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The PrimaLuceLab experience

November 24 2022, Jan Ströher

PrimaLuceLab, the Italian manufacturer from Porcia, specialises in high-end astronomy accessories. Products includes the high-quality PLUS range of prism rails, support rings and clamps, together with adapters, guiding systems, radio telescopes and a variety of products for holistic astrophotography solutions. PrimaLuceLab’s aspiration is to make astrophotography uncomplicated and accessible for all – this aspiration is fully realised with their specially developed PLAY software and their EAGLE, ECCO, ARCO, GIOTTO and SESTO SENSO series of products. The aim is to create a complete package that functions as simply as possible and makes the technology behind astrophotography as convenient for all users as it can be: a PrimaLuceLab experience, so to say.

PrimaLuceLab EAGLE control unit

When combined with the PLAY software, this system comprising various PrimaLuceLab products offers a complete set-up for all telescope models, regardless of brand. The PLAY software is very clear, user-friendly, offers an all-in-one solution with full ASCOM compatibility and works providing you use at least an ESATTO micro focuser or the SESTO SENSO 2. Instead of various software applications, you have everything combined in one clear and simple solution – indeed the name PLAY suggests the simplicity of the application – which allows even beginners to engage in astrophotography in an uncomplicated (yes, playful) and yet immediately successful manner. All other PrimaLuceLab products can be controlled using this software.

The ESATTO micro focuser

Functionality and technology are continuously tested and further developed by PrimaLuceLab. Products are always checked in the in-house workshop before they are sent to the warehouse or prepared for shipment. I was able to see this for myself during a visit to the company in October 2022. There, the founder and president of PrimaLuceLab, Filippo Bradaschia, gave me a live demonstration of the PLAY software functionality using a complete set-up comprising a Sky Watcher AZ/EQ5 mount, a cooled QHY163 monochrome camera, PrimaLuceLab EAGLE/ARCO/SESTO SENSO products, together with a Sharpstar 80mm apochromatic refractor. I was impressed by the overview of the operation as well as the functionality! The software even replaces the mount’s hand-held control. Filippo Bradaschia compares this to buying an Apple©™product: PrimaLuceLab offers you a complete experience and ensures that the individual components are all compatible with one another: the PrimaLuceLab experience!

Back in stock: Baader FlipMirror II

November 9 2022, Stefan Taube

Multiple faces – multiple uses

Baader’s multi-purpose flip mirror is back in stock! In combination with its level camera connector, the FlipMirror II offers a third connector, ideal for accessories such as off-axis guiders or calibration lamps for spectrographs.

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The FlipMirror II can be permanently mounted on the telescope as its optical finish is comparable to that of a high-quality zenith mirror. The flip mirror can also be used for visual observation.

Why do you need a flip mirror?

Unfortunately, every telescope only has one connector on the eyepiece side despite there being a large range of accessories that you may want to connect: eyepieces, cameras, off-axis guiders, guiding eyepieces, spectrographs and many more. For astrophotography and spectroscopy, these components need to be mounted at the same time.

The FlipMirror II provides more opportunities for this than other flip mirrors and it also provides solid screw adaptors. This is why multiple thread adapters are included amongst the accessories.

Baader_Flip-Mirror

 

Hold the stars in your hand – the new Vaonis Vespera!

October 18 2022, Elias Erdnüß

The impressive Vaonis Stellina arrived on the market 3 years ago. With its fully-automatic alignment, autofocus, live stacking and app-based controls, it more than deserves the title of smart telescope!

Now the Vaonis is upping the ante… The new Vespera is a miniature version of the tried and tested concept. With a weight of just 5kg, this new observing station is more compact and more mobile than its alternatives. The Vespera can be taken anywhere quickly and at the drop of a hat. As with the Stellina, alignment takes place automatically using plate solving. Select your desired object for observation from the singularity app – the telescope finds the target and starts imaging. Watch on your smartphone or tablet as the celestial object becomes clearer, more colourful and more contrast-rich, minute after minute, whilst the Vespera collects more and more light using live stacking.

The Vespera also provides even better value for money than its predecessor thanks to its reduced size! Yet its optics still meet the highest possible standards. The in-built 50/200 (f/4) quadruplet apochromat in combination with the modern Sony IMX462 sensor provide high-quality astronomical images. Share these with friends and family!

Order here now!

A change of scenery: Astroshop now has a new design

October 13 2022, Stefan Taube

If you are one of our long-standing customers, you have probably already noticed that we have modernised our online shop.

The new shop is actually the fourth in our 20+ year history. Our last complete overhaul was 13 years ago, so a change of scenery was long overdue. With our new design, we are responding to technological developments as well as to the changing demands of online shopping.

What’s changed?

