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Archive for June 2022

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.

New from Celestron: dew protection

June 20 2022, Stefan Taube

The brand Celestron is known for its high-quality Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. These compact telescopes have a special glass plate on the front end which is exposed to the air and, therefore, is relatively susceptible to dewing up.

Celestron now offers a newly-developed range of accessories to solve this problem:

Smart_DewHeater_and_Power_Controller_4X_10

Complete system consisting of a dew cap, heating ring and controls

Aluminium dew cap with practical clip to secure to the telescope tube

These sturdy caps have an internal velvet surround to protect against pesky scattered light as well as dew. As every cap comes with a compatible dust cap, they can also stay on the telescope tube once you have finished observing for the night. This is a big advantage for observatory telescopes.

The dew caps are available in all Celestron SC telescope sizes. You can find the entire range here in our shop.

Heating rings for installation on the Schmidt plate

This new solution to the issue of dew is especially innovative. With just a few flicks of the wrist, you can separate the holding ring from the plate and replace it with a new ring with integrated heating. Thanks to the integrated sensor, the temperature of the Schmidt plate is kept just below the dew point and, therefore, remains dry.

If you are purchasing a new Celestron telescope, we can complete the installation for you prior to despatch. You can find all models here in the shop.

Dew cap smart controls

A set of controls is required to supply power to the heating ring. This not only provides the required energy, but also keeps the heating element’s other sensors operating optimally. This saves energy and prevents the heating creating negative optical effects. You only heat as much as you need to!

Both the 2x dew cap smart controls and the 4x dew cap smart controls can also control heating elements produced by other manufacturers. Additionally, they function as a hub for additional accessories. This prevents there being a tangle of cables and allows your set-up to be powered and controlled by one device and one software.

Smart_DewHeater_and_Power_Controller_4X_12

You do not require an additional laptop or PC

All of Celestron’s dew prevention options can be found here in our shop.

Video with English subtitles: AZ or EQ mount?

June 8 2022, Marcus Schenk

A video for novice amateur astronomers!

Every telescope is equipped with a mount. It allows the device to be moved in every desired direction. These can be divided into “equatorial” and “alt-azimuth” mounts

What are the differences? Which suits your needs best? And what do you need to be aware of?

Have fun watching!

Products featured in video:

Omegon Advanced 150/750 EQ-320 telescope

Celestron AC 90/1000 Astromaster AZ telescope

Omegon Advanced X N 203/1200 Dobsonian telescope

HEM27 – the new iOptron mounts featuring top-class technology!

June 3 2022, Jan Ströher

The recent trend towards hybrid Harmonic Drive mounts is not without reason: they are compact, light, can be used on camera tripods and yet have a high load-carrying capacity, which is far superior to the more basic camera mount. In addition, they are equipped with all the technical features of a large equatorial mount. Due to their design and mechanical construction, they also do not require any counterweight(s) – a further advantage for transportation. This is why the term “hybrid” is used: you have all the advantages of a camera mount, such as quick assembly, easy transportation, compactness and precise tracking of the night sky. All these features are then combined with the advantages of larger equatorial mounts, such as GoTo functions, a hand controller with object catalogue, permanent drive gear error correction (PEC), various tracking modes and a high payload capacity in relation to its own weight – all without a counterweight bar with corresponding counterweight. These mounts’ mechanics provide the perfect balance for your telescope.

HEM27 on camera tripod

iOptron is continuing this trend and introduces yet more innovation with the new HEM27 series. The series consists of three variants: a classic HEM27, one with iPolar and an EC version.

iOptron thereby offers a selection of hybrid mounts to suit all requirements. All HEM27 mounts have a low dead weight of just under 4kg, but a load-carrying capacity of up to 13.5kg! This means that they can also be used for telescopes that would normally only be found on mounts in the mid-range weight class. So you can use a telescope weighing 5–6kg and still have sufficient capacity for astrophotography equipment. This means that you have the choice of a much broader range of telescopes with the HEM27 compared to regular camera mounts, which usually have a load limit of 3–5kg.

A carrying case is included with the HEM series

iOptron has equipped this series with the well-established Go2Nova® software and a database of 212,000 objects – just like the larger CEM and GEM series of iOptron mounts. The internal cable management provides security and order, and a dual saddle plate allows the use of Vixen/GP and Losmandy prism rails. An ST-4 autoguiding port is available as well as built-in WLAN, a bubble level and an emergency brake system which stops the mount if the power supply is interrupted abruptly. When you continue, the location memory means that the mount does not have to be re-aligned and re-programmed for your location. As you would expect from iOptron: all HEM27 models feature extremely quiet and smooth stepper motors.

