Shopping cart
is empty

Author Archives


Jan Ströher

Jan Ströher

Posts composed by Jan Ströher

HEM27 – the new iOptron mounts featuring top-class technology!

June 3 2022, Jan Ströher

The recent trend towards hybrid Harmonic Drive mounts is not without reason: they are compact, light, can be used on camera tripods and yet have a high load-carrying capacity, which is far superior to the more basic camera mount. In addition, they are equipped with all the technical features of a large equatorial mount. Due to their design and mechanical construction, they also do not require any counterweight(s) – a further advantage for transportation. This is why the term “hybrid” is used: you have all the advantages of a camera mount, such as quick assembly, easy transportation, compactness and precise tracking of the night sky. All these features are then combined with the advantages of larger equatorial mounts, such as GoTo functions, a hand controller with object catalogue, permanent drive gear error correction (PEC), various tracking modes and a high payload capacity in relation to its own weight – all without a counterweight bar with corresponding counterweight. These mounts’ mechanics provide the perfect balance for your telescope.

HEM27 on camera tripod

iOptron is continuing this trend and introduces yet more innovation with the new HEM27 series. The series consists of three variants: a classic HEM27, one with iPolar and an EC version.

iOptron thereby offers a selection of hybrid mounts to suit all requirements. All HEM27 mounts have a low dead weight of just under 4kg, but a load-carrying capacity of up to 13.5kg! This means that they can also be used for telescopes that would normally only be found on mounts in the mid-range weight class. So you can use a telescope weighing 5–6kg and still have sufficient capacity for astrophotography equipment. This means that you have the choice of a much broader range of telescopes with the HEM27 compared to regular camera mounts, which usually have a load limit of 3–5kg.

A carrying case is included with the HEM series

iOptron has equipped this series with the well-established Go2Nova® software and a database of 212,000 objects – just like the larger CEM and GEM series of iOptron mounts. The internal cable management provides security and order, and a dual saddle plate allows the use of Vixen/GP and Losmandy prism rails. An ST-4 autoguiding port is available as well as built-in WLAN, a bubble level and an emergency brake system which stops the mount if the power supply is interrupted abruptly. When you continue, the location memory means that the mount does not have to be re-aligned and re-programmed for your location. As you would expect from iOptron: all HEM27 models feature extremely quiet and smooth stepper motors.

The HEM series will be available in summer. You can find first details here at Astroshop!

Tecnosky OWL – magnificent, sharp focusing apochromats

January 27 2022, Jan Ströher

A few years ago the Italian company, Tecnosky, started producing their new, own-brand triplet apochromats known as “OWL”. The first model in the series was the OWL 80/480 apochromat, which was released in spring 2021. The OWL 90/560 was hot on its heels, with the OWL 130/900 SLD soon following in autumn. Soon the range will be blessed with new 70mm and 125mm aperture models. All OWL telescopes are based on a triplet lens design with FPL53 fluoride glass. However, the soon-to-arrive 125mm OWL will be an ED doublet.

The OWL 90/560 triplet

These features, combined with fully multi-coated lenses, blackened lens edges and a lens hood on the tube guarantee Strehl ratios upwards of 0.95! An optical interferometric certificate is attached to every single OWL telescope. Every specimen, therefore, undergoes a detailed quality check before distribution.

Optical test report (certificate) for OWL devices

These compact apochromats are great devices for astrophotography and also offer first-class, pure-colour image quality and joy for observing. Tecnosky also supplies reducer-flatteners calculated to suit the optics for each model. This means that OWLs, with their aperture ratios of f/6 – f/7, are ideally suited to photography.

Aesthetically, these “owls” also make an impression – they are all manufactured from high quality materials, are multi-coated, elegantly manufactured and have a white, black and red colour scheme to complete their look.

