Photo credit: Kim Hartviksen of Aurora Addicts

Photo credit: Kim Hartviksen of Aurora Addicts

Last night (April 5th) in Norway, researchers at the Andøya Space Center launched two sounding rockets into a minor geomagnetic storm. The results were out of this world. Aurora tour guide Kim Hartviksen photographed the display.

"Residents for hundreds of miles were taken by surprise by these strange lights, which prompted a lot of calls to the police and 'The aliens are coming!' hysteria!" says Chris Nation who runs the Aurora Addicts guiding service.

When the night began, Nation, Hartviksen, and their clients were treated to a fine outburst of auroras, ignited by a stream of solar wind buffeting Earth's magnetic field. "As the auroras started to ebb away, our friends at Andøya launched their rockets into the fading lights," says Nation. "The show began anew as the rockets released their payload of fine powders into upper atmosphere."

An automated webcam operated by Chad Blakely of Lights over Lapland in Abisko, Sweden, caught the first puffs of powder emerging from the rockets. "It looked like an invasion of UFOs," says Blakley.

"Our webcam has been taking a picture every five minutes for nearly 10 years," says Blakley. "These images are by far the most exciting I've ever seen it record."

The name of the sounding rocket mission is AZURE--short for Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment. Its goal is to measure winds and currents in the ionosphere, a electrically-charged layer of the Earth's atmosphere where auroras appear. 

The twin rockets deployed two chemical tracers: trimethyl aluminum (TMA) and a barium/strontium mixture. These mixtures create colorful clouds that allow researchers to track the flow of neutral and charged particles, respectively. According to NASA, which funded the mission, the chemicals pose no hazard to residents in the region.

Farpoint Imaging Newtonian Telescope, 203mm, f/6



Available on backorder

Farpoint Imaging Newtonian Reflecting Telescope, 203mm (8 inch) f/6 (also available in f/4)

First 10 early adopters will get a $1,000 discount
Production time 90 days, 1st delivery June 21, 2019, customers will be notified with updated delivery date and product details.


Farpoint Imaging Newtonian Reflecting Telescope, 203mm, f/6

  • Highly Robust Design
    Rigid and Lightweight

  • Carbon Fiber Truss

  • Ultra-Low Thermal Expansion

  • CNC Machined & Laser-Cut Fabrication

  • Easy to Collimate

    • Complete Collimaton Lockdown

    • ZERO Collimation Shift

  • Integral Accessory Dovetail Mounts on Secondary Cage

  • Crayford Focuser

  • ASCOM Compliant Computer Controlled Focusing Option


New: NB1 nebula filter from IDAS

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 NB1the 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!


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.


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.

Max Capacity Scopes for the Sky Adventurer


It seems the the Sky Watcher Star Adventurer is one of the most popular tracking mounts on the market at the moment, with its affordable price, small compact size and ease of use, new and more advanced astrophotographers seem to be purchasing this mount. I can say from experience, this is one of the best affordable mounts Sky Watcher have to offer.

The maximum weight capacity of this little mount being 5kg and the weight of the Canon EOS 5D MkII being just 30 oz ( and some ccd and cmos being even lighter), there is quite a range of scopes to attach to this mount for astrophotography.

Here is a list of a few scopes from that can accompany the Sky Watcher Star Adventurer.


Omegon Apochromatic refractor Pro APO AP 85/560 ED Triplet OTA



Vixen Cassegrain telescope MC 110/1035 VMC110L OTA



Omegon Telescope AC 80/400 OTA



Omegon Apochromatic refractor Pro APO AP Photography Scope 72/432 ED OTA



Omegon Maksutov telescope MC 90/1250 OTA



Skywatcher Maksutov telescope MC 102/1300 SkyMax-102T OTA



Omegon Apochromatic refractor Pro APO AP 110/660 ED Carbon OTA



Vixen Apochromatic refractor AP 80/600 ED80Sf OTA



Bresser Telescope AC 70/350 AZ Classic



Skywatcher Apochromatic refractor AP 80/500 Equinox ED OTA



Bresser Maksutov telescope MC 100/1400 EQ-3



William Optics Apochromatic refractor AP 61/360 ZenithStar 61 Blue OTA



TS Optics Apochromatic refractor AP 60/360 PhotoLine FPL53 OTA



William Optics Apochromatic refractor AP 71/350 WO-Star 71 Blue OTA



Skywatcher Apochromatic refractor AP 80/400 ESPRIT-80ED Professional OTA



Bresser Maksutov telescope MC 100/1400 Messier OTA


BORG with Eagle 3


I just setup PLL’s Eagle 3 with BORG 90FL F3.9ED and 50Ach guide scope. Fortunately I could figure out matching Eagle 3’s hole patterns with BORG 3200 plate.

