To take truly inspirational images of the cosmos you need three astronomical tools; a telescope (optical tube assembly), an imaging device (normally a CCD or DSLR camera), and a mount. All three components should be of good quality in order to achieve the results desired during your journey to the beginning of space and time.
Some amateur astronomers may believe the imaging device and optical tube assembly are more important than the mount. This might make a good mount less important in their eyes, but a safe, steady, well-made mount is just as important in taking great astroimages.
Modern telescope mounts
There are modern mounts in the $3000 range available capable of excellent tracking with minimal periodic error (error induced due to small mechanical imperfections in the device). You can also break the piggy bank and opt for a German equatorial mount (GEM) in the five figure range that’s even more accurate. In the case of modern mounts, made by a reputable manufacturer, you really do get what you pay for.
The Telescope Drive Master
In an effort to make mid-level and GEMs, even better Hungarian firm MDA-TelesCoop has introduced the Telescope Drive Master (TDM). Designed to correct the periodic error of a telescope mount, without the requirement for an auto guider system, the Telescope Drive Master is made to enhance the ability of both mid-level and expensive GEMs.
You can obtain a Telescope Drive Master through Explore Scientific in North America and in other areas of the world.
My Telescope Drive Master v2 arrives
I used a Celestron CGE Pro GEM to test the claims of MDA-TelesCoop concerning the Telescope Drive Master’s ability to make this excellent quality mount even better.
I got the Telescope Drive Master v2 I tested through Explore Scientific. It arrived securely and safely packaged, and with the right mechanical adapter for my CGE Pro GEM. You need to indicate which model of mount you’ll be using with the TDM when ordering because each requires a specific adapter.
You can check which models the Telescope Drive Master v2 can be used with here.
They included instructions and helpful photographs on setting up the Telescope Drive Master, which I found easy to understand. They also helped explain how the TDM works with my CGE Pro GEM and computer to make beautiful images. Getting the setup right only took me about an hour and a few minutes to get everything ready to view the cosmos.
The Telescope Drive Master significantly reduced the periodic and even non-periodic tracking errors of my CGE Pro GEM to within 0.5″. This is a result in agreement with previous reviews and independent tests.
It also integrated well with the autoguider system, offering me precise tracking of celestial objects.
These results would likely not be possible with a lesser quality mount than my CGE Pro GEM. Still, it should improve the ability of even mid-level mounts.
Overall this device did improve the ability of my mount to improve the quality of images taken of the cosmos. It’s worth the price I paid to obtain.
If I was a serious astroimager desiring to enhance my ability to take stunning, unforgettable images of the cosmos, I would purchase the Telescope Drive Master.
It can definitely make your journey to the beginning of space and time more memorable.
Get a new perspective on the universe by looking through Ultima Duo high-performance photo-visual eyepieces offering stunning views of the solar system and crystal clear images of the Moon and planets. Versatile enough to go from viewing to imaging in the blink of an eye, Celestron’s new Ultima Duo eyepieces combine fully multi-coated, state-of-the-art optics and a built-in T-adapter for reliable Astro imaging.
Celestron’s Ultima Duo eyepieces have a 68-degree field of view perfect for visual observing and industry standard 42mm T-adapter threads. Just remove the rubber eye guard and then easily attach a DSL camera for unforgettable images of the planets and Moon.
The 2014 Cometron 114AZ is Celestron’s 114mm (4.49 inches) Newtonian telescope, with 10mm and 20mm Kellner eyepieces, offering stunning 22.5x and 45x views of the planets, Moon, and comets speeding through the solar system.
I distinctly remember counting the dollars saved until I could purchase my first telescope. Walking down to the local hobby store to pick it up was a pleasure I had been thinking about for months.
I still have this first scope. I recently discovered it sitting in a closet downstairs, forgotten about, but still usable. I was only twelve years old when I purchased it, from dollars I had saved from my paper route. A 2-inch reflector, I had first seen it sitting in the store window. It had an all white cylinder, with black trimming, and was about 20 inches in length. Mounting her was simple, but the locking clamp was crude, and the tripod unstable at times. There was no way to align the optics system of my first telescope. She was beautiful to me, my first reflector, but she didn’t offer unforgettable views of the solar system. Still, as a young boy exploring a world he had dreamed about, purchasing this first telescope was one of the best gifts I have ever bought myself.
