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Marcus Schenk

Marcus Schenk

Posts composed by Marcus Schenk

The little one with the turbo: the new and fast Omegon Astrographs

March 26 2021, Marcus Schenk

The new Astrographs from Omegon are special telescopes for full-frame cameras, and offer high light-gathering capabilities. With the dizzyingly fast aperture ratio from f/2.8 to f/3.2, you can take astronomy photos with extremely short exposure times.

Pole position on your mount

This telescope doesn’t need to warm up, it’s ready to go immediately for fast astrophotography. The 6-inch and 8-inch astrographs with f/2.8 and f/3.2 are about three times faster than a normal f/5 Newtonian telescope. This means you can take astronomical photos much quicker, and minimise tracking errors.

Short focal length, large field of view

Wide-field astrophotography is gaining ground and has a very large fan base thanks to mounts such as the MiniTrack. But with this telescope, you can go a step further into the detail and capture wide nebulae and create fantastic wide-field images.

Full speed for full-frame

With a 3-inch focuser, the built-in 3-inch corrector and a 90mm secondary mirror, the Omegon Astrograph illuminates a 44mm image circle, making it perfect for using with a full-frame, high-resolution camera. With a working distance of 55mm, you do not need any additional distance adapters for DSLR cameras. With the Omegon Telescope Pro Astrograph N200/640 OTA, you have a screen diagonal of about 3.8 degrees, with a standard full-frame sensor. This makes the California Nebula in Perseus, the Andromeda Galaxy or the area around the Veil Nebula amazing destinations.

Elegant carbon tube

The new astrograph not only looks elegant and high-quality, it actually is. The carbon tube offers you the additional advantage of stable focus, because the material is particularly thermally-stable.

The models are available in the following variants:
Omegon Telescope Pro Astrograph N150/420OTA
Omegon Telescope Pro Astrograph N 200/640 OTA

Do you want to explore new horizons in astrophotography? Then get to know the Omegon Astrograph.

Set your sights on an even wider range of Omegon Pro Apochromats now

March 24 2021, Marcus Schenk

Omegon’s fleet of Pro Apochromats has been strengthened. The range has been supplemented by equally stylish and powerful refractors that perform far better than ordinary refractors.

Omegon’s new apochromats were developed for ambitious astrophotographers who want to take brilliantly-sharp photographs of the universe. These apochromats deliver superb image sharpness and wonderful contrast across the entire field and will help you take the perfect photo. These instruments are equipped with ED lenses, integrated correctors, CNC tubes and large focusers. All for stunning image sharpness.

Whether it’s a compact 61mm instrument for travel or a 140mm flagship model, you can choose from a range of options to suit your specific mount and needs. You can also choose between doublet, triplet, quadruplet and quintuplet apos, models with two, three, four or even five lenses.

Many instruments can also be ordered with an individual optical test report;  a seal of quality for your telescope that also permanently increases its value.

The Andromeda Galaxy

And here is the fleet of telescopes at a glance:

  1. Apo 61/335 ED Doublet OTA #65141

A portable and compact apochromat that’s got it going on: The 61mm apo is small, yet it features a high quality 2.5″ focuser with a 1:10 reduction. Even at this size, it’s all premium quality.

  1. Apo 61/274 ED Doublet OTA #69472

Large optics aren’t always crucial, because there’s no substitute for a dark and crystal-clear sky. But this can sometimes be cumbersome to access with large optics. If you like to travel and shoot large-area objects, you will love the 61/274 ED Doublet.

  1. APO 72/400 Quintuplet ED OTA #65156

Perfect, true-colour images of ultra-sharp stars right to the edges: The 72/400 Quintuplet achieves this with ease. With a total of five lenses, two of which are ED lenses, it offers exceptional contrast with a fully-corrected and flat field of view.

  1. APO 76/342 Triplet ED OTA #69473

This apo will accompany you wherever your journey takes you. Weighing in at just 4 kilograms and only 333 millimetres long, this telescope can also be used with travel and mini mounts. This telescope is a true master of its craft when it comes to wide-field images and targets, such as the Andromeda galaxy. The 76mm triplet also makes an excellent telephoto lens for nature photography.

  1. APO 76/418 Triplet ED OTA #65142

Like the previous apo, this one also delivers an impressive image, but with a slightly longer focal length. Both 76mm units have a 3″ rack and pinion focuser with a 1:10 reduction.

  1. APO 80/500 Triplet ED OTA #60856

An apochromat with a clear and true-colour image, even at very high magnifications. The beautifully-crafted focuser is 2.5″, larger than that of most 80mm telescopes. The advantage: so much illumination that even your full-frame camera will have fun with it.

