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Posts Tagged 'telescope-accessories'

PlaneWave Instruments software for computer control of Celestron telescopes

June 26 2019, Stefan Taube

You can rely on PlaneWave Instruments’ professional CPWI software if you want to control your Celestron telescope via a laptop or PC.

This software is not only intuitive to use, but also lets you maximise the GoTo accuracy of your Celestron mount.

CPWI Telescope Control software is now compatible with all modern Celestron mounts, including:

 

You can download the software for free here on celestron.com!

 

Celestron CPWI

PlaneWave Instruments Telescope Control panel

 

Some special features of CPWI software include:

  • The built-in SkyViewer star chart is intuitive to use and allows you to easily navigate through the night sky by clicking and zooming.
  • Advanced PointXP lets you create a highly accurate model of the night sky which uses more than 100 reference points to enable highly accurate positioning and tracking.
  • Ideal for observatories: You can carry out alignment directly from the PC, save the alignment model and simply upload it again the next night you observe. Alignment can also be done entirely automatically using the optional StarSense module.
  • Extensive internal database. Access to the SIMBAD professional astronomy database possible via the Internet.
  • Worm screw periodic error compensation: PEC can be done from the PC via CPWI.

System requirements: Windows 7, 8 or 10 operating system, with USB 2.0 or 3.0 connection, 15MB hard disk space and 64MB RAM. Screen resolution of 1024×768 or higher is recommended.

New: Diamond Steeltrack focuser with Steeldrive from Baader

June 17 2019, Stefan Taube

Diamonds really are astronomers’ best friends – at least since the Baader Diamond Steeltrack focuser has been available. It uses real diamonds in its drive system!

In contrast to conventional Crayford or rack-and-pinion focusers, the Diamond Steeltrack’s micronized drive system guarantees entirely backlash-free operation, is completely non-slip and torsion-free – and has a vertical load capacity of 6 kilograms!

Okularauszug Diamond Steeltrack an einem Celestron EdgeHD

Diamond Steeltrack focuser on a Celestron EdgeHD telescope

There are Diamond Steeltrack focusers available for Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes, Newtonian telescopes and refractors.

The Steeldrive II motorized focuser drive with hand-held controller is now available:

Baader Fokussiermotor Steeldrive II mit Steuerung

Baader Steeldrive II motorized focuser drive with control unit

The Steeldrive II motorized focuser drive permits automated focusing of a telescope via computer, as well as precise and vibration-free focusing using the buttons on the hand-held controller.

A good focuser considerably enhances observing pleasure and is essential for high-end astrophotography. The Steeltrack focuser is currently the best possible solution available!

 

iOptron mounts: A new addition to the CEM family

April 4 2019, Stefan Taube

CEM series mounts from iOptron are already widely used in the US and are becoming increasingly well known in Europe too. The CEM25P mount for portable astrophotography with Newtonian telescopes of up to 6 inches aperture and the CEM60 mount for use in observatories have proved particularly popular.

With their new CEM40 and CEM40-EC with encoders, iOptron now provides a middle range mount capable of carrying loads of up to 18 kilograms. The CEM40 is hence ideally suited for astrophotography with telescopes of up to 8 inches (200 millimetres) in aperture.

iOptron CEM40

The CEM40 is the latest addition to iOptron’s CEM series

The abbreviation CEM stands for centre-balance equatorial mount, i.e. for equatorial mounts which are supported at their centre of gravity. This design ensures an excellent relation between weight and carrying capacity. The CEM40 weighs only 7 kilograms and yet can carry OTAs up to 2.5 times heavier. The amazing carrying capacity of CEM mounts has been constantly reaffirmed by our customers – especially regarding the CEM25P.

The CEM40 comes equipped with an electronic pole finder, known as ‘iPolar’. A laptop is required to operate this however, so the CEM40 is particularly suitable for astrophotographers who already use a laptop for their camera. iPolar and built-in GPS provide easy and accurate alignment and GoTo computer control initialization.

The encoders installed in the CEM40-EC version ensure very high GoTo accuracy and allow worm gear permanent periodic error correction – a problem that all mounts suffer from. The CEM40-EC does away with the need for guiding with your astrophotography.

The CEM family now covers a wide range of load carrying capacities, offering a suitable model for every budget!