ll look nice and great color matching, and everything is solid.


Again, Eagle 3 is not just a compact Windows PC. I think the power distribution capability including dew-heater power controls should be more valuable and convenient. I have to ship them out to NEAF today. So I will write up more after coming back.



ARTEC 200 astrograph Artesky


ARTEC 200 Artesky - A new astrograph design which allows a strong mechanical system and fast focal ratios - Aperture 200mm

ARTEC 200 - A revolutionary astrograph

The ARTEC astrograph series represents a new kind of instruments due to a strong and precise mechanical system with the use of high-end optics.

The ARTEC project was born in 2011 form the intuition of Mr. Seveso and then it was developed more and more with the help of our engineer Mr. Simeone.

Our astrograph use the classic Newton native F/4.0 optical system consisting of a parabolic primary mirror in Pyrex aluminised and treated with a reflection of over 93%, secondary mirrors has the same type of processing and treatment.

The carbon tubes are made with 3K twill with a thickness of 2.5mm, painted externally with a semi-matt and dust proof finish.

The tube has an anti-dusted varnish coating inside it, this work is done to eliminate any kind of internal reflection and allows to have an evenly roughened surface.

All the mechanics are made of Aluminium 6061 with CNC machines and some details are made through laser cutting.

For the focuser we choose to use one of the most well know instruments on the market: the Feather Touch FTF3015B-A.

This incredible and high-precision focuser features a rack and pinion system able to manage high loads capacity without any slippage.

The focuser is equipped with the standard 10:1 micrometric reduction and it can be equipped with any standard Feather Touch motor kit.



Thanks to the most advanced optical and mechanical design software used during the development, the ARTEC series offers a computer-optimized OTA to achieve uncompromising rigidity; all metal parts are CNC machined to guarantee optimal accuracy, ease of use and stability of the collimation.

The ARTEC astrographs deliver stable focus over a wide range of temperatures thus limiting to the minimum the need for iterated refocusing operations - an important condition when using instruments with fast focal ratios during long imaging sessions.

All components are produced using only the finest materials available, such as special lightweight aluminium, stainless steel and bronze.

The sturdy spider of the secondary mirror support is made of laser-cut stainless steel.

The high resistance anodization is chosen for unbeatable resistance to all enviromental conditions.

Finally, the generous extraction of the focal plane allows the use of the most challenging imaging trains, whether they are CCD, CMOS or the more popular digital cameras.



The ARTEC series features optics that match the superb realization of the OTA, with tyoical figures of reflectivity > 93%, correction equal to or better than λ/8 and Strehl > or = 0.95

We reccomend the coma correctors which we have tested and proved suitable to fit the optical design of our astrographs.

Some coma correctors can also reduce the focal lenght, so the system can reach the impressive focal ratio of F/2.8: as every experienced observer can testify, an outstanding mechanical construction is vital for proper collimation and reliable usage of such ultra-fast systems, an area where the ARTEC series sets the standars.

The correctors that we recommend  provide a corrected field even at these very fast focal ratios; we suggest to use the ARTEC 200 up to F/3.7



Optical set:Newtonian AstrographDiameter:200mmPirmary mirror diameter:206mmSecondary mirror diameter:88mmFocal lenght:800mmFocal ratio:F/4.0Mirror material:Pyrex (Astrositall on request)Linear obstruction:40mmIlluminated field:40mm with recommended coma corrector Dimensions:720 L x 252 W x 262 H mmWeight:11.4 kgTube material:High End Carbon fiber Mechanical material:Aluminium 6061

Our mission

We designed the ARTEC astrographs series to serve a market of discerning astrophotographers who are especially concerned with ease and stability of collimation, optical quality and repeat ability of results.