OWL 80/480 with FPL53 fluoride glass

All OWL models come with compatible prism rails, pipe clamps, Vixen viewfinder shoe, carry handle and retractable dew shield. These are this apochromat’s main features alongside the rotatable focuser with 1:10 reduction and locking mechanism, as well as a sturdy carry case. All in all, you get a first-class telescope with numerous great features for a reasonable price for this size category. The OWL 70 and 125 models will be available in our shop from spring 2022.

Discover the Tecnosky OWL series and sharpen your view of the night sky – elegant design included!

The new RedCat 71 from William Optics

December 15 2021, Jan Ströher

The time-proven and much loved RedCat 51 by William Optics has a new big brother – the RedCat 71. The same Petzval design with corresponding high-quality optics using FPL53 and FPL51 optics. With its 71mm aperture, the new “Cat” is a lot more powerful than the RedCat 51. The result is a pure-colour, corrected image field with a diameter of over 45 millimetres – ideal even for full-frame cameras! The fast f/4.9 aperture ratio facilitates short exposure times. At 3kg, the 335mm-long RedCat 71 weighs only slightly more than its smaller brother.

Once again, focusing is helical, adjusted by turning a ring on the lens tube.

The telescope comes with a protective carry case, as well as a Bahtinov mask specially designed for the RedCat. This mask aids focusing and is permanently and precisely fitted in the lens adapter.

The RedCat 71 is also perfect for deep sky astrophotography and offers not only impressive optical performance, but also William Optics’ attractive trademark design.

The new RedCat 71

 

To use the RedCat 71 for astrophotography you need a mount with a load capacity of at least 7kg due to its weight. The new iOptron mounts CEM26 or GEM28 are ideally suited for this.

Reckon you will soon be a “Cat” fan?

Discover the new RedCat 71 and William Optics’ ”Cat” series.

Discover the laser collimators from Farpoint

October 12 2021, Jan Ströher

Just as a car needs regular maintenance to work perfectly, a Newtonian telescope must be precisely adjusted from time to time in order to achieve the best possible optical performance and image quality. This is done by adjusting the mirrors so that the incident light, reflected by the primary and secondary mirrors, converges at a central point from which it is then directed into the focuser. In astronomy, the process of exact adjustment is called collimation. For correct collimation, the secondary mirror must be aligned with the focuser – lengthwise and centred. In addition, the secondary mirror must be aligned precisely with the centre of the primary mirror. Finally, the primary mirror should then be perfectly aligned with the axis now created by the focuser and secondary mirror.

To facilitate this process, there are various tools available to ensure the telescope’s collimation is as accurate as possible. Laser collimators in particular are very popular, as the laser beam can be used to precisely simulate the incident light in the telescope tube and align the two mirrors so that the laser beam is centred and directed into the focuser. Due to the red colour of the laser beam, the whole exercise becomes visually easy and ensures that even beginners can manage a fast, simple and effective collimation.

Collimation set from Farpoint

There are of course high-end devices among the range of collimator lasers, such as those from the American manufacturer Farpoint. This company produces and sells several collimator sets with 1.25″ and 2″ collimator lasers, with either 635nm or 650nm wavelength, as well as a robust padded case, in which the collimator can be stored and transported nicely protected from dust, moisture and other influences.

In our shop you will find the various high-tech lasers from Farpoint to suit your individual needs. Just take a look and perfect the performance of your Newtonian telescope!

Experience astrophotography with the Radian Raptor

November 3 2020, Jan Ströher

Under its own brand, Radian, the American telescope retailer OPT is now launching a high-performance, top-quality, and super-portable apochromat with triplet lens design, which has already created a great deal of enthusiastic anticipation among astrophotographers. The Radian Raptor is a light and compact photo machine which, with an aperture ratio of f/4.5, will, above all, ensure amazing deep sky images. With a shorter design and weighing just 1.8kg, the telescope can be attached to photographic tripods and travel mounts such as the Skywatcher Star Adventurer or the iOptron SkyGuide without any problem. This makes it a perfect travel companion that can be easily transported in the padded backpack supplied and fits in any hand luggage.

