Borg:- CFW with OSC Camera & IDAS Nebula Booster I, II & III

Borg

Believe or not, this is my 1st CFW. I’m a lazy astro photographer. Always seeking for the easy way. So no monochrome choice came up my mind before.

But this is different. This CFW will be used for one-shot color camera with IDAS Nebular Booster.

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This allows to change IDAS NB1 to 3, and ODW(clear) for broadband color from PC. This should make narrowband & broadband imaging with one-shot color camera more convenient and joyful.

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M48 mounted are scheduled to come up by end of this month. This should be good up to APS-C sensor.

A glass size of M52 is 49mm. So if your carousel allows to set 49mm unmounted, that’s possible too.

North Optics:- Vixen vmc110l

North Optics

Vixen vmc110l beautiful maksutov cassegrain modified unique design of Vixen with open tube. Opening of 110 mm F / 9. Does not have the classic condensation and acclimatization problems of closed telescopes. The tail of Milano can be installed in two positions for use in equatorial and azimuthal mount. The package is combined with the functional and modern mount iexos-100 pmc eight.
Ota Vixen Vmc110l Includes Premium Vixen Red Points Finder and a 25 mm plössl eye $ 429.000
Montura Explore Scientific iEXOS-100 PMC Eight $480.000

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Deep Sky Dad

From astrophotographer for astrophotographers - budget astrophotography gear. Developed to optimize the capture process. Striving for stress-free astrophotography sessions.

deepskydad.com/

DeepSkyDad

AF1

Little ASCOM supported autofocuser box with everything you need for pinpoint stars! AF1 was developed in November 2018 and comes with very compact enclosure, which enables a lot of freedom when mounting. The box contains a professionally made electronics on a printed circuit, which provides great longterm reliability. And with our ever growing list of mounting adapters, it's still our best value for money autofocusing unit for stress-free sessions. Not finding your focuser on the list of already available mount adapters? Not a problem - our unique custom adapter design service is still available for a small additional fee.


AUTOFOCUSER 2

Listening to your feedback we developed a next generation autofocusing unit with WiFi connectivity and optional accessories - wired hand remote controller and temperature probe. Now even manual focus changes using your mobile phone/tablet are so simple that even a toddler can do it (check our Youtube channel for a demonstration on a prototype unit). At the same time it is also retaining mounting compatiblity with our older units, so upgrading to AF2 is as simple as swaping the units - no need to change mount adapters or belts.


WO REDCAT AUTOFOCUSER

The brand new William Optics RedCat telescope is an alternative to the widefield lens shooting with 250mm of focal length. With the helical focuser, focusing can be quite time consuming process even with the Bahtinov mask (especially with narrowband filters). Our autofocuser will save you time and frustration by providing pinpoint stars on your beautiful photos of the cosmos. Our AF2 unit is mounted via 3D printed adapter to the utility holes on the black compression ring. It is also includes shoe barcket, you can mount the autoguider on the top of it via longer bolts. We designed the bracket so that the whole setup is nicely balanced even when the autoguider is mounted.

In stock, starting from 200€


WIDE FIELD FOCUS SYSTEM

With wide field astrophotography gaining in popularity we designed a solution to apply our stress-free session philosophy also to this interesting field. We are starting with our standard pack which provides you with a mounting solution for your astro/DSLR camera, lenses and guide scope to an alt-az or equatorial telescope mount and enables use of our AF units for autofocusing. But we are not stopping here, so stay tuned to our social media channels to learn about additional accessories and interesting setups (dual shooting...) we are preparing for you. Even if you are currently not shooting wide fields, you might still want to join in - you might like what you'll see and we'll show you how to do it in a budget conscious way. No more improvised mounting solutions and carrying Bahtinov masks in your pocket!


Astronomik....Clip Filter for Sony Alpha 7 and Alpha 9

We are proud to unveil the new Clip-Filter for Sony Alpha 7 and Alpha 9 cameras:

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After a long period of prototyping and development we are now able to offer you Clip-Filters for the amazing Sony Alpha bodies. The filters are held in place save and secure with no stress to the high quality glass and only minimal obstruction in the corners.
The Clip-Filter are designed and optimized to be used with normal lenses and with telescopes as well.


Compatibility:

  • The Clip-Filter are sucessfully tested with all Sony Alpha 7 bodies (7, 7r and 7s in Mk I, MkII and Mk III versions) and the Sony Alpha 9 body

  • Alpha 58, 68, 77, 99, 6500: Not compatible

  • All Sony DSLR Bodies with the A-Bajonett: Not compatibel

A short guide selecting the right filter for you:
Lot´s of customers are overwhelmed by the vast number of filters offered by Astronomik. Due to that we give you a short guide how to select the right filter for your application below.