New: NB1 nebula filter from IDAS

March 25 2019, Stefan Taube

Luminescent emission nebulae, supernova remnants and planetary nebulae are all particularly beautiful objects pertaining to the night sky. This applies both to the simple process of visual observation, as well as to astrophotography. Nature illuminates such nebulae in specific spectral colours: the red light of hydrogen, the blue-green light of oxygen ions and also in the colours of sulphur and nitrogen ions.  Nebula filters enable these colours to pass through whilst blocking the diffused light of the natural luminance of the sky and of light pollution. The result is a marked increase in contrast.

With the Nebula Booster NB1, the filter specialists IDAS are introducing a new, very high-performing filter of this type onto the market, and one that is not overly expensive! As the transmission curve shows, the filter has high transmission and is permeable for all relevant spectral lines, with a surprisingly narrow passband: A real nebula intensifier!

Transmission curve IDAS NB1

 

The filter is ideal for photographing large nebula regions since it enables the typical colours of these objects to pass and blocks the disruptive skyglow. The filter quickly and completely cuts off near infrared up to 1100 nanometres. This is important since cameras are sensitive to this range, but telescopic lenses are optimised for the visible spectral range and are faulty in the infrared range.

IDAS Nebula Booster NB1

IDAS Nebula Booster NB1

 

The Nebula Booster NB1 is available with two versions which cover both of the common filter thread sizes and can be screw-fitted to the housings of eyepieces or cameras.

New focus motor for Celestron telescopes (1 Comment)

February 26 2019, Stefan Taube

When it comes to astrophotography, the right focus is the most important thing. Even the best optics only deliver sharp images if the focus is spot on. A motorized focus has two advantages over manual focusing: it is vibration-free and very precise. If you remotely control your telescope via your PC, you definitely need motorization.

For the very popular SC telescopes of the Celestron brand, numerous solutions from different suppliers have been available. Celestron now offers its own model, the focus motor for SC and EdgeHD optics.

Celestron Fokussiermotor für SC- und EdgeHD-Optiken

Celestron focus motor for SC and EdgeHD optics.

The motor fits all SC, EdgeHD and RASA optics, as well as the two new Maksutovs with CGEM-II and CGX mounts. Exceptions are optics built before 2006 and the 9.25″ EdgeHD. An additional adapter is required for the RASA 1100, as the RASA 1100 is already supplied with a FeatherTouch micro-focus. The adapter requires you to dismantle the focuser partially to fit the motor.

If you are using a Celestron mount, power is simply supplied via the mount’s AUX port. A cable for this is included in the scope of delivery. If all AUX ports on your mount are already occupied, simply use the Celestron Aux Port Splitter.

The motor can be controlled in three ways:

  • With the NexStar+ controller: Simply press the MENU button, select Focuser and you can use the two arrow keys to control the motor and adjust its speed. Version 5.30+ of the installed firmware is required. You can update your Nexstar control via the Internet at any time. The controller is not only suitable for visual observation, but also for astrophotography with a DSLR, i.e. without a laptop.
  • With a laptop or PC: If you operate your telescope remotely or have connected an astrophotography camera, it is best to use the free program Celestron Focuser Utility for Windows. For this purpose, you need to connect the NexStar hand controller to the computer via USB, not the focus motor itself. The new CGX and CGX-L mounts can be controlled with the Celestron PWI software. The focuser can also be addressed via this program. The CGX and CGX-L mounts can be connected directly to the laptop or PC via USB without manual control.
  • Without a Celestron mount: If you have a Celestron optic mounted on another brand’s mount, you can control the focus motor via the USB port. The USB port should supply 900mA. As an alternative to the USB power supply, you can also operate the focus motor via main power or a Powertank. However, a power supply unit or power cable is not included in the scope of delivery.

The Celestron focus motor for SC and EdgeHD optics is a really useful accessory that is easy to adapt and operate.

ASIAIR – astrophotography has never been so easy!

December 17 2018, Elias Erdnüß

The brand ZWO is, especially thanks to its powerful and user-friendly CMOS astrocameras, a frequently heard name in amateur astronomy.

With the ASIAIR control unit, ZWO now promises to fundamentally change the astrophotography scene! It’s a compact computer (Raspberry Pi), that is secured to the telescope of the mount. The device can do everything you expect a computerised telescope system of the 21st century to do!

Mount, camera, filter wheel, and autoguider are connected with the ASIAIR. Via an app for Android or iOS, everything can be controlled centrally and wirelessly via WLAN from the smartphone or tablet. You’ll no longer need to take your laptop with you to autoguide and to use cooled astrocameras. There are also advanced functions such as plate solving at the press of a button.