OPT has thought of everything you might need for successful astrophotography in this triplet apochromat:

A fast aperture ratio of f/4.5 allows short exposure times, ensuring that the Radian Raptor stands out as a fast wide-field device – ideal for images of emission nebulae, galaxies and star clusters.

The use of premium glass, coupled with multi-coated surfaces, results in this triplet apo’s colour-true, high-contrast and very sharp imaging capabilities. An already built-in corrector flattens the entire field of view, shows needle-sharp stars right up to the edges and so makes the use of full-frame sensors a pleasure. In addition, there is no need to purchase an additional flattener or reducer.

With a focal length of just 275mm, you have an ultra-compact telescope for extensive wide-field images: objects such as the Veil Nebula or the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion fit completely into the field of view of a full-frame sensor. Here is an image of the California Nebula captured by the 61mm Radian Raptor:

A solid, rotatable 2.5″ rack and pinion focuser with a high load capacity and the 1:10 fine focusing ensure a stable connection to your camera and precise focusing. The hexagonal tube clamps have differently-threaded holes to attach various accessories and integrated cable channels in the clamps reduce cable clutter. Especially for astrophotography, other equipment such as guidescopes, dew heaters, control modules or remote controls are usually required in addition to the telescope itself. The Radian Raptor is designed by astrophotographers and takes all possible applications into account. The recommended back focus of 55mm can be achieved and precisely adjusted with the adapters included.

Another treat is the inclusion of two bars for attaching to your mount: a 4″ Vixen dovetail bar and a 6.5″ universal Losmandy bar with a correspondingly-wider surface area. Both bars also have threads to attach the Raptor to a photo mount. With these you have compatibility with all mounts/dovetail clamps.

Finally, you get a waterproof and padded backpack to safely store the Radian Raptor, which also offers space for a CMOS camera and other small items.

Experience a new chapter in astrophotography and optimise your equipment with the Radian Raptor**!

(**available from mid-November 2020 from us here at Astroshop!)

NBX – the new dual nebula filter from IDAS

October 19 2020, Jan Ströher

A new, high quality dual band filter has appeared on the market, in the form of the NBX nebula filter from Japanese company, IDAS.  It is especially efficient for nebula photography using fast optics, like the Celestron RASA, for example. Like the existing IDAS (Astro Hutech) nebula filters, the new NBX is of impeccable quality and workmanship.

The IGAD (Ion-Gun Assist Deposition) coating technology which has been specially applied to astronomical filters by the Japanese manufacturer, Astro Hutech, was originally developed for optical communication, where long-term stability (> 25 years) is required in rough field conditions.

IDAS NBX 48mm nebula filter

This leads to filters with robust coatings and durable spectral stability – even at extreme temperatures and humidity levels. This stability is especially important for bandpass curves with steep sides, such as H-alpha, LPS filters and other narrow band filters. Filters with IGAD coatings almost completely eliminate bandpass shifts of +/- 3 or 4nm, which are typical with standard filters.

The NBX is a dual filter which specifically focuses on OIII and H-alpha lines. The NBX‘s transmission curves in the H-alpha and OIII ranges are very clearly illustrated in these two figures:

Transmission curves in H-alpha

 

Transmission curves in OIII

 

You can see that the IDAS NBX filter primarily realises its full potential when used with very fast optical systems and astrographs, such as a Celestron RASA, especially fast Newtonian reflectors with f-numbers between f/2 and f/4 and special devices, such as the Officina Stellare Veloce RH 200 Mark II-AT (Riccardi-Honders).

The NGC 281 “Pacman” Nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia

This dramatically increases the contrast within emission nebulae, which predominantly consist of oxygen (OIII) or hydrogen compounds (H-alpha). Additionally, longer exposure times are no longer required, predominantly due to the use of the above-mentioned, extremely fast optics, but also due to the NBX filter’s special contrast effects. The filter is ideal for use with ‘one shot’ colour cameras and monochromatic CMOS cameras. An IR blocking filter is then no longer required. Additionally, the NBX is parfocal with other IDAS LPS nebula filters.