Our normal recommendation for the "First Filter" is the Astronomik CLS filter. The CLS blocks all unwanted artifical light pollution and natural airglow and gives you a dark background in your images. When using this filter you may expose much longer than without, so you will be able to pick much fainter structures and objects. The filter is designed in such a way that all objects are given in their natural colors. -They would look the same if your human eye would be much more sensitive!
Important: The standard CLS has no built-in IR-blocker. In case your camera has been modified for Astrophotography, please take the CLS-CCD which has a built-in IR-blocker!

The CLS is the fist choice for any applications like Night-scape photography and Time Lapse movies!

If you have to work under a heavy light polluted sky, the UHC is a good choice too: It´s transmission curve is very tight. It gives you the light from the Hß, OIII, H-alpha and SII lines in one single exposure. The reduction of light pollution is much stronger than the CLS/CLS-CCD, but the filter will work for gas nebulas only! Any galaxies and open or globular clusters are filtered out! You will get "false colors" with the UHC, no natural colors like the CLS/CLS-CCD.

If you want to die deeper into Astrophotography with your Sony, you should think about a set of emission line filters centered on OIII, H-alpha and SII. All three are available either with 12nm or 6nm bandwidth. With these filters you can do ultra-deep images even under the worst sky you can imagine plus the full moon high up in the sky! Imaging possibilties are nearly unlimited with these filters!
The emission line filters isolate the light from a very tight range of wavelengths. So you don´t get any color information! if you want to create color images (false color like images from the HST), you will need all three filters to mix the three channels into a final color image.
However the H-alpha filter is a great using it alone: Data can be processed to splendid greyscale images!

If you own a modified camera, you should consider the OWB filter: OWB is short for "Original white Balance", and that´s what the filter does: It gives you back the normal color reproduction from a un-modified camera. When using the OWB you may use your modified camera for normal daylight-photography again, without the need for color-correting each image afterwards!

Please feel free to contact us if you need any more help and advise in selecting the right filter for your application! (Contact)

Use Astronomik Filter with your Sony Alpha and enjoy images of undreamt beauty!

Click here to view more.

IDAS Drop-in Filter System for Canon R(P)

by Hutech Borg

As announced before, IDAS drop-in filters for Canon R(P) are now commercially available.

Canon RP body & drop-in filter adapter, IDAS NB3-DR & Sigma Art 50mm/F1.4

Canon RP body & drop-in filter adapter, IDAS NB3-DR & Sigma Art 50mm/F1.4

Canon genuine filter adapter allows to electrically control a lens. So doesn’t require the trick of manual aperture control.

And IDAS filter thickness is exactly same as Canon original. So there is no image distortion issue due to the incorrect optical distance. Especially it is very critical for wide-angle lenses.

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Most likely this is only way to use narrow-band filters with wide-angle lenses without removing a lens from a body.

3 kinds of filters are available.

  • NB2-DR (for OIII-Ha)

  • NB3-DR (for OIII-SII)

  • ODW(clear)-DR (for broadband)

These filter system allows to create 1) broadband image thru ODW, 2) OIII-Ha thru NB2 and 3) OIII-SII thru NB3 while controlling conventional lenses without compromise.

I will try to shoot the milky way ASAP. My favorite will be to set NGS1 body-mounted filterinto the body and use 3 filters in-between.

You can see each item at e-store

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Ready to go!!!!

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

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by CHRIS HODGSON of Lights over Lapland

Have you ever wondered how to photograph the northern lights? Here is an eight-step guide by Sr. Lights Over Lapland photography guide Chris Hodgson!

If you research how to photograph the aurora you will be bombarded with so much information you probably won’t know where to begin. Fortunately, our highly trained guides teach hundreds of non-photographers every year. In fact we can have you trained in around 30 minutes, even if you’ve never picked up a camera before! So after a few thoughts on location and equipment here’s a simple step-by-step guide on “how to successfully photograph the aurora”:

Location

Dark skies with clear views to the north are essential to see the aurora and the closer you can get to the Artic Circle the better, even better get inside it. There are numerous destinations around the world which have developed a reputation for aurora sightings, so do your research, and certainly study local weather patterns as cloudy skies can ruin any aurora adventure. We’re obviously biased to Abisko so we’ll talk about the unique weather phenomenon it has in a future blog.

