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Marcus Schenk

Marcus Schenk

Posts composed by Marcus Schenk

Mercury transit 2019: these products will turn the transit into an experience

October 11 2019, Marcus Schenk

We only see a Mercury transit every 3.5 to 13 years. On 11 November 2019 this rare event will take place once more. An inferior conjunction occurs as Mercury crosses in front of the Sun and we can observe this in broad daylight. Don’t miss the astronomical highlight of the year! But what do you need to observe it? With the following products you will be well prepared for a successful sighting.

Warning: never look directly at the Sun without a suitable filter. A solar filter is always required for observing.

Solar filter film  

The Baader AstroSolar solar filter film is available in various sizes, it is effective and very good value. Use the film to make your own solar filter which you can then attach to the front of your telescope.

AstroSolar-Sonnenfolie

The AstroSolar solar filter in 210 x 297mm format

 

Mounted solar filter

Is do-it-yourself not really your thing? Then a ready-mounted filter is the perfect solution for you. The Omegon filters for smaller telescopes or the Baader ASTF filters are good value and are available for many sizes of telescopes. You simply choose the diameter that suits your telescope and attach the filter to the front of your telescope. Before long you will be safely looking at the Sun and discovering sunspots – and of course Mercury.

Tip: to be certain which filter will fit your telescope, measure the outer diameter of your tube before making your selection.

Omegon-Sonnenfilter

Omegon solar filter mounted on a photoscope

Solar filter for binoculars and cameras

You can also follow the Mercury transit with binoculars. Just by attaching two normal solar filters? This works particularly well with the AstroSolar binocular filter.  They are laterally cut in such a way that they don’t make contact even with objective lenses that are very close together. This is also an advantage for DSLR cameras: the flattened filter edges makes it possible to attach a camera flush to a telescope or a mounting plate.

ASBF-Filter

ASBF filter for binoculars and cameras

Herschel wedge

Even more contrast is on offer from the professional for solar observing: a Herschel wedge. Combined with a ND3.0 filter it can be connected to a refracting telescope. The advantage: you see the Sun in front of a black background, and the granulation and sunspots appear in unimagined levels of detail.

 Herschelkeil

A Herschel wedge offers a beautiful picture of the Sun with a refractor

H-alpha telescope

You will experience a bit of the action when  observing the Sun in H-alpha light. In a very narrow, deep-red band with a wavelength of 656nm you can observe a very active Sun. Prominences flare millions of kilometers into space and are changing rapidly. Even when you see no sunspots on the Sun, there is almost always something to see.

H-alpha-Sonnentelekop

H-alpha solar telescope from Coronado

Mercury transit T-Shirt

For huge fans of astronomy: show your passion for astronomy with the new Mercury transit T-shirt. It shows the progress of the transit with all the important information and timings. So anyone can look to see when Mercury will appear in front of the Sun, or how long we still need to wait until the next transit.

Omegon-T-Shirt-Merkurtransit

Omegon Mercury transit T-shirt

Smartphone adapter

Photographing the Sun swiftly and simply: with a smartphone adapter you can quickly take beautiful pictures of the Mercury transit. It works really well with small telescopes. Simply attach the Omegon smartphone adapter to your eyepiece, and soon you will be capturing these astronomical moments for ever.

Omegon-Easypic-Universal-Smartphone-Adapter

Omegon Easypic universal smartphone adapter

Omegon 70/400 Backpack with solar filter

If you are looking for a small travel solar telescope, then the Omegon Backpack 70/400 AZ is perfect. The set includes a finder scope, mirror star-diagonal, eyepieces and of course the appropriate solar filter. You get all of this together in a practical rucksack.

Omegon-Teleskop-AC-70-400-Solar-BackPack

Omegon AC-70-400 Backpack solar telescope

The Sun on your neck

When observing the Sun for hours on end you need to take precautions against sunburn. A normal hat only protects the scalp. But when you are bending forward and observing through an eyepiece then your neck is exposed to the Sun. Lunt offers appropriate protection against this: a sun hat with neck protection.

Sonnenhut-mit-Nackenschutz

Sun hat with neck protection

Finding the Sun made easy

Sometimes its hard to believe how hard it can be to find the Sun with a telescope without spending a lot of time searching for it. Finding it is much easier with the Geoptik 1.25’’ solar finder.

Simply attach the sun finder to your focuser and right away you can centre the Sun over your mount’s axes. The Euro EMC solar finder offers an alternative way of finding the Sun. It consists of a pinhole and a small screen onto which a small image of the sun is projected. Simply attach the finder to your tube using the Velcro straps included.

Geoptik Sonnensucher

Geoptik solar finder

Equipped with these you’ll be well prepared for the Mercury transit.

Infographic: The Astronomy Highlights of Autumn 2019

September 2 2019, Marcus Schenk

 

In the next three months, from September to November, there are once again some great observing opportunities that we should not miss. A special event is fast approaching: the very rare transit of Mercury across the Sun. But there are also other smaller events to be seen.

The new astronomical infographic “Astronomy Highlights in Autumn 2019” offers you a quick graphical overview. This will keep you up to date and let you know what is happening in the sky.

September:

1 September: Alpha Aurigids

The Alpha Aurigids are a fast meteor shower moving at a speed of 65 km/s, which originated from the comet Kiess C/1911. At their peak on 1 September, around six meteors per hour are visible. The radiant, that is the place from which the meteors appear to originate, lies in the constellation Auriga below the star Capella.

6 September: The Moon meets Jupiter

At a distance of just under 5° the Moon is approaching Jupiter this evening. At dusk we see them as bright objects that are close to one another.

