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New: StarAid Revolution standalone autoguider

January 21 2021, Stefan Taube

Autoguiding is understood to refer to the automatic monitoring of the tracking of astronomical mounts. This monitoring is required for astrophotography in order to keep the targeted object steady on the camera’s sensor.

There are a multitude of cameras available for autoguiding, however they require a laptop or PC and suitable software. Now, standalone solutions are coming out which do not require these supports. The latest innovation in this field is the StarAid Revolution autoguiding camera. Tracking monitoring is extremely simple using this!

StarAid-Kamera-Standalone-Autoguider-Revolution-Revision-B

StarAid Revolution standalone autoguider revision B

Plug & Guide: Connect the camera to your guide scope, connect it to your mount via the guide port, and voila! The camera kicks into action after around 30 seconds and sends corrective impulses to your mount’s motors.

But the StarAid Revolution can do even more: For example, polar alignment, the precise alignment of your mount with the Earth’s rotational axis. It is even possible to control the astronomical camera. An app is available for these additional options and also to monitor the tracking. In order to allow you to connect your smartphone to your autoguider, the StarAid Revolution creates its own WiFi network.

Revolution is a big word. Here, it really does apply!

Declare war on viruses and bacteria!

January 12 2021, Patric Leibig

During the colder seasons, we spend more and more time in enclosed spaces, therefore increasing our risk of contracting viruses.
It only takes a short amount of time for us to lose our ability to assess air quality as we adapt to smells. This increases the importance of counteracting this.

Significantly reduce the risk of infection due to SARS-CoV-2 / Covid19 (Coronaviruses) and other viruses by using ambient air filters with Hepa H13 filter systems and CO2 monitors.

Seben HT-2008 CO2 Monitor

Air filters reduce aerosols in the ambient air.

SARS-CoV-2 / Covid19 and other lower respiratory illnesses are transmitted via aerosols/water droplets, amongst other things. Air purifiers with class H13 HEPA filters can filter these minute particles out of the ambient air and therefore significantly reduce the risk of infection. A combination of regular ventilation and air purifiers with class H13 “High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters” HEPA filters is the best way to reduce the risk of infection in enclosed spaces. H13 HEPA filters remove minute aerosols (<5µm) from the air and improve air quality. CO2 monitors can also be used to support ventilation.

Air filter

 

According to estimates, the risk of a person in a room becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 / Covid19 (coronaviruses) due to the presence of a superspreader is reduced sixfold by using air filters with H13 HEPA filter technology.

Monitor and improve the air quality in your office, your flat, the classroom, etc, using the following measures:

  • Proper and regular ventilation / cross ventilation
  • CO2 monitors which support your ventilation
  • Air purifiers / air filters with H13 or H14 “High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter” HEPA filters

Calculating the filter output for your room:

The ambient air filter should be able to filter the entire volume of air in the room at least 2x per hour in order to considerably reduce the concentration of aerosols and particulates. It is easy to work out the filter output you require:

To calculate the volume of your room, and therefore the volume of air, multiple the room’s length x breadth x height. Multiply this result by 2 and you have calculated the filter output in m³/h for your room.

Example:

Length: 5m, width: 4m, height: 2.5m

5m x 4m x 2.5m = 50m³

50m³ x 2 (per h) = 100m³/h

For classrooms / schools or other spaces where groups of people gather, we recommend calculating the air purifier’s output at 5 to 6 times the volume of the room.

Example:

For a room with a volume of 50m³, the air purifier used should have a minimum output of 300m³/h.

Omegon carbon tripods: The alternative for heavy instruments

January 7 2021, Marcus Schenk

Are you looking for a tripod which can securely hold your large binoculars or your heavy camera equipment? Let’s cut to the chase – a lot of aluminium tripods have problems managing this. Who wants to wait three hours until the binoculars stop swaying, until you can finally see a steady image?

This is why Omegon has launched two new tripods which are heavy instrument carrying pros. Let us introduce you to… the Omegon ProCarbon 32 and the Omegon ProCarbon 40.