Equipment

Ask any forum about what equipment is needed and you will be bamboozled into buying the most expensive cameras and fastest lenses. It is however possible to photograph the aurora (and stars) on pretty much any modern digital single lens reflex (DSLR) available on the market with the lens it comes with. So don’t feel pressured into spending lots of money on new kit.

You will also need a sturdy tripod, which ideally extends to full body height. Sturdy means stable in wind, and the Arctic climate is one of the windiest I’ve ever worked in. Height is important if you are working in deep snow, it also saves you from being hunched down for your stay. Trust me, your back will appreciate it!

The simplest solution to the equipment dilemma is to use a tour company that provides equipment for you to use. No extra weight to carry, (I lovingly call my camera bag “the burden”) and no extra expense on new equipment or airport extra baggage fees. The money saved could be invested into your dream trip!

  • Focus

Your focus needs to be set to infinity, which means the maximum distance the lens can focus. Depending on your lens this can be really easy, or awkwardly difficult, especially when you have cold fingers.

If you have an infinity symbol on your lens, just rotate it until the ∞ symbol appears by the focus marker and leave it alone for the rest of the night. It is worth checking during the day time whether this is accurate as a lot of lenses require a slight adjustment. Simply focus at ∞ during the day, take a picture of something a long way away like a distant mountain. Then zoom in on your image to see if it’s in focus. If it needs an adjustment, use live view on the same focus point with the digital zoom at it’s fullest and gently turn the lens till it is in focus. Once you have adjusted make a mental note or mark on the lens body where the new infinity spot is located. It will usually be within a few mm’s away from the original mark.

If there is no symbol but you have a hard stop then action the same steps as above but mark the lens body and barrel with a line that you can marry up together to achieve infinity focus.

If there is no symbol or hard stop (as in the lens body keeps turning without hitting a stop when you try and focus) then it becomes more tricky. You have two options, set infinity during the day by focusing on a distant mountain and then taping your lens together so the focus can’t be turned. Or, shine a light when dark on an object as far away as possible and focus on that. The moon or distant light sources also make a good target. Simply turn your focus ring until the light source becomes it’s smallest point. The smaller a light point is, the more in focus it is becoming. If you are using a wide angle lens then anything over 25m away will do the job.

This is another great reason to go with a guide, they can check and set the focus for you in seconds and keep checking for you throughout the night. There is nothing worse than getting home to find your images slightly blurry.

  • ISO

Your minimum ISO needs to be set to 1600. If you are using a camera that can handle a higher ISO then by all means use it, especially when the aurora is very active.

  • Aperture

Set to wide open, or the smallest number that the f will set to. If you are using a standard lens this will be between f3.5-f4, a faster lens will be f1.8-f2.8

  • Shutter Speed

This depends on the amount of available light (Moon), aperture of the lens and the strength of the aurora. We would normally start around 10- 15 seconds and adjust after a few test shots. The darker the sky and/or weaker the aurora results in a longer time, anything up to 30 seconds. The brighter the sky and/or stronger the aurora results in a shorter shutter speed, anything down to around 5 seconds. If your lens is considered a fast lens with an aperture of f2.8 or wider then you can be shooting down to 0.5 seconds in an active display. Faster lenses are recommended but they are also very heavy and expensive, you are far better hiring one from your tour company.

REMEMBER THE FASTER THE SHUTTER SPEED THE MORE DETAIL IN THE AURORA YOU RECORD/THE SLOWER THE SHUTTER SPEED THE MORE COLOUR/LESS DETAIL YOU RECORD.

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(Practice all the above settings in the dark so they become instinctive, using your light to use your camera ruins yours and other people’s images).

Step-by-step Aurora photography guide

  • Mount your camera on the tripod and point to the north.

  • Turn off all torch lights as they will ruin yours and other people’s images.

  • Double check your focus using one of the methods above.

  • If there is an obvious aurora start at 10- 15 seconds and then adjust your settings after your first image.

  • If there is no visible aurora change your shutter speed to 25-30 seconds and point at clear patches of sky across the northern horizon.

  • Keep in mind that the calmer the aurora forecast is, then the lower on the horizon the aurora may appear.

  • Keep checking your lens for ice buildup, and that you are still in focus.

  • Have fun & keep warm!

