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Posts Tagged 'telescope-accessories'

Lithium LT – the new power tank from Celestron

August 10 2020, Stefan Taube

With the PowerTank Lithium LT, Celestron is introducing a particularly light battery, which is especially suitable for smaller telescopes.

Celestron_Powertank_LT

The power tank can be attached to a tripod leg using the velcro straps included.

Modern telescope electronics react very sensitively to an incorrect voltage. Operating a telescope at too low a voltage can cause the motors to suffer at higher loads and even cause the electronics to fail. The PowerTank Lithium LT uses a built-in voltage regulator to ensure that it continually delivers at least 11.8 volts, until the battery is almost empty and shuts itself down.

Compared to a classic lead-acid battery, the PowerTank Lithium LT is smaller, lighter, more efficient and better for the environment. It offers better performance, a longer life and safer operation than other, cheaper lithium-ion batteries. It also offers automatic shutdown, reverse polarity protection and charge/discharge protection, as well as protection against overvoltage and short circuits.

Celestron_Powertank_LT_1

A smartphone can be charged using the USB output.

We recommend the PowerTank Lithium LT  for telescopes from the following series:

By the way: the battery also meets the current FAA regulations for hand luggage – ideal for travelling!

Radiant LED finder: Now with an exclusive bonus to help find objects more easily

February 21 2020, Marcus Schenk

It should be easy, but sometimes it really is exasperating. How am I supposed to find a galaxy, a nebula in the sky, when there are hardly any reference points?

Radiant Sucher mit Telrad Kreisen

The solution: the Radiant finder. With three circles in divisions of a half, two and four degrees, you use a two-dimensional search device; this offers an invaluable advantage over a simple LED finder with a projected dot. Indeed, astronomers who started with point-finders have often needed years to develop the necessary system or routine so that they could find something easily.

The idea of easily finding objects differs fundamentally from actual practice, but why is this?

Well, because at the beginning, you still need some practice to transfer that which you see on the star chart to the sky. For example, how do I find the famous Owl Nebula M97? How can I visualise that in the sky?

 

Astro Lineal für Radiant Sucher

Now there is a helpful solution to this: The Radiant Special Lineal
This makes it easier to find objects in the sky. You just place the transparent tool onto your star atlas and you can then find out how far, and in which directions, you need to move the circles in the sky. For example, place the centre of the circle on the lower-right star, Merak in the Big Dipper. Point roughly towards the 3.6 mag bright star, x UMa, and move Merak to the edge of the outer circle – M97 will already be in the centre. You can then do the same with your telescope in the evening.

It is like painting by numbers in the sky!

BONUS: Exclusively for Radiant purchasers
From now on, when you purchase a Radiant finder, you will also be given the special lineal with Radiant circles. This helpful tool is not available separately, you can only get it as a free bonus when you buy a Radiant finder.

Would you like to be able to find objects more easily? You can find the Radiant Finder with an Astro Lineal here!

 

Good conditions for observing Venus

January 20 2020, Jan Ströher

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

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

Credit: EXAME/JAXA/Divulgao, Brazil

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

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

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

Credit: Planetarium Bochum

Have fun observing Venus in 2020!

The SkyGuider Pro camera mount from iOptron is now available with an electronic polar finder

January 8 2020, Stefan Taube

The SkyGuider Pro is a very light mount on which you can set up a camera with interchangeable lenses or a small telescope. This approach allows longer exposure times and so you can create fascinating wide-angle shots of the night sky.

iOptron Montierung SkyGuider Pro iPolar Set

iOptron Mount SkyGuider Pro iPolar Set

The SkyGuider Pro is now also available as a set together with the iPolar electronic polar finder, which has been built into the mount. With this accessory, you can easily and very precisely polar-align your mount.

The electronic finder has a built-in camera. This shows the position of the northern celestial pole and the location that the polar axis of the mount is pointing at, on your laptop. Simply bring the two points together by turning the adjustment screws for the azimuth and altitude axes of the mount – and you’re done!

SkyGuider Pro mit iPolar

SkyGuider Pro with iPolar

The location of the celestial north pole differs somewhat from the location of the Pole Star. The electronics calculate the exact position using the date and time. Thanks to the sensitivity of the camera and the large field of view, this so-called polar alignment is successful even when the mount has been only roughly positioned. This also works in the southern hemisphere and even takes into account atmospheric refraction at low latitudes!

If want to do without iPolar, you can of course still purchase the SkyGuider Pro mount without the electronic polar finder here.

PlaneWave Instruments software for computer control of Celestron telescopes

June 26 2019, Stefan Taube

You can rely on PlaneWave Instruments’ professional CPWI software if you want to control your Celestron telescope via a laptop or PC.