  1. APO 94/517 Triplet ED OTA #65147

The 94mm aperture allows you to quickly and easily photograph astronomical objects and celestial events. The 94/517 Triplet is superbly-crafted and features two ED elements within the triplet design. This produces a clear and true-colour image of bright stars or the lunar limb. This telescope also cuts a perfect figure for visual observation at high magnifications. Definitely a hot tip for apo lovers.

  1. APO 100/580 Quadruplet ED OTA #60854

This quadruplet apochromat has four lens elements. It offers both superb imaging and a corrected flat field of view. This means that you no longer need to adapt any correctors, because the optics already reveal sharp stars right to the edges. The 3.5″ focuser provides plenty of options for connecting other accessories. This apochromat also fully illuminates the field of view of full-frame cameras.

  1. APO 121/678 Quintuplet ED OTA #65143

With five lenses for stunning images, the 121/678 is not only fast, but also offers outstanding optical performance. What does that mean? A triplet apo lens for true-colour images and an additional two-lens flattener for a flat field. With 60mm field illumination, this telescope is also perfectly suited for very large sensors. An immense backfocus of 145mm and a 4″ focuser offer the possibility to connect heavy cameras and various accessories.

  1. APO 140/910 Triplet ED OTA #65144

A triplet apochromat with two ED lenses at the front and rear of the objective.  It provides exceptionally-good colour correction. With a 4″ R&P focuser and 44mm image circle, this telescope is also suitable for full-frame cameras. A premium instrument for anyone who cares about luminous intensity.

Are you an astrophotographer looking for the perfect instrument? You might want to take a closer look at these apochromats.

Infographic: Astronomy Highlights in Spring 2021

February 26 2021, Marcus Schenk

A visit to the Pleiades, a very bright minor planet and a superbly-visible Mercury in the evening sky. There’s lots to look forward to the astronomical spring, because it has plenty to offer.

In the infographic Astronomy Highlights in Spring 2021, you have an overview of the important celestial events for the next three months.

We wish you lots of observing pleasure!

March

4/3 Mars near the Pleiades (Golden Gate of the Ecliptic)

Mars was in opposition last year and was visible in the starry evening sky. It still gleams in the night sky, disappearing ever more from the picture, along with the winter constellations. Around 4 March it nears the Pleiades at a distance of about 2 degrees. In doing so, the god of war also passes through the Golden Gate of the Ecliptic. This is the name of the area between the Hyades and the Pleiades, through which the ecliptic takes its course.

4/3 Vesta at opposition

Vesta is a goddess in Roman mythology but also the name of a well-known minor planet. With a diameter of 520 kilometres, it is the second largest in the asteroid belt.  While at opposition, it can sometimes be distinguished with the naked eye. Currently, at mag. 5.8 – 6.0, it is just beyond the visibility of the naked eye. However, it is easy to see with binoculars or a telescope. So how about observing a minor planet? That would make a very special star-gazing evening. What’s more, you can easily find Vesta in the rear part of the constellation Leo. From star Theta Leonis (the hind leg of the lion), just one degree to the northeast – et voilà.

5/3 Mercury near Jupiter

A difficult encounter: Mercury and Jupiter are near one another, but they are not easy to track. When both become visible, it will be shortly before 6:00am and the Sun will be just 8 degrees below the horizon. The time window is short and you need a clear view of the horizon as the two planets approach with a separation of just 0.3 degrees.

10/3 the Moon nears Jupiter and Saturn

Just before dawn for early risers: several objects gather together over the south-eastern horizon this morning. Almost as if they were on a diagonal pearl necklace, you will discover Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn. The delicate crescent Moon frames this meeting of the planets, and turns the morning into a wonderful astronomical event.

16/3 the Moon nears Uranus

In the evening hours we see the waxing crescent Moon between the constellations Cetus and Pisces. If you like, you can make a detour from here with your telescope, to the distant planet Uranus. Because today it is just 6 degrees above the Earth’s satellite. Uranus is always worth a look, because it is not a standard object, such as Saturn or Jupiter. As a distant planet, even in a telescope it is just a small disc which, if you look closely, is clearly different from a star. Nevertheless, it makes sense to familiarise yourself with the exact position on a star chart before observing.

18/3 Mars nears u Tauri

A few days ago, Mars moved through the Golden Gate of the Ecliptic, past the Pleiades. Today it stops at u Tauri in the constellation of Taurus, at a star that is a member of the Hyades. This is a pulsating star, which changes its luminosity within a few days. If you scan through this area with binoculars, you will notice a pattern made up of many stars. This is an asterism, a pattern-like group of stars. It’s called Davis’ Dog and depicts a dog with a nose, eyes, ears, legs and tail. Although some people see it as a fox. What do you see?

