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.
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!
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°.
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
March 25 2021, Stefan Taube
The new filters in the MaxFR range are optimised for astrophotography using very fast telescopes, such as the Celestron RASA scopes or the Takahashi Epsilon astrographs.
Astronomik has made these filters available for the three most important spectral lines, namely OIII, H-alpha and SII, each available in half widths of 12 and 6 nanometres.
An H-alpha clip filter for Canon cameras from the MaxFR range
When you observe beneath brightened skies, astrophotography with line filters provides you with the best opportunties to capture successful images. Generally, an H-alpha filter is the first sensible purchase: Using this filter, you can effortlessly capture detailed images, even during the full Moon or beneath heavily brightened skies! It is also the correct filter for all nebulae which emit red light.
The OIII filter significantly increases your options as it enables all green/blue structures to be captured in detailed and high-contrast images. Planetary nebulae and star formation regions are especially rewarding targets!
The SII filter then completes your filter set, and enables you to create the same colour photographs as the Hubble Space Telescope using the three channels!
Which half width is right? In short, the use of 12 nanometre filters is ideal for DSLR cameras and all dark-current-limited cameras. Further suppressing the sky background using a narrower half width does not create more detail with these cameras. The 6 nanometre filters are the right choice for locations with more light pollution and for cameras with extremely low dark current, for example cameras with very good cooling. Especially in very starry regions of the Milky Way, the 6nm filter can also capture weak objects in high-contrast without them becoming lost in the mass of stars.
You can find an overview of all filters in the range here.
February 9 2021, Stefan Taube
Small telescopes which are mounted parallel to the telescope fulfil two purposes: as a finderscope, they help the observer to navigate the night sky, whilst as a guidescope, they help with the astronomical mount’s precise tracking.
Explore Scientific 8×50 helical guidescope
The manufacturer, Explore Scientific, has produced two models which superbly meet the requirements for both of these:
Both scopes are equipped with a removable eyepiece. Without this eyepiece, they can be used as a guidescope with a helical focuser. They use a guiding camera with a mating dimension of 1.25”. With the aid of the guide sleeve clips, the guidescope can be aligned to a guide star. The camera keeps this firmly in view and corrects minute mount errors using drive pulses.
Using the eyepiece, small telescopes are converted into high-quality finderscopes, producing images vastly superior to standard finderscopes. The eyepiece is fitted with an illuminated crosshair.
Thanks to this practical solution provided by Explore Scientific an auxiliary telescope is only required for different applications.