8 September: The Moon meets Saturn

While the Moon was seen near Jupiter two days ago, it is today visiting the ringed planet Saturn. Both celestial bodies approach one another at a distance of 1.5°.

9 September: The Moon’s Golden Handle

This evening we experience the Moon’s golden handle. A fairly rare event that can only be seen during a Moon phase of 83%. We can then discover a closed semicircle of golden light on the dark side of the Moon’s boundary between light and shadow. The reason for this: we are looking at Mare Imbrium and Sinus Iridum crater, which is surrounded by the Montes Jura range. While the crater is still lying in darkness, the Sun rises over the mountain peaks and we see the famous handle.

10 September: Neptune in opposition

Neptune is one of the outlying gas giants of our solar system. At a distance of 4.5 billion kilometres, it takes 165 years to orbit the Sun. Its light is en route for 4 hours and 10 minutes before it arrives at the Earth. During its opposition it is particularly easy to see in Aquarius. At 1am it reaches its highest point, around 36° above the horizon.

20 September: The Moon meets Aldebaran

The waning Moon, which is 72% illuminated, meets Aldebaran, the main star of Taurus, during the night of September 20. Aldebaran is a red giant, a star that has reached the last phase of its life. It shines 150 times brighter than the Sun and is so large that if it were to replace of the Sun it would reach as far as Mercury.

October

3 October: The Moon meets Jupiter

An especially pretty sight awaits us this evening: the Moon meets up with bright Jupiter. This impressive conjunction is worth observing, especially as dusk begins.

5 October: The Moon meets Saturn

In the early evening in Sagittarius, just above the horizon, today you can see a conjunction of Saturn and the Moon.

9 October: The October Draconids

Shooting stars appear to be falling from the constellation Draco on 9 October: this is the Draconids meteor shower. As they dart across the sky they are a fascinating spectacle, even for amateur astronomers. The radiant is located near the star Draconis. Draco is a circumpolar constellation, therefore the radiant lies at an optimal visible altitude in the evening sky.

12 October: Amphitrite in opposition

Amphitrite is a sea goddess in Greek mythology and is married to Poseidon. In the sky, however, Amphitrite is an asteroid of the main asteroid belt, which is now in opposition. It is 211 million kilometres away from Earth. It is currently in Pisces below the constellation Andromeda.

17 October: The Moon meets the Hyades

The Hyades open star cluster is very old at 600 million years and forms a V-shape with its brightest stars. The Moon visits the cluster tonight. By the way: the star Aldebaran does not belong to the Hyades.

20 October: Mercury’s greatest eastern elongation

Mercury is at its greatest elongation angle of 24°, but we still don’t see it in the evening sky.

21 October: Orionids

The Orionids are a smaller meteor shower with an activity of about 25 meteors per hour. The radiant is located in the constellation Orion near the star Betelgeuse. Although you can watch the shooting stars all month long, the peak is seen between 20 and 21 October.

23 October: The Moon meets Regulus

Today the slender crescent moon can be found at a distance of around 10 degrees from Regulus, the main star in Leo.

28 October: Uranus in opposition

Now there is another opportunity to take a look at distant Uranus: it can be seen all night during its opposition. With a brightness of 5.6 mag. you can see it with binoculars alone, but it is only recognisable as a planet using a telescope. You will find it in the constellation Aries. To find it draw a line from the bright star β Ari to the just 4.3 mag. dim star ξ1 Cet in the constellation Cetus. At the start of the last third of the line to ξ1 Cet, you will find the planet.

31 October: The Moon meets Jupiter

Tonight we see a slender and only 15% illuminated crescent Moon directly next to Jupiter.

November

2 November: The Moon meets Saturn and Jupiter

This evening we see a nice conjunction of the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter on the southwestern horizon.

6 November: Taurids

The Taurids are a two-part meteor shower with just 10 meteors per hour expected. What is much more interesting is that some bright fireballs may also be visible.

11 November: Mercury Transit

It only happens every 13 years: Mercury passes across the solar disc and we can follow this transit live through a telescope. It starts at 13:35 CET, the 2nd contact is at 13:37 CET, the middle at 16:19 CET, the 3rd contact 19:02 CET, finishing at 19:04 CET. Unfortunately we can only observe half of the transit because the Sun would have already disappeared under the horizon. Attention! Always use a suitable solar filter for your observation! Never observe the Sun without one! Observation without a special solar filter is dangerous and will lead to severe retinal damage. Let us advise you.

14 November: Asteroid Vesta in opposition

The asteroid Vesta belongs to the main asteroid belt and was one of the first bodies of its kind to be discovered. After Pallas, it is one of the largest asteroids with a diameter of 516 kilometres. On 14 November Vesta reaches a brightness of 6.5 mag. and so you can find and observe it with any telescope. It is currently in the constellation Cetus. You can find it relatively easily by extending a line from o Tau (in Taurus) about 2 degrees to the west. A star atlas is useful here.

17 November: Leonids

On 17 November the Leonids reach their peak. In addition to the Perseids, they are amongst the most famous meteor showers. There have been years when these meteors fell like raindrops from the sky. This usually happens every 33 years when the Earth collides with the Leonid cloud.

In normal years, the shower reaches a peak of no more than 20 meteors per hour. This year the rate of occurrence is a little lower, with 15 meteors per hour expected.

24 November: Jupiter meets Venus and the Moon meets Mars

In the last days of November there are two conjunctions: the Moon and Mars, and Jupiter and Venus.

In the early morning of the 24th we see a delicate crescent moon, Mars and, a little further below, Mercury. Then the following evening, in the very early twilight, there is a beautiful view of Jupiter and Venus.