This software is not only intuitive to use, but also lets you maximise the GoTo accuracy of your Celestron mount.

CPWI Telescope Control software is now compatible with all modern Celestron mounts, including:

 

You can download the software for free here on celestron.com!

 

Celestron CPWI

PlaneWave Instruments Telescope Control panel

 

Some special features of CPWI software include:

  • The built-in SkyViewer star chart is intuitive to use and allows you to easily navigate through the night sky by clicking and zooming.
  • Advanced PointXP lets you create a highly accurate model of the night sky which uses more than 100 reference points to enable highly accurate positioning and tracking.
  • Ideal for observatories: You can carry out alignment directly from the PC, save the alignment model and simply upload it again the next night you observe. Alignment can also be done entirely automatically using the optional StarSense module.
  • Extensive internal database. Access to the SIMBAD professional astronomy database possible via the Internet.
  • Worm screw periodic error compensation: PEC can be done from the PC via CPWI.

System requirements: Windows 7, 8 or 10 operating system, with USB 2.0 or 3.0 connection, 15MB hard disk space and 64MB RAM. Screen resolution of 1024×768 or higher is recommended.

New: Diamond Steeltrack focuser with Steeldrive from Baader

June 17 2019, Stefan Taube

Diamonds really are astronomers’ best friends – at least since the Baader Diamond Steeltrack focuser has been available. It uses real diamonds in its drive system!

In contrast to conventional Crayford or rack-and-pinion focusers, the Diamond Steeltrack’s micronized drive system guarantees entirely backlash-free operation, is completely non-slip and torsion-free – and has a vertical load capacity of 6 kilograms!

Okularauszug Diamond Steeltrack an einem Celestron EdgeHD

Diamond Steeltrack focuser on a Celestron EdgeHD telescope

There are Diamond Steeltrack focusers available for Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, Newtonian telescopes and refractors.

The Steeldrive II motorized focuser drive with hand-held controller is now available:

Baader Fokussiermotor Steeldrive II mit Steuerung

Baader Steeldrive II motorized focuser drive with control unit

The Steeldrive II motorized focuser drive permits automated focusing of a telescope via computer, as well as precise and vibration-free focusing using the buttons on the hand-held controller.

A good focuser considerably enhances observing pleasure and is essential for high-end astrophotography. The Steeltrack focuser is currently the best possible solution available!

 

iOptron mounts: A new addition to the CEM family

April 4 2019, Stefan Taube

CEM series mounts from iOptron are already widely used in the US and are becoming increasingly well known in Europe too. The CEM25P mount for portable astrophotography with Newtonian telescopes of up to 6 inches aperture and the CEM60 mount for use in observatories have proved particularly popular.

With their new CEM40 and CEM40-EC with encoders, iOptron now provides a middle range mount capable of carrying loads of up to 18 kilograms. The CEM40 is hence ideally suited for astrophotography with telescopes of up to 8 inches (200 millimetres) in aperture.

iOptron CEM40

The CEM40 is the latest addition to iOptron’s CEM series

The abbreviation CEM stands for centre-balance equatorial mount, i.e. for equatorial mounts which are supported at their centre of gravity. This design ensures an excellent relation between weight and carrying capacity. The CEM40 weighs only 7 kilograms and yet can carry OTAs up to 2.5 times heavier. The amazing carrying capacity of CEM mounts has been constantly reaffirmed by our customers – especially regarding the CEM25P.

The CEM40 comes equipped with an electronic pole finder, known as ‘iPolar’. A laptop is required to operate this however, so the CEM40 is particularly suitable for astrophotographers who already use a laptop for their camera. iPolar and built-in GPS provide easy and accurate alignment and GoTo computer control initialization.

The encoders installed in the CEM40-EC version ensure very high GoTo accuracy and allow worm gear permanent periodic error correction – a problem that all mounts suffer from. The CEM40-EC does away with the need for guiding with your astrophotography.

The CEM family now covers a wide range of load carrying capacities, offering a suitable model for every budget!

New: NB1 nebula filter from IDAS

March 25 2019, Stefan Taube

Luminescent emission nebulae, supernova remnants and planetary nebulae are all particularly beautiful objects pertaining to the night sky. This applies both to the simple process of visual observation, as well as to astrophotography. Nature illuminates such nebulae in specific spectral colours: the red light of hydrogen, the blue-green light of oxygen ions and also in the colours of sulphur and nitrogen ions.  Nebula filters enable these colours to pass through whilst blocking the diffused light of the natural luminance of the sky and of light pollution. The result is a marked increase in contrast.

