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Elias Erdnüß

Elias Erdnüß

Posts composed by Elias Erdnüß

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!

AstroReality: Moon- and planetary models with interactive 3D App

June 22 2018, Elias Erdnüß

The young company, AstroReality, from San Francisco, is bringing the solar system to your living room. The innovative developments in the fields of 3D printing and augmented reality have been brought together to form unique products. Models of heavenly bodies in our solar system  made with great attention to detail are now available. Each reproduction shows the unmistakable character and features of each one. The most impressive is the model of the Moon, LUNAR Pro. Based on data from the NASA, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a highly detailed relief surface of the Moon was created. Craters, mountains and seas can be touched, and the realistically coloured surface gives you the feeling that you are holding the Moon in your hands.

The models are not just great to look at, and make excellent decorative objects, they also invite users on an interactive journey of discovery. The AstroReality app (currently only available in English) recognises the models via your smartphone’s camera and embeds them into a simulated 3D space environment. Details are then added to these heavenly bodies (e.g. the rings of Saturn or Earth’s atmosphere), from which you will learn valuable knowledge about the planets. With the highly detailed model of the Moon, the LUNAR Pro, there is additional information about specific features of the surface, and it’s even possible to simulate interactive Moon missions.

The models of all the planets and of Pluto are available in a set with a diameter of 3 cm. To go with them, there is also a LUNAR mini model of the same size. The 12-cm LUNAR Pro globe (with a surface 16 times bigger than the mini model) represents the Moon with much greater detail.

In addition to the heavenly bodies, AstroReality also offers a LUNAR AR notebook. With a relief surface of the Moon and a 3D model of our satellite that can be retrieved via the app, it’s the right notebook for astronomy enthusiasts and night owls.

The AstroReality products also make great presents for members of the family and friends who are fascinated by space.

New, high-performance astrophotography computer, the EAGLE series

April 10 2018, Elias Erdnüß

With the brand-new models, EAGLE 2 and EAGLE 2 Pro, as well as with the upgraded EAGLE CORE, the innovative Italian company, PrimaLuceLab, is taking astrophotography into the 21st century.


Many astrophotographers use a laptop: to control the wide range of camera equipment, autoguiders and filter wheels and to save the shots you take, a portable computer is essential. All devices must be connected separately to the battery and be connected to each other properly. It takes times and you end up with cables all over the place. When using heater bands, you need ever more controls, and this creates even more cable chaos. This hardly bothers those who have their own small observatory: All the equipment can remain permanently and perfectly set up with ideal cable routes and cable ties, and everything is controlled via a PC that is installed in the observatory.

EAGLE 2 makes this comfort also available to astrophotographers without an observatory! The EAGLE 2 computers are full, high-performance Windows 10 computers on which you can install any software, just like a PC. Using USB connectors, cameras, mounts and autoguiders can be connected to the EAGLE 2, and it also features 12V outputs to supply the power for mounts, camera cooling systems and heating bands. The power supply of all the equipment operates like that via EAGLE 2 and can be set and controlled. A compact battery with just one single 12V direct current output is now all that’s needed! The EAGLE 2 is not just another device that takes up extra time every night to set up and for all the cables to be connected. It has many mechanical connection possibilities so it can be permanently connected to your equipment. The idea is to set up the optimum mechanical connection and perfect cabling once, and then carry it as a whole without stumbling or getting tangled up.

The greatest highlight of the entire system is, however, the Wifi capability of the EAGLE 2. From any terminal you want, whether it be your smartphone, tablet and even a Mac, you can control the EAGLE 2 remotely and wirelessly. On the terminal, you’ll see the familiar Windows 10 interface of the EAGLE 2 and can use it like any normal PC.

The pro version of the EAGLE 2 computer is fitted with more working memory, a more powerful processor and a larger hard drive. It is perfectly suited to more CPU-intensive image processing or other advanced application that go beyond simple telescope and camera control. The inexpensive small brother is the EAGLE CORE. There’s no Windows 10 running on this; instead, it has special software for controlling DSLR cameras and autoguiding equipment. So, the EAGLE CORE is the right choice for DSLR astrophotographers who want to use an autoguider without having to take an extra laptop with them.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a new laptop for astrophotography for a while, you really ought to consider the EAGLE 2 computer as an alternative. A permanently installed solution, no messy cables, no problems with power supply and comfortable wireless remote control all speak for themselves!

The new Atik Horizon is finally available!