April

1/4 Antares nears the Moon

During the night from 1 – 2 April, the Moon approaches the brightest star in Scorpius: Antares. It is a red supergiant and shines brightly and red-hued in the night sky. Its diameter is 700 times greater than that of our Sun and it would swallow some planets, including our Earth, if it were to take the place of our own celestial body.

6/4 the Moon nears Saturn

The morning sky already shows us the heralds of summer: the constellations Sagittarius and especially Capricornus. In the realm of this mountain goat, the Moon and Saturn meet today and stand at a separation of 5.3 degrees.

15/4 the Moon passes the Golden Gate of the Ecliptic

Three days after the new Moon, the delicate crescent Moon appears again in the evening above the western horizon. Our satellite reaches the Golden Gate of the Ecliptic, which is flanked by the famous star clusters of the Hyades and the Pleiades.

17/4 the Moon nears Mars

The Moon and Mars meet tonight at a distance of around 2.5 degrees.  The Red Planet is still in the constellation Taurus, but on 24 April it will move to the constellation Gemini.

19/4 the Moon nears Pollux

The Moon approaches the star Pollux in Gemini at a separation of 3.3 degrees. The more interesting thing tonight, however, is the occultation of star kappa Gem by the Moon. It approaches with its unlit side and swallows the bright mag. 3.5 star for a little more than an hour. The occultation can only be followed in certain regions with sufficient darkness. In Germany, the occultation begins at around 20:21.

26/4 Venus nears Mercury

This is something for specialists: because Venus and Mercury are not yet visible in the evening sky. But at dusk, the two inner planets approach one another and pass by at a distance of 1.3 degrees. At 20:45 CEST, the Sun will be just 4 degrees below the horizon and the planets will be slightly above it. So you may catch a glimpse with large binoculars, but it’ll be difficult to observe.

May

4/5 the Moon nears Saturn

Capricornus belongs to the summer constellations and is already climbing above the horizon in the morning sky. The planet Saturn will remain in this constellation for the next two years, before it moves to Aquarius. However, this morning the Lord of the Rings gets a visit from the Moon.

5/5 the Moon nears Jupiter

Yesterday, the Moon visited Saturn, today it also calls on Jupiter. It is still in the neighbourhood, after Jupiter and Saturn met in a very close conjunction last December.

10/5 Mercury visible, evening sky

Mercury has good evening visibility this month – it’s the only month this year when it is really easy to observe. From 10 May, it’s easy to find on the western horizon. At around 21:30 it will be dark enough that you will have no problem seeing it gleaming in the sky. Venus is on the verge of setting, but Mercury is around 8.5 degrees above the horizon. This means: if you have a good view towards the horizon, you have an hour until it disappears in the haze of the horizon and sets. Over the course of the month the little planet climbs the stairway to the heavens, and will be located a little higher every day. On 18 May, it will not set until 22:53 CEST – but thereafter it sets a little earlier every day.

13/5 the Moon nears Mercury

One of the most beautiful encounters on the evening sky: shortly after sunset today, the 3.5% illuminated crescent Moon joins Mercury and will be just 2 degrees to the south. Further below you will discover Venus.

15/5 the Moon nears Mars

In the far west, today the still-narrow crescent Moon meets with Mars in the constellation Gemini. By the way, NASA launched a new robot mission to Mars last year. NASA successfully landed the Perseverance rover on Mars in February, as part of the Mars 2020 mission. The first ever Mars helicopter is on board. Controlled by rotor blades, the drone will fly through the thin “air” and help to explore Mars from a low altitude.

17/5 Mercury at greatest eastern elongation

Mercury is at its largest eastern elongation today. With this, it reaches its greatest angular distance from the Sun and holds an easy-to-observe position above the horizon. We now have more than an hour to marvel at it before it sets. If you want to observe it with a telescope, now is also the right time – as the planet sneaks away from the thicker layers of air in the atmosphere.

17/5 the Moon nears the Beehive

It is often simply called M44 or Praesepe, but a particularly nice name for this object is: the Beehive cluster. Like in a luminous beehive, there are about 300 stars bustling in this open star cluster. The Moon nears the Beehive at about 4 degrees. This means you can see both objects with a pair of binoculars in the same field of view.

19/5 the Moon nears Regulus

Tonight, the waxing Moon nears Regulus, the main star in constellation Leo, which is also called Little King in German. Its position is close to the ecliptic, which means that repeated occultations of Regulus by the Moon can occur.