  • The design is more contemporary and more clearly laid out
  • The layout adapts to the device used, no matter whether that’s a computer, tablet or smartphone
  • More content can be accessed by scrolling, so fewer clicks are required
  • A link to the magazine, our comprehensive library of information about practical astronomy, is now in the header next to the shop

What doesn’t change?

Well, that’s easy: the many advantages you enjoy as an Astroshop customer:

  • Personal advice and service with our own specialist workshop
  • Fast, reliable delivery from Europe’s largest warehouse for telescopes and accessories
  • Fair prices thanks to the direct import of many brands and our proven best price guarantee

What do you think of the new design? We look forward to receiving your feedback and will definitely bear this in mind as we continually develop our shop.

For all nostalgia fans we have put together screenshots of all the previous versions of the shop:

Aus der Frühgeschichte

 

Astroshop im Mittelalter

 

Astroshop in der Neuzeit

Telescopes from Bresser’s Messier range

September 19 2022, Stefan Taube

The manufacturer Bresser offers a rich variety of telescopes for hobby astronomers in their Messier range. Options range from economically-priced entry-level models through to telescopes which make all of your wishes come true.

Large selection of scopes and mounts:

Within the Messier range, you can find optical telescopes, Newtonian telescopes and compact Maksutov scopes. The latter are very good for travelling and are designed for planetary and lunar observations.

These telescopes are equipped with a rail to attach them to astronomical mounts. As these rails conform to the Vixen style, the telescopes can be used with almost every mount.
For the Messier range, Bresser has developed both the EXOS-1 and the EXOS-2 mounts. They are adapted for these scopes. The mounts can be purchased with or without a motor. If you want a reasonably-priced entry-level model, you can leave the motor out. You can always add one later. Motors are especially necessary for astrophotography. You can find upgrade sets here in our shop.

The EXOS-2 mount is also available with computerised controls (GoTo).

Bresser Teleskop AC 102/1000 Messier Hexafoc EXOS-2

Bresser AC 102/1000 EXOS-2 GoTo Messier telescope

Ideal for beginners: Dobsonian telescopes

Within the Messier range, Bresser also offers a range of Dobsonian telescopes. The larger models feature altitude bearings which provide high levels of stability in all positions. Thanks to the OTA brackets, the tubes on these Dobsonian telescopes can also be placed on other mounts.

Dobsonian telescopes are ideal for optical use and are very reasonably priced.

Bresser Dobson Teleskop N 254/1270 Messier Hexafoc

Bresser N 254/1270 Hexafoc Messier Dobsonian telescope

All telescopes come with a suitable solar filter which is placed on the front end of the telescope. This makes it possible to safely observe the Sun.

All telescopes from Bresser’s Messier range can be found  here in our shop.

Sky Quality Map of Europe: Where can dark night skies still be found?

August 9 2022, Stefan Taube

Following the success of the Sky Quality Map of Germany, Oculum Verlag has produced another pull-out map showing light pollution. The Sky Quality Map of Europe is a comprehensive source of information for anyone looking for dark skies in Europe.

Sky Quality Map

Additionally, the map can play an integral role in the public relations activities of observatories and also contribute towards the conservation of nature as light pollution is not only annoying for astronomers, but it is also a significant cause of insect death.

Satellite images were used to generate data which renowned Italian researchers Fabio Falchi and Riccardo Furgoni then processed.

This data was carefully calculated, taking numerous factors into account, to enable them to reach reliable scientific conclusions about artificial light in the night sky.

Sky Quality Map

A high-quality travel map was used as a cartographic basemap. Even small towns, bodies of water, train tracks, streets and attractions are listed on the map. This means the map can be used for planning as well as for navigation.

New: Dobsonian telescopes from Celestron with StarSense technology

July 25 2022, Stefan Taube

With the StarSense Explorer series of telescopes from Celestron, it’s very easy to find objects in the night sky. All you need to do is install a free app and insert your smartphone into the special dock on the telescope.

Celestron combines classic Dobsonian telescopes with this new technology – a combination of proven and new technologies.

There are two models to choose from:

Both telescopes are complete systems with all the accessories you’ll need.

Celestron Dobson-Teleskop StarSense-Explorer

Celestron StarSense Explorer Dobsonian telescope

Unlike other PushTo technologies, no encoders are used. The StarSense app uses the smartphone’s camera to capture the current visible star field and compare it to an internal database. In this way, the app knows where the telescope is pointing, and can guide the observer to the desired object with arrows on the smartphone display.

Of course, the app also offers plenty of information about the celestial objects, together with suggestions for your observing night.

StarSense-Explorer-Technologie

StarSense Explorer technology

StarSense Explorer telescopes can also be used without the app, for example for a view of the Moon or another easily identifiable celestial object. For this purpose, a red dot finder is included.