Stabiles Carbonstativ

The new, ultra-stable Omegon Pro 40mm Carbon

Both tripods perform admirably, even if you mount a 5kg camera or if you use a pair of large 125mm binoculars on them. Ten layers of carbon and CNC aluminium components make these high-quality all-rounders which are a joy to use, even when fully extended. With a load capacity of 20 – 50kg a gentle breeze can even drift past.

We tested the Omegon Pro Carbon 40 using a massive fork mount and the Omegon Brightsky Large Binoculars. With this sturdy tripod as your foundation, it is easy to lose yourself in the starlit sky.

Die Omegon Neptune Montierung auf dem Omegon Carbonstativ

A fork mount and heavy large binoculars: This is an ideal job for the carbon tripod. A stable combination so that you can enjoy viewing without any vibrations.

 

The advantages at a glance:

– Sturdy tripod with 32 or 40 carbon fibre tripod legs for vibration-free observation and easy transportation
– Confidently supports heavy cameras, spotting scopes and large binoculars
– Steel tips and rubber feet: the correct foothold on any surface
– Large height: look through your binoculars at a comfortable height and wave goodbye to backache
– A tripod for the future which you will not want to part with

Discover more about the stylish and sturdy Omegon ProCarbon 32 and Omegon ProCarbon 40 tripods on our product pages.

For people in need: Astroshop donates 15,000 euro to Doctors Without Borders

December 21 2020, Marcus Schenk

There are times where astronomy fades into the background, when telescopes and presents are not so important. What is important is to help people who are sick or in need. A Christmas idea that Astroshop is putting into practice once again this year: thanks to you, we are donating 15,000 euro to Doctors Without Borders.

 

Fighting against suffering and death

We have to admit that, despite many problems, people in Central Europe live comfortably. What happens out there in the rest of the world often seems distant, even if we see it in the news every day. But all this can change quickly, as we have seen first-hand with the Corona crisis. Like the shadow of the approaching night, the virus spread mercilessly across the entire world, and, in no time, had us in its grip.

The poorer countries in particular are facing a double shock due to the crisis. Take Sierra Leone for example, where the mortality rate is higher than in virtually any other country. Where more than one in ten children do not make it to their fifth birthday. The health system is in a catastrophic state and fails to meet any standards. Water is scarce or contaminated, malaria is raging – and COVID-19 poses a new threat. Or in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh, where more than 900,000 people live in catastrophic conditions, almost half of whom are children are under the age of 11. Help is needed everywhere.

Doctors Without Borders is active in all these trouble spots and have already made many things possible, for example the provision of a COVID-19 hospital with 200 beds in Rio de Janeiro. The organisation is active in many areas; it brings important medicines and water along difficult roads or rivers, and treats the people. During the Corona crisis, Doctors Without Borders fight against death and for life in more than 70 countries. We want to support that.

How we came about the masks

At the beginning, in March 2020, masks were scarce. We therefore used our relationships with our Chinese producers to make protective masks for everyday use available quickly and cheaply. Maybe this is unusual for a provider of telescopes for astronomy, but health and social responsibility concern us all. We also supplied astronomers with masks having astronomy motifs.

It was clear from the beginning that we wanted to link each sale with a donation for Doctors Without Borders. One euro from every sale goes to the organisation. We have topped up the amount raised so far, and are donating 15,000 euro. A Christmas gift that will spread joy.

This is made possible by our customers, and for that we say “thank you”!

Despite the difficult situation, we wish you a wonderful Advent and a happy Christmas.

Your Astroshop team

Special gift ideas for astronomers and nature watchers

December 7 2020, Stefan Taube

Are you looking for a little something? We are offering you selected gifts for young and young at heart nature fans.

To help you make your choice, we have grouped our gift ideas as follows:

Our specific recommendations from these categories:

For astronomy beginners

Omegon-150-750

Omegon Telescope N 150/750 EQ-3

The Omegon Telescope N 150/750 EQ-3 is a very popular beginners telescope, with which the highlights of the night sky can be observed easily.  Star clusters, the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Moon and the planets are all within the capabilities of this beautiful instrument.

