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Archive for 2021

Discover the laser collimators from Farpoint

October 12 2021, Jan Ströher

Just as a car needs regular maintenance to work perfectly, a Newtonian telescope must be precisely adjusted from time to time in order to achieve the best possible optical performance and image quality. This is done by adjusting the mirrors so that the incident light, reflected by the primary and secondary mirrors, converges at a central point from which it is then directed into the focuser. In astronomy, the process of exact adjustment is called collimation. For correct collimation, the secondary mirror must be aligned with the focuser – lengthwise and centred. In addition, the secondary mirror must be aligned precisely with the centre of the primary mirror. Finally, the primary mirror should then be perfectly aligned with the axis now created by the focuser and secondary mirror.

To facilitate this process, there are various tools available to ensure the telescope’s collimation is as accurate as possible. Laser collimators in particular are very popular, as the laser beam can be used to precisely simulate the incident light in the telescope tube and align the two mirrors so that the laser beam is centred and directed into the focuser. Due to the red colour of the laser beam, the whole exercise becomes visually easy and ensures that even beginners can manage a fast, simple and effective collimation.

Collimation set from Farpoint

There are of course high-end devices among the range of collimator lasers, such as those from the American manufacturer Farpoint. This company produces and sells several collimator sets with 1.25″ and 2″ collimator lasers, with either 635nm or 650nm wavelength, as well as a robust padded case, in which the collimator can be stored and transported nicely protected from dust, moisture and other influences.

In our shop you will find the various high-tech lasers from Farpoint to suit your individual needs. Just take a look and perfect the performance of your Newtonian telescope!

Baader SunDancer II for observation and solar photography

October 7 2021, Stefan Taube

The Baader SunDancer II sun filter transforms smaller refractors quickly and simply into telescopes for solar observation using H-alpha spectral lines. In this wavelength, you can see the Sun’s chromosphere with dark filaments, bright radiation bursts and spectacular solar prominences!

Baader Sonnenfilter SunDancer II H-alpha 2"/1,25"

Baader SunDancer II H-alpha 2″/1.25″ solar filter

Simply position the SunDancer II between the diagonal mirror and the eyepiece and connect it to a power source. The filter is then automatically brought to the optimal operating temperature so that no adjustments are required during longer observations.

The SunDancer II can be safely used on refracting telescopes with apertures up to 80 millimetres. An additional energy rejection filter is only required in front of the telescope for objective apertures upwards of 80 millimetres; alternatively, the telescope can be dimmed using an optional 80mm screen in front of the lens.

Telescopes with secondary mirrors, such as Newtonian, Maksutov or SCTs, always require an additional energy rejection filter, regardless of their size.

The complete solar disc can be seen in telescopes with apertures of up to 600mm.

The T2 thread beneath the eyepiece clamp facilitates easy adaptation for larger cameras:

SunDancer II mit DSLR-Kamera

SunDancer II with DSLR camera

A power supply unit is included. For mobile observation, a  powerbank can also be used.

You can find further information on this particularly high-quality H-alpha filter for the eyepiece side here in our shop.

The Skywatcher Heritage FlexTube telescope, now available as GTi

September 22 2021, Stefan Taube

The Heritage FlexTube telescope is a much-loved Dobsonian with a table-top tripod. Its very compact mount is easier to transport due to a collapsible upper part – it doesn’t get more compact!

The manufacturer Skywatcher now offers this handy Dobsonian with computerised controls: the Heritage FlexTube Virtuoso GTi telescope

Skywatcher Dobson Teleskop N 150_750 Heritage FlexTube Virtuoso GTi

Skywatcher Dobson N 150/750 Heritage FlexTube Virtuoso GTi telescope

 

The Virtuoso GTi’s mount hones in on selected objects and follows their path across the sky, so that they are always visible in the eyepiece.

The mount also has its own WiFi to which your smartphone can connect. Using the free SynScan app for iOS and Android, you can then set up and control your mount. Once the app is installed on your smartphone, you no longer need an internet connection to control the mount.

Manual controls are also not required and are therefore not included.

kywatcher Dobson Teleskop N 150_750 Heritage FlexTube Virtuoso GTi 2

The motorised version of the Dobsonian is also very compact and easy to transport.