28/5 Mercury near Venus

Mercury had its best evening visibility this month and was positioned high above the horizon. Meanwhile, it has lost some height and is joining up with lower-positioned Venus. They pass by one another, but meet on the 28th and approach each other at a separation of up to 0.5 degrees.

31/5 the Moon nears Saturn

In the second half of the night, you can observe the Moon and Saturn in a southerly direction in constellation Capricorn. The constellation climbs higher and higher until daybreak, and approaches the meridian, the highest point in the sky.

Premium large binocular sets with mount, central gear column and tripod

February 17 2021, Marcus Schenk

One thousand and one. No, we are not talking about the Arabian Nights, rather we are talking about the available selection of suitable binoculars for observation. One thousand and one is approximately the number of binoculars between which you can choose.

Which binoculars fit your tripod? And what connects the two? Just like a telescope lens, astronomical binoculars on their own are like a three-legged horse. You just won’t reach your destination with it. You also need a mount and a tripod. However, the heavier the binoculars, the more difficult it is to make the right decision.

We have six created different sets for you, consisting of Omegon Brightsky binoculars, a massive Neptune fork mount and a stable carbon tripod. If any binocular and tripod combo has ever earned the description of “solid as a rock”, this is it.

Why Brightsky large binoculars are the right choice for astronomers

Brightsky large binoculars come in three different objective aperture sizes, namely 70mm, 80mm and 100mm, and with an eyepiece of either 45 or 90 degrees. Tempered lenses in a sturdy magnesium casing offer clear views of the sky or distant objects in nature. So that your binoculars can also accompany you on every outing throughout the years, they are also waterproof and nitrogen-filled.

Brightsky large binoculars come with two 18mm flat field wide-angle eyepieces for fantastic observations. Other astronomical eyepieces can also be inserted, just like with a telescope.

Das Brightsky Fernglas komplett im Set mit Gabel und Stativ

The Brightsky binoculars set complete with fork mount and tripod

Neptune: the best fork mount in the Galaxy?

The Neptune premium fork mount is a new development for demanding binocular astronomers. Namely for those who have finally had enough of vibrating instruments. This fork mount competently supports large binoculars up to 290mm in width and nine kilograms in weight. Stable profiles and large Teflon bearings provide silky-smooth movement along both axes and make it simple to navigate the skies. We pay particular attention to quality during manufacturing – which is why we have these fork mounts manufactured exclusively in Portugal.

Superior carbon tripod – with central crank column

So that the foundations are also right, the binocular and fork mount combination sits on top of a carbon tripod having 40mm legs. Ultralight construction but uncannily sturdy: this tripod carries up to 50 kilograms in weight. The tripod can be raised to a height of 1.9m and has an additional central crank column. This means you can easily and quickly position your binoculars perfectly for each observer.

Who are the sets suited to? 

– For amateur astronomers who want to finally have binoculars which will satisfy them for years

– For observer who don’t want to keep searching and don’t want to have to keep compromising

– For astronomy enthusiasts who want to experience the night sky intensely using both eyes

The set consists of:

– Brightsky large binoculars with 70, 80 or 100mm objective aperture and two 18mm flat field eyepieces

– Neptune fork mount for large binoculars

– Omegon 40mm carbon tripod with central crank column

These premium large binocular sets with mount and tripod let you see how much fun binocular astronomy can be. We also recommend that you look at the binoculars with fork mount at the same time!

Omegon carbon tripods: The alternative for heavy instruments

January 7 2021, Marcus Schenk

Are you looking for a tripod which can securely hold your large binoculars or your heavy camera equipment? Let’s cut to the chase – a lot of aluminium tripods have problems managing this. Who wants to wait three hours until the binoculars stop swaying, until you can finally see a steady image?

This is why Omegon has launched two new tripods which are heavy instrument carrying pros. Let us introduce you to… the Omegon ProCarbon 32 and the Omegon ProCarbon 40.

Stabiles Carbonstativ

The new, ultra-stable Omegon Pro 40mm Carbon

Both tripods perform admirably, even if you mount a 5kg camera or if you use a pair of large 125mm binoculars on them. Ten layers of carbon and CNC aluminium components make these high-quality all-rounders which are a joy to use, even when fully extended. With a load capacity of 20 – 50kg a gentle breeze can even drift past.

We tested the Omegon Pro Carbon 40 using a massive fork mount and the Omegon Brightsky Large Binoculars. With this sturdy tripod as your foundation, it is easy to lose yourself in the starlit sky.

