Equipment

Orion high-power 5× four-element Barlow lens

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.

Book Reviews

Beyond: Our Future in Space

With accessible prose and relentless curiosity, Chris Impey’s book reports on China’s plan to launch its own space station by 2020, proves that humans could survive on Mars, and unveils cutting-edge innovations poised to replace rockets at a fraction of the cost. “Beyond is a compelling book with great attention to detail and science that is awe inspiring — it is a stellar read indeed,” says reviewer Alex Green.

Book Reviews

Masters of the Universe

How did our modern picture of the universe come into being? Helge Kragh’s book tells this fascinating story in an unusual format that blends factual and fictional elements. The ‘interviewees’ are a collection of eminent twentieth century cosmologists, among them Einstein, Eddington, De Sitter, Hoyle, Arrhenius, Dirac and Schwarzschild. Reviewed by Ian Welland.

Book Reviews

New Space Frontiers

Piers Bizony’s book gives the reader an insight into the twenty-first century’s new era of human spaceflight with Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and more vying with traditional space agencies and emerging space-faring nations such as China. Reviewer Kulvinder Singh Chadha says that Bizony successfully captures what is happening right now in this generously-sized book with lush images aplenty.

Equipment

Lunt calcium-K star-diagonal module

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

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

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

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.

Equipment

Vixen SLV eyepieces

Steve Ringwood takes a good look through Vixen’s SLV range of eyepieces, offered in ten focal lengths from 2.5mm to 25mm. Each is designed to offer exceptional clarity and contrast across a 45°—50° field by employing rare earth Lanthanum glass. He also notes that each eyepiece’s polygonal rubber grip acts as an ‘anti-roll’ feature, hopefully protecting them from a fall!