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Please remember photography at night, in the dark, at -25º (sometimes colder) can be extremely testing, even for the more serious photographers. Solving problems with your camera, changing batteries etc. all become a lot more difficult. You will be far happier using a well-established company with dedicated locations and experienced guides. Access to a fire, a warm drink and an expert opinion are key to a successful aurora hunt in the Arctic. Our guides carry many spare batteries and can change them in seconds. The colder it gets the more batteries are required, the most I’ve changed is 34 in one night with 10 guests. Having your worries and camera troubles solved quickly are paramount to a wonderful photography adventure.

There you have it! Now that you know the basics why not book an aurora photography tour with Lights Over Lapland and let our team of professionals make your dreams of photographing the northern lights come true?

Lights Over Lapland

WILDERNESS AURORA PHOTO ADVENTURES

Our newest tour – an exclusive sleigh ride and Aurora Photo Tour in the heart of Abisko’s remote wilderness!

CLICK HERE TO VISIT WEBSITE

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Join one of Lights Over Lapland’s professional photographers for an opportunity to see and photograph the aurora borealis in the natural wilderness of Abisko National Park. Due to clear skies and virtually no light pollution, Abisko is one of the greatest places in the world to see the northern lights. We will provide you with a high quality camera & lens that is preset to capture the northern lights and quickly go over the basic skills that you will need to find and photograph the magical aurora borealis.

MSM Travel Star Tracker & Motion Time-lapse Mount -MSM Rotator

No Star Trails & Noise?

Tired of the trails and Noise?

Want to exposure more than 60 seconds?

Emm.. Star Tracker is what you are looking for, with it, the star will be relatively still with your camera!

Then theoretically, you can do a long exposure at ease.

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Pocket Size

Pocket Size

Like all astrophotographers, we painfully know how laborious it is to move equipment around different locations in order to find the best perspective.

Small in size and weight – these were the essential starting-points of our design. These facilitate easy repositioning and recomposition.

At the same time, by incorporating a low center of gravity, the Rotator has a big stability advantage for shooting landscapes.

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Travel-Friendly

We built MSM Rotator around the photographer's work flow. How? We are photographers!

Make it more Travel-Friendly! New Button Version:

15% Smaller than the Knob one. 

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Support All Camera & Phones Easily

It's as simple as install ball head to your tripod, Just pointing the star pointer's beam to the Polaris, and then you are ready to shoot.

As a Star Tracker, it can support all cameras.

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US & THEM

Compared with 2 other traditional star trackers out there, and you'll see MSM just takes up a little portion space as them. 

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Work As Time-lapse Mount

It can ALSO be used as professional time-lapse Mount.

It workes in Shoot Move Shoot Manner under timelapse mode - Rotation of the Rotator occurs only after every shot, thus eliminating shake during photographic exposure and the consequent problem of image blurring.

Timelapse Mode supports: Canon, Nikon, Sony cameras.

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Self-Locking Gear

The Rotator employs an innovative worm gear system that locks into place after every movement, requiring no power to remain in place!

This results in:

- Avoidance of gear and motor shake that might otherwise affect image clarity during photo exposure.

- A super-extended battery life. Expect up to 3000 shots between charges.

Thus you can say good-bye to power banks, external batteries and power cables!

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Just One Cable for Time-lapse

This cable is used for the time-lapse purpose. For star tracker, this cable is not needed.

In Timelapse Mode:

Connecting the camera’s flash ‘hot shoe’ port with the Rotator, Then the Rotator will work as Slave of your camera.

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Travel Star Tracker & Motion Timelapse mount - MSM™ Rotator -Upgraded Button version - FREE SHIPPING TODAY




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$199.00

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What has updated in the new button version?

  • Replace the Knob by Button to solve the defectives caused by knob design.

  • Less space than the Knob.

  • Added 1/2 star tracking mode, then you can take the Milkyway in one shot.

  • Remove the less used panorama mode.

If you prefer the old Knob version, please click here to buy the Knob Version

How to Choose the Ideal Gear for Your Astro-Landscape Photography?

Regarding the star pointer:

  1. If you are a new player, we recommend choosing the star pointer as a start. It's easier to do the polar alignment for new players. (Star Pointer's output is <1mw, please check above label)

  2. If you mainly play with a wide-angle lens, then the star pointer is enough and the most convenient for you.

So,

  • If you are new and have a low budget, you can just buy the Basic kit B to start.

  • If you want one ready to shoot Astro kit, then you can buy the Pro kit B.

  • If you are experienced, I suppose you've understood how much you can benefit from the Rotator's portability and it's straight forward design.

Do I need to buy the Polar Scope?