Die Omegon Neptune Montierung auf dem Omegon Carbonstativ

A fork mount and heavy large binoculars: This is an ideal job for the carbon tripod. A stable combination so that you can enjoy viewing without any vibrations.

 

The advantages at a glance:

– Sturdy tripod with 32 or 40 carbon fibre tripod legs for vibration-free observation and easy transportation
– Confidently supports heavy cameras, spotting scopes and large binoculars
– Steel tips and rubber feet: the correct foothold on any surface
– Large height: look through your binoculars at a comfortable height and wave goodbye to backache
– A tripod for the future which you will not want to part with

Discover more about the stylish and sturdy Omegon ProCarbon 32 and Omegon ProCarbon 40 tripods on our product pages.

For people in need: Astroshop donates 15,000 euro to Doctors Without Borders

December 21 2020, Marcus Schenk

There are times where astronomy fades into the background, when telescopes and presents are not so important. What is important is to help people who are sick or in need. A Christmas idea that Astroshop is putting into practice once again this year: thanks to you, we are donating 15,000 euro to Doctors Without Borders.

 

Fighting against suffering and death

We have to admit that, despite many problems, people in Central Europe live comfortably. What happens out there in the rest of the world often seems distant, even if we see it in the news every day. But all this can change quickly, as we have seen first-hand with the Corona crisis. Like the shadow of the approaching night, the virus spread mercilessly across the entire world, and, in no time, had us in its grip.

The poorer countries in particular are facing a double shock due to the crisis. Take Sierra Leone for example, where the mortality rate is higher than in virtually any other country. Where more than one in ten children do not make it to their fifth birthday. The health system is in a catastrophic state and fails to meet any standards. Water is scarce or contaminated, malaria is raging – and COVID-19 poses a new threat. Or in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh, where more than 900,000 people live in catastrophic conditions, almost half of whom are children are under the age of 11. Help is needed everywhere.

Doctors Without Borders is active in all these trouble spots and have already made many things possible, for example the provision of a COVID-19 hospital with 200 beds in Rio de Janeiro. The organisation is active in many areas; it brings important medicines and water along difficult roads or rivers, and treats the people. During the Corona crisis, Doctors Without Borders fight against death and for life in more than 70 countries. We want to support that.

How we came about the masks

At the beginning, in March 2020, masks were scarce. We therefore used our relationships with our Chinese producers to make protective masks for everyday use available quickly and cheaply. Maybe this is unusual for a provider of telescopes for astronomy, but health and social responsibility concern us all. We also supplied astronomers with masks having astronomy motifs.

It was clear from the beginning that we wanted to link each sale with a donation for Doctors Without Borders. One euro from every sale goes to the organisation. We have topped up the amount raised so far, and are donating 15,000 euro. A Christmas gift that will spread joy.

This is made possible by our customers, and for that we say “thank you”!

Despite the difficult situation, we wish you a wonderful Advent and a happy Christmas.

Your Astroshop team

Astronomy Highlights in Winter 2020/21

December 2 2020, Marcus Schenk

An extremely close encounter between Jupiter and Saturn, Mars and Uranus together in your field of view and the Geminids coincide with a new Moon. Once again there are all sorts of reasons to take a look and admire the starry sky. In the infographic “Astronomy Highlights in Winter 2020/21”, you have all the important celestial events occurring in the next three months at a glance. We wish you lots of observing pleasure!

December:

13/12 Geminids

If the evening sky is clear, take a look to the south. The Geminids meteor shower will appear to be originating from the constellation Gemini. Or to be more precise: from a point two degrees above the star Pollux. The best time for observing is between 21:00 and 06:00 CEST. With 120 meteors per hour, the Geminids are among the most active meteor showers. We are especially lucky with the timing this year since we have a new Moon and so we can observe, undisturbed, all night.

13/12 Conjunction between the Moon and Venus

Are you an early bird who can think of nothing better than to gaze at the stars in the early hours? This morning it will be worth your while. From around 05:30 GMT (06:30 CET) you can see lustrous Venus in the sky and, underneath it, the delicate crescent Moon – since the very next day we have a new Moon. This weekend is perfect for deep-sky observing.

17/12 Conjunction between the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter

We are able to enjoy this attractive event thanks to the fact that at the moment it gets dark early. At dusk we see a conjunction between Jupiter, Saturn and the young waxing crescent Moon. The two gas giants accompanied us throughout last summer and every evening they were the brightest objects in the southern sky. Now they disappear early and let the winter sky take centre stage.

21/12 Ursids

The Ursids are a meteor shower on which you can keep your eye on all night. This is because they originate from the constellation Ursa Minor, from which these meteors also get their name. These beacons speed across the sky considerably slower than the Perseids – at around 35 kilometers per second.