The telescopes sold today to young people and adults deciding to experience astronomy and owning a telescope for the first time offer a far better view of the solar system and cosmos than my first reflector. Considering the recent news that the Rosetta spacecraft will near Comet 67P Churyumov during the coming days, and NASA’s future plans to drop a lander on this comet, lots of people will be desiring to take a look. Fortunately, Celestron is introducing two new Cometron telescopes for 2014 perfect for a beginner. The CometronFirstScope and Cometron 114AZ. Two new telescopes offering beginners great views of the solar system at a reasonable price.
Blast off on a journey to the beginning of space and time using Stellarvue’s SV160 triplet refractor tonight
Astronomy Products –
Stellarvue’s flagship telescope, the SV160 is their largest production telescope and includes an air spaced apochromatic triplet objective designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States of America using Ohara FPL-53 glass. The SV160 also includes a retracting dew shield, 3.5″ Feather Touch Focuser with 2″ and 1.25″ adapters, aluminum mounting rings and a heavy duty C160 padded telescope case.
Seriously better than any imported refractor in its size and class, Stellarvue’s SV160 has the visual clarity and optical performance both amateur and professional astronomers love. Perfect for putting smiles on faces and checking out the moon or stars, the SV160 triplet refractor comes in an instrument white finish, with black trim that gives this large telescope a nice look.
Take a look at your new Stellarvue SV160 at Stellarvue.com or stop by a local telescope shop today.
The acclaimed Kodak KAF-8300 colour CCD sensor desired by both amateur and professional astronomers
With 22.5mm across diagonally, and 8.3 million pixels in a 3326 x 2504 array
Gives amateur and professional astronomers the area, resolution and sensitivity required to create stunning Astro-images of deep sky objects or Comet ISON as it gets closer to the sun
Easy to use to create stunning images
The new Nightscape 8300 includes Celestron’s easy to use AstroFX software, which makes the job of processing Astro-images effortless. Giving both amateur and professional astronomers full control over all aspects of camera temperature regulation to exposure control. The new Nightscape 8300 also includes computer assisted focusing for quick and easy image acquisition of M31 or faint wisps of a colourful emission nebula thousands of light years away.
At an attractive price for both amateur and professional astronomers
Drop by Celestron.com or a local Celestron dealer today to have a look at your new Nightscape 8300 or any of their outstanding telescopes and astronomy accessories.
View this video review of the new Nightscape 8300 at YouTube.
The Delos line of visionary eyepieces has an image to live up to built over thirty years of outstanding products and services.
Astronomy Products –
Tele Vue has won many awards for their visionary eyepieces and imaging innovations over three decades. Their new Delos line of visionary eyepieces has just added a few more to the collection case. Sky and Telescope recently awarded the Delos line a Hot Product for 2013 award, while Astronomy Magazine awarded the Delos line a 2012 Star Product award.
We found the Delos line of visionary eyepieces have essentially perfect optics and performed even better than we imagined. They provide a pure view of both the planets and deep-sky objects. Tele Vue has hit all of the right keys with the Delos line of visionary eyepieces, creating an eyepiece that can stand toe-to-toe with the best eyepieces on the market.
The new Delos line of 72-degree apparent field eyepieces feature a long eye-relief of 20mm and are guaranteed to last a lifetime. When owning the best eyepieces in the world doesn’t cost much more, the new Delos line is the easy choice.
View the universe through a Delos today and discover “Love at first sight.”
Astronomy Products – The new Advanced VX telescope series from Celestron raises the bar higher in mid-level telescopes and gives amateur astronomers the ability to view Comet ISON or any spectacular celestial event their heart desires. The Advanced VX series incorporates many of the outstanding features included with Celestron’s most sophisticated German equatorial telescopes, including better motors, Periodic Error Correction and an auto guiding port. Providing every aspiring or amateur astronomer looking for a reasonably priced telescope with some of the most desired features on a modern telescope at an affordable price, the new Advanced VX series sets the bar high for new mid-level telescopes.
