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Stefan Taube

Stefan Taube

Posts composed by Stefan Taube

Sky Quality Map of Europe: Where can dark night skies still be found?

August 9 2022, Stefan Taube

Following the success of the Sky Quality Map of Germany, Oculum Verlag has produced another pull-out map showing light pollution. The Sky Quality Map of Europe is a comprehensive source of information for anyone looking for dark skies in Europe.

Sky Quality Map

Additionally, the map can play an integral role in the public relations activities of observatories and also contribute towards the conservation of nature as light pollution is not only annoying for astronomers, but it is also a significant cause of insect death.

Satellite images were used to generate data which renowned Italian researchers Fabio Falchi and Riccardo Furgoni then processed.

This data was carefully calculated, taking numerous factors into account, to enable them to reach reliable scientific conclusions about artificial light in the night sky.

Sky Quality Map

A high-quality travel map was used as a cartographic basemap. Even small towns, bodies of water, train tracks, streets and attractions are listed on the map. This means the map can be used for planning as well as for navigation.

New: Dobsonian telescopes from Celestron with StarSense technology

July 25 2022, Stefan Taube

With the StarSense Explorer series of telescopes from Celestron, it’s very easy to find objects in the night sky. All you need to do is install a free app and insert your smartphone into the special dock on the telescope.

Celestron combines classic Dobsonian telescopes with this new technology – a combination of proven and new technologies.

There are two models to choose from:

Both telescopes are complete systems with all the accessories you’ll need.

Celestron Dobson-Teleskop StarSense-Explorer

Celestron StarSense Explorer Dobsonian telescope

Unlike other PushTo technologies, no encoders are used. The StarSense app uses the smartphone’s camera to capture the current visible star field and compare it to an internal database. In this way, the app knows where the telescope is pointing, and can guide the observer to the desired object with arrows on the smartphone display.

Of course, the app also offers plenty of information about the celestial objects, together with suggestions for your observing night.

StarSense-Explorer-Technologie

StarSense Explorer technology

StarSense Explorer telescopes can also be used without the app, for example for a view of the Moon or another easily identifiable celestial object. For this purpose, a red dot finder is included.

Dobsonian telescopes are among the most popular entry-level telescopes. But they are also greatly valued by experienced astronomers for exploring the night sky without a camera. These telescopes’ minimalism makes them relatively inexpensive and are suitable both for beginners and advanced observers looking for an uncomplicated nature adventure. The StarSense Explorer series of Dobsonian telescopes combines this minimalism with a modern aid for navigating the night sky.

Dobson-Teleskope sind leicht zu transportieren und aufzubauen.

Dobsonian telescopes are easy to transport and assemble.

Affordable H-alpha solar telescopes from Lunt Solar Systems

June 29 2022, Stefan Taube

The most impressive way to observe the Sun is in H-alpha light. This is red light with a wavelength of 656 nanometres. With a normal solar filter, you will only be able to observe sunspots, whereas with H-alpha telescopes, prominences at the Sun’s edge become visible. Filaments, solar flares and much more can be seen on the solar surface. It is only in H-alpha light that are you able to appreciate the Sun’s dynamics.

Chromosphaere

The Sun in H-alpha light, photographed with the LS40T Ha solar telescope

Unfortunately, H-alpha filter systems often cost several thousand euro. However, the new LS40T Ha telescopes from Lunt Solar Systems make observing the Sun’s red chromosphere much more affordable: solar observation is accessible to everyone!

Lunt Solar Systems Sonnenteleskop ST 40/400 LS40T Ha B600

Lunt Solar Systems ST 40/400 LS40T Ha B600 solar telescope

LS40T Ha telescopes are available in three versions:

The difference between the versions lies in the size of the blocking filter. This filter element is located in the rear erecting lens, which looks like a star diagonal.

All blocking filters are suitable for visually observing the Sun. However, a larger filter is more suitable for photography, as it allows the exposure of a larger camera sensor. The B600 blocking filter is a very good compromise if you want to observe visually as well as photograph with an planetary camera.

The telescopes are supplied with a helical focuser, a Vixen standard prism rail, and a threaded connection for camera tripods. The practical solar finder helps to align the telescope.

An optional carrying case is also available, which makes use of the foam inserts in the original packaging. When you get your telescope, don’t throw away these inserts, instead use them to line the case. In this way, you replace the cardboard outer packaging with a beautiful and stable aluminium case.

Another important recommendation is the very practical sun hat from Lunt Solar Systems – not just for solar observing.

Kühler Kopf für Sonnenbeobachter

Cool head for solar observers

Dobsonian telescopes with special Bresser enhancements

June 28 2022, Stefan Taube

52181_1

Messier-series telescope with add-on sun filter

Bresser’s Messier-series Dobsonian telescopes  stand out from the crowd due to their features, which cannot be found on other brands of comparable telescopes:

  • The telescope tube is held in place using tube clamps. This means the tube can be rotated along its axis to find the perfect eyepiece position. It can be optimally balanced by adjusting the tube within the tube clamps. You can also fully demount the tube and use it with an equatorial mount, for example.
  • The altitude bearings have a comparatively large radius. This facilitates finer adjustments along the vertical axis. Many Dobsonian telescopes in this price range do not have proper altitude bearings!

