, and one that is not overly expensive! As the transmission curve shows, the filter has high transmission and is permeable for all relevant spectral lines, with a surprisingly narrow passband: A real nebula intensifier!
Transmission curve IDAS NB1
The filter is ideal for photographing large nebula regions since it enables the typical colours of these objects to pass and blocks the disruptive skyglow. The filter quickly and completely cuts off near infrared up to 1100 nanometres. This is important since cameras are sensitive to this range, but telescopic lenses are optimised for the visible spectral range and are faulty in the infrared range.
IDAS Nebula Booster NB1
The Nebula Booster NB1 is available with two versions which cover both of the common filter thread sizes and can be screw-fitted to the housings of eyepieces or cameras.
February 26 2019, Stefan Taube
When it comes to astrophotography, the right focus is the most important thing. Even the best optics only deliver sharp images if the focus is spot on. A motorized focus has two advantages over manual focusing: it is vibration-free and very precise. If you remotely control your telescope via your PC, you definitely need motorization.
For the very popular SC telescopes of the Celestron brand, numerous solutions from different suppliers have been available. Celestron now offers its own model, the focus motor for SC and EdgeHD optics.
Celestron focus motor for SC and EdgeHD optics.
The motor fits all SC, EdgeHD and RASA optics, as well as the two new Maksutovs with CGEM-II and CGX mounts. Exceptions are optics built before 2006 and the 9.25″ EdgeHD. An additional adapter is required for the RASA 1100, as the RASA 1100 is already supplied with a FeatherTouch micro-focus. The adapter requires you to dismantle the focuser partially to fit the motor.
If you are using a Celestron mount, power is simply supplied via the mount’s AUX port. A cable for this is included in the scope of delivery. If all AUX ports on your mount are already occupied, simply use the Celestron Aux Port Splitter.
The motor can be controlled in three ways:
- With the NexStar+ controller: Simply press the MENU button, select Focuser and you can use the two arrow keys to control the motor and adjust its speed. Version 5.30+ of the installed firmware is required. You can update your Nexstar control via the Internet at any time. The controller is not only suitable for visual observation, but also for astrophotography with a DSLR, i.e. without a laptop.
- With a laptop or PC: If you operate your telescope remotely or have connected an astrophotography camera, it is best to use the free program Celestron Focuser Utility for Windows. For this purpose, you need to connect the NexStar hand controller to the computer via USB, not the focus motor itself. The new CGX and CGX-L mounts can be controlled with the Celestron PWI software. The focuser can also be addressed via this program. The CGX and CGX-L mounts can be connected directly to the laptop or PC via USB without manual control.
- Without a Celestron mount: If you have a Celestron optic mounted on another brand’s mount, you can control the focus motor via the USB port. The USB port should supply 900mA. As an alternative to the USB power supply, you can also operate the focus motor via main power or a Powertank. However, a power supply unit or power cable is not included in the scope of delivery.
The Celestron focus motor for SC and EdgeHD optics is a really useful accessory that is easy to adapt and operate.
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 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!