21/12 Winter solstice

21/12 Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn (note: they appear very close together)

Are you observing the Star of Bethlehem today? It’s the highlight of the month and you definitely shouldn’t miss it. On 21 December, coinciding with the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn present us with an unusual spectacle since in this conjunction they are just 5 arc minutes apart. A truly rare sight.

Let’s step back in time: Jupiter and Saturn also met one another in the year 7 BC. In that year a total of three such conjunctions in constellation Pisces between these two planets occurred. Scientists can still prove that today. We can assume that, due to its distinctive nature, this was what became to be known as the Star of Bethlehem. An interesting association so close to Christmas, isn’t it?

How about observing both of them through your telescope in a single field of view? You need to be sure to take up your observing position early. Preferably around 17:00 CET when the gas giants are sufficiently high in the sky, since in less than 1.5 hours they will disappear into the haze on the horizon.

21/12 The Moon occults mag 4.3 star

At 20:04 GMT (21:04 CET) the Moon occults the 4.3 mag star 30 PSC, which belongs to the constellation Pisces. What is especially beautiful is that the Moon moves closer to the star from its unilluminated side, so suddenly the star disappears as if it was simply switched off. At 21:15 GMT (22:15 CET) it twinkles again from the other side of the Moon.

23/12 The Moon near Mars

In October Mars stood in favourable opposition and was spectacular to see. Now it is in the constellation Pisces where it can be observed during the first half of the night. This evening the Moon joins it.

24/12

Happy Christmas!

27/12 The Moon near Aldebaran and the Pleiades

Even people who do not concern themselves with the night sky notice the Pleiades, and they often mistake them for Ursa Minor. Observers of the sky know differently: it is the best-known open star cluster which has been observed by mankind for thousands of years and which has a special significance for many cultures. Tonight the Moon meets up with the Pleiades and with Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus.

January:

02/01 Quadrantids

The Quadrantids is a meteor shower originating from the constellation Boötes. The new year starts with an astronomical performance which delivers around 120 meteors per hour. The radiant, from where the shooting stars appear to originate, only appears after midnight. Unfortunately, this year the bright Moon disturbs the show, since full Moon was only three days ago.

03/01 The Moon near Regulus

Today the Moon and Regulus can be seen, with a separation of 4 degrees. The name Regulus means ”little king“ in Latin. Because of its proximity to the ecliptic, it regularly meets the Moon.

07/01 The Moon near Spica

Spica is a massive blue star, a variable star, and at the same time a binary star system. 262 light years away, 13,000 times brighter than the Sun, and 7.5 times larger than the radius of the Sun, it takes 16th place in the list of the brightest stars in the sky. Spica is located at the ear of grain that Virgo holds in her left hand, this is also the origin of the star’s Latin name. On 7 January the Moon is nearby.

11/01 The Moon near Venus

On the morning of 11 January dawn is nearly over when Venus rises at 06:00 GMT (07:00 CET) and meets the slender crescent Moon above. At this point the Sun is still just 9 degrees below the horizon.

20/01 Mars near Uranus

The planet Uranus is theoretically visible with the naked eye. However, in practice the 2.9 billion kilometre distant planet is not so easy to find. The problem is that it is so small that it can be difficult to distinguish from a star. This is tricky with binoculars, but is a little easier with a telescope where you can distinguish one ”star“ with a minimally-greater diameter from another. This evening you can find Uranus more easily because it comes near Mars at a distance of 1.5 degrees.

If you use an eyepiece with a longer focal length then you can admire both in your field of view.

21/01 The Moon near Mars

Today the Moon passes Mars at a separation of 5.5 degrees.

24.01. Mercury at greatest eastern elongation

Mercury orbits the Sun so quickly and so close, that we cannot always observe it. However now Mercury is once again at a greater angular distance of 18 degrees from the Sun. That’s not a large number, but we can nonetheless observe it during its half phase. Mercury is to be seen in the evening sky shortly after sunset. Whatever you do, wait until the Sun has set. Then you will discover Mercury just above the western horizon.

27/01 Mercury at best visibility

Today Mercury reaches its highest position in the night sky, and with it its best evening visibility. From tomorrow its orbit sends it lower, back towards the horizon.

February:

03/02 The Moon near Spica

Once again, this morning the Moon passes by star Spica in Virgo. What is behind these frequent encounters? The ecliptic lies above Spica which ensures that the Moon frequently comes to visit.

06/02 The Moon near Antares

This morning, the 23-day old and waning Moon meets Antares, the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius.