    52181_3

    The altitude bearings with tube clamps glide along the rockerbox.

  • The so-called rockerbox, upon which the telescope is placed and which enables rotation in azimuth, is fitted with quick-release fasteners on the Messier Dobsonians, the kind you are familiar with from furniture. This enables the box to be quickly and simply assembled. In this way, the box can be disassembled again and again.
  • The Hexafoc focuser is superior to focusers on comparable telescopes by other manufacturers.
52181_2

The large Hexafoc focuser does not cast a shadow on wide-angle eyepieces.

  • A compatible solar filter is supplied with the product. As the tube is closed, no sunlight can enter the telescope from the side. This makes it possible to safely view the Sun.

In addition to these features, you also receive a Messier Dobsonian with high-quality optics and a parabolic mirror which is fully adjustable. This makes it possible to start a lasting relationship with the night sky. The Messier Dobsonians are available in two sizes. You can find both models here in our shop.

52181_5

The optics are fully adjustable.

Note: These telescopes are named after Charles Messier (1730-1817), whose “Catalogue of Nebular Objects” contains a number of celestial objects which you can observe using these telescopes. A modern guide to Charles Messier’s objects can be found in Cambridge University Press’ book The Messier Objects.

New from Celestron: dew protection

June 20 2022, Stefan Taube

The brand Celestron is known for its high-quality Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. These compact telescopes have a special glass plate on the front end which is exposed to the air and, therefore, is relatively susceptible to dewing up.

Celestron now offers a newly-developed range of accessories to solve this problem:

Smart_DewHeater_and_Power_Controller_4X_10

Complete system consisting of a dew cap, heating ring and controls

Aluminium dew cap with practical clip to secure to the telescope tube

These sturdy caps have an internal velvet surround to protect against pesky scattered light as well as dew. As every cap comes with a compatible dust cap, they can also stay on the telescope tube once you have finished observing for the night. This is a big advantage for observatory telescopes.

The dew caps are available in all Celestron SC telescope sizes. You can find the entire range here in our shop.

Heating rings for installation on the Schmidt plate

This new solution to the issue of dew is especially innovative. With just a few flicks of the wrist, you can separate the holding ring from the plate and replace it with a new ring with integrated heating. Thanks to the integrated sensor, the temperature of the Schmidt plate is kept just below the dew point and, therefore, remains dry.

If you are purchasing a new Celestron telescope, we can complete the installation for you prior to despatch. You can find all models here in the shop.

Dew cap smart controls

A set of controls is required to supply power to the heating ring. This not only provides the required energy, but also keeps the heating element’s other sensors operating optimally. This saves energy and prevents the heating creating negative optical effects. You only heat as much as you need to!

Both the 2x dew cap smart controls and the 4x dew cap smart controls can also control heating elements produced by other manufacturers. Additionally, they function as a hub for additional accessories. This prevents there being a tangle of cables and allows your set-up to be powered and controlled by one device and one software.

Smart_DewHeater_and_Power_Controller_4X_12

You do not require an additional laptop or PC

All of Celestron’s dew prevention options can be found here in our shop.

The new Herschel wedge from APM for solar observation

May 12 2022, Stefan Taube

A Herschel wedge, also known as a Herschel prism, is a special device for observing the Sun. It has many advantages over an objective filter, but can only be used with lens telescopes (refractors).

The manufacturer APM offers a new model with excellent features at a reasonable price: the APM Herschel wedge 2″ with Fast-Lock.

Herschelkeil APM

This Herschel wedge from APM is equipped with a ceramic light trap, an integrated ND3 filter and a replaceable polarising filter. All filters are of course multi-coated! Image brightness can be adjusted by rotating the polarising filter. This means that the Herschel wedge can be used for both visual and photographic purposes!

The APM Herschel wedge is equipped with a quick release (Fast-Lock) eyepiece adapter and an adapter for 1.25″ eyepieces and camera connectors.

Herschelkeil

Using a Herschel prism for solar observing is not only safer, but also qualitatively better than a foil filter. The resulting image is sharp and rich in contrast and can therefore be enlarged to a higher degree.

The Herschel wedge can only be used on refractors with an aperture of up to 150mm.

The new apos from Skywatcher: Evolux 62ED and Evolux 82ED

May 5 2022, Stefan Taube

The trend towards astrophotography with small but high-quality refractors is continuing. These lightweight apos do not need an expensive mount, are easy to transport and provide fantastic images of wide areas of the night sky.

With the new Evolux series, Skywatcher offers two new models in this segment:

AP 62/400

Compact and proficient: the Skywatcher Apochromatic Refractor AP 62/400 Evolux 62ED

Evolux telescopes are perfect wide-field instruments and are therefore ideal for observing and photographing large areas of the night sky. The doublet lens consists of a combination of optical glass, including a low-dispersion ED glass element, which provides sharp images of stars with high contrast and no visible chromatic aberration.