28 November: Mercury’s greatest western elongation

Mercury reaches the best morning visibility of the year from 28 November at its greatest western elongation, now it has an angular separation from the Sun of 20 degrees. Through a telescope Mercury appears half-illuminated.

Infographic: 50th anniversary of the Moonlanding

July 19 2019, Marcus Schenk

moonlanding infographic

50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing: limited edition T-shirt

July 15 2019, Marcus Schenk

We at Astroshop.de are thrilled – a special anniversary is just around the corner, which no amateur astronomer can miss!

Fifty years ago NASA wrote world history! On 20 July 1969 the first humans landed on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission.

Although under risky and dangerous circumstances, it worked out: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first Moon walk and more than 600 million people followed them live in front of their television sets.

Our T-shirt: All the landing sites at a glance

Celebrate fifty years anniversary of the Moon landing with us and show that you are a fan too.  We now offer the new Apollo T-shirt in different sizes, in a very high quality, limited-edition, digital print.

moonlanding t-shirt

What can you see on the T-shirt?

On the front, the T-shirt features an accurate graphical image of the Moon. It also shows you the exact landing sites of the Apollo missions together with their dates. On the back you will find an image of Earth rising above the lunar surface. When the Apollo 8 astronauts happened to see the Earth rise, they captured this magical moment for all of humanity. The photo called “Earthrise” is one of the most iconic images ever shot.

This Apollo Moon T-shirt is only available in limited quantities. Order your Moon T-Shirt now!

Infographic: The Astronomy Highlights of Summer 2019

June 3 2019, Marcus Schenk

Summer and warm temperatures: now all those who were hibernating in the winter can venture outside for a glimpse at the stars. But unfortunately it also gets darker later and then, as if turbocharged, light again just a few hours later. So you need to make good use of the hours of darkness, because when the summer Milky Way stretches across the sky there’s so much to discover.

The new astronomical infographic “Highlights in the Summer Sky” shows you at a glance what is happening in the sky in the months from June to August. Also included: a short description of the events.

June 5: The Moon meets Mars

Just two days after the new Moon, the slender crescent Moon stands seemingly fragile as dusk falls in the evening sky. Inconspicuous at around 2.5 degrees further to the right you will find the 1.7 magnitude bright Mars.

June 10: Jupiter in Opposition

You can now observe the largest planet in the solar system all night. Jupiter is in opposition this month, so this is the best time for observations. The gas giant reaches a magnitude of 2.6 and is 640 million kilometers away. As night falls the planet emerges above the horizon in the southeast, later it quickly becomes brighter and gets easier to see. At around 1:15 CEST it reaches the meridian and is particularly good to see.

June 18: Mercury Half Phase

Mercury reaches dichotomy, that is, a phase in which it is half-lit. Like the Moon or Venus, Mercury displays different phases.

June 18: Mercury meets Mars

A very beautiful event takes place shortly after the middle of the month: a close encounter between Mercury and Mars. Our innermost planet passes Mars at a distance of just half a lunar diameter, 13 arc minutes. This event takes place just above the western horizon at around 21:30 CEST. To observe these two it’s best to use binoculars.

June 19: The Moon meets Saturn

This configuration takes place in the second half of the night and can be followed until sunrise. Our Moon and the ringed planet approach each other with a minimal separation of about 2°50′.

June 24: Mercury’s greatest eastern elongation

Mercury gradually leaves the evening sky but it can still be seen, and can initially be found with the naked eye. From the second half of the month it becomes more difficult to find since it is so faint, and you’ll need the help of binoculars. It reaches its greatest angular distance of 25° from the Sun on 24 June. It reveals an almost half-lit sliver to us with a size of 8 arcseconds..  You can find Mercury with a good pair of binoculars from around 22:00 CEST.

July 2: Chile Total Solar Eclipse

In South America the Sun will grow dark. The eclipse’s shadow comes from the direction of the Pacific Ocean and stretches across Chile with a totality duration of 2:30 minutes. Later, the shadow moves onwards over Argentina. The Sun will be relatively low during this eclipse which will enable beautiful shots of the eclipsed sun against the landscape.

July 5: Noctilucent Clouds

Now in June you will be able to see them: noctilucent clouds. When the summer Sun is between 6° and 16° below the horizon it sometimes illuminates extremely thin clouds of ice crystals that are at an altitude of about 80 kilometres. These clouds are indeed so high that they are in the mesosphere part of our atmosphere. For us it is long since nightfall, but these clouds catch a little sunlight and we see bluish white clouds illuminated, which are invisible by daylight.

July 9: Saturn in Opposition

At present we have the problem that, due to the Sun’s ecliptic, many planets are far to the south and so are not high enough in the sky to be visible. Because of this we inevitably face a struggle with air turbulence. Despite this, Saturn still is worth observing, even if it only climbs to a height of 18°. On July 9 it reaches its opposition and shines brightly in the sky with a magnitude of 0.1. It is competing with the brightest stars but we can recognise it by its yellowish colouring and a faint glow that differs from the flickering of the stars. Because of this you can find it straight away and you can easily capture it with a small telescope. Its rings appear tilted at 24° and we are looking from the north at the ring system in which we can easily recognise the Cassini Division.

July 14: Pluto in Opposition

Pluto is a hard-to-see dwarf planet that used to be classified as a planet, and can barely be distinguished from a star – at least if you don’t have a map at hand. Even so, it’s worth taking a look at this outpost of the solar system with a larger telescope. GoTo coordinates: RA: 19h33m40s, DEC: -22° 07′.

