Equipment

Baader Polaris — measuring and guiding eyepiece

10 November 2015 Steve Ringwood

Reviewer Steve Ringwood takes a look through a versatile 25mm eyepiece from Baader Planetarium that has a field cross-hatched by an illuminated reticule that permits measurement through sub-divided etched lines. It can also usefully employed as a guiding eyepiece as it is fitted with a T-2 thread, plus 1.25″ and 2″ nosepiece adapters are available.

Equipment

Orion EON 115mm ED triplet APO refractor

1 November 2015 Steve Ringwood

ED glasses are fast becoming ubiquitous in astronomical equipment, particularly in banishing the remnants of chromatic aberration of the classic refractor. Steve Ringwood takes a look at a 115mm (4.5″) f/7 air-spaced triplet from Orion in the USA. Designed for both visual use and astrophotography, it sports a beefy three-inch dual-speed Crayford focuser and comes supplied its own hard carry case.

Equipment

Astro-Video Systems DSO-1 camera

20 October 2015 Ade Ashford

Are you looking for something to bring the wow factor back to your public viewing sessions, or a means to observe in comfort out of the cold? The sub-£100 Astro-Video Systems DSO-1 camera promises near realtime colour imaging of deep-sky objects and high-resolution planetary imaging with modest telescopes. Does it deliver? Ade Ashford finds out.

Equipment

Geoptik CCD cooling fan

17 October 2015 Steve Ringwood

CCDs are incredible devices, gobbling photons that have travelled the vastness of space with great efficiency. Their Achilles heel is to also accept spurious signals from the immediate vicinity — within their own traitorous circuitry. Steve Ringwood investigates a CCD cooling chamber that will reduce a camera’s noise and increase its efficiency for both daytime and nocturnal imaging.

Equipment

Orion high-power 5× four-element Barlow lens

11 October 2015 Steve Ringwood

Reviewer Steve Ringwood waxes lyrical about this benevolent telescopic accessory — a new high-power 5x Barlow lens designed for 1.25-inch (31.7mm) eyepieces. It delivers a fairly ambitious amplification factor of five times to any ocular used with it, but its four-element design ensures that it does this whilst retaining image fidelity.

Equipment

Lunt calcium-K star-diagonal module

6 October 2015 Steve Ringwood

Use this combination solar diagonal and blocking filter with a conventional refractor of 100mm aperture or less and you have an instant calcium K-line solar instrument, writes reviewer Steve Ringwood. With it you can see super-granulation on the Sun’s surface and other features outside the reach of hydrogen-alpha telescopes — all in complete safety.

Equipment

Geoptik SLR hotshoe Synta finderscope adapter

18 September 2015 Steve Ringwood

Reviewer Steve Ringwood acknowledges that some stunning astrophotography is possible by use of a camera and its terrestrial lens alone. But in dim nocturnal light, it can be difficult to accurately aim the camera at a particular target in the sky. The Geoptik SLR hotshoe finderscope adapter is a convenient mediator between a DSLR camera and a Synta-style red dot or optical finder’s dovetail for precise pointing.

Equipment

Celestron Ultima Duo eyepieces

5 September 2015 Steve Ringwood

While a vast body of space imagery lies just an internet click away, nothing compares to seeing an astronomical object in the eyepiece. But it is only natural that one should wish to capture such views with a camera. Steve Ringwood investigates Celestron’s ingenious Ultima Duo hybrid eyepieces intended to combine your visual and photographic needs in one package.

Equipment

Explore Scientific Ultra Light Dobsonian

15 August 2015 Steve Ringwood

In developing the beautifully minimalist Dobsonian, the resourceful John Dobson quite rightly earned himself a kind of immortality, telescope-wise. Yet even after the decades of development and tweaking that have occurred since, the concept continues to evolve today. Steve Ringwood casts his expert eye over a new line of Dobsonians from Explore Scientific.