With the Nebula Booster NB1, the filter specialists IDAS are introducing a new, very high-performing filter of this type onto the market, and one that is not overly expensive! As the transmission curve shows, the filter has high transmission and is permeable for all relevant spectral lines, with a surprisingly narrow passband: A real nebula intensifier!

Transmission curve IDAS NB1

 

The filter is ideal for photographing large nebula regions since it enables the typical colours of these objects to pass and blocks the disruptive skyglow. The filter quickly and completely cuts off near infrared up to 1100 nanometres. This is important since cameras are sensitive to this range, but telescopic lenses are optimised for the visible spectral range and are faulty in the infrared range.

IDAS Nebula Booster NB1

IDAS Nebula Booster NB1

 

The Nebula Booster NB1 is available with two versions which cover both of the common filter thread sizes and can be screw-fitted to the housings of eyepieces or cameras.

New focus motor for Celestron telescopes (1 Comment)

February 26 2019, Stefan Taube

When it comes to astrophotography, the right focus is the most important thing. Even the best optics only deliver sharp images if the focus is spot on. A motorized focus has two advantages over manual focusing: it is vibration-free and very precise. If you remotely control your telescope via your PC, you definitely need motorization.

For the very popular SC telescopes of the Celestron brand, numerous solutions from different suppliers have been available. Celestron now offers its own model, the focus motor for SC and EdgeHD optics.

Celestron Fokussiermotor für SC- und EdgeHD-Optiken

Celestron focus motor for SC and EdgeHD optics.

The motor fits all SC, EdgeHD and RASA optics, as well as the two new Maksutovs with CGEM-II and CGX mounts. Exceptions are optics built before 2006 and the 9.25″ EdgeHD. An additional adapter is required for the RASA 1100, as the RASA 1100 is already supplied with a FeatherTouch micro-focus. The adapter requires you to dismantle the focuser partially to fit the motor.

If you are using a Celestron mount, power is simply supplied via the mount’s AUX port. A cable for this is included in the scope of delivery. If all AUX ports on your mount are already occupied, simply use the Celestron Aux Port Splitter.

The motor can be controlled in three ways:

  • With the NexStar+ controller: Simply press the MENU button, select Focuser and you can use the two arrow keys to control the motor and adjust its speed. Version 5.30+ of the installed firmware is required. You can update your Nexstar control via the Internet at any time. The controller is not only suitable for visual observation, but also for astrophotography with a DSLR, i.e. without a laptop.
  • With a laptop or PC: If you operate your telescope remotely or have connected an astrophotography camera, it is best to use the free program Celestron Focuser Utility for Windows. For this purpose, you need to connect the NexStar hand controller to the computer via USB, not the focus motor itself. The new CGX and CGX-L mounts can be controlled with the Celestron PWI software. The focuser can also be addressed via this program. The CGX and CGX-L mounts can be connected directly to the laptop or PC via USB without manual control.
  • Without a Celestron mount: If you have a Celestron optic mounted on another brand’s mount, you can control the focus motor via the USB port. The USB port should supply 900mA. As an alternative to the USB power supply, you can also operate the focus motor via main power or a Powertank. However, a power supply unit or power cable is not included in the scope of delivery.

The Celestron focus motor for SC and EdgeHD optics is a really useful accessory that is easy to adapt and operate.

ASIAIR – astrophotography has never been so easy!

December 17 2018, Elias Erdnüß

The brand ZWO is, especially thanks to its powerful and user-friendly CMOS astrocameras, a frequently heard name in amateur astronomy.

With the ASIAIR control unit, ZWO now promises to fundamentally change the astrophotography scene! It’s a compact computer (Raspberry Pi), that is secured to the telescope of the mount. The device can do everything you expect a computerised telescope system of the 21st century to do!

Mount, camera, filter wheel, and autoguider are connected with the ASIAIR. Via an app for Android or iOS, everything can be controlled centrally and wirelessly via WLAN from the smartphone or tablet. You’ll no longer need to take your laptop with you to autoguide and to use cooled astrocameras. There are also advanced functions such as plate solving at the press of a button.

 

 

ASIASI communicates with the telescope mounts via the instrument neutral distributed interface (INDI) and so is compatible with most available GoTo mounts. The only snag: The device only supports ZWO cameras, autoguiders and filter wheels.

Other manufacturers like PrimaLuceLab with the EAGLE 2 are following similar approaches to computerisation. This one may feature higher performance and a wider range of functions, but there’s also the user-friendly ASIAIR for just a fraction of the price.

28.09.2020
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