July 16: Partial Lunar Eclipse

In January we had to view this in the cold, but not today. We can observe this partial lunar eclipse in warm temperatures and at a reasonable time. It gets interesting for us at 22:01 CEST, at which point the Moon enters the umbra of the Earth. Over the course of the evening it will become up to 66% obscured before the umbra moves away again and eventually disappears at 1:00 CEST.

July 20: Moon Landing 50th Anniversary

50 years ago today the whole world looked towards the Moon: to three astronauts, pioneers of humanity, who dared to set out on the greatest adventure. Apollo 11 flew to the Moon and Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on a foreign celestial body. Let us celebrate this event, remember it, and look again today towards the Moon, perhaps even to the Sea of Tranquility, the landing site of this daring mission.

July 29: The Delta Aquariids

A small meteor shower in Aquarius which we can best observe after midnight. The Earth passes through trails of small dust particles which burn up when entering the atmosphere and become streaks of light. We can expect to see 20-25 meteors per hour provided we find a dark place for our observation.

August 9: The Moon meets Jupiter

Similar to in July, the Moon and Jupiter meet again today. When it gets dark they stand dominant and bright in the sky above the southern horizon.

August 10: Mercury’s greatest western elongation

Now Mercury reaches its greatest angular distance of 19° from the Sun. Whilst before it was an object of the evening skies, for around 10 days from today we can discover it in the morning sky. On August 10 Mercury rises at 4:30 CEST, it then disappears into the haze, then it rises higher and we have a good chance of seeing it in the sky around 4:50 CEST.

August 12: The Moon meets Saturn

We have almost full Moon, so the sky is brightly lit, but Saturn shines clearly visibly and just 5° from the Moon. If our gaze wanders a little more to the right and a few degrees higher, we will also find Jupiter.

August 12: The Perseids

Every year we look forward to the most beautiful shooting stars of the year: the Perseids. In the morning of August 12 the meteor shower reaches its peak. Up to 100 shooting stars per hour rain down, thundering through our atmosphere at incredible speeds of around 216,000 km/h. The peak will be reached between 22:00 CEST and 4:00 CEST. Unfortunately this year the almost full, and far too bright, Moon will disrupt the display so that we are likely to only be able to observe the very brightest shooting stars. It’s best to find a spot away from the direct glare of the Moon. We have the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle to thank for this meteor shower, which lost part of its mass on its orbit around the Sun. Whenever the Earth crosses the orbit of the original comet in August, the Perseids shoot across our corner of the sky.

August 23: Occultation of the Hyades by the Moon

Unfortunately, it’s not until the early hours that we can observe an interesting occultation of the star 61 Tau by the Moon. Such occultations of the Hyades star cluster are particularly interesting because it contains many bright stars and we can sometimes even see multiple occultations. Around 4:40 CEST the Moon approaches from its illuminated side and snuffs out the 3.7 magnitude bright star. The star remains hidden behind the Moon for a little more than an hour. At 6:00 CEST, as if out of nowhere, it suddenly reappears. Important: point your telescope at the Moon a few minutes beforehand to ensure you don’t get the timing wrong.

August 27: Occultation of Delta Geminorum (Wasat) by the Moon

The Moon has migrated to the next constellation in recent days and is about to enter its new Moon phase. Before sunrise, it occults a really bright star: this time the double star 55 Gem in the constellation Gemini. The Moon, at this stage just a thin sickle-shape in the sky, approaches from its illuminated side. At 5:50 CEST the time has come: the star disappears behind the Moon and reappears nearly an hour later at 6:40 CEST. But by then the Sun has long since risen, the sky is bright and so the reappearance is difficult to observe with a telescope.

Only until the end of August: 6″ triplet carbon-fibre apochromat almost 800€ cheaper.

May 2 2019, Marcus Schenk

Bags of light, high resolution and pin-sharp stars: This Omegon 150mm aperture triplet apochromat provides you with a truly excellent image – clearly exceeding the performance of a reflecting telescope. The benefit to you – superb high-contrast observing. And astronomy photos that will delight both yourself and others.

One-off special offer for your dream apochromat – Purchase this Omegon 150/1500mm carbon-fibre triplet now for only 4999€ – saving you 791€!

 

Carbon APO

 

The advantages in a nutshell

  • ED glass triplet design apochromat – with 150mm aperture and 1000mm focal length
  • multi-coating – for high contrast and pinpoint star images
  • simple camera alignment – 360°, 2x rotatable 3″ focuser
  • carbon-fibre OTA – rigid and durable design
  • sturdy tube-ring clamps plus case included

This 6″ carbon-fibre triplet apochromat comes in two versions

  1. Omegon Pro APO 6″ ED triplet carbon-fibre OTA now for only 4999€
  2. Omegon Pro APO 6″ ED triplet carbon-fibre OTA with field flattener now for only 5199€

 

You can also request a test report for your apochromat – for a certificate demonstrating the high quality of this telescope.

Testprotokoll des Omegon APO Triplet 150/1000mm

Perfect for ambitious amateur astronomers, clubs and observatories – buy your apochromat now. Or let our experts advise you.

This special offer is valid until 31.08.2019.

Is a Dobsonian telescope right for me? | with product recommendations

December 30 2018, Marcus Schenk

A simple Dobsonian or a GoTo telescope? – a question whose answer you first have to decide on. You should also choose your telescope based on what you would like to observe or experience in the night sky.

Did you know that there is also a system with something like ‘a bit of GoTo’?

But how do you find out if a Dobsonian telescope is right for you? In Part 1 of this post, we’ve put together a few questions to help you find your preferences.