  1. If you play with a long lens, then better add the Polar Scope to do a more accurate polar alignment.

  2. If you are from Australia, then you should buy the Polar Scope due to it is prohibited in Australia to buy the laser pointer.

  3. If you may travel to shoot in Australia or some locations that do not allow laser pointer, then better have one Polar Scope for them.

So, 

How to do the polar alignment?

  1. We have a tutorial in our user manual, also we have a tutorial for Southern Hemisphere

  2. We are online every day to help, just shoot our Email/Messenger anytime.

Does this Tracker support my Camera?

  1. As a star tracker, it can support all cameras.

  2. Timelapse, Panorama mode can only work with: Nikon, Canon, Sony.

Satisfaction Guarantee

30 days full refund guarantee.

If you received a defective one, don’t worry, we will resend you a new one instantly. Up until now, the defective rate is within 1%.

If you do not want to buy it anymore within 30 days, return to us, and you will get a full refund, in this case, you just need to pay the returning shipping fee, it may cost $20 from your country to us.

1 Year quality guarantee

If it happens to malfunction,  we will exchange a new one for you at our expense. 

The mechanism for Time-lapse:

It works by adjusting the angle of rotation, not the speed of rotation, with seven options: Star Tracking Mode; Time-lapse mode of 0.05, 0.075, 0.1 and 0.125 degrees per picture. Therefore, you control the camera's rotating based upon the angle selected, and the interval set on your timer (you need a separate timer/intervalometer, which is inexpensive). The longer the interval you set, the slower of the rotation. Once you are done taking a picture (which the rotator ‘knows’ through the hot-shoe cable), the rotator will turn the defined angle, which means that the camera is not turning while the picture is being taken.

Key Features:

Weightless (450g), Compact (1.7" x 3.15" x 3.9")

Thanks to its small weight and dimension, it presents your already heavy bag more space and weight.

One Cable Fits All Your Cameras

Do not need different cables for your cameras. Check Quick Setup

Ultra Long Battery Life

Supports to take 3000 shots. This meets most of the daily usage.

Passive Motorized Design

No confliction with your camera's built-in App, compatible with most cameras that has a hot shoe port. Check Why Passive Design

Innovative Worm Gear System

Our worm-gear self-lock mechanism presents two key benefits: Top-Level Move Shoot Move performance and Super Long Battery Life. Check Worm Gear SystemCheck Move Shoot Move

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Size: 1.7" x 3.15" x 3.9" (4.3cm x 8cm x 9.9cm)

Weight: 1.01 lbs (450g)

Max Load: 3 Kg

Step Options: Star Tracking Mode (360° in 24hrs) | 0.05°/step, 0.075°/step, 0.1°/step, 0.125°/step 

Input: DC5.0V 1.0A Max

Battery Life: >= 24 hrs for star tracking / 3000 shots for time-lapse

Warranty: One Year

PACKING LIST

SiFo Rotator x1

Charging Cable x1

Hot-shoe Cable x1
1/4 to 3/8 Adapter x1

DarkFrame Ltd. Celestron CGX 3x more accurate

Just made a customers Celestron CGX 3x more accurate, with a new modified build. But if he tweaks the balance too, it will be amazing. It's already 0.42 ArcSec...

Our mounts feel so different than before, that balancing used to be a key obstacle to great performance. Now you can do it very precisely, but takes practice.

New instructions will now go out with all our mounts on balancing and getting the most out of our StellarDrive mounts under PHD.

Image the Cosmos, Deeper.

DARKFRAME

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Atik Cameras Narrow band Filter Set

The Atik narrow band filter are designed with a band pass of 7 nm to aid in capturing all a nebula’s photons while the vast majority of the broad band light pollution is stopped. The result is a much higher signal to noise revealing faint details in nebulas. The Narrow band filter set comprises of Hydrogen-Alpha (Ha), Sulphur (SII) and Oxygen (OIII). Take advantage of our special offer get 50% off any filter set (or both filter sets), when you buy and an Atik camera and and Atik filter wheel.

The SHO narrow band filter set is compatible with our filter wheels and allows astrophotographers to capture deep-sky objects in spectacular narrow band. This filter set is commonly used to image objects in the Hubble pallet.
Bandwidth:


  • SII 7nm


  • Ha 7nm


  • OIII 7nm



Peak Transmission: minimum 80%

CWL (centre of wavelength):

  • Ha 656.3nm

  • SII 671.6nm

  • OIII 500.7nm



Size: 1.25” mounted, 36mm unmounted or 2” mounted

Transmitted Wavefront RMS: λ/4

Parallelism(arcsec): 30s

IDAS NGS1 & Dual Narrowband by BORG 90FL

1- I got the feedback from “AstroBackyard” on IDAS NGS1.