Take a look at some of the things included in the new Advanced VX series from Celestron
integer gear ratios and permanently programmable Periodic Error Correction eliminates residual tracking errors from the worm gear
SkyQ Link compatibility for wireless control of your Advanced VX series telescope
allows viewing or imaging across the meridian without interference from the motor’s housing
NexStar + hand control offers multiple language programming (German, English, French, Italian, Spanish)
new motors provide improved tracking performance and more power to overcome load imbalances
improved electronics with increased memory for future expansion
A lightweight and portable observatory you can set up anywhere
Astronomy Products – Kendrick Astro Instruments has been in the business of selling some of the top observer tents in the world for years. Stargazers love the ease of use and set up of Kendrick observer tents, but nothing is perfect, and Kendrick has been listening to its customers. Measuring 10 feet wide by 15 feet long and 6.5 feet high at the center, Kendrick Astro Instruments Stargate Observer Tent is the latest edition to Kendrick’s line of observer tents introduced a decade ago. Still including everything you loved about Kendrick’s original Observatory Tent, the new Kendrick Astro Instruments Stargate Observer Tent has been redesigned to include two separate rooms, one for you to continue your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time, and another for sleeping away the hours, separated by a polyester wall.
Great for the amateur or professional astronomer
You set up your time-machine-to-the-stars in the 10 foot x 9 foot star-gazing room, and then you and your weary-eyed stargazing companion sleep away the hours of the day in the smaller 10 foot x 6-foot sleeping area. Once the sun goes down and the stars appear in the night sky, you simply head into your observatory and unzip the 6-foot-wide observing flap, and continue your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” in perfect comfort. Once you return from your adventure, simply close the observing flap, cover your telescope, and move into the next room for some well-deserved rest.
Grab Kendrick Astro Instrument’s Stargate Observer Tent and let your journey to the beginning of space and time continue
Astronomy Products – Laser collimators are indispensable tools for aligning the optics of your time-machine-to-the-stars, but many laser collimators of the past had an inherent weakness in which the collimator wasn’t centered in the focuser. This often caused a small gap to exist between the collimator and the focuser’s drawtube, no matter how precise the machining of the collimator’s barrel. HOTECH’s SCA Laser Collimators have solved this problem using a Self-Centering Adapter (SCA) using rubber compression rings that expand evenly against the drawtube and center the collimator perfectly straight in the focuser.
Innovations in design and function
A clever idea that works by using three perfectly aligned laser beams to simulate the parallel rays coming from a distant star, HOTECH’s SCA Laser Collimators work great for quickly aligning the optics of your time-machine-to-the-stars. Stargazers using Ritchey-Chretien, Dall-Kirkham, Schmidt-Cassegrain, and Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes can quickly, efficient and reliably prepare their telescope to continue their “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”, using the only effective method known to collimate their time-machines-to-the-stars.
HOTECH’s SCA Laser Collimators allow users to perform collimation indoors or outdoors, day or night, using a clear and simple to read display located within a short focal distance of the telescope for diagnosing alignment problems with a telescope optical systems without guess-work. Avoid the frustration of moving between the front and back of your telescope adjusting the corresponding alignment screw, while holding your breath and looking through a high magnification eyepiece trying to reference the concentricity of an image out of focus with HOTECH’s SCA Laser Collimators. You’ll have more time for viewing the universe and taking the unforgettable Astro images you really did all of this work for.
Stargazers Halloween treats abound in autumn’s night sky
Winter treat for the lonely wanderer
Astronomy news (2013-10-15) – Cassiopeia the Queen is one of the first northern deep sky objects we’ll view during our “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time”. Cassiopeia the Queen is easily recognizable in autumn’s night sky using her characteristic W or M shape form and she was one of the 48 constellations originally listed by the 2nd-century Greek astronomer Ptolemy during his observations of the night sky. Today, Cassiopeia the Queen is one of 88 constellations recognized by modern stargazers in the night sky, and the abundance of magnificent open star clusters within her arms provides viewers with a chance to see a variety of outstanding celestial objects that have been entertaining stargazers for thousands of years.
Cassiopeia the Queen is a familiar sight for modern astronomers and stargazers in the mid-northern latitudes of planet Earth and is often one of the first constellations in the northern sky beginning stargazers journey to view. Board your time-machine-to-the-stars near the end of October, or the beginning of November, and take the family on a journey through time and space to visit Cassiopeia the Queen. A visit with Cassiopeia the Queen will open a child’s mind to the possibilities of the universe, before them, and your wife will be able to tell her friends that you took her out last night.