The HEM series will be available in summer. You can find first details here at Astroshop!

Astronomy Highlights – Summer 2022

June 1 2022, Marcus Schenk

Summer shooting stars, planetary chains and Saturn and Pluto at opposition… Don’t miss out on these astronomical delicacies. And in August, an occultation of a bright star by the Moon awaits us.

In the “Astronomy Highlights in Summer 2022” 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!

June

03/06 Conjunction between the Moon and M44

The waxing Moon crosses the ecliptic within the constellation Cancer this evening. In doing so, it approaches the M44 star cluster. You can admire both using binoculars with a large field of view.

16/06 Mercury at greatest western elongation

Mercury is at its greatest western elongation today. It, therefore, reaches its greatest angular distance from the Sun. Unfortunately, we have almost no time to view it and only experienced binocular observers will be able to make it out at dawn.

18/06 Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn

This morning, the Moon visits Saturn and both can be found 9 degrees apart in the constellation Capricorn.

22/06 Conjunction between Jupiter and Mars

Time for night owls and astronomers. From 2am, you can see Jupiter and Mars rising up over the eastern horizon. The Moon can be found at the centre of the event. A wonderful sight.

26/06 The Moon near Venus

This month, the planets are predominantly visible in the morning sky. They are lined up along a diagonal like a cosmic chain. The Moon will be paying most of the planets a visit and, on the 26th, it is Venus’ turn. The display is especially attractive three days before new Moon.

July

01/07   Conjunction between Venus and Aldebaran

Venus is almost as bright as possible – even bright stars found nearby can appear quite dull in comparison. On the first of the month, Venus approaches Taurus’ main star: Aldebaran.

16/07 Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn

The Moon passes by Saturn tonight and moves from the constellation Capricorn to Aquarius. The ringed planet is then even more visible and it reaches its opposition next month. This marks the start of the Summer of the Gas Giants.

19/07 Conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter

There are two competitors in the sky: the Moon and Jupiter. The gas giant has a magnitude of -2.5 and is only outshone by Venus and our own Moon.

20/07 Pluto at opposition

The former planet and current dwarf planet is at opposition and shining with a magnitude of 14.3. Finding it with a telescope is a challenge and it will only work if you have an  accurate star chart.

22/07 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

After rising shortly before 1am, the Moon meets Mars, which is glowing red at a distance of five degrees. However, our satellite is much closer to Uranus, with only 2.6 degrees between them today.

26/07 Conjunction between the Moon and Venus

When the first light of dawn appears, it’s worth taking a glance at the horizon. There is a conjunction between the dazzling Venus and the wafer thin, 27-day-old crescent moon this morning. An excellent opportunity for some stunning photographs!

August

06/08 The Moon occults Delta Sco

Delta Sco is a star within the constellation of Scorpio which, at a magnitude of 2, can be found in the centre of its distinctive, tripartite pincers. This evening the dark side of the Moon is occulting it. This is always the best kind of occultation as the star suddenly disappears as if into thin air. To follow the start of the occultation at 23:52, you need a high elevation and an excellent view of the southwest horizon.

11/08 Conjunction between the Moon and Saturn

In the night between 11 and 12 August, the Moon approaches the ringed planets. As Saturn reaches it opposition this month, it can be easily seen for the entire month.

13/08 Perseids

The absolute highlight of every August is the Perseids meteor shower. We are able to see up to 100 meteors per hour tonight. Admittedly, this is only because the Moon is not interfering. This year, the bright, almost full Moon disrupts viewing and you will only be able to possibly see the brightest meteors. Using binoculars you have a chance to catch a few dim ones.

14/08 Saturn at opposition

In past years, Saturn has stopped just above the horizon due to the location of the ecliptic. This made successful viewing difficult. But the ringed planet climbed higher up the celestial ladder and reached an altitude of 20 degrees in 2019 and of 24 degrees in 2021. During its current opposition in August 2022, it reaches even greater heights of up to 26 degrees. A clear advantage as, the higher the position, the less we have to battle against light pollution. On 14 August, Saturn reaches opposition and can be clearly seen for the whole night. We can recognise it by its yellow colour and its gentle glow.

15/08 Conjunction between the Moon and Jupiter

During the nights of 14 and 15 August, the Moon approaches and passes by Jupiter. This encounter can be seen all night as our largest planet will now be visible throughout the night. Jupiter reaches opposition in the coming month.

19/08 Conjunction between the Moon and Mars

Are you missing that winter sky feeling? And in summer? You can get the chance after midnight. Then, there is a conjunction between Mars and the Moon within the constellation Taurus, right at the Golden Gate of the Ecliptic. A little higher up, the Pleiades light up the sky.