19/02 The Moon near Mars, Pleiades and the Hyades

A fine sight in the evening sky: the Moon visits the constellation Taurus and remains in a position between the Hyades and the Pleiades. Both are ancient open star clusters that people have been observing since time immemorial. Mars joins in too. Isn’t this get-together worth a photo?

23/02 The Moon near Pollux

In the last days of the month the waxing Moon wanders from the constellation Taurus towards Gemini. This evening it meets Pollux, a red giant star that is 34 light years away.

26/02 The Moon near Regulus

Just a few hours before the full Moon, our satellite meets up with Regulus, the brightest star in Leo. When dusk is over we see an interesting image in the starry sky: in the west the autumn constellations are disappearing from view, in the south the winter constellations reach their highest point, and in the east spring is climbing over the horizon.

Mars opposition 2020

October 1 2020, Marcus Schenk

Astronomy Highlights in Autumn 2020

August 28 2020, Marcus Schenk

Mars at opposition, Moon-less Leonids and an interesting star occultation in the evening. Once again, there are plenty of reasons to look to the stars.

Don’t let anything pass you by in the next three months: In the ‘Astronomy Highlights in Autumn 2020’ infographic, you will find a quick overview of numerous important celestial events. In the accompanying text you will find further useful details.

We wish you many exciting hours of viewing.

September:

06/09 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

On the evening of the 5th, the Moon and Mars are in close alignment and both appear above the eastern horizon from 21:30 CEST. They draw ever closer throughout the night, until the early hours of 06/09 when they are less than one degree apart.

11/09 Neptune at opposition

Neptune is the solar system’s outermost planet. Many observers have only caught glimpses of it to date. But now it has reached its opposition and will spend the whole night in a favourable position in the sky. We can find it above the eastern horizon, between Aquarius and Pisces, during the evening. At mag 7.8, it can be found using any pair of binoculars, but 4.3-billion-kilometre-away Neptune’s planetary disc can only be seen through a telescope.

14/09 Conjunction between the Moon, Venus and M44

Are you an early riser? Excellent. Then you will be able to enjoy an encounter between the Moon, Venus and the open star cluster, M44. It can be seen by the naked eye in dark skies. All three celestial objects are in an almost straight line, with M44 at its centre. What makes this particularly attractive is that the Moon is waning and only 14% illuminated.

25/09 Conjunction between the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn

Throughout the summer, we have been able to observe Saturn and Jupiter in Sagittarius in the evenings. It was the highlight of every astronomical observation. Shortly after the start of autumn, on 25/09, an attractive view of them presents itself with the Moon.

October:

03/10 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

This month, the Moon has also noticed that Mars is the star of the month. After all, there are two conjunctions between them in October. Tonight they are separated by a distance of 4 degrees.

03/10 Conjunction between Venus and Regulus

Just before dawn, we see the spring constellation Leo appearing in the east. Venus and the main star, Regulus, are strikingly close together – the latter of which ranks as the 22nd brightest star in the night sky. It is fun to compare the large difference in magnitudes between the two celestial bodies at the same time.

08/10 Giacobinids

The Giacobinids or Draconids are a meteor shower which appears to stem from the constellation Draco. The maximum rates can be expected on 8 October. Unfortunately the expected number cannot be predicted as it can vary considerably.

The radiant is located near the star Beta Draconis. Draco is part of a circumpolar constellation which is why the radiant is at its optimal visible altitude in the evening.

14/10 Mars at opposition

Mars orbits the Sun once every 686 days, reaching opposition approximately once every two years. The last opposition, in 2018, gave us a perigee and a supersized Mars, but it was low above the horizon. This year, its disc diameter is only two arc seconds smaller but it is located considerably higher in the sky. This results in one of the best opportunities for observation in the coming years.

21/10 Orionids

The Orionids are a smaller meteor shower with around 20 meteors per hour. The radiant is located in the constellation of Orion, near the Betelgeuse star. Although you can observe the meteor shower all month, it peaks between October 20 and 21. The best time for observations is between 22:00 and 05:00.

21/10 The Moon occults Gamma Sgr

Lunar occultations are fascinating for every observer, especially when they start on the dark side of the Moon. The evening of 21 October provides an ideal example of this. The bright mag 2.8 star, Gamma Sgr, is occulted in the constellation Sagittarius at 20:35. With bright stars like this, the effect is amazing. It disappears behind the Moon as if it has been switched off and only reappears at 21:42 on the far side. In many places, the Moon may have already set by then.

22/10 Conjunction between the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn

Barely one month after the last conjunction, the Moon once again joins the planets Jupiter and Saturn. The best observation time is at dusk.