Both astronomers and ancient navigators used Cassiopeia as a guide to finding their way
One of the best open star clusters you can view with the naked eye is 6.5 magnitude NGC 129, a large, bright, open cluster of stars 8×50 astronomical binoculars will reveal to have six to twelve brighter stars nestled within the collective glow of a field of stars too faint to resolve using binoculars. You should see about 35 celestial bodies in this region of space and time 5,200 light years distant from your position on the Earth. Look toward the north of two 9th magnitude stars, near the center of NGC 129, and you’ll find the Cepheid variable DL Cassiopeiae. DL Cassiopeiae will fluctuate between 8.6 and 9.3 magnitudes, over the course of an eight-day cycle.
The central star in Cassiopeia’s characteristic W is Gamma Cassiopeiae, a prototype for a class of irregular variable stars believed to be rapidly spinning type-B celestial bodies often fluctuating by as much as magnitude 1.5 or more, Gamma Cassiopeiae will flicker between 2.2 and 3.4 magnitudes as you watch her nightly dance and this star at maximum brightness outshines both Alpha Cassiopeiae and Beta Cassiopeiae. Astronomers believe these apparent fluctuations are due to a decretion disk around this star resulting from the rapid spinning of the star, which results in some of the star’s mass forming a decretion disk. Gamma Cassiopeiae is also a spectroscopic binary star with an orbital period of about 204 days and astronomers believe Gamma Cassiopeiae’s companion star is about the same relative mass as Sol. Part of a small group of stellar sources in the night sky that beam X-ray radiation about 10 times higher than the X-rays emitted from other type-B stars across the cosmos, Gamma Cassiopeiae exhibits both short-term and long-term cycles of x-ray emission. Stargazers should also be able to view Gamma Cassiopeiae as an optical double star, with a faint magnitude 11 companion star, about 2 arcseconds distant from Gamma Cassiopeiae.
Chinese astronomers studied Gamma Cassiopeiae
Ancient stargazers in China called Gamma Cassiopeiae Tsih, which loosely translates as “the whip”, but no references have been found in Arabic or Latin texts of Gamma Cassiopeiae being referred to using a different name. Modern stargazers refer to Gamma Cassiopeiae by a number of different designations, including 27 Cassiopeiae, HR 264, HD 5394, and others. Modern astronauts often use Gamma Cassiopeiae as a star guide because it’s a relatively bright celestial object and in previous space missions this star was used as an easily recognizable navigational reference point in the night sky.
Astronomers note two Messier objects
M103 (NGC 581) is the first of two Messier objects in Cassiopeia’s arms viewable through a six-inch time-machine-to-the-stars and should appear as about three dozen stars grouped in a triangular area 6′ across. A fairly compact open cluster, M103 will be 1 degree east of Delta Cassiopeiae, and is the left bottom star of Cassiopeia’s characteristic W shape marking her throne in the night sky. Pierre Mechain was first given credit for seeing this open cluster in the night sky in 1781. Stargazers using 8×50 binoculars will see about 25 magnitude 10 or fainter stars in their view and a string of four stars immediately to M103’s southeast, which adds to the beauty of viewing M103, significantly.
The second Messier object in Cassiopeia cataloged by Messier is M52 (NGC 7654), you can locate M52 by drawing a line from Alpha Cassiopeiae through Beta Cassiopeiae, and then extending your line an equal distance to M52. An 8-inch time-machine-to-the-stars will reveal about 75 stars in the night sky clumped in various patterns along the edge of the Milky Way that aren’t lost among the background points of light behind these stars. One of the richest open clusters in Cassiopeia’s arms and north of the celestial equator, Messier made note of M52 in his catalog in 1774. This open cluster will appear as a nebulous mass of about 100 stars in 8×50 astronomical binoculars, with a few individual stars that you can resolve a little better. Stargazers looking for a little extra should look to the north of M52 to find Harrington 12, a wide triangular looking asterism containing about a dozen 5th to 9th magnitude stars, which will appear spectacular in low-power astronomical binoculars.
The Owl spreads its wings
Journey less than 3 degrees south of Delta Cassiopeiae to find the spectacular Owl Cluster (NGC 457), a celestial object ancient stargazers could plainly see in the north night sky, the Owl Cluster’s wings will be clearly viewable using a 4-inch time-machine-to-the-stars. Stargazers can also locate Delta Cassiopeiae by using 5th magnitude Phi Cassiopeiae and 7th magnitude HD 7902, which lie to the southeast of the Owl Cluster. The Own’s eastern wing is a line of four bright stars while the western wing is composed of two pairs of stars arranged in a long rectangle. The brightest star in the Owl Cluster will shine at 8.6 magnitude and will appear a little orange in color to star gazers.