 

As with the non-motorised version, the Virtuoso GTi telescope also uses tried and tested 150/750 Newtonian optics. This 6-incher with a convenient aperture ratio reveals faint nebulae in the night sky, such as the famous Orion Nebula, the Messier 13 globular cluster or the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5 million light years away.

By the way, you can also mount the Heritage FlexTube Virtuoso GTi on a camera tripod or an astronomical tripod with a photo thread, such as the Skywatcher tripod with 3/8″ mounting bolt.

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.

New: Deluxe equatorial wedge for Omegon MiniTrack

August 27 2021, Marcus Schenk

Using the latest deluxe equatorial wedge, aligning the MiniTrack with the north celestial pole is easier than ever. The advantages? Spherical stars all night long.

How do you align your MiniTrack and other astrotrackers without an equatorial wedge? In theory, this is possible using a tripod head but the alignment and the fixed support sometimes resemble weather forecasting, in a word: uncertain. And yet, the photography session is meant to be a success.

The right tools for success

Thanks to the deluxe equatorial wedge, you can simply and precisely align your MiniTrack with the north celestial pole. It’s easy peasy lemon squeezy!
A robust locking mechanism provides permanent polar alignment, even when you are continuously focusing your camera on new targets.

In our set-up, we use an Omegon 32mm carbon tripod, the deluxe equatorial wedge and a MiniTrack 3 with pole finder.

Simple installation on any tripod

Using the 3/8 inch thread, you can attach the polar wedge to any camera tripod. To do so, you simply need a mini Vixen-style rail, such as the Omegon 55mm prism rail, which can be used with the MiniTrack. You can then connect and align your astrotracker easily.

Quality made in Portugal

The equatorial wedge is manufactured to the highest quality and consists of CNC components and stainless-steel screws. It is produced in small batches in Portugal and checked for quality.

The ideal addition to your MiniTrack: view the Omegon Deluxe equatorial wedge in the shop now.

New: Explore Scientific observatory tent

August 26 2021, Stefan Taube

At some point it will be possible to have star parties again! Great news for those who have tents! But why not have a tent in which you can pitch your telescope?

69811_3

Explore Scientific observatory tent

 

The new Explore Scientific observatory tent is not only designed for star parties, but also ideal for when you want to observe with protection from wind and scattered light. It’s even worth putting it up in your own garden if a period of good weather makes observation possible multiple nights in a row.

During the day, the weather-proof observatory tent protects your telescope from sunlight or sudden changes in the weather.

69811_2

Weather protection prevents unpleasant surprises

 

The real star of the show is its sturdy pretensioning: Release the holding strap and the whole tent unfolds from its packaging with almost no assistance. To find out more, watch this video on the product page.

Lots of space for your equipment: The observatory tent takes up a surface area of over five square metres. It is divided into two sections. This means one section can be used for the telescope and the other for your equipment.

The observatory tent is also easy to transport. So, you can still have enough space in your car for other important things for the star party.

You can find further information about this innovative product here in our shop.

New CMOS-optimised line filters from Baader

July 1 2021, Stefan Taube

The manufacturer Baader presents new filters for astrophotography in the spectral lines H-alpha, OIII and SII.

Filtersets

The half-width of the narrowband filters is 6.5 nanometres, and for the ultra-narrowband it is as little as 3.5 to 4 nanometres. The f/2 filters are optimised for very fast astrographs such as Celestron’s RASA optics.

All filters are available in standard sizes:

cmos-filter-groessen

With a line filter, astrophotography of luminous nebulae is possible even under a light-polluted city sky! These filters only allow those wavelenghts of light in which the selected celestial object shines to fall on the camera sensor. All other wavelengths are blocked. This produces high-contrast images of planetary nebulae, supernovae remnants and star-forming regions.

Three types of line filters are used in astrophotography, each of which is transparent to the brightest spectral lines of oxygen, sulphur or hydrogen atoms. Depending on the astronomical object, a single filter may be enough for a spectacular image. Combining three shots, each taken through a line filter, creates an ideal result.