Following on, in part 2, there are product recommendations for three different telescope series, with you can use to explore the night sky.

 

Part 1

Are you an observer for whom a Dobsonian telescope is suitable? Or do you need a telescope with an equatorial mount? Decide which using the following questions:

 

1. Do you only want to observe or also to take photos?

There are two types of observing: the visual and photographic. Which do you prefer? If you are a visual observer, then a Dobsonian would probably be the right choice.

1 Yes I want to observe visually.
2 I do not know yet, maybe both.
3 Taking photos is more important to me than observing visually.

 

2. What do you value more? – the optics or the mechanics and electronics?

Dobsonian telescopes consist of a wooden box with plain bearings, called a ‘Rockerbox’, and a Newtonian mirror OTA. A clear emphasis here is placed on a larger OTA diameter. The mechanics remain simple. The advantage – you get a large aperture telescope for relatively little outlay, with which you can observe a lot.

1 I put more emphasis on a great optics for a low price.
2 I cannot commit myself, maybe both.
3 I am a fan of complex mechanics that controls my telescope via slow motions and worm gears.

 

3. Quick assembly or precise alignment?

Dobsonian telescopes consist of only two parts. The advantage – just two parts can be quickly transported and reassembled at the observing site. They are often much quicker to put together than a telescope with a tripod, equatorial mount, several counterweights and the OTA itself. You do not have to align a Dobsonian telescope to the celestial north pole, you are tracking in both axes’ directions.

1 I want to set up my telescope quickly, I can’t be bothered with all the complexity of assembling and observing with an equatorial set up.
2 I would like to have GoTo, but only if the setup does not take too long.
3 I’d rather spend more time putting the system together and precisely aligning it.

 

4. Do you prefer observing the Moon and planets, or observing galaxies?

A medium to large Newtonian telescope is of course also suitable for planetary observing. But the strengths of a large mirror lie in its greater light-gathering power. This makes many Dobsonian telescopes suitable for observing nebulae and galaxies. Bu if you are more interested in the Moon and planets, then a refractor telescope would be the better choice.

1 I want to observe nebulae and galaxies.
2 I want to observe nebulae and galaxies, but how am I supposed to find them?
3 I am interested in the Moon and the planets, but there is so much light pollution where I live that I cannot observe galaxies very well. An automated telescope would have to find them.

 

5. Exploring the night sky with a star map or using a GoTo system?

Dobsonian telescopes are almost always manually controlled instruments. In other words, there is no GoTo system here that slews to objects at the push of a button. You have to guide the telescope purely manually to the object of your choice with the help of a star map and then track it manually. But what is the advantage of that? Quite simply – the night sky will eventually become your familiar hunting ground that you know like the back of your hand. You’ll become a real expert at finding deep sky objects. And you will develop a feeling for tracking objects. The other thing is that it’s a lot of fun, and every time you find an object there is that little thrill of achievement.

1 Of course, I want to find the objects myself using a Dobsonian telescope.
2 I’m afraid that I’m not so good at orienting myself.
3 I’m not really interested in star hopping – there are GoTo telescopes for finding astronomical objects.

 

6. Naturally experiencing the night sky using only a little technology?

Observers repeatedly report that they can enjoy a natural experience to the maximum with a Dobsonian telescope. There is no complicated technology here that needs to be made to work. No, naturally experiencing the night sky without any motor noise is the most important thing.

1 I want to visibly experience the night sky in a clear simple and natural way.
2 I would like to be able to to add a little technology if I want.
3 No, this manual control idea is not for me. State-of-the-art technology and GoTo systems would be my first choice.

 

Your answers

If you answered most questions with a 1, then you are definitely a ‘Dobsonau’. You should immediately buy a Dobsonian telescope – perhaps one of the three examples detailed below?

If you’ve answered most questions with a 2, then you’d like to observe with a Dobsonian, but GoTo systems also tempt you. The Onmegon Push+ Telescope with object navigator (see below) would be the way to go.

If you answered most questions with a 3, then you’d better use a GoTo system. Here, we have a large selection.

 

Part 2

We have three Dobsonian telescopes in our program: the Omegon Advanced X Dobsonian telescope for beginners, the Omegon ProDob for intermediates and experts and the Omegon Push+ with push-to-technology.

 

Omegon Advanced X Dobsonian telescope – for getting into deep sky observing

These telescopes are a great way to start visual deep sky observing. Explore star clusters, hydrogen nebulae, planetary nebulae, and even galaxies with their spiral arms. With a 200mm lens aperture, this telescope will show you hundreds of interesting objects. If you want even more light, you can also use the Omegon Advanced X N 254/1200 or a real ‘light cannon’, the Omegon Advanced X N 304/1500. Of course, ‘excursions’ to the Moon and the planets are also possible.

If you do not want to spend a lot of money, but are looking for a great value-for-money telescope, then an Omegon Advanced X is the instrument for you.

Omegon Advanced X 203/1200

The Omegon ProDob – deluxe Dobsonian with an excellent friction system

ProDob Dobson telescopes come with a particularly good 2″ Crayford focuser and a deluxe friction system. Once an object is centred in the eyepiece, tracking is even more accurate and precise – even at very high magnifications. There is no juddering or anything (as with instruments with Teflon bearings), as when slewing the telescope it almost floats to the next object. The reason for this is a ball-bearing system in the elevation axis and roller-bearings in azimuth. And also, the friction level can be set to your needs. High magnifications are also possible with a Dobsonian.