For amateur astronomers

Omegon ADC

Omegon ADC Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector

Advanced observers will love the Omegon ADC Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector. Behind this somewhat long-winded title, lies an accessory that allows planets and other objects, even those close to the horizon, to be observed in sharper focus. This is a particularly useful and reasonably-priced tool for planetary astrophotography.

For nature fans

Omegon Fernglas Talron

Omegon Binoculars Talron HD 8×42

Omegon Binoculars Talron HD 8×42  belong in every home.  Equipped with these you can take a quick look at birds in your garden, and you’ll want to take them with you when you next go for a walk or a hike. The binoculars offer a sharp image which, at eight times magnification, remains steady when hand-held.  They are easy to carry and, thanks to the large focus wheel, comfortable to use.

For children and the young

Omegon-70-700

Omegon Telescope AC 70/700 AZ-2

The Omegon Teleskop AC 70/700 AZ-2 is a classical refractor telescope, which is especially suited to children and the young. The low eyepiece position is easy for children to reach, and the operation of the telescope is particularly intuitive.  Due to the favourable focal ratio it is possible to view the Moon and bright planets without annoying colour aberrations. But you can also enjoy observing star clusters and the Orion Nebula using this telescope.

That special gift

Oklop Leinwanddruck Orionnebel M42

Oklop Orion Nebula M42 Canvas Print 50cm x 75cm

Talking of the Orion Nebula: this beautiful celestial object is also available as a high quality canvas print. You can find further images in this range of prints from Oklop here in our shop.

We hope you enjoy browsing through our gift ideas!

Astronomy Highlights in Winter 2020/21

December 2 2020, Marcus Schenk

An extremely close encounter between Jupiter and Saturn, Mars and Uranus together in your field of view and the Geminids coincide with a new Moon. Once again there are all sorts of reasons to take a look and admire the starry sky. In the infographic “Astronomy Highlights in Winter 2020/21”, you have all the important celestial events occurring in the next three months at a glance. We wish you lots of observing pleasure!

December:

13/12 Geminids

If the evening sky is clear, take a look to the south. The Geminids meteor shower will appear to be originating from the constellation Gemini. Or to be more precise: from a point two degrees above the star Pollux. The best time for observing is between 21:00 and 06:00 CEST. With 120 meteors per hour, the Geminids are among the most active meteor showers. We are especially lucky with the timing this year since we have a new Moon and so we can observe, undisturbed, all night.

13/12 Conjunction between the Moon and Venus

Are you an early bird who can think of nothing better than to gaze at the stars in the early hours? This morning it will be worth your while. From around 05:30 GMT (06:30 CET) you can see lustrous Venus in the sky and, underneath it, the delicate crescent Moon – since the very next day we have a new Moon. This weekend is perfect for deep-sky observing.

17/12 Conjunction between the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter

We are able to enjoy this attractive event thanks to the fact that at the moment it gets dark early. At dusk we see a conjunction between Jupiter, Saturn and the young waxing crescent Moon. The two gas giants accompanied us throughout last summer and every evening they were the brightest objects in the southern sky. Now they disappear early and let the winter sky take centre stage.

21/12 Ursids

The Ursids are a meteor shower on which you can keep your eye on all night. This is because they originate from the constellation Ursa Minor, from which these meteors also get their name. These beacons speed across the sky considerably slower than the Perseids – at around 35 kilometers per second.

21/12 Winter solstice

21/12 Conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn (note: they appear very close together)

Are you observing the Star of Bethlehem today? It’s the highlight of the month and you definitely shouldn’t miss it. On 21 December, coinciding with the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn present us with an unusual spectacle since in this conjunction they are just 5 arc minutes apart. A truly rare sight.

Let’s step back in time: Jupiter and Saturn also met one another in the year 7 BC. In that year a total of three such conjunctions in constellation Pisces between these two planets occurred. Scientists can still prove that today. We can assume that, due to its distinctive nature, this was what became to be known as the Star of Bethlehem. An interesting association so close to Christmas, isn’t it?