Dobsonian telescopes are among the most popular entry-level telescopes. But they are also greatly valued by experienced astronomers for exploring the night sky without a camera. These telescopes’ minimalism makes them relatively inexpensive and are suitable both for beginners and advanced observers looking for an uncomplicated nature adventure. The StarSense Explorer series of Dobsonian telescopes combines this minimalism with a modern aid for navigating the night sky.

Dobson-Teleskope sind leicht zu transportieren und aufzubauen.

Dobsonian telescopes are easy to transport and assemble.

Video with English subtitles:Unistellar eVscope 2 in action

July 22 2022, Marcus Schenk

Automatic telescopes for everyone to view the Universe. Which we barely need to operate. Do they really work?

In this video, we present the Unistellar eVscope 2 telescope. Find out how it performs under the night sky. Have fun watching!

Products featured in video:

Unistellar N114/450 eVscope2 

Unistellar N114/450 eVscope eQuinox 

Carry bag, backpack for eVscope

Affordable H-alpha solar telescopes from Lunt Solar Systems

June 29 2022, Stefan Taube

The most impressive way to observe the Sun is in H-alpha light. This is red light with a wavelength of 656 nanometres. With a normal solar filter, you will only be able to observe sunspots, whereas with H-alpha telescopes, prominences at the Sun’s edge become visible. Filaments, solar flares and much more can be seen on the solar surface. It is only in H-alpha light that are you able to appreciate the Sun’s dynamics.

Chromosphaere

The Sun in H-alpha light, photographed with the LS40T Ha solar telescope

Unfortunately, H-alpha filter systems often cost several thousand euro. However, the new LS40T Ha telescopes from Lunt Solar Systems make observing the Sun’s red chromosphere much more affordable: solar observation is accessible to everyone!

Lunt Solar Systems Sonnenteleskop ST 40/400 LS40T Ha B600

Lunt Solar Systems ST 40/400 LS40T Ha B600 solar telescope

LS40T Ha telescopes are available in three versions:

The difference between the versions lies in the size of the blocking filter. This filter element is located in the rear erecting lens, which looks like a star diagonal.

All blocking filters are suitable for visually observing the Sun. However, a larger filter is more suitable for photography, as it allows the exposure of a larger camera sensor. The B600 blocking filter is a very good compromise if you want to observe visually as well as photograph with an planetary camera.

The telescopes are supplied with a helical focuser, a Vixen standard prism rail, and a threaded connection for camera tripods. The practical solar finder helps to align the telescope.

An optional carrying case is also available, which makes use of the foam inserts in the original packaging. When you get your telescope, don’t throw away these inserts, instead use them to line the case. In this way, you replace the cardboard outer packaging with a beautiful and stable aluminium case.

Another important recommendation is the very practical sun hat from Lunt Solar Systems – not just for solar observing.

Kühler Kopf für Sonnenbeobachter

Cool head for solar observers

Dobsonian telescopes with special Bresser enhancements

June 28 2022, Stefan Taube

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Messier-series telescope with add-on sun filter

Bresser’s Messier-series Dobsonian telescopes  stand out from the crowd due to their features, which cannot be found on other brands of comparable telescopes:

  • The telescope tube is held in place using tube clamps. This means the tube can be rotated along its axis to find the perfect eyepiece position. It can be optimally balanced by adjusting the tube within the tube clamps. You can also fully demount the tube and use it with an equatorial mount, for example.
  • The altitude bearings have a comparatively large radius. This facilitates finer adjustments along the vertical axis. Many Dobsonian telescopes in this price range do not have proper altitude bearings!

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    The altitude bearings with tube clamps glide along the rockerbox.

  • The so-called rockerbox, upon which the telescope is placed and which enables rotation in azimuth, is fitted with quick-release fasteners on the Messier Dobsonians, the kind you are familiar with from furniture. This enables the box to be quickly and simply assembled. In this way, the box can be disassembled again and again.
  • The Hexafoc focuser is superior to focusers on comparable telescopes by other manufacturers.
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The large Hexafoc focuser does not cast a shadow on wide-angle eyepieces.

  • A compatible solar filter is supplied with the product. As the tube is closed, no sunlight can enter the telescope from the side. This makes it possible to safely view the Sun.

In addition to these features, you also receive a Messier Dobsonian with high-quality optics and a parabolic mirror which is fully adjustable. This makes it possible to start a lasting relationship with the night sky. The Messier Dobsonians are available in two sizes. You can find both models here in our shop.

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The optics are fully adjustable.

Note: These telescopes are named after Charles Messier (1730-1817), whose “Catalogue of Nebular Objects” contains a number of celestial objects which you can observe using these telescopes. A modern guide to Charles Messier’s objects can be found in Cambridge University Press’ book The Messier Objects.