March 19 2020, Stefan Taube
An autoguider is a very important accessory when taking astronomy photos involving long exposure times. The autoguider is a tracking control device that ensures that the mount always keeps the telescope pointing as precisely as possible at the astronomical object desired. The autoguider images a bright star on a separate camera in order to achieve this. The autoguider then uses the apparent movement of this star to calculate the appropriate control movements for the mount.
Lacerta MGEN Version 3 stand-alone autoguider
It is possible to use a simple planetary camera, a laptop and free software from the Internet for this type of tracking control. The MGEN autoguider from Lacerta has also proven itself to be excellent. But the great advantage of using the MGEN autoguider is that you don’t even need a laptop or PC; hence the term ‘stand-alone’ autoguider. In particular, this type of stand-alone solution makes astrophotography with SLR cameras much easier, as you do not need a laptop when using this type of camera.
The MGEN autoguider also comes supplied with a matching camera and already has all the necessary software – simpler autoguiding is just not possible! Another great advantage is that the MGEN autoguider does not just use a single star for the tracking control, but several. This has the effect of increasing accuracy considerably! The following graphic comes from a test by the manufacturer and illustrates the higher precision you achieve with multi-star guiding:
Multi-star guiding also means that tracking control is less dependent on the seeing.
The new version MGEN-3 autoguider offers many other improvements:
- improved hardware allows the new, self-learning, AI multi-star guiding.
- the large colour display makes operation easier.
- the new quick-start function allows guiding to commence at the push of a button!
- polar alignment using the digital Scheiner method.
- power supply via USB (5V), only 1.2 watts.
This is, however, just a small selection. You can find the entire list of advantages on the Lacerta MGEN Version 3 stand-alone autoguider webpage.
March 2 2020, Stefan Taube
We’re extending our Winter Sale: up to 50% discount is still on offer for items in stock until 31st March 2020 – a huge selection including over 1,000 individual products from the following ranges:
The products included in this offer are immediately available for delivery! You will find the entire Winter Sale product range here.
February 5 2020, Stefan Taube
Skywatcher’s EQ8 series astronomical mounts are the most capable models from this manufacturer. They can carry telescopes and accessories weighing up to 50 kilograms! This makes EQ8 mounts particularly interesting for observatories – no matter whether garden, school or club observatories.
Skywatcher EQ8-R mount with tripod
Skywatcher has updated its EQ8 mount and now offers it in two versions: the EQ8-R and EQ8-RH mounts. The EQ8-RH version has a high-resolution Renishaw encoder on the right ascension axis. This eliminates the need for tracking control during astrophotography.
Both versions of the EQ8-R mount come supplied with the Skywatcher’s proven SynScan control.
These latest EQ8 models offer the following improvements as compared to the initial version:
- Internal cable routing prevents cable clutter and cable damage
- More connection options for accessories: 4x USB, 3x 12 volt outputs
- Optimized positioning of the drive motors for improved balance
- Improved clutches on the axes for a more secure grip
- Improved clamping screws on the prism clamp for greater comfort and greater clamping force
- Belt drive on the declination axis for smoother running
Skywatcher offers a special tripod for its EQ8 mount. The tripod also allows portable use of the mount, but does require two people for setting it up.
If you want to set up the mount on a fixed pier, you can simply order the EQ8 mount without the tripod. The tripod may also be ordered at a later date. All versions of the EQ8 mount can be found here at Astroshop.
With its EQ8-R, Skywatcher offers a modern mount for large OTAs – which the latest stage of development has made almost perfect!
January 23 2020, Stefan Taube
The high-end Regal M2 range of spotting scopes from Celestron deliver the sharpest possible images – whether in broad daylight or increasing twilight. They are ideal for bird and nature watching and long-distance viewing.
Celestron spotting scope REGAL M2 22-67×100 ED
Right now we are offering you all four models at a special price:
- REGAL M2 16-48×65 ED for just EUR 629 instead of EUR 699. You save EUR 70! The reasonably priced entry-level model for occasional bird and nature watching.