How about observing both of them through your telescope in a single field of view? You need to be sure to take up your observing position early. Preferably around 17:00 CET when the gas giants are sufficiently high in the sky, since in less than 1.5 hours they will disappear into the haze on the horizon.

21/12 The Moon occults mag 4.3 star

At 20:04 GMT (21:04 CET) the Moon occults the 4.3 mag star 30 PSC, which belongs to the constellation Pisces. What is especially beautiful is that the Moon moves closer to the star from its unilluminated side, so suddenly the star disappears as if it was simply switched off. At 21:15 GMT (22:15 CET) it twinkles again from the other side of the Moon.

23/12 The Moon near Mars

In October Mars stood in favourable opposition and was spectacular to see. Now it is in the constellation Pisces where it can be observed during the first half of the night. This evening the Moon joins it.

24/12

Happy Christmas!

27/12 The Moon near Aldebaran and the Pleiades

Even people who do not concern themselves with the night sky notice the Pleiades, and they often mistake them for Ursa Minor. Observers of the sky know differently: it is the best-known open star cluster which has been observed by mankind for thousands of years and which has a special significance for many cultures. Tonight the Moon meets up with the Pleiades and with Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus.

January:

02/01 Quadrantids

The Quadrantids is a meteor shower originating from the constellation Boötes. The new year starts with an astronomical performance which delivers around 120 meteors per hour. The radiant, from where the shooting stars appear to originate, only appears after midnight. Unfortunately, this year the bright Moon disturbs the show, since full Moon was only three days ago.

03/01 The Moon near Regulus

Today the Moon and Regulus can be seen, with a separation of 4 degrees. The name Regulus means ”little king“ in Latin. Because of its proximity to the ecliptic, it regularly meets the Moon.

07/01 The Moon near Spica

Spica is a massive blue star, a variable star, and at the same time a binary star system. 262 light years away, 13,000 times brighter than the Sun, and 7.5 times larger than the radius of the Sun, it takes 16th place in the list of the brightest stars in the sky. Spica is located at the ear of grain that Virgo holds in her left hand, this is also the origin of the star’s Latin name. On 7 January the Moon is nearby.

11/01 The Moon near Venus

On the morning of 11 January dawn is nearly over when Venus rises at 06:00 GMT (07:00 CET) and meets the slender crescent Moon above. At this point the Sun is still just 9 degrees below the horizon.

20/01 Mars near Uranus

The planet Uranus is theoretically visible with the naked eye. However, in practice the 2.9 billion kilometre distant planet is not so easy to find. The problem is that it is so small that it can be difficult to distinguish from a star. This is tricky with binoculars, but is a little easier with a telescope where you can distinguish one ”star“ with a minimally-greater diameter from another. This evening you can find Uranus more easily because it comes near Mars at a distance of 1.5 degrees.

If you use an eyepiece with a longer focal length then you can admire both in your field of view.

21/01 The Moon near Mars

Today the Moon passes Mars at a separation of 5.5 degrees.

24.01. Mercury at greatest eastern elongation

Mercury orbits the Sun so quickly and so close, that we cannot always observe it. However now Mercury is once again at a greater angular distance of 18 degrees from the Sun. That’s not a large number, but we can nonetheless observe it during its half phase. Mercury is to be seen in the evening sky shortly after sunset. Whatever you do, wait until the Sun has set. Then you will discover Mercury just above the western horizon.

27/01 Mercury at best visibility

Today Mercury reaches its highest position in the night sky, and with it its best evening visibility. From tomorrow its orbit sends it lower, back towards the horizon.

February:

03/02 The Moon near Spica

Once again, this morning the Moon passes by star Spica in Virgo. What is behind these frequent encounters? The ecliptic lies above Spica which ensures that the Moon frequently comes to visit.

06/02 The Moon near Antares

This morning, the 23-day old and waning Moon meets Antares, the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius.

19/02 The Moon near Mars, Pleiades and the Hyades

A fine sight in the evening sky: the Moon visits the constellation Taurus and remains in a position between the Hyades and the Pleiades. Both are ancient open star clusters that people have been observing since time immemorial. Mars joins in too. Isn’t this get-together worth a photo?