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Facebook Users

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Personally this is my most favorite broadband filter at this moment because the color balance looks as good as HEUIBII and suitable for my backyard sky glow.

See my previous write-up at

https://digiborg.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/idas-ngs1-is-lps-version-of-heuibii/

https://digiborg.wordpress.com/2019/07/02/idas-nebula-booster-series-2/

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean NGS1 is always the best choice for all of users. Sky glow is not same. But at least I can say NGS1 is good selection to modified DSLR users who are looking for the filter which blocks the light pollution while maintaining the background color balance like HEUIBII does.

2- A serious BORG user – Steven Bellavia shared his recent dual narrowband image.

Thank you, Steven all the time.

North Optics Solar Eclipse

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In preparation for the eclipse, our North Optics store organized an expedition to the area of the central strip, looking for a unique place. This place is right between the observatories Cerro Tololo of Aura and Cerro La Silla of ESO, at 1400 meters above sea level.

Our stay was planned from June 29 to July 3, at the home of Eduardo Cox, a farmer who raises cattle in the mountains. Rapidly 30 astrophotographers of the astronomy clubs Achaya and Astrobic filled the seats with great enthusiasm, so we arrived on the 29th at dusk at the House of Eduardo Cox, located near Condoriaco, with some of the best skies in the world. On the nights before the eclipse, all the equipment of telescopes and cameras for astrophotography was deployed, from cameras in Piggy Back to a large William Optics in a CEM60, an arsenal of astronomical equipment for observation and photography.

The day of the eclipse we moved to three observation points, the Achaya group led by Claudio Ulloa, remained in his place of observation since his teams were already in station, the group of North Optics and Astrobit, led by Rodrigo Zelada and Claudio Solis, climbed a nearby hill to the summit and installed the equipment the night before the eclipse, and other members went to another site 6 kilometers to get panoramic views of the sea from the mountains, the result was the most emosionante and wonderful experience of all the members and many beautiful images.

To this, the cordial attention of Eduardo Cox and his family, which made us have a wonderful stay, ended the day of the eclipse with a barbecue for everyone!

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The day of the eclipse we moved to three observation points, the Achaya group led by Claudio Ulloa, remained in his place of observation since his teams were already in station, the group of North Optics and Astrobit, led by Rodrigo Zelada and Claudio Solis, climbed a nearby hill to the summit and installed the equipment the night before the eclipse, and other members went to another site 6 kilometers to get panoramic views of the sea from the mountains, the result was the most emosionante and wonderful experience of all the members and many beautiful images.

To this, the cordial attention of Eduardo Cox and his family, which made us have a wonderful stay, ended the day of the eclipse with a barbecue for everyone!

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PrimaLuceLab Sesto Senso Electric USB Focuser

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by Tim Cowell

Pointless Gadget?

Surely this is the height of laziness, a motor to turn the focus knob for you! Incredible, I thought as I folded my copy of that month's star magazine closed. Thinking of all manner of better things to spend my hard earned money on (food and car fuel were uppermost), the day passed. Not too many days later and with Jupiter centred and tracking well in my cam's on screen view, the battle for focus began. Every touch caused a wobble, every breath a wibble. I held my breath and stayed still.

What now?

Surely my suppressed pulse can't be affecting things? The image swam back and forth and with the best guess approach, I tapped sequence 'Run' and crept away to find that starry mag' article for another read. When my first bracket and belt focus machine arrived, it was literally strapped on and I was hooked. This was some years ago and since then I have tried a number of designs.

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Crafty Affair

Let's be clear, I did not want to ever use a focus gadget because I enjoy focussing. I like the snap in the view, the spin of the knobs and the feel of the mechanism. The joy of getting the moon 'just right', back and forth, bingo! There is an art to it and a craft.

That old magazine had advised clearly what to look for and pictured a range of designs complete with belts and brackets and wheels, all very, gadgety. The one caught my eye in the adverts subsequently was the PrimaLuceLab Sesto Senso (sixth sense) design. No wheels, no belts, no brackets. No slop, no slack, no problemo!

(Not yet familiar with PrimaLuceLab? They make telescopes, good ones. They make accessories, good ones. Founded in Italy, their products are very well received globally and the Italian influence makes for a unique ownership experience, borne of form, function and flair).