- REGAL M2 27×80 ED LER for just EUR 719 instead of EUR 799. You save EUR 80! This model has an eyepiece with especially long eye relief: ideal for sport shooting or wearers of glasses with thick lenses.
- REGAL M2 20-60×80 ED for just EUR 845 instead of EUR 939. You save EUR 94! Similar to the previous model but with a zoom eyepiece for adjustable magnification. Perfect for bird watchers.
- REGAL M2 22-67×100 ED for just EUR 1,035 instead of EUR 1,150. You save EUR 115! This model has a very fast front lens and so delivers a bright image even in twilight. This is perfect for observing wild animals.
These spotting scopes offer all the features seen on significantly more expensive models including Extra Low Dispersion (ED) glass. The magnesium alloy body reduces the weight by 14% compared to their predecessors. The focus mechanism with fine adjustment has also been improved and now works twice as fast. The Regal M2 models are waterproof and nitrogen-purged to prevent fogging. They come with a carrying case which can also be used as a standby bag.
The spotting scope can remain in its protective case while observing
You can also take photographs using the Regal M2: you simply adapt your DSLR camera for the spotting scope by using a suitable T2 ring and the T2 adapter supplied and you convert it into a telephoto lens.
The Regal M2 spotting scopes are the perfect companions for every nature lover.
January 8 2020, Stefan Taube
The SkyGuider Pro is a very light mount on which you can set up a camera with interchangeable lenses or a small telescope. This approach allows longer exposure times and so you can create fascinating wide-angle shots of the night sky.
iOptron Mount SkyGuider Pro iPolar Set
The SkyGuider Pro is now also available as a set together with the iPolar electronic polar finder, which has been built into the mount. With this accessory, you can easily and very precisely polar-align your mount.
The electronic finder has a built-in camera. This shows the position of the northern celestial pole and the location that the polar axis of the mount is pointing at, on your laptop. Simply bring the two points together by turning the adjustment screws for the azimuth and altitude axes of the mount – and you’re done!
SkyGuider Pro with iPolar
The location of the celestial north pole differs somewhat from the location of the Pole Star. The electronics calculate the exact position using the date and time. Thanks to the sensitivity of the camera and the large field of view, this so-called polar alignment is successful even when the mount has been only roughly positioned. This also works in the southern hemisphere and even takes into account atmospheric refraction at low latitudes!
If want to do without iPolar, you can of course still purchase the SkyGuider Pro mount without the electronic polar finder here.
December 17 2019, Stefan Taube
The 50th anniversary of the Moon landing: to celebrate the Apollo anniversary TeleVue is offering the special Apollo 11 eyepiece. Only 300 of these eyepieces have been produced. So order yours now!
TeleVue Eyepiece Apollo 11mm 1.25″
For the young engineer Al Nagler, NASA’s Apollo program was the beginning of a glittering career as an optical designer. As an employee of the Farrand Optical Company, he had the task of developing an optical system for the Lunar Module simulator. In this simulator, Neil Armstrong and his colleagues rehearsed the approach and landing on the lunar surface.
As part of this activity, Al Nagler developed the design of the Nagler eyepiece which is still popular to this day. After the simulator had been developed, Al Nagler founded the company TeleVue, which still develops and manufactures the best eyepieces on the market. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Moon landing, TeleVue is now offering this special limited edition eyepiece!
Also included: Apollo 11 commemorative coin
The eyepiece is delivered in a very elegant gift box, with a personal message from Al Nagler and an Apollo 11 commemorative coin. Like the eyepiece, the coin is limited and carries a serial number (numbers 004 to 303).
Al Nagler and Astroshop employees at the ATT astronomy fair in 2012
We at Astroshop are especially pleased to be able to present this special eyepiece to you, since we have a long-standing friendship with TeleVue and Al Nagler!
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.