March 20 2018, Elias Erdnüß

The new highly promising astronomy camera Horizon by Atik will be available very soon. This actively-cooled CMOS camera – available as a colour and mono version – comes with Infinity Live Stacking software, offering an easy introduction to astrophotography. At the same time, this high-performance camera has all the functions that experienced amateur astronomers could wish for. If you would like to take the bold step of taking up the fascinating hobby of astrophotography, with this camera, you have a product that will offer features that go way beyond beginner level.

The 16-megapixel CMOS MN34230 sensor by Panasonic is used. With an active chip diagonal of 22 mm, the sensor surface area is comparable with that of the popular APS-C format on SRL cameras. This large sensor, with a much high pixel density, is a great benefit compared with the well-loved Atik Infinity that comes under the same price category. The extremely low noise level of modern CMOS chips in conjunction with active cooling make the Horizon ideal for deep-sky photography.

If you have already gained experience in astrophotography with an SRL camera , the Atik Horizon is perfect for the leap to a specialist camera. The active cooling reduces not only sensor noise dramatically, it means that a stable sensor temperature can be obtained. You no longer have to shorten the valuable observation time just to take a few dark frames for image calibration. Thanks to the cooling, you can maintain the same sensor temperature throughout the day, thus collecting valuable dark frames for hours on end.

This camera is, however, not suitable for planet shots – for example, with a lucky imaging process – because you can only take around one image per second. If you are looking for a high-quality planet camera with which you can take lots of images per second, you need look no further than the models by ToupTek or The Imaging Source.

The company, Atik Cameras Limited, has made a name for itself in recent years with its high-quality CCD astronomy cameras. With this first step to rapidly improving CMOS sensor technology, a camera is being offered that should be considered by both beginners and professionals.

The Imaging Source presents new astro cameras: The Signature Series.

March 2 2018, Elias Erdnüß

We are now introducing the new Signature Series by the camera manufacturer, The Imaging Source. For over 20 years, this company has been making professional cameras, mainly for industrial applications. The company’s products are, however, readily used in medical and scientific fields. The cameras meet above-average quality standards.

In 2007, The Imaging Source designed a series of cameras specifically for astronomy applications for the first time. The manufacturer quickly became well-known and popular among amateur astronomers and astro-photographers because the cameras it produced were of excellent quality while being affordable.

In recent years, the brand became quiet in the field of astronomy. Other manufacturers came to the fore and every year new products, due to the rapid and continuous improvement in the digital camera technologies, put older models in the shade. The Imaging Source continued to diligently make astro cameras: The well-known NexImage and Skyris models of the Celestron brand are being made by way of a collaboration between these two companies.

Now, The Imaging Source is, however, finally presenting its own series of astro cameras once more! The Signature Series features outstanding robustness, which is not surprising from a manufacturer that regularly has to meet the high standards of industrial customers. The series is also equipped with state-of-the-art CMOS sensor technology. The old wisdom that you can only use CCD sensors for astronomy has not held for a long time: CMOS sensors now feature low noise and very high sensitivity, so that leading manufacturers are no longer producing CCD chips any more. In the Signature Series, the latest Pregius and STARVIS CMOS chips by Sony have been incorporated.

The cameras are wonderfully suited to planet shots. They deliver high-resolution, uncompressed, low-noise images at high frame rates. This is ideal for lucky imaging techniques to show every planet detail that is caught by your telescope. These cameras are not, however, primarily designed for taking photographs of very faint galaxies and nebulae: Depending on the model, maximum exposure times of only a few seconds are possible.

The range of models in the Signature Series is very extensive, with almost 60 models. This means you buy exactly the camera that is suited to your own needs. It is, however, challenging to keep an overview.

You should know the following:

Each camera is available in three versions: DMK, DBK and DFK. DMK models are monochromatic cameras. Since they do not need Bayer filters (to capture colour information), they are most sensitive to light. The DBK and DFK models are colour cameras. They do, however, have the same structure, including an infra-red filter in DFK cameras. The built-in CMOS sensors are also sensitive to invisible infra-red radiation, but this can be filtered out if necessary. Many amateur astronomers want an infra-red-sensitive camera, however. If this is what you want, too, DBK cameras are right for you.

Furthermore, there are different connections on each model for data transfer: The 33U cameras can be connected to your computer via a USB 3.0 and the 38U cameras can be connected via USB 3.1. For all USB cameras, a USB cable can be used for the power supply. The 33G cameras have a Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) interface. This is particularly widespread in professional image processing applications. For GiGE cameras, you also need an additional power supply, and the power pack required for this is included.

The built-in CMOS chip can be seen on the model description. This determines, for example, the resolution and frame rate of the camera.

The following table can help you to find the right camera:

If you are interested in a recently developed and high-quality planet camera, the Signature Series should be on your shortlist.

27.05.2019
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