All lens elements are coated with Skywatcher’s sophisticated metallic high-transmission coating (MHTC™), one of the highest quality multilayer coatings in its class, which allows up to 99.5% light transmission.

Evolux telescopes are supplied in a foam-lined aluminium case and are equipped with a 2.4″ dual-speed rack and pinion focuser, together with a tube clamp with a Vixen-style prism rail. The dew shield can be retracted for easy transportation.

The appropriate field flattener should be used for photography: Flattener 0.9x Evolux-62ED and Flattener 0.9x Evolux-82ED. These optical aids ensure sharp star images even at the edges of the field of view and reduce the focal length, so that the Evolux becomes a fast and corrected telescope for astrophotography.

Explore Scientific Series 82° eyepieces

March 22 2022, Stefan Taube

Eyepieces from the Explore Scientific:  82° Series offer a large 82° visual field with a good view and exceptional manufacturing quality. They are waterproof and filled with argon gas. This prevents dust infiltration and internal lens fogging, as well as guaranteeing a high level of reliability. An excellent long-term investment!

82-grad-auswahl

We offer all models in this series with the following focal lengths and barrel diameters:

A major advantage of these eyepieces is the exceptionally high image definition, which is clearly noticeable even when observing planets and the Moon.

Further advantages of the 82° Series:

  • Large pupillary distance for comfortable viewing, even for spectacles wearers!
  • High edge definition even on fast telescopes
  • Patented EMD tempering for maximum contrast
  • Carefully blackened lens edges to avoid reflections
  • Eyepieces from this series are parfocal
  • Stainless steel barrel with conical safety groove
  • Dust cap and carry bag included

All Series 82° eyepieces can be found here in our shop.

New version: the Polarie U star tracker mount from Vixen

October 28 2021, Stefan Taube

A few years ago, the Japanese manufacturer Vixen launched the Polarie, the first tracking unit for cameras that can fit in every photographer’s bag. The tracking device, also called a star tracker, compensates for the celestial rotation. With it, a camera remains aligned with a section of the night sky for many minutes, and can gather light from faint stars, the Milky Way and cosmic nebulae.

Vixen now offers a new version of its successful star tracker mount, the Polarie U Star Tracker.

Fotomontierung Vixen

Polarie U star tracker mount with camera and optional ball head

Compared to the classic Polarie, the new Polarie U is significantly lighter whilst at the same time having a higher load-bearing capacity. The distance between the two bearings supporting the rotating shaft is approximately four times that of its predecessor. This has led to a higher load-bearing capacity despite a 20% weight reduction. It can carry 2.5kg for wide-field astrophotography using lenses with a short focal length. The optional mounting accessories comprising a prism rail and counterweight can be used to increase the load capacity to 6.5kg, so that the star tracker mount can also carry cameras with large lenses.

In addition, the  Polarie U creates its own WLAN. You can connect your smartphone to the mount and control it using a free app. With a suitable cable release from the Polarie U accessory selection, you can also control the camera itself via the app, for example to set a series of exposures. This is not only convenient, but also very useful thanks to the hands-free operation.

The Polarie U can of course also be converted for use in the southern hemisphere. The lightweight mount is therefore ideal for your next expedition south of the equator.

POLARIE U Star Tracker Astrofoto-Montierung

Baader SunDancer II for observation and solar photography

October 7 2021, Stefan Taube

The Baader SunDancer II sun filter transforms smaller refractors quickly and simply into telescopes for solar observation using H-alpha spectral lines. In this wavelength, you can see the Sun’s chromosphere with dark filaments, bright radiation bursts and spectacular solar prominences!

Baader Sonnenfilter SunDancer II H-alpha 2"/1,25"

Baader SunDancer II H-alpha 2″/1.25″ solar filter

Simply position the SunDancer II between the diagonal mirror and the eyepiece and connect it to a power source. The filter is then automatically brought to the optimal operating temperature so that no adjustments are required during longer observations.

The SunDancer II can be safely used on refracting telescopes with apertures up to 80 millimetres. An additional energy rejection filter is only required in front of the telescope for objective apertures upwards of 80 millimetres; alternatively, the telescope can be dimmed using an optional 80mm screen in front of the lens.

Telescopes with secondary mirrors, such as Newtonian, Maksutov or SCTs, always require an additional energy rejection filter, regardless of their size.

The complete solar disc can be seen in telescopes with apertures of up to 600mm.

The T2 thread beneath the eyepiece clamp facilitates easy adaptation for larger cameras:

SunDancer II mit DSLR-Kamera

SunDancer II with DSLR camera

A power supply unit is included. For mobile observation, a  powerbank can also be used.

You can find further information on this particularly high-quality H-alpha filter for the eyepiece side here in our shop.

13.08.2022
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