23/02 The Moon near Pollux

In the last days of the month the waxing Moon wanders from the constellation Taurus towards Gemini. This evening it meets Pollux, a red giant star that is 34 light years away.

26/02 The Moon near Regulus

Just a few hours before the full Moon, our satellite meets up with Regulus, the brightest star in Leo. When dusk is over we see an interesting image in the starry sky: in the west the autumn constellations are disappearing from view, in the south the winter constellations reach their highest point, and in the east spring is climbing over the horizon.

New in stock: CO2 monitors

November 6 2020, Patric Leibig

These air monitors display the carbon dioxide content in the air.

What is the ideal maximum indoor CO2 level?
According to the German Federal Environment Agency, indoor air quality is categorised as follows:

  • Good ambient air quality: < 800ppm
  • Average ambient air quality: 800 to 1,000ppm
  • Moderate ambient air quality: 1,000 to 1,400ppm
  • Poor ambient air quality: > 1,400ppm
Omegon CO2 Monitor 1200P

Omegon 1200P CO2 Monitor

Regular and proper ventilation…

The German Federal Centre for Health Education and the Robert Koch Institute advise regular ventilation of offices, schools, flats… Indoor spaces in general. Aerosols provide a possible transmission path for Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses. They build up very quickly and disperse themselves in closed indoor spaces. Proper ventilation is important to prevent risk of infection and improve the indoor climate.

Omegon CO2 Messgerät HT-2008

Omegon HT-2008 CO2 Monitor

CO2 monitors help you to monitor ambient air quality and support your regular ventilation. Most devices warn you using a traffic light system or alarm sounds as soon as pre-programmed values are exceeded. This is important as people are generally very good at assessing a room’s air quality upon entry but they quickly lose this assessment ability as they adapt to smells, meaning that any deterioration is no longer noticed. We also tend to close windows too quickly when the temperature falls starkly and it gets colder.

The CO2 monitors use sensors to measure the air’s CO2 concentration and show the current carbon dioxide content range using the traffic light display.

These devices use sensors to measure the ambient air’s CO2 content, the temperature and usually also the humidity and therefore help you to learn how to ventilate properly in order to contain viruses.

You can find a large selection of CO2 monitors here in our shop.

Experience astrophotography with the Radian Raptor

November 3 2020, Jan Ströher

Under its own brand, Radian, the American telescope retailer OPT is now launching a high-performance, top-quality, and super-portable apochromat with triplet lens design, which has already created a great deal of enthusiastic anticipation among astrophotographers. The Radian Raptor is a light and compact photo machine which, with an aperture ratio of f/4.5, will, above all, ensure amazing deep sky images. With a shorter design and weighing just 1.8kg, the telescope can be attached to photographic tripods and travel mounts such as the Skywatcher Star Adventurer or the iOptron SkyGuide without any problem. This makes it a perfect travel companion that can be easily transported in the padded backpack supplied and fits in any hand luggage.

OPT has thought of everything you might need for successful astrophotography in this triplet apochromat:

A fast aperture ratio of f/4.5 allows short exposure times, ensuring that the Radian Raptor stands out as a fast wide-field device – ideal for images of emission nebulae, galaxies and star clusters.

The use of premium glass, coupled with multi-coated surfaces, results in this triplet apo’s colour-true, high-contrast and very sharp imaging capabilities. An already built-in corrector flattens the entire field of view, shows needle-sharp stars right up to the edges and so makes the use of full-frame sensors a pleasure. In addition, there is no need to purchase an additional flattener or reducer.