Omegon Dobson Teleskop ProDob N 203/1200

The ProDob from Omegon comes in a range of apertures:
– ProDob N203/1200 with 8“ diameter
– ProDob N254/1200 with 10“ diameter
– ProDob N304/1500 with 12“ diameter
– ProDob N406/1850 with 16“ diameter

 

Omgeon Push+ – control a Dobsonian telescope using your smartphone

With the Omegon Push+ Dobsonian, you can travel to the planets, nebulae and galaxies in the universe whenever you wish. You do not even need to be very knowledgeable about the night sky, because the telescope guides you using a push-to-system to any object you wish to observe. All you need is an Android smartphone and the SkySafari 4.0 app.

The Omegon Push+ and Push+ Mini telescopes bridge the gap between a purely manual Dobsonian and a GoTo telescope. So to speak: ‘A bit of Goto’, so to speak – as the Push+ can still be slewed manually, as is common with Dobsonian telescopes, but also using your smartphone and built-in fine-step encoder in the telescope,

The high-resolution encoders allow the system to take you to any astronomical object you desire. Your smartphone functions as a display screen and at the same time orients you in the night sky. A crosshair shows you the position of your telescope in real time. You can decide, at any time, whether you want to use the push-to-system or prefer to control the telescope completely manually – it’s nice to have the choice!

Omegon Dobson Teleskop Push+ mini N 150/750 Pro

The Omegon Push+ is available with a 200mm (8″) OTA or as a Push+ Mini with a 150mm (6″) OTA:

Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Pro Dobsonian telescope
Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Dobsonian telescope
Omegon Push+ mini N 150/750 Skywatcher Dobsonian telescope

Omegon MiniTrack LX2 Receives „Hot Product 2019“ Award

December 10 2018, Marcus Schenk

The Omegon MiniTrack LX2 is the world’s first fully-mechanical photo mount for wide-field astrophotography.  With just a simple twist, you can capture amazing photos of the Milky Way.  This year the LX2 has received the much coveted astronomy award “Hot Product 2019” that the magazine Sky & Telescope awards annually to especially innovative products.

The Omegon Mini Track LX2 (or the set with the photography ball-head) makes a great gift for beginners and nature photographers, who would like to capture the night sky along with an amazing landscape.  If you have already tried with traditional means, but have not been satisfied with the results, the Mini Track LX2 is much simpler.  The proof is easy to see, if you look at the many amazing photos take with the LX2 and posted on social media.

More info about the Mini Track LX2 mount is available here. Gift-giving during this holiday season will be a piece of cake with the Mini Track LX2.

 

Below, you can read up on other, special products in our assortment, which have also received the “Hot Product” seal of approval:

The Mead Deep Sky Imager IV

The new and improved Planetary and Deep Sky Camera from Meade has convinced reviewers.  With a 16 megapixel Panasonic CMOS-Sensor, thermoelectric cooling, USB 3.0 and 3.8 µm pixels, the camera is a strong multi-use device for astrophotographers, who want to limits in their photography.  The new Deep-Sky-Imager IV is available in color or monochrome.  The software SkyCapture makes other programs superfluous and you can use if for all your photographic purposes.  The software runs on Windows and MacOS, as well as Linux.

Meade Deep-Sky-Imager DSI IV

Meade Deep-Sky-Imager DSI IV

 

Hubble Optics N 607/2012 UL24 f/3.3 Premium Ultra-Light DOB

“BIG DOB TO GO” is the moniker Sky & Telescope gave to the huge 24” Truss Dobson from Hubble Optics.  And for good reason.  The telescope can be broken down into individual pieces and transported in even the most compact vehicles.  Just imagine taking a telescope, as big as in many observatories, to the mountains or to a nice dark pasture.  You are sure to have quite the stargazing experience!

 

Hubble Optics Dobson Teleskop N 607/2012 UL24 f/3.3 Premium Ultra Light DOB

The Hubble Optics Ultra Light Dob with 607mm Aperture

 

Celestron Telescope Astrograph S 203/400 RASA 800 OTA

A digital Schmidt Camera for wide-angle photos!  The Celestron Astrograph RASA takes photos 20 times faster, than a Schmidt-Cassergrain Telescope.  The results are awe-inspiring photos of large-scale celestial objects. In 30 seconds, you can capture, what would require 10 minutes with a f/10 telescope.

 

RASA 8

The Astrograph 203/400mm RASA

 

iOptron Mount CEM120 GoTo

The heaviest mount from iOptron can handle instruments up to 52 kg and is fully LAN and Wifi remote capable.  In spite of its size, the mount moves smoothly like a hot knife through butter.

CEM 120 Montierung

The heavy-duty CEM 120 Mount

 

Daystar SS60-DS Solar Telescope

A compact solar telescope with 60mm aperture for safe solar viewing in H-alpha.  Daystar integrated a double stack Etalon Filter from the QUARK series into this refractor, which meanwhile has written a little success story of its own in solar observing.  Here, you get everything in one package, with which you can see solar protuberances, filaments and flares – everything that raises the pulse of a solar observer.  Attaching a camera to the helical focuser and you can capture your observations for good.

Daystar Sonnenteleskop SS60-DS

DayStar-Solar Telescope ST 60/930mm SolarScout SS60-DS H-Alpha

 

Celestron Smartphone Adapter

The easy way to connect your smartphone to your telescope with the Celestron Smartphone Adapter, which can be adjusted with precision on three axes.  Now you can easily position your smartphone’s camera over the eyepiece.

