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Archive for the 'News' category

Infographic: Astronomy Highlights Autumn 2021

September 1 2021, Marcus Schenk

Autumn has a planetary focus on Jupiter and Saturn which are both still brilliantly visible. Additionally, you have the chance to see the two outermost planets, Uranus and Neptune, at opposition.

In the “Astronomy Highlights in Autumn 2021” infographic, you can find numerous important celestial events at a glance. You can find dates and detailed descriptions of the events in the accompanying text.

Have fun observing!

September

September occurs in the period between summer and autumn. This can also be seen in the night skies. The constellations Hercules and Lyra drift westward. Contrastingly, the constellation Capricorn is conspicuous alongside the large planets Jupiter and Saturn in the south.

02/09 The Moon occults Epsilon Gem – In the early hours of the morning, the slender crescent moon occults the star Epsilon Gem in the constellation Gemini. The Moon approaches with its illuminated side at around 2am. You need a very good view of the horizon facing towards the north-east. (Visibility depends on observer location)

03/09 The Moon occults Epsilon Gem – At 4:38am, the slender crescent moon occults the star Kappa Gem in the constellation Gemini. An attractive occultation as the Moon appears as a narrow crescent. (Visibility depends on observer location)

3.9. Conjunction between the Moon and Pollux – In the second half of the night, the Moon appears over the horizon in the constellation Gemini. Only 3 degrees separate it from Pollux.

14.9. Neptune at opposition – The solar system’s furthest planet is at opposition and looks magnificent. You can see it as a star by using binoculars but it is only by using a telescope that you can see the 2.3 arc second planet as a small sliver. A star chart or an app would benefit you here.

17.9. Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn – Both large planets meet in the constellation Capricorn. With the Moon in the middle, they form a triangle.

October

October definitively marks the start of autumn. High above our heads we can see the famous Great Square of Pegasus and the constellation Andromeda. Time to take an extensive trip to the Andromeda Galaxy. Always an experience with binoculars.

03/10 The Moon occults Eta Leo – In the early hours of the morning, at around 5:27am, it is still dark. It is now that the Moon occults the 3.4 mag star Eta Leo with its narrow-illuminated side. It is definitely the most impressive star occultation of the quarter. (Visibility depends on observer location)

08/10 Giacobinids – The Giacobinids or Draconids are a meteor shower which appears to stem from the constellation Draco. The maximum fall 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.

09/10 Conjunction between the Moon and Venus – At sunset, a brilliant Venus and a 3.5-day-young crescent moon rise in the southwest. There is a maximum time window of 2 hours until Venus disappears below the horizon.

14-15/10 Conjunction between the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn – At the end of the civil twilight, at around 19:00, the planets Jupiter and Saturn rise dominantly in the sky. Although they were at opposition in August, they are still a rewarding target. The Moon does not disrupt their observation.

21/10 Orionids – The Orionids are a smaller meteor shower with around 20 meteors per hour. The radiant is located in the constellation Orion, near the star Betelgeuse. Although you can observe the meteor shower all month, it peaks between October 20 and 21. The best time for observing is between 22:00 and 05:00.

23/10 Mercury in the morning sky – In May, Mercury could be seen in the evening sky whereas now the planet is offering us a short period of morning visibility. Between 23/10 and 31/10, you can see it just above the eastern horizon.

November

The constellation Perseus is near the zenith in November. This is where you will find the two brightest stars, Mirfak and Algol. The famous binary star cluster h + chi illuminates the space between Perseus and Cassiopeia and can be seen with the naked eye in dark areas.

03/11 Conjunction between the Moon and Mercury – There are two reasons to get up early today. This morning, the delicate crescent moon and Mercury are in conjunction. One of the last opportunities before Mercury disappears into the Sun’s glare.

05/11 Uranus at opposition – At mag. 5.6, Uranus is currently visible with the naked eye. However, it is easier to spot using binoculars or a telescope. This makes it appear as a tiny green disc with no recognisable details. However, it can still be identified as a planet.

08/11 Conjunction between the Moon and Venus – The waxing crescent moon is in conjunction with the twinkling brightness of Venus.

10/11 Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn – The Moon passes Saturn only 4.5 degrees beneath it.

11/11 Conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter – Tonight the Moon passes Jupiter, moving at almost one degree per hour. We can track the movement relative to Jupiter quite well.

17/11 Leonids – The Leonids reach their peak from November 16 to 17. 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 the meteors all night long without interruption.

A review of Omegon’s 2.1×42 wide-field binoculars by Sky&Telescope

June 24 2021, Marcus Schenk

This Omegon 2.1x42mm star field binoculars is a great instrument for observing star fields, extended nebulae and entire constellations. Dennis di Cicco reviewed the Omegon star field binoculars for the astronomy magazine Sky&Telescope.

With a 42mm aperture and a magnification of 2.1x, the star field binoculars are truly remarkable. They offer a new observing experience that was previously not possible with binoculars and telescopes. This is also a reason why Sky&Telescope took a close look at this instrument. Among other things, the magazine liked its simplicity and compactness, the huge field of view, and the deep view of the sky. The author of the review was able to fully capture the constellations of Swan, Orion, Gemini, Wagoner, Perseus and others, as well as some deep sky objects or double stars like Algol.