The new generation of Baader CMOS-optimised filters is characterised by, among other things:

  • Reflex-Blocker™ coatings, for maximum insensitivity to retro-reflection from adjacent auxiliary optics, even under the most adverse conditions.
  • FWHM on each filter category carefully designed to allow for 1:1:1 exposures, matched for typical CMOS quantum efficiency and S/N ratio.
  • Blackened edges all around, with filter-lead-side-indicator in the form of a black frontside outer rim, to additionally eliminate any reflections due to light falling onto the edges of a filter.
  • Each filter is coated individually, with sealed coating edges.
  • Life-Coat™: Hard coatings to enable a non-aging coating for life – even in the most adverse environments.

Baader-Filter-Technologien

You can find all the new filters here in the shop.

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.

Omegon Advanced 150mm: now with 2″ focuser

June 16 2021, Marcus Schenk

The Omegon Advanced 150/750 EQ-320 telescope is a popular instrument offering an introduction to the exciting hobby of astronomy. With a new, large focuser, you can now even use 2″ eyepieces. For stunning observing and almost limitless views of the cosmos.

2" Okularauszug beim EQ-320 6"

Until now, observers using the Advanced 150/750 EQ-320 have only been able to use 1.25” eyepieces and accessories, but with the new 2″ Crayford focuser (patent pending), you will literally grow your horizons. This gives you the freedom to choose the eyepieces and accessories you want to use.

These are advantages the focuser offers:

With the 2″ eyepieces available in our shop, you can reach a larger area of the sky than is possible with 1.25″ eyepieces. For example, you can capture full-size large nebulae or enjoy seemingly never-ending vast fields full of stars. It also makes it easier for you to find objects. In short, a 2″ focuser is a blessing for deep-sky observers who want to experience the skies as if through a panorama window.

What if you complement the standard 1.25″ eyepiece, as supplied, with a  2″ eyepiece? The Omegon SWA 32mm 2″ eyepiece offers a fantastic image and a real wow-effect for deep sky observing.

Smooth mechanics for precise focusing

Such large focusers are quite unusual for a 150mm Newtonian telescope. However, our development department wanted to ensure that even owners of medium and compact telescopes could benefit from wide-angle eyepieces. In contrast to a normal geared focuser, the new 2″ Crayford focuser with ball bearings runs totally free of play. This allows you to focus your object smoothly and with high precision.

The advantages of the Advanced 150/750 EQ-320:

  • Experience sharp and clear objects: with the parabolic primary mirror
  • 2″ Crayford focuser (patent pending) for 1.25″ and 2″ eyepieces: you can connect additional accessories at any time – even from other manufacturers
  • Equatorial mount: so that you can precisely track celestial objects
  • Trouble-free start in the sky: complete telescope with two eyepieces
  • Find objects easily and successfully with an illuminated LED finder
  • Immediately recognise stars, planets and nebulae – even if you’re an absolute beginner

The Advanced 150/750 EQ-320 telescope is available with immediate effect with a 2″ focuser.

Build your own OpenAstroTech mount!

June 11 2021, Stefan Taube

A photo mount allows you to track the rotation of the night sky on a camera equipped with a photo lens or a small telescope. This allows for long exposure shots of large areas of the night sky.

The manufacturer OpenAstroTech now offers a very functional, yet particularly inexpensive variant of a photo mount. The OpenAstroTracker is a mount you can build yourself!

Der OpenAstroTracker mit Kamera und optionalem Autoguider

The OpenAstroTracker with camera and optional autoguider

Building the mount yourself is not only fun and educational, you also get a powerful GoTo mount at an extremely low price thanks to the DIY approach!

Some of the features:

  • GoTo: The mount comes with full, computer-control functionality. The electronics are compatible with commonly used astronomy software.
  • Suitable for DSLR cameras with a maximum total length of 35cm (camera body with lens). The maximum recommended focal length without autoguider is 200mm.
  • High-precision stepper motors: GoTo positioning accuracy of approx. 1 arcmin, tracking accuracy of 25 arcsec, guided accuracy of approx. 1 arcsec.

What you will need: A USB power bank able to deliver at least 5V 1A

The OpenAstroTracker is available in different latitude setting versions. We will supply you with a set that allows you to set up the mount for a latitude of either 35° to 45° or 45° to 55°.

Der Bausatz OpenAstroTracker

The OpenAstroTracker kit

No need to worry: The electronic components are all designed for easy use. No soldering is necessary.

A matching DIY autoguider is also available as an option: OpenAstroGuider V2

27.10.2021
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