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Stefan Taube

Stefan Taube

Posts composed by Stefan Taube

Blog Archives

PlaneWave Instruments software for computer control of Celestron 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!

 

Celestron CPWI

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.

New: Diamond Steeltrack focuser with Steeldrive from Baader

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!

Okularauszug Diamond Steeltrack an einem Celestron EdgeHD

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 Fokussiermotor Steeldrive II mit Steuerung

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!

 

Now available: the GreenLine roll-off roof observatory from DomeParts!

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.

DomeParts GreenLine

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.
DomeParts GreenLine Omegon

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.

iOptron mounts: A new addition to the CEM family

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.

iOptron CEM40

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!

New: NB1 nebula filter from IDAS

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

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.

New focus motor for Celestron telescopes (1 Comment)

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 Fokussiermotor für SC- und EdgeHD-Optiken

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.

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!

 

Now Available: New Meade Telescopes of the Series LX65 and LX85

December 6 2018, Stefan Taube

The almighty has crossed the pond: the brand-new Meade telescopes of the Series LX65 and LX85.

Meade LX65 Maksutov

Meade LX65 Maksutov

The Meade Maksutov Telescope MC 127/1900 UHTC LX65 GoTo is immediately available and thanks to its high focal length is excellent for lunar and planetary observations.  The optics capture enough light, that even far-off objects show details, such as star clusters.

As with every LX65, this telescope features an azimuthal single-arm mount, which is light, easy to disassemble and even has an integrated battery compartment.  The AudioStar Handheld Controller makes it a breeze for beginners to find their way around the sky, while the database features more than 30,000 objects.  Conclusion: An excellent telescope for beginners or planet specialists, who are looking for a transportable telescope.

The LX85 Series has just arrived with several models.  These telescopes are delivered with the new LX85 mount.  As compared to the LX65, the LX85 series features a parallactic mount.  This sort of build features an axel which is parallel to the Earth’s axis, a trick which prevents the celestial objects from drifting in the telescope.  Such a feature is extremely important for longer exposures in Astrophotography.  The LX85 is an inexpensive mid-sized mount, which also has an AudioStar controller.

Meade-LX85-150mm

Meade LX85 Newton

The Meade Teleskop N 150/750 LX85 GoTo is available now.  Equipped with a Newton-style telescope with a 150 mm diameter, it features a parabolic mirror with 750 mm focal length.  The combination of 150/750 is very popular and can be found in nearly every telescope brand.  The mirror is big enough to be able to observe faint galaxies under a dark sky.  The quick focal ratio of f/5 makes it great for photography.

The LX85 is also available as a Newton Telescope with 200mm Mirror. For purely visual observations, it is a great choice, while a 150 mm Newton telescope would be less ideal for astrophotography, since stability is so important in taking photos.

For friends of lens-based telescopes, we offer Achromats, namely the Meade Telescope AC 120/700 LX85 GoTo and the Astrograph AP 70/350 Series 6000 LX85 GoTo. Last but not least, we also offer something special for astrophotography, which is also available without a mount: Meade AP 70/350 Series 6000 Astrograph OTA.

Meade-APO-Sky

The New Astrograph from Meade

This very interesting set-up for astrophotographers even received the Hot Product 2018 Award from Sky & Telescope!

Since we are on the subject of photography, we would like to share two camera tips from Meade: Have a look at version 4 of the legendary Deep Sky Imager.  The cooled cameras can be used universally.  The price-worthy LPI-G Cameras meanwhile are real planetary specials and perfect for beginners.

 

Meade-LPI-G-Blog

LPI-G Camera on a Meade Apo

The LPI-G-Kameras can also arrive just in time for the holidays!

New: Celestron Powertank Lithium Pro

November 29 2018, Stefan Taube

 The Celestron Lithium Powertank has quickly proven itself and is already used as a power supply for countless astronomical telescopes. Celestron has now also packed two LiFePO4 elements into one battery to give twice the power with its Lithium Pro Powertank!

Celestron Lithium Pro 1

Some special features:

  • Up to 17 hours of power for your telescope!
  • Multiple devices can be powered simultaneously.
  • Socket for vehicle power plug (cigarette lighter cable). This cable is included with most telescopic mounts as an accessory.
  • High shelf life – unlike other power tanks, this battery does not need to be used regularly in order to maintain its performance.
  • Long operating life – up to 2,000 charging cycles, which only take about 3 hours.

Like its little brother, the larger Powertank also employs Celestron’s well thought-out design – it can be attached to the tripod with the loop and Velcro fastener provided. The torch has a red light function and the lid with the connections can be closed to protect against dust and moisture.

Celestron Lithium Pro 3

Thanks to its cigarette lighter connection, the Lithium Pro Powertank can be used with almost any mount. A powerful portable power supply such as this is highly recommended for slightly larger mounts, such as the Celestron CGX or the Skywatcher EQ6-R.

Celestron Lithium Pro 2

LPI-G: Planetary cameras and autoguiders from Meade

November 27 2018, Stefan Taube

 The abbreviation LPI-G stands for Lunar and Planetary Imager & Guider. These cameras from Meade are ideal for astrophotography involving the Sun, Moon and planets. Even small telescopes can safely carry these lightweight cameras. They plug into the telescope like an eyepiece and are connected to the laptop via USB.

Meade-LPI-G-LifeStyle1

Delivery includes Meade SkyCapture software – this allows intuitive operation and use of other programs via the ASCOM interface. The ST-4 socket means the cameras can also be used perfectly well as auto-guiders – that is, for the tracking control of your mount.

The standard version of the LPI-G series has a 1.2 megapixel sensor. The LPI-G Advanced camera offers a wider dynamic range, a 6.3 MP sensor and a high 59 fps frame rate. It has a USB 3.0 port to allow it to handle this data stream,.

The reasonably priced standard version is eminently suitable for beginners who would like to first get some experience. The Advanced model goes way beyond this and allows an intensive experience with planetary astrophotography to develop over many years.

Both versions are available as black-and-white or colour cameras. The black-and-white cameras have the advantage of higher sensitivity and resolution. The cost of colour imaging is higher as you will also need the appropriate colour filters and a filter wheel.

All the models available in the LPI-G series can be found here in the Astroshop.

27.05.2020
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