Equipment Reviews

This page is a collection of some articles on some of the equipment I have tested. The experiences and results may prove useful for those looking at new gear. These reviews were published by AstroGear Today.

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CDK14 With The Custom – Rouz Astro Reducer-OAG Kit

In its “fast” configuration, the system is now producing excellent results with the following features:

  • Fast focal ratio: f/4.76
  • Off-axis guiding (OAG)
  • Field of view: 1.5 degrees
  • High resolution – image scale of 0.46 arcseconds/pixel
  • Mono full frame camera with filter wheel support
  • Precision focus and instrument rotation
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The Planewave CDK14 Telescope

Having owned the Planewave CDK12.5, I was very interested in how much difference I’d find with the larger CDK14. The 14-inch offers slightly more aperture (12% increase in theoretical resolution, 21% increase in light-gathering power).

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The Optec Gemini Low-Profile Focuser

The Gemini is a precision focuser with an integrated instrument rotator. It has a combination of features that is almost unrivaled, and I’ll be highlighting them here as well its drawbacks.

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The Optec Sagitta Off Axis Guider

Having tested about a dozen OAGs, I’ll be reviewing my preferred one, the Optec Sagitta. The Optec Sagitta OAG is the only one I have found that meets all my requirements.

Planewave Instruments’ 0.66x Focal Reducer

We will look at how one type of reducer affects the field of view, vignetting and illumination, spot sizes, resolution, and image brightness. 

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Chroma 3nm vs Astronomik 6nm

Here we are testing two very good narrowband filter set choices side-by-side, the 3nm Chroma filters and the 6nm Astronomik.

Astronomik RGB Filters

Astronomik clearly put a lot of thought and effort into producing a good RGB filter set at a very attractive price point. They’re worthy of becoming a popular choice for many astrophotographers.

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Long-Focal Length Guiding: ZWO ASI432MM Review

The ASI432MM seemed to me like an interesting candidate for a guide camera. I decided to give it a try for guiding my Planewave CDK14.

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Planewave CDK 12.5 Telescope

The CDK12.5, or Corrected Dall-Kirkham, is the smallest telescope of the line-up offered by Planewave Instruments currently priced at $10,000. We’ll take a closer look at the performance, ease of use, and overall quality of the telescope with some examples.

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Compact and Affordable Astronomy Computer – Mele Quieter2Q

Review of a minicomputer from Mele, the Quieter2Q, that costs from $199 to $330.

The most interesting feature of this computer is its physical size and weight. It is smaller than a smartphone and easily fits in the palm of your hand.

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The QHY600M – 62 Megapixel Camera

After getting good results with the QHY268M APS-C, I decided to try QHYCCD’s full frame offering, the QHY600M.

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The QHY268M Camera

Here we’ll look at the camera’s characteristics and my analysis of its sensor. I’ll also recommend settings that work well for me, and compare it to a few other cameras.

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The Astro-Physics AP1100 Mount

I’m using the “standard”, non-encoder version of the mount, the AP1100GTO-CP4. Here, we’ll look at how it works and performs, and some of its key features.

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The Pegasus Ultimate Power Box V2

The Pegasus Ultimate Powerbox V2 is an elegant solution that consolidates all the connections into single neat package.

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Planewave L-Series Mounts

This article is based on the L500 mount from Planewave Instruments. There are three mounts in the series. Except for the size, they all look and operate the same, and have unique features compared to the conventional German Equatorial mounts. 

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The Celestron C11 vs. C14

In the 50 years since it was introduced, the Celestron C14 has garnered a reputation as a go-to scope for high-resolution planetary imaging. What about the C14’s smaller sibling, the Celestron C11? I’ve owned both and will share my experiences with them here.

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N.I.N.A. Imaging Suite

When I first heard of N.I.N.A several years ago I thought it was just another free software that will perform some basic tasks. I will be sharing my experience and the main features of N.I.N.A. by going through my typical session step-by-step.

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The Celestron C14: The Ultimate Planet Killer?

Large aperture is important for planetary imaging and the Celestron C14 is considered the king of aperture for this purpose, while also being compact.

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SkyWave-Collimator

I installed the new collimation software from Innovations Foresight, SkyWave-Collimator. I will share my experiences here with some samples and results.

RS1411 S11410 Esprit100 RightRear

SkyWatcher Esprit 100ED Super APO Triplet

The Esprit 100 (100mm / 4inch) model – It costs $3,210, and is a mid-sized, fast f/5.5 triplet refractor with the hardcore imager in mind. I will be sharing it’s features and my experiences with it here.

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QHYCFW3 Series of Filter Wheels

The build and designs are similar, so the popular 36mm (CFW3-M) and 2-inch / 50mm (CFW3-L) 7-position models I’ve tested are representative of the line.

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Fighting Light Pollution: Chroma LoGLow Filter Test

My preferred solution for broadband imaging is the Chroma LoGlow light pollution filter. Comparing it with a normal luminance filter (Astrodon) produced some very interesting results.

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Pegasus Astro Falcon Rotator

Pegasus Astro offers one of the slimmest motorized computer-controlled camera rotators. At $626. Here I share my experiences with the Falcon and discuss some of its advantages and disadvantages.

filterweel

The Pegasus filter wheel may appeal to some. The slim design and flexibility of both camera and telescope connections are useful, and the single USB 2.0 connection is convenient.

EAF Vs SESTO

ZWO EAF vs Primaluce Labs Sesto Senso 2

Both of these motors attach to your existing focuser to enable software automation and control. We will compare these motors side-by-side so you can determine which is most suitable for you.

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Off-Axis Guiding: IMX174-Based Guide Cameras

At about $400 to $600, they cost a bit more than typical small guide cameras, but less than the Starlight Xpress Lodestar family that have been popular for decades.

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Aurora Flatfield Panel

Reaching perfection isn’t easy but the Gerd Neumann Aurora Flatfield Panel claims it will get you there.

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Baader Planetarium M68 Tilter

Here, we’ll take a look at the Baader M68 tilting device that can be very useful when the user needs to correct the camera’s tilt at the focal plane.

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Review of the NexDome Personal Observatory

I had been fantasizing about owning an observatory for quite a while and had considered options including a roll-off roof and clamshell. Considering cost, effort, and features, I chose the NexDome, and I’ll be sharing my experiences with it here.

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Lunatico AAG CloudWatcher

The AAG CloudWatcher consists of a plastic box with sensors on the side that faces the sky. Sensors include a cloud detector, rain sensor, light sensor, and, optionally, a wind speed anemometer.

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Lunatico’s Solo

The Solo, also made by Lunatico, acts as a tiny standalone computer that relays CloudWatcher data over a network without the need for a PC.

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Budget-Friendly Off-Axis Guiders

Here we look at four relatively simple and low-cost options ($100 to $200) from QHY, ZWO, and a less-known option from Hercules.

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A Free and Easy App for Astrophotography with Your Smartphone

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Telescope Live Review

Telescope Live is an interesting platform that puts data from a network of global telescopes at your disposal.