 

 

ASIASI communicates with the telescope mounts via the instrument neutral distributed interface (INDI) and so is compatible with most available GoTo mounts. The only snag: The device only supports ZWO cameras, autoguiders and filter wheels.

Other manufacturers like PrimaLuceLab with the EAGLE 2 are following similar approaches to computerisation. This one may feature higher performance and a wider range of functions, but there’s also the user-friendly ASIAIR for just a fraction of the price.

New: Celestron Powertank Lithium Pro

November 29 2018, Stefan Taube

 The Celestron Lithium Powertank has quickly proven itself and is already used as a power supply for countless astronomical telescopes. Celestron has now also packed two LiFePO4 elements into one battery to give twice the power with its Lithium Pro Powertank!

Celestron Lithium Pro 1

Some special features:

  • Up to 17 hours of power for your telescope!
  • Multiple devices can be powered simultaneously.
  • Socket for vehicle power plug (cigarette lighter cable). This cable is included with most telescopic mounts as an accessory.
  • High shelf life – unlike other power tanks, this battery does not need to be used regularly in order to maintain its performance.
  • Long operating life – up to 2,000 charging cycles, which only take about 3 hours.

Like its little brother, the larger Powertank also employs Celestron’s well thought-out design – it can be attached to the tripod with the loop and Velcro fastener provided. The torch has a red light function and the lid with the connections can be closed to protect against dust and moisture.

Celestron Lithium Pro 3

Thanks to its cigarette lighter connection, the Lithium Pro Powertank can be used with almost any mount. A powerful portable power supply such as this is highly recommended for slightly larger mounts, such as the Celestron CGX or the Skywatcher EQ6-R.

Celestron Lithium Pro 2

LPI-G: Planetary cameras and autoguiders from Meade

November 27 2018, Stefan Taube

 The abbreviation LPI-G stands for Lunar and Planetary Imager & Guider. These cameras from Meade are ideal for astrophotography involving the Sun, Moon and planets. Even small telescopes can safely carry these lightweight cameras. They plug into the telescope like an eyepiece and are connected to the laptop via USB.

Meade-LPI-G-LifeStyle1

Delivery includes Meade SkyCapture software – this allows intuitive operation and use of other programs via the ASCOM interface. The ST-4 socket means the cameras can also be used perfectly well as auto-guiders – that is, for the tracking control of your mount.

The standard version of the LPI-G series has a 1.2 megapixel sensor. The LPI-G Advanced camera offers a wider dynamic range, a 6.3 MP sensor and a high 59 fps frame rate. It has a USB 3.0 port to allow it to handle this data stream,.

The reasonably priced standard version is eminently suitable for beginners who would like to first get some experience. The Advanced model goes way beyond this and allows an intensive experience with planetary astrophotography to develop over many years.

Both versions are available as black-and-white or colour cameras. The black-and-white cameras have the advantage of higher sensitivity and resolution. The cost of colour imaging is higher as you will also need the appropriate colour filters and a filter wheel.

All the models available in the LPI-G series can be found here in the Astroshop.

New Smartphone Mount by Celestron: NexYZ

August 28 2018, Stefan Taube

The trend of using smartphone cameras for photography with optical instruments has remained steady. This is, of course, an obvious choice because everyone has this camera with them, ready to send pictures; and these cameras are always improving. The large range of smartphone mounts  has been extended by Celestron, adding a very interesting model.

NexXY

The  Celestron NexYZ is not only particularly robust; it can be adjusted in all three axes using a rotary knob. This means you’ll be able to set the perfect distance between the eyepiece and the adapter. This feature, in combination with the ease, with which the smartphone can be changed, is interesting for public shots at observatories, because all visitors want to take their personal moon photo home with them.

NexYZ-1

The clamp of the NexYZ adapter is also wonderfully suited for use on spotting scopes.

NexYZ-2

With the NexYZ adapter, we are offering you a smartphone holder with the usual clever design by Celestron.

5 Simple Ways to See and Photograph the Lunar Eclipse and the Opposition of Mars

July 13 2018, Marcus Schenk

Attention all lovers of nature, amateur astronomers and night owls: the night of the 27th of July, 2018 will be totally different.  In this particular night, we will experience the Opposition of Mars and a rare Total Lunar Eclipse in Europe!  It is sure to be a midnight Summer dream, in the middle of warm temperatures and mystical experiences.

In this article, you will learn about, that which you can use to observe and photograph the Total Lunar Eclipse and Mars.