Celetron Smartphone Halterung

Celetron Smartphone Adapter NexYZ

 

 

Lunatico Pocket CloudWatcher

The Pocket CloudWatcher keeps an eye on the clouds on your behalf.  This weather and cloud detection device, which alerts you, when something changes in the sky.  The mobile CloudWatcher measures temperatures, brightness, relative humidity, dewpoint and alerts you immediately on your smartphone, when clouds move in.  The perfect gift for astrophotographers.

Cloud Watcher

Lunatico Pocket CloudWatcher

 

A few years ago, but still a great device:

Hot Product 2017: Universe2go

This AR Planetarium, which shows you and simultaneously explains the night sky.  There is no need to spend your time with star charts and books.  Universe2go is like a visit to the planetarium, but all in a handheld viewer that augments your reality.  Just download the free app, put your smartphone into the viewer and look up into the night sky.  The magazine Sky & Telescope was so enthusiastic about Universe2go that it received the Hot Product 2017 Award.

 

Omegon Handheld Planetarium Universe2go

The advantages?

  • Your impression of the real starry night sky gets an overhaul with a superimposed digital picture.
  • Learn about all 88 constellations and numerous celestial objects
  • Where are the planets? With Universe2go, you can find them all!
  • Over 3 hours of audio explanations, which will make you an expert of the night sky.
  • Many more features!

In the current issue, Sky & Telescope introduced many more products in the Hot Product category.

 

Comet 46P/Wirtanen: How to See the Christmas Comet

December 5 2018, Marcus Schenk

After quite a while, we are finally going to get another visitor…. from SPACE!  The comet 46P/Wirtanen will approach Earth, becoming brighter and brighter, and will be visible to the naked eye.  But, a look through binoculars or telescope truly allows you to take in the comet’s beauty.  The best time to see the comet is between the beginning of December and the 25th of December.

 

This photo was taken with a Celestron Teleskop Astrograph S 203/400 RASA 800 OTA.  © Michael Jäger. Thanks to Celestron, who made the photo available to us.

A Comet with the Naked Eye?

46P/Wirtanen is a short-period comet which takes 5.5 years to come back around for another visit.  This December, however, is a special visit, since the comet will appear especially bright in the night sky.  If all goes as planned, Wirtanen’s brightness could reach the 3rd class and be easily visible to the naked eye, or better yet with a pair of binos.

 

If you haven’t yet seen a comet, then now is the right time!  A bright comet is one of the most enjoyable experiences in Astronomy.

 

Why will the comet be 160,000 times brighter?

So, what is so special about it? Only every few years, we have the pleasure of seeing a comet with the naked eye.  The last occurrence was 2014/15, when comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) was visible to the naked eye for a short while at the end of the year.

Wirtanen has always been a weak comet.  But this year, we get a nice year-end present: excellent positioning.  As a result of a course correction, after a close encounter with the gas giant Jupiter, the comet’s orbit around the sun is now significantly closer to our star.  At the same time, the Earth is much closer to the comet’s orbit, making it appear brighter.  As a comparison: when discovered, 46P/Wirtanen was at a brightness of 16 mag.  When it passes by Earth, it will appear 160,000 times bright at 3 mag.

When and where can we see it?

Wirtanen will be visible in the evening sky throughout December.  On the 12th of December, it will reach its closest position to the Sun and on the 16th its closest position to the Earth at only 11 million km, roughly 30 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.  Exactly at the point, in the evening of the 16th, the comet will reach its brightest point from Earth’s perspective, the so called perigee between the Pleiades and the Hyades.

The biggest obstacle will be the Moon spoiling the party and obscuring our view of the night sky and Wirtanen.  In the early morning hours, after the Moon sets, you will be able to catch a bit of the comet before it disappears below the horizon.

 

Find yourself a dark place

But wait, didn’t we say that the comet should be visible to the unaided eye?  Stars of a similar magnitude will also be visible, even when the Moon is bright in the sky.  Yes, but the magnitude of the comet is spread across a surface – the comet’s coma of roughly 0.5°.  As a comparison: that means the entire diameter of the Moon.  To get the best view, you should try to find a dark sport, away from man-made light, and wait until the Moon is out of the way.

Have a look first right after dusk.  At the beginning of December, the comet will hug the horizon, but climb higher and higher in the sky with each day.  On the 10th of December, it will arrive at the head of the Cetus or whale constellation and makes its way to Taurus.

From the 24th onward, you will be able to see the comet before the Moon rises in the sky. 46P/Wirtanen will then be found close to the star Capella in the constellation Auriga.  The early evening hours will give you the best chance of seeing it.  In the following days, the Moon will rise later and lunar-free periods will grow longer.

Better yet, get yourself some binoculars or a telescope

With binos or a telescope, the comet will appear much more impressive.  Take the time to check out the large green coma and if you have a telescope, even the little tail.  By the way: an excellent thing to have on hand is a pair of Omegon Wide-field Binoculars.

Take the chance now and check out, what some are calling “the Christmas Comet”.  Clear skies and have fun!

Infographic: Astronomy highlights in Winter 2018/2019

December 4 2018, Marcus Schenk

The new 3-month night sky calendar at a glance. The astronomical infographic ’Highlights of the Winter Sky 2018/2019’ shows you what will be happening in the night sky. Descriptions of the individual events are below:

05.12. The Moon near Mercury
Early in the morning, the Moon can be observed near Mercury. They are separated by about only 7 degrees – making them suitable for observing with a pair of wide-angle binoculars.

07.12. Mars near Neptune
A fantastic spectacle – a very close encounter between Mars and Neptune. Only about 4 arcminutes away from Neptune, Mars passes north of Neptune from around 18:00. You will need a pair of binoculars or, even better, a telescope to observe them.