29/10 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

This evening, the Moon and Mars are meeting and will be separated by a distance of 3 degrees.

31/10 Uranus at opposition

Uranus is one of the outermost gas giants. In telescopes, it appears as a tiny green disc with no recognisable details. However, it can still be identified as a planet. Look for Uranus using a star chart or, even easier, with your telescope’s GoTo system. The planet’s disc can then be identified at a magnification of 150-200x.

November:

10/11 Mercury at greatest western elongation

Mercury is at its 19 degree greatest angular distance from the Sun. This results in it reaching its best morning visibility for the year. From the 10th, we can see Mercury rising above the eastern horizon at around 05:30. Emerging from the haze, it shines brightly below Venus.

11/11 The Moon occults v Virgo

You should get out of bed early on 11 November as,  from 06:40 in the morning, a rare and very visible star occultation is taking place. The Moon occults the bright, mag 4 star, v Virgo.

12/11 Conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto

Jupiter and Pluto are passing each other and reach a proximity of up to 40 arc seconds on 12 November. Normally, it is difficult to readily find the former planet and current dwarf planet. This is because it is faint and undistinguishable from a star. However, Jupiter provides us with a good reference point for spotting Pluto without using GoTo mounts.

13/11 Conjunction between the Moon, Mercury and Venus

Daybreak presents a configuration to make every skywatcher’s eyes light up. Venus, Mercury and the almost-translucent crescent Moon can be found towards the east, in the constellation Virgo. The perfect chance for an atmospheric picture of the night sky.

16/11 Leonids

The Leonids reach their peak between 16 and 17 November. Along with the Perseids, they are one of the most famous meteor showers. There have been years in which these meteors have fallen like raindrops from the sky. This generally takes place every 33 years when the Earth runs into the Leonid cloud. In normal years, the shower does not exceed 20 meteors per hour at its peak. This year, the slender crescent Moon sets early on and we can enjoy meteors all night long without interruption.

19/11 Conjunction between the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn

The constellation Sagittarius finally disappears from the early evening sky, however today we can spot the five-day-old Moon and the planets Jupiter and Saturn in a neat group just above the horizon.

25/11 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

The Moon and Mars today meet each other at a distance of around 6 degrees.

Images of C/2020 F3 NEOWISE: How our colleagues have been viewing the comet [Photo gallery]

July 20 2020, Marcus Schenk

Here at Astroshop.eu, we have a conspicuous cluster of amateur astronomers and people who have spent years gazing at the sky in awe. You can probably picture the scene – during the lunch break, comets were the topic of discussion, accompanied by tomato soup and tortellini. We had hoped for an amazing, bright comet in spring but all of the most recent visitors failed to meet expectations. We were, therefore, even more excited when comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) was discovered in March.

Initially visible in the southern sky, it has gradually climbed into the northern hemisphere. At the start of July, it was still close to the horizon and could only be seen in the early hours of the morning. It can now be admired in the late evening and in the morning from 3am as a bright, elongated fist above the northern horizon. It is so bright that it can even be seen with the naked eye from within cities.

Some are even comparing it to Hyakutake, which swept rapidly across the sky in 1996 with a long tail. And it is a fact that we have not had comets this exciting since Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp.

In the following image gallery, some of our colleagues present their photographs of the comet, all of which were taken in the last few days:

Komet Neowise Michele Russo

Photographer: Michele Russo

 

Komet Neowise von Uli Zehndbauer

Photographer: Uli Zehndbauer, Sony RX-100 Mk I, 10s ISO 800 single frame without tracking. 10/07/2020 03:15, Location: Kalvarienberg, Karlskron/Pobenhausen

 

Photographer: Frank Gasparini, single-shot exposure 400 ASA, 4 sec, 70mm with Pentax K3

 

Photographer: Marcus Schenk, shot using Sony Alpha 7s full format, 70mm, f/5.6, 3.1 seconds, 03:41.

 

Photographer: Michal Baczek, telescope: SW 120/600 on Meade LX85 mount. Nikon D3200 camera, time 1x30s

 

Photographer: Carlos Malagon, Omegon ED80 with reducer, Canon 350D camera, stacked 30×20 seconds.

 

Photographer: Joao Martins, Sony A7 III camera, Sigma 50mm, f/5,0, 15 seconds, Pateira de Fermentelos – Portugal

 

If you want to view the comet yourself, you can find a star chart in our blog entry: C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) A new comet in the spotlight?

Have fun observing!

PS: Are you still looking for binoculars to observe the comet? We have some binoculars recommendations.

13.04.2021
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