Another interesting point: currently, there are a number of other planets to see. Now is the perfect opportunity to jump into Astronomy.  You will be rewarded with a fireworks show of planets.  Mars, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn are waiting for you to rediscover them!

As the night slowly falls, the Moon will rise in the southeast.  Our satellite will look unusual and simultaneously fascinating.  Almost completely eclipsed, it will rise higher and higher.  The “blood Moon”,  which evoked fears and superstitions of death and destruction in earlier times, will be visible for us to witness with our knowledge and science in a relaxing manner and with a smile.

The highlight of this year: at a length of 1 hour and 44 minutes of totality, we will get to enjoy the longest Lunar Eclipse of the century! More information about this event is available below.

Now you can read on to learn about the 5 ways and effective products, to observe the Moon and the Planets. Let’s go!

 

1. Discover the Sky with Binoculars

The lunar eclipse is visible with the naked eye,  but with a pair of binoculars, the Moon in the Earth’s shadow becomes an especially intense experience. For an great observation, we recommend the Omegon Binoculars Nightstar 20×80.  These binos are a great alternative to a telescope or as an entry into Astronomy.  They are bright and something that you can always carry with you.  Just point the binos to the sky or mount them on a tripod.  Then you will see the Moon in all its glory and innumerable craters.  It is amazing with both eyes, as if you were there.  But there is more.  You can can even view  Jupiter and its moons as well as starclusters, such as the Pleiades or the Andromeda Galaxy.

Großfernglas 20x80

The Omegon Binoculars 20×80

2. Getting closer with a telescope

Much like a mega zoom into the cosmos: A telescope allows you to see real detail. Observe the entire Moon, singular lunar craters, Jupiter, or Saturn with its massive system of rings. However you want.  The possibilities are endless!  With a greater magnification, only available with telescopes, you will be able to see Mars for the planet that it is and not just the red “star” in the night sky.  The Omegon AC 70/700 AZ-2 is the most budget-friendly entry point.  With a 70mm aperture, it collects 100 times more light than the naked eye.  The eyepieces enable a 35x and 70x magnification, or in combination with a barlow lense up to 140x.  More details and more resolution is available in the Omegon AC 90/1000 EQ-2.  The telescope is our tip for entry into lunar and planetary observing.  With a 90mm aperture, you will be able to see many details, such as the cloud bands on Jupiter or the polar caps on Mars.

Einsteigerteleskop

The Omegon AC 90/1000 EQ-2 – Recommendation for entry into Astronomy

3. The simplest way to your own astrophotos

A photo of the lunar eclipse?  It’s possible with the simplest tools.

With a telescope, the path to your own photos is just a small step.  The best camera for such a task is right in your pocket: your smartphone!  Pick up a Smartphone adapter, which will keep your phone perfectly positioned above the eyepiece.  We also offer the more budget-friendly Omegon Smartphone Adapter, which demands a bit of finesse or the Omegon Easypic Universal.  This smartphone adapter is a self-centering and easy-to-use device.  It only takes one minute and you will already have taken your own lunar photo.

Smartphoneadapter

Omegon Easypic Universal Smartphone adapter

4. The right eyepiece is decisive, when it comes to details

With eyepieces, you often must separate the wheat from the chaff.  An eyepiece is essentially an extended arm of the telescope’s optic and you should put a lot of stock into selection, just as you would with a telescope itself.  A good tip would be to replace old or standard eyepieces with high quality ones, which can provide you with a significantly better image.  Excellent crispness and great contrast can be found in the Omegon LE Planetry Eyepieces for all 1,25“.  The customer reviews range from “just fantastic” to “you cannot believe it”.

The Family of Omegon LE Planetary Eyepieces

5. Color filters for better contrast

Much like a chain, the planets of Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will appear to us in a line, and all after darkness has fallen, during the most comfortable time of year.  The constellation of planets is so rare, that now is the time to jump into astronomy.  Amateurs can easily pinpoint the planets and see details of each.  Polar caps and other structures on Mars, or the big red dot on Jupiter become more visible with the appropriate color filters.  Placed into the eyepiece, filters can lead to an epiphany for any motivated observer.  The Omegon Color filter set features the most important ones for all planets.  Other contrast filters or our Lunar Filter are also a helpful inclusion to your collection.

Farbfilter für die Planetenbeobachtung

Color filter set with 6 color filters

 

Other information about the Total Lunar Eclipse and the Mars Opposition is available here:

Infographic: Total Lunar Eclipse on the 27th of June 2018

Mars Opposition 2018: How to Observe Mars and its Details

 

10.12.2019
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