With a focal length of just 275mm, you have an ultra-compact telescope for extensive wide-field images: objects such as the Veil Nebula or the Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion fit completely into the field of view of a full-frame sensor. Here is an image of the California Nebula captured by the 61mm Radian Raptor:

A solid, rotatable 2.5″ rack and pinion focuser with a high load capacity and the 1:10 fine focusing ensure a stable connection to your camera and precise focusing. The hexagonal tube clamps have differently-threaded holes to attach various accessories and integrated cable channels in the clamps reduce cable clutter. Especially for astrophotography, other equipment such as guidescopes, dew heaters, control modules or remote controls are usually required in addition to the telescope itself. The Radian Raptor is designed by astrophotographers and takes all possible applications into account. The recommended back focus of 55mm can be achieved and precisely adjusted with the adapters included.

Another treat is the inclusion of two bars for attaching to your mount: a 4″ Vixen dovetail bar and a 6.5″ universal Losmandy bar with a correspondingly-wider surface area. Both bars also have threads to attach the Raptor to a photo mount. With these you have compatibility with all mounts/dovetail clamps.

Finally, you get a waterproof and padded backpack to safely store the Radian Raptor, which also offers space for a CMOS camera and other small items.

Experience a new chapter in astrophotography and optimise your equipment with the Radian Raptor**!

(**available from mid-November 2020 from us here at Astroshop!)

NBX – the new dual nebula filter from IDAS

October 19 2020, Jan Ströher

A new, high quality dual band filter has appeared on the market, in the form of the NBX nebula filter from Japanese company, IDAS.  It is especially efficient for nebula photography using fast optics, like the Celestron RASA, for example. Like the existing IDAS (Astro Hutech) nebula filters, the new NBX is of impeccable quality and workmanship.

The IGAD (Ion-Gun Assist Deposition) coating technology which has been specially applied to astronomical filters by the Japanese manufacturer, Astro Hutech, was originally developed for optical communication, where long-term stability (> 25 years) is required in rough field conditions.

IDAS NBX 48mm nebula filter

This leads to filters with robust coatings and durable spectral stability – even at extreme temperatures and humidity levels. This stability is especially important for bandpass curves with steep sides, such as H-alpha, LPS filters and other narrow band filters. Filters with IGAD coatings almost completely eliminate bandpass shifts of +/- 3 or 4nm, which are typical with standard filters.

The NBX is a dual filter which specifically focuses on OIII and H-alpha lines. The NBX‘s transmission curves in the H-alpha and OIII ranges are very clearly illustrated in these two figures:

Transmission curves in H-alpha

 

Transmission curves in OIII

 

You can see that the IDAS NBX filter primarily realises its full potential when used with very fast optical systems and astrographs, such as a Celestron RASA, especially fast Newtonian reflectors with f-numbers between f/2 and f/4 and special devices, such as the Officina Stellare Veloce RH 200 Mark II-AT (Riccardi-Honders).

The NGC 281 “Pacman” Nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia

This dramatically increases the contrast within emission nebulae, which predominantly consist of oxygen (OIII) or hydrogen compounds (H-alpha). Additionally, longer exposure times are no longer required, predominantly due to the use of the above-mentioned, extremely fast optics, but also due to the NBX filter’s special contrast effects. The filter is ideal for use with ‘one shot’ colour cameras and monochromatic CMOS cameras. An IR blocking filter is then no longer required. Additionally, the NBX is parfocal with other IDAS LPS nebula filters.

New: Skywatcher Star Adventurer with Wi-Fi

October 16 2020, Stefan Taube

The manufacturer Skywatcher has now equipped its Star Adventurer with Wi-Fi. This means that the popular photographic mount can now be controlled conveniently and most importantly, remotely, using a free app.

The set also includes a polar wedge, a counterweight and an L-bracket.

What hasn’t changed is the proven concept: the Star Adventurer allows the tracking of the night sky with a camera. In this way, long-exposure images of the night sky can be taken without a telescope, simply through the camera lens. Such photographic mounts are enjoying ever-increasing popularity. The Star Adventurer is one of the larger models with a load capacity of five kilograms.

We offer the Star Adventurer as a photographic set with practical accessories, or in the standard configuration . All you need is a photographic tripod and of course a camera. However Skywatcher itself also offers a tripod for the Star Adventurer.

As far as the camera is concerned, we offer a wide range of DSLR cameras which are specially modified for astrophotography.

22.01.2021
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