To achieve all these goals, we soon realized tha we couldn't look anymore at the telescope as at a standalone entity, but we had to consider it for what it is: a part of an acquisition system which includes everything from the tube of the CCD.

For example, in the design stage we paid special attention that no tilts are introduced by the draw tube of the focuser, we observed that several well-known focusers are simply unable to deliver according to their specs and to their price and that the carbon tube shows no flexures under the cantilever load of heavier cameras.

Also, when delivering complete instruments with correctors, we make sure that the mechanical adapter between the focuser and the corrector is custom machined on the outside diameter of each individual corrector, to prevent misalignments in the optical train.

In our view, the main technical advantage of the carbon fiber, versus the thin metal used in some Far-East constructions, is more related to its thermal stability and overall rigidity than to just lighter weight.

This having said, there is clearly a technical cost to pay for all this extra rigidity and stability, and the weight of the ARTEC 200 is in turn somewhat higher than of other telescopes with the same aperture and optical design; it is still however fully manageable in the field, and well within the practical working range of very common and affordable mounts.


A breathtaking eclipse

Picture credit: © S. Habbal, M. Druckmueller, J. Judson, A. Ding and the solar Sherpas

Picture credit: © S. Habbal, M. Druckmueller, J. Judson, A. Ding and the solar Sherpas

e were blown away by this stunning image, beautifully illuminating solar activity behind the moon. It was kindly supplied to us by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Adalbert Ding of the Institut für Technische Physik (ITP), and the Institut für Optik und Atomare Physik, Berlin.
Here’s what Adi said about this capture:-

The image is composed of 3 separate pictures:-
• The electron density (blueish, so called white light picture)
• The emission of Fe XIV (530.3nm: Fe 13+; green areas), depicting areas with temperatures around 1.8 MK
• The – NIR – emission of FeXI (789.2 nm: Fe 10+; red areas approx. 1 MK)

The reddish parts top and bottom of the moon are the magnetic north and south pole of the Sun, the field lines moving nearly linearly away from the Sun in these regions while the magnetic field lines connected to the Fe XIV seem to be mostly closed loops. The start of the solar wind can be easily seen moving away in different directions.

The image of Fe XIV had been taken with the ATIK 314, the image of  Fe XI with ATIK 414, both in connection with narrow band filters, the white light pictures with a CANON Mark III full frame.

Click here…

Current BORG Availability & 72FL

I summarize current BORG availability for new orders as follows. (This is not for the ones already ordered)

(Objective lenses)

  • 107FL : May

  • 90FL : June

  • 89ED : June

  • 55FL : June or later? (I need more carefully check)

  • And 72FL : Prototype stage

(Rear lenses)

  • 7108/7215/7214/7872 : in stock

  • 7880 : May

  • 7770(=ED reducer for 107FL)/7771(=ED reducer for 90FL) in stock

Sorry for the inconvenience to you. Still way behind the schedule, especially 55FL. But getting slightly better. Thanks for your continuous patience.

I was told 72FL was refined for best matching with 0.72x super reducer. I will try to take some shots before NEAF if allowed or after. This is 72mm fluorite at F4 with total 6 elements configuration.


I will try to figure out best possible configuration as the double-duty scope for imaging as well as guiding.


Skypoint Italy present SHARPSTAR


Sharpstar is a Chinese brand of astronomical telescope and accessories. Their products have a very good price vs. quality ratio.

Sharpstar manufacturing includes very good apochromatic refractors such as 80, 90, 107 and 140 mm triplets, 71, 86 and 100 mm quadruplet astrographs and much more. Recently Sharpstar entered the market of newton astrograph equipped with high performance correctors. The photographic vocation of the brand is apparent.



Ontario Telescope and Accessories / Pegasus Astro products are currently on sale

Tons of Pegasus Astro products are currently on sale! 

Equip your telescope with affordable, high-quality products for use in amateur astronomy and astrophotography. 

Hurry! Discounts are only available until April 9 or while supplies last!

These items are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Once they’re sold, you’ve lost your chance.