Testbericht Omegon Sternfeldglas

Here are some quotes from the actual review:

Very well made

Excellent aid for learning and enjoying the night sky under less-than-ideal conditions

The Omegon 2.1×42 Binoculars are definitely a joy to use

I was seeing stars more than 1.5 magnitudes fainter in my suburban sky

Whether on vacation or on a hut tour through the Alps, the Omegon star field binoculars make beautiful observations possible even where you have no room for a telescope or binoculars. They also serve as a small observation treat from time to time. There is always a place in the (travel) bag for these Omegon 2.1×42 star field binoculars.

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.

The Unistellar eVscope Messier Marathon

March 9 2021, Elias Erdnüß

In the 18th century, the French astronomer Charles Messier compiled a catalogue of 110 nebulae and star clusters. These were primarily intended to help in the search for comets: to avoid confusing a newly appearing comet with a known nebula, one could refer to this handy Messier catalogue.

Credit: R. Stoyan et al., Atlas of the Messier Objects: Highlights of the Deep Sky (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Since then, the Messier objects have been among the classic observing targets of every amateur astronomer. Ambitious observers even try their hand at the so-called Messier Marathon: to observe all 110 nebulae, galaxies and star clusters of the catalogue in a single night! At telescope meetings, this friendly competition becomes an all-night event.

This year, these observing nights will take place between 10 and 16 March 2021. The Unistellar eVscope is a newcomer to the race.  The automatic alignment and livestacking of the revolutionary telescope make observing much easier. So even those who don’t yet know their way around the night sky like a pro can take part in the Messier Marathons with the eVscope and admire the objects in colour and contrast.

Messier-Marathon-Bundle: eVscope, gloves, thermos flask, eBook

Unistellar is also offering an exclusive Messier Marathon Bundle for this event! Each order of the eVscope will include a thermos flask and warming gloves. So you are well equipped against the cold on a long night of observing. (Of course, you shouldn’t forget warm clothes either.) The gloves are also suitable for operating a touchscreen. Your smartphone or tablet is a prerequisite when controlling the modern eVscope.

You will also receive the practical Unistellar guide to the Messier Marathon as an eBook. Besides lots of interesting info, you will find helpful tips for successfully taking part or completing the marathon. The eBook is available in English, German or French.

This year, eVscope owners around the world were able to use this practical Messier catalogue to avoid confusing a newly appearing comet with a known nebula.

This year, eVscope owners all over the northern hemisphere are trying to set the record for the largest Messier Marathon in the world.  You can thus share the event with like-minded people Via social media: Use the hashtag #UnistellarMarathon and register on the Unistellar website to contribute to the record attempt!

We keep our fingers crossed for beautiful clear nights!

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.

Declare war on viruses and bacteria!

January 12 2021, Patric Leibig

During the colder seasons, we spend more and more time in enclosed spaces, therefore increasing our risk of contracting viruses.
It only takes a short amount of time for us to lose our ability to assess air quality as we adapt to smells. This increases the importance of counteracting this.

Significantly reduce the risk of infection due to SARS-CoV-2 / Covid19 (Coronaviruses) and other viruses by using ambient air filters with Hepa H13 filter systems and CO2 monitors.

Seben HT-2008 CO2 Monitor

Air filters reduce aerosols in the ambient air.

SARS-CoV-2 / Covid19 and other lower respiratory illnesses are transmitted via aerosols/water droplets, amongst other things. Air purifiers with class H13 HEPA filters can filter these minute particles out of the ambient air and therefore significantly reduce the risk of infection. A combination of regular ventilation and air purifiers with class H13 “High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters” HEPA filters is the best way to reduce the risk of infection in enclosed spaces. H13 HEPA filters remove minute aerosols (<5µm) from the air and improve air quality. CO2 monitors can also be used to support ventilation.

Air filter

 

According to estimates, the risk of a person in a room becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 / Covid19 (coronaviruses) due to the presence of a superspreader is reduced sixfold by using air filters with H13 HEPA filter technology.

Monitor and improve the air quality in your office, your flat, the classroom, etc, using the following measures:

  • Proper and regular ventilation / cross ventilation
  • CO2 monitors which support your ventilation
  • Air purifiers / air filters with H13 or H14 “High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter” HEPA filters

Calculating the filter output for your room:

The ambient air filter should be able to filter the entire volume of air in the room at least 2x per hour in order to considerably reduce the concentration of aerosols and particulates. It is easy to work out the filter output you require:

To calculate the volume of your room, and therefore the volume of air, multiple the room’s length x breadth x height. Multiply this result by 2 and you have calculated the filter output in m³/h for your room.

Example:

Length: 5m, width: 4m, height: 2.5m

5m x 4m x 2.5m = 50m³

50m³ x 2 (per h) = 100m³/h

For classrooms / schools or other spaces where groups of people gather, we recommend calculating the air purifier’s output at 5 to 6 times the volume of the room.

Example:

For a room with a volume of 50m³, the air purifier used should have a minimum output of 300m³/h.

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.

Experience astrophotography with the Radian Raptor

November 3 2020, Jan Ströher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CEM70 with iGuider – the latest innovation from iOptron

September 23 2020, Jan Ströher

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

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

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

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

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

20.10.2021
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