CEM70 with iGuider – the latest innovation from iOptron

September 23 2020, Jan Ströher

The American company iOptron, which has already built a good reputation for itself in recent years with innovative, efficient and quiet mounts, launched a worthy successor to the popular CEM60 in April this year: the CEM70.

The new CEM70 comes with the characteristic appearance of the proven CEM mounts. CEM stands for centre-balanced equatorial mount. This design allows a particularlyfavourable ratio of load capacity to actual mount weight. In the case of the CEM70, the ratio is 2.3. This means that the mount carries more than twice its own weight! So, the CEM70 is still suitable for mobile applications, but is also a very good mount for observatories.

The stepper motors and the toothed belt drive allow high pointing accuracy in GoTo operation, but most importantly, a very precise tracking accuracy with a periodic error of less than +/- 3.5 arc seconds. All this with the usual welcome quiet operation of all iOptron mounts.

Just like the CEM25P or the CEM60, the new model is perfectly suited for astrophotography. The highlight is a version which comes with iGuider, an integrated autoguider! In addition, both versions of the CEM70 have an ST4 interface, built-in GPS, a sturdy transport case, quiet stepper motors, the proven Go2Nova hand controller, as well as a dual mount saddle for Vixen and Losmandy dovetail plates.

With a maximum load capacity of 31kg, the CEM70 offers great flexibility for different telescopes and the appropriate photographic equipment. All in all, the new CEM70 is an even more portable mount with a wellthought-out design, useful functions and additional features, which also carries a higher instrument load even more safely, tracks quietly and precisely, and thus will never let you down during astrophotography! Both model versions can be found from us here at Astroshop.

Good conditions for observing Venus

January 20 2020, Jan Ströher

In the coming weeks Venus, our “sister planet”, will become a good object for observing. The planet is a bright, easily detectable object in the morning or evening sky, but it is usually located very close to the horizon with corresponding atmospheric disturbance and rather short observing times. This will improve from around the end of January, when Venus will become progressively brighter and visible for longer in the evening sky. Then the planet will be found easily with the naked eye immediately after sunset and can be observed for almost four hours.

Even good binoculars, such as the Omegon Nightstar are suitable for observing. In telescopes with an aperture from around 90mm, Venus can already be identified as a small disc. Just like the Moon, the planet exhibits different phases, although details of the surface remain hidden owing to its very dense atmosphere. The cloud structures can be distinguished very well with telescopes from 130mm aperture. The use of a suitable filter (violet, dark blue, blue) is recommended to improve the contrast.

Credit: EXAME/JAXA/Divulgao, Brazil

Venus is the second innermost planet in our solar system and is a similar size to Earth. Its atmosphere consists of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, sulphur dioxide and various noble gases. This composition, combined with its proximity to the Sun, makes our neighbouring planet a hostile and mysterious world. As it orbits the Sun, Venus rotates backwards, that is in exactly the opposite direction to our Earth. Therefore on Venus the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east. After the Moon, the planet is the brightest object, but, just like Mercury it is only visible in the morning or evening sky – hence it is also given the designation “morning-” or “evening star”.

From mid-January, Venus dominates our evening sky immediately after sunset on the southwestern horizon. Between then and the end of March it changes its position from about 25° to 46° and reaches a brightness of -4.7mag by the end of April. During this period it moves towards the western horizon and passes through the constellations Aquarius, Pisces and Aries. In April it reaches Taurus and can even be found close to the Pleiades (M45) at the beginning of April.

From January to May it’s best to track Venus using a star chart.

Credit: Planetarium Bochum

Have fun observing Venus in 2020!

13.08.2022
We ship worldwide
Currency
Service
Advice
Contact
Universe2Go