If you had any doubts about quality before your unit arrived then, holding it and a cursory examination will allay any fears. The case itself is made from solid metal (this is typical of PrimaLuceLab) coated beautifully in their deep, red, corporate colour and highlighted with a white top and logo. Connections comprise 12v power socket input (a cigar lead is supplied), a small USB port (a nice cable is supplied) and a port for a thermometer (a thoughtful, useful addition).

PrimaLuceLab supply the necessary drivers and documentation on a neat little USB stick, which I really like (I use mine to keep the latest versions of a number of drivers stored for the inevitable bumps in my setup).

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A Fitting End

The clean lines of the fitted device come from the compression collar clamp which is designed to fit neatly around the back housing of your telescope focuser, where it grips tightly - no brackets needed here. Inside the case of the Sesto Senso is a powerful and accurate motor. Installing the equipment for my refractor involved the following simple steps.

1. Remove the fine and coarse knobs from 'scope by undoing their recessed grub screws. This

exposes the focus shaft.

2. Now find the correct shaft connector (these are coloured tubes which are supplied in the kit) and

fix it by its grub screws to the 'scope shaft.

3. Carefully slide the unit onto the telescope, so that the shaft connector tube slips onto the motor

shaft of the Sesto Senso. Using the access slot underneath the 'Senso, tighten the shaft connector

grub screws and lightly tighten the main body clamp.

Hex head keys are supplied, which is incredibly handy and thoughtful. For my particular telescope I needed the extension collar, which comes with its own packet of slightly longer shaft connectors.

There were no dramas at all in fitting, which was one of my primary reasons for choosing this item, having read some forum reviews.

d.jpg

Making Connections

Following the proper order, I quickly installed the drivers and special software for calibrating the device. With the 12v power hooked up, I plugged in the USB cable and noted the COM Port Number assigned, by checking it in my Device Manager. The Sesto Senso software is quick and easy to use. Click to connect your unit and choose between SCT or refractor type. Calibration asks for the focus position to be set at the mid point and then both fully in and out positions are found and the calibration steps are stored. This is quickly done. I chose not to use the fully in and fully out positions of the true mechanical travel. I'm a 'what if' type of person so having 10mm from 'in' and 15mm from fully out have not been a problem with my cameras etc.

You can use the software provided to control things or use your image capture software via ASCOM. I use Sequence Generator Pro and things have worked so well that it is hard to imagine wanting or needing another solution.

Night Worker

With rough focus found in the usual manner (daytime on a distant object) tweaking the beast was

simplicity itself using both the supplied software and SGPro. I kept its power setting to the preset

Heavy and Slow because the motor appears to be incredibly strong. The Light and Fast preset

option was slightly ferocious, so I will stay at the slow end as it is more than enough.

To determine the accuracy and begin to see what, if any, differences there were in focus between

my filters, I popped a good quality diffraction spike mask on the telescope and checked my monitor

for the results.

Firstly, it all works marvellously. A slick and classy way to automate and improve focus accuracy. I was a 'happy bunny' that first night and after as much use as I can give it, I remain perfectly satisfied. With more usage and a little tinkering with the filter offsets and step values I settled into a routine of using the auto focus and periodically checking against the spike mask during strategic pauses in my imaging sequences. All satisfactory for my purposes.

I don't know of a hand controller on a wire for 'Senso, however since it is PC controlled I use a remote desktop app on my phone and hence have the best hand controller possible; big, bright and should I drop it I can borrow my wife's.

This is such an easy creature to get along with that I often forget about it. It is no 'squeaky wheel' requiring nagging attention. It is a faithful and trusted companion in the night. The gently glowing power light blinking away like a friendly lighthouse. I have bought a second unit for my other imaging refractor. The price is very keen, the justification being based on the great performance of my first Sesto.

I am pleased to report that all duties have been performed with flying colours. Sitting somewhere between 'not quite essential' but 'certainly not a gadget' my sixth sense tells me that when I next need / want a focuser the friendly UK importer www.365Astronomy.com will get another online order.