13./14.12. Geminids
If the night sky is clear in the evening, then it is best to observe facing south, as the ‘Geminids’ meteor shower will seem to come from the constellation of the ‘twins’ – more precisely, from a point two degrees above the star Pollux. Between 21:00 and 6:00 is the best time to observe. With around 120 meteors per hour, the Geminids is one of the most intense showers. However, the full Moon will diminish the view this year. Even so, you really shouldn’t miss this event.

15.12. Moon near Mars
The 42% illuminated and waxing moon can be observed near Mars today, separated by a distance of about 5 degrees.

16.12. Comet 46P/Wirtanen
The December Comet – finally, we have a bright comet again, which can be observed with binoculars and small telescopes. Comet 46P/Wirtanen reaches its closest proximity to the Earth on the 16th and can be observed near the Pleiades (M45) open star cluster at only 3 degrees away. A beautiful ‘constellation‘ through binoculars. Wirtanen is a rare comet, which could attain a strong brightness and hence become an impressive object for beginners. If everything progresses well, it could reach a brightness of up to magnitude 4 by the end of the year and so even become visible to the naked eye. Without the disturbing presence of the Moon, the comet can be found easily in the evening sky after Christmas.

28.12. Hebe in opposition
The asteroid 6 HEBE comes into opposition on December 28, attaining a brightness of about magnitude 8.5. It can best be seen around midnight in the constellation of Monoceros or in the constellation of Orion. You will need a mid-size telescope to observe it. Its current position can be found at any time, by using the Stellarium planetarium program for example.

01.01. Planet chain Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury
Just in time for New Year’s Eve, the New Year welcomes us with a pretty chain of planets. In the morning sky just before sunrise, you can see, from the top right to the bottom left to the horizon: the Moon, a bright Venus, Jupiter and even a shy Mercury close to the horizon. Tip: A great opportunity to take a beautiful photo.

04.01. Quardrantids
The next meteor shower is here – the Quadrantids. This shower comes from the constellation of Bootes, with the number of meteors observed across the sky potentially reaching a maximum of 120 per hour. Observing in the early morning will give you the best chance of successful observing.

05.01. Comet Wirtanen circumpolar
The Christmas Comet will also delight us in the new year – while the comet was only seen in the evening or in the morning sky before, it has now become circumpolar, wandering through the constellation of the Ursus Major. You can now observe it over the entire night.

06.01. Venus at greatest western elongation
The best view of Venus is now here. The ‘morning star’ shines brightly (magnitude -4.5). At 47 degrees angular separation, it is at greatest western elongation and can be seen half illuminated. The planet will first peep over the horizon at about 4:30 CET, and can be observed for about three hours before disappearing in the sunlight.

12.01. Moon near Mars
From dusk on, you can observe the Moon in the south with Mars above it. They are separated by about 7 degrees.

15.01. μ Cet occulted by the Moon (evening)
The Moon will occult the 4.1 mag star μ Cet in the very early evening. The Moon approaches the star with its dark side and finally occults it at 17:44 CET. An occultation from the Moon’s dark side is always fascinating to observe – it appears as though the star has suddenly been ‘switched off’. It will take almost an hour for the star to then reappear on the illuminated side of the Moon.

21.01. Total lunar eclipse
Everyone probably still remembers the Total Lunar Eclipse in 2018, when the Moon offered us a summer spectacle at a still-comfortable time of night. This time around the show is on the 21st of January, at a rather unfavourable time with temperatures that are too cold to be considered ‘T-shirt weather’.

Entry into the penumbra: 3:36 CET

Entry into the umbra: 4:33 CET

Beginning of totality: 5:40 CET

End of totality: 6:43 CET

Exits umbra: 7:50 CET

Exits penumbra: 8:48 CET

22.01. Venus near Jupiter
Jupiter and Venus can be observed together before sunrise. We can observe both planets shining in the southeast at a separation of only about 2 degrees. Venus is at magnitude -4.3, with Jupiter significantly weaker at magnitude -1.9. They provide a beautiful sight through binoculars, where you can admire them both in the same field of view.

31.01. Moon near Jupiter and Venus
On January 22nd the Moon joins the two planets, inserting itself in the middle between Venus and Jupiter.

02.02. Moon near Saturn (occulting in Germany and Austria)
The Moon is a waning ‘sickle’ and only 6% illuminated, so it is not visible until early in the morning. At 6.30 CET both astronomical bodies can be seen close to the horizon. The Moon can be seen to actually occult Saturn in both Germany and Austria – the ringed planet disappears behind the illuminated crescent moon at 6:37 CET, reappearing an hour later at the dark, north-eastern edge.

10.02. Moon near Mars
You can observe the crescent Moon and Mars together this evening in the same field of view in binoculars having a field of view of at least 7 degrees.

13.02. Mars near Uranus
Tonight, Mars will be less than 1.5 degrees away from the distant gas giant Uranus. The difference in brightness is significant – the red planet shines brightly at magnitude 1, whereas Uranus is only at a dim magnitude 5.8. Both objects can be observed using binoculars or a telescope. But it is definitely worthwhile – you can even see them together in the same field of view in a low magnification, wide-angle eyepiece.

27.02. Mercury at greatest eastern elongation (and half-full)
Because Mercury orbits so fast and so close to the Sun we cannot always observe it. But now Mercury is once again at a greater angular distance – of 18°- from the Sun. It’s not a huge separation, but it allows us to observe it for sufficient time during its half-full phase. Mercury can now be seen in the evening sky shortly after sunset. Be sure to wait until the sun has completely set before observing through any optics. You will then find Mercury just above the western horizon.

PDF here.

14.11.2019
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