MC700GE-II Heavy Weight Professional Classic Mount by Rainbow Astro

rainbow astro

SPECIFICATION

  • TypeGerman Equatorial mount

  • Size(mm)130 X 120 X 190

  • Weight(mount)60kg (1132lbs without accessories)

  • Instrument payload capacity100 kg (220 lbs)

  • Latitude range30° – 60°

  • Counterweight shaft50 mm diameter, stainless steel,

  • weight 8 kg – 18 lbs

  • BearingsPre-loaded tapered roller bearings

  • Worm wheelsR.A. 412 teeth, 290 mm diameter,

  • Dec. 326 teeth, 230 mm diameter

  • Transmission systemBacklash-free system with timing belt

  • and low backlash fixed

  • Motor2 axes servo brushless

  • Power supply12 ~16 V DC

  • Go-to-sppedx1500

  • Pointing accuracy< 20” with internal multiple-stars

  • software mapping

  • CommunicationUSB2.0 for PC. RJ45 8pin connector

  • for Keypad, Autoguide port

OVERVIEW

The MC700GE-II mount is built for observatories with an instrumentation up to a weight of 100 kg (excluding counterweights). It is ideal for remote observation sites or educational observation centers, and it’s loading capacity allows for mounting instruments like 250 mm diameter refractors, 450 mm diameter Cassegrains and so on. The wormwheels diameter of 290 mm and 412 teeth in RA, and a 230 mm and 326 teeth in DEC.
The electronics is housed in an independent control box, easily removable. Only one cable runs from the control box to the mount. The MC700GE-II can be controlled completely using the included keypad(Hubo-i NaviCom), without requiring any external PC.

Click here to read more.

Sirius Astro Products

sirius astro products

If you use a laptop computer or iPad in the field at night, you don't want to lose your night vision or interfere with other astronomers!
The "RED EYES" Computer Screen Light Shield products,
and the all new Computer Cave are the answer.
Developed by an astrophotographer, for the astrophotographer

RED EYES "FILM" Computer Light Shield

sirius astro products astrophotography

Every astronomer who uses a computer in the field at night, needs to dim the screen or risk losing their night vision, plus interfering with other astronomers.
The RED EYES "Film"
Computer Screen Light Shield reduces the amount of non-red light coming from your laptop or CRT display, or even your TV screen while using a webcam.
RED EYES is made of a tough 3 mil thick polycarbonate film that resists tearing and wrinkling, and is easily cut to size with scissors or razor knife. .Unlike other darker red films, and less transparent Rubylith products, this lighter shade of red is the perfect transparency. Perfect for the astrophotographer, it allows your images to be easily seen. And unlike many other films and gels, RED EYES "Film" will not smear, or transfer color onto your computer when exposed to dew and moisture.
Developed by an astrophotographer, for the astrophotographer.

*Attaches to your computer screen using the supplied rubber bands (no messy tape required)
*Comes in a handy storage tube
*Other uses include flashlight and car headlight shields

Standard sheet size 9"x 15" $15.95
Large sheet size 11"x 16" $18.95
**NOTICE: The Sirius Astro team will be attending a star party event starting July 27 thru Aug 3. Any orders placed during that time will be processed on Aug 5. Thanks for your support!**

RED EYES "ACRYLIC" 
Computer Light Shield

sirius astro products astrophotography

If you need a more rigid screen cover for your computer, RED EYES is available in the acrylic version. We’ve applied our RED EYES film to clear, solid, acrylic plastic. Unlike the other darker red, less transparent, sheets of acrylic being sold,RED EYES "ACRYLIC" has the same great transparency as our original film.

*Comes with a protective carrying pouch

***Custom sizes available, contact us***

**Free Shipping for USA Customers**(on non-custom orders)
For International & custom order shipping prices please email: BEEZOLL@AOL.COM


Standard size piece 9"x 15" $20.50
Large size piece 11"x 16" $24.50

For more info, please click here.

William Optics Zenith Star 61 APO FLP-53 from North Optics

North Optics

The 61 mm opening apocromatic (2,4 inch) of William Optics Zenithstar is the most versatile and portable telescope manufactured by William Optics. It provides a clear image in any digital SLR camera for visual observers and astrophotographers. With Only 300 mm long and a weight of 1.45 kilos is the apocromatic telescope with the most compact and transportable objective-53 goal of the market.
This telescope is built with the best optical and mechanical materials subjected to rigorous testing of interferometry to achieve the best level of optics on the market.


The low dispersion properties of the ed and SD glass used in the lens lens are important to determine the general color correction. With an index of abbe number v, the first quality fpl53 material is used for the best achievable color correction. The size of the full frame sensor is about 36 x 24 mm.
The Target type is a double double fpl53, air spacing, the lens lens is completly coated with Multi-layer Treatment. The Dew Shield is retractable to minimize the saved space.

Click here to find out more.