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TSRobot

Unistella evscope

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I know little of video astronomy so I apologise for my shallow query.

I've read online about the Unistella evscope and info on YouTube show image capture similar to those taken by the Atik infinity camera. Do they use the same tech? I see the evscope is goto and app driven, but is it just an assembly of current tech ready for retail. Or is the evscope something new? It mentions an image intensifier in it's write up which are only available in the USA. 

Thanks

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IMHO As far as I know (read) they are only just brining a "prototype" out in November. What they have shown looks ,on paper, very good. However that's a sales pitch - I believe in hard facts (not sales and Marketing - hey the Titanic was unsinkable and Diesel cars are clean!) and perhaps some brave person on SGL purchasing one and giving us a proper "First Light" review. As you say is it just existing tech repackaged (i.e. normal commercially available) or something new time will tell. Things do tend to move quite fast in tech.

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It’s a Ccd at prime focus of a 4.5” f4 scope, alt az tracking mount, plate solving object ID, real-time image stacking to see faint stuff, 0.5degree Fov, image pr sent d on a good quality “eyepiecendisplay”. For the money you probably could assemble your own version using a PC to run it. Seems to have been quite successful on Kickstarter, let’s see how the  thing works in practice.

It does not use an intensifier, these also work very nicely and can be found second hand in the U.K. if you keep an eye out, not cheap either but seeing “faint” nebulae real-time is kind of fun.

 

peter

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I can totally understand what they are trying to do with the product and really hope it is a success, I admire them for giving it a go. My feeling is that it will not appeal to existing amatuer astronomers as they would rather enhance their existing kit, and I am not sure people new to astronomy would want to pay that much - it will require the muscle of mass production to make this a product with a market imo. Personally I tend to be put off by 'all in one products' because if one part goes wrong the whole thing becomes useless. An interesting one to watch.....

Edited by RobertI

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I've gone in on the Kickstarter. Is it new tech? No. Is it revolutionary? Not really. What it is though, is an interesting concept using existing tech (i.e. telescope, camera, PC, and software) for live viewing of DSO's all repackaged into a single, easy to setup unit with the added twist of augmented reality and connection to a scientific research network. If a 16" dob is the visual observers version of a high end astrophotography/video astronomy setup, this is the desktop dob version. It's all about convenience and ease of setup and some people are willing to pay for that. I'm not willing to pay the $2000+ figure that's being thrown around in some places, but getting in early on a Kickstarter means you pay about half that. That's a bit more reasonable and it helps fund future developments in the tech. Oculus Rift started as a Kickstarter, and look at them now. One of the leading developers in VR technology.

For me, the primary purpose of this telescope system will not be personal, however, I'm sure I will enjoy the views. I still love my 12" dob and get way better views that most of the people in my club from the dark site. The primary purpose will be outreach programs and public events with my astronomy club and to engage those people and increase their interest in astronomy and science. We hold events where we typically have anywhere from 50-100 people show up. I get a ton of oohs and ahs when I show them Jupiter or Saturn at 300x, and I get a few wows when looking at M57. But I also get a lot of questions like "what am I supposed to be seeing?" or comments like "I just can't see it" or children (and adults) who are less than impressed with an extremely faint fuzzy splotch of a galaxy or other nebulae. I can see them in my 12" and I'm impressed with what I can see because I know and understand what I'm looking at, but not everyone is. This is the telescope for those people. As our wallets are painfully aware, getting an image from a telescope to a PC screen with a high end AP/AV setup can easily cost way more than $2000 and requires a lot more components and setup. Besides that, I have enough junk to lug around and setup with my dob. If this thing collapses to fit in a backpack to where I can just pull it out, put it on a tripod, turn it on and it just work, all the better. I'm way more likely to use this in conjunction with my dob than I am to setup both my dob and an AP/AV setup for those community events. If it's just me or a club only event, or I plan to be out all night, that's a different story.

That's my two cents on this.

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Have my doubts on this set up,, yip looks great on paper and people with passion can spin fantastic facts and figures,, but in my honest opinion a lot can go wrong with an all in one system.. if one part fails it all fails.

It's a small scope ,so it will be wide field , camera wise how sensitive will it be,, is it future proof answer has to be no,, what software will it use and will it be updatable.

Kickstart projects are a throw of the dice, I got involved with tinymos via my vaf and we supported them, all was rosy for a while then communication became less and less, deadlines came and went and we ended up ditching support of the product,, but I've seen the same with 3d printers,, 

As Peter says a very good kit could be built the same as or better for the money involved using eq mounts and latest cameras and software.

I personally would not take the gamble even though the folk behind it are pretty clued up, 

 

Edited by shirva

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I'm going to give it a go. I completely agree that if one part fails, the whole thing fails. However, if you build a system yourself when one thing fails, your whole AP/VA system fails until you get it fixed as well. It's not like you can do AP/VA without a camera or a PC. Are the components easily replaceable by the user? Yes, but you still have to have something to replace it with or just be down until you get it fixed. We'll just have to wait and see what the customer support/service is like if something ever happens *knock on wood*.

As for the FOV, depends on what you call wide and what sort of magnification setting you're using, since the magnification is variable (50/100/150). I would assume the magnification is digital rather than optical given the construction of the telescope as you can't really change the focal length. You're right, it's not a very large scope. It's a 4.5" primary and a 450mm focal length. It uses a Sony IMX224, 1.2MP sensor and has a micro-OLED display. You wouldn't be able to get the entirety of Andromeda, Orion or even the Rosette nebula, but there are a lot of smaller galaxies and nebulae that will fit extremely well in the eyepiece. Is it hardware future proof? No. I can't imagine you'll be upgrading the sensor or the display. Software wise though, it's all controlled by an app on your phone which should be easy enough to update. I imagine there would be a way to flash the software on the telescope itself as well, if necessary though. They obviously haven't released full details as the entire project is still in development.

You can certainly build a similar system, however, I doubt you'd be able to get anything quite as compact as this. And you really need to compare apples to apples when looking at cost. You'd have to get a scope, a tracking EQ or Alt/Az mount with a tripod, a camera, a power supply, a PC, and the software and cables to hook it all up and run it and process the images in real time. And you'll probably also need a guide scope and camera for that as well. You're probably looking at a $1750 (or £1300) at least. And that's just for barebones, no frills, small scope, low end tech specs and it's going to be a lot of stuff to carry around.

Yes, Kickstarter's are generally a throw of the dice, but you really need to look at who's involved and how it's being managed and make a sound judgement from that. With SETI throwing their name on it, with all the publicity that it has right now, all the tech demos they're doing, and with the people who are managing it and their credentials on the line, it seems pretty legit.

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Hope you're right and all goes well,, sensor wise,how long will it hold it's own given that over the last couple of years cameras are coming out on very regular intervals,, only a few years back most were probably on Samsung scb2000 or ln300 cameras, and now zwo is pumping out several variations on camera sensors,

Yes the telescope is small and compact but so are some of the meade etx range and there is also the portable revolution imager set up that would probably be not too far off a good portable set up,, 

On a personal note, I don't think I'll ever struggle to put some kind of a camera on a scope 😂.

One thing that worries me is they have some chaps saying how good they are yet we see only seconds of telescope view,, 

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"but you still have to have something to replace it with or just be down until you get it fixed." - but that's the point - specialist hardware is harder(and more expensive) to replace or repair - e.g. Apple kit. In a word flexibility!

Components you have "added" yourself ,usually means you can replace  easily and quickly - even if they have not broken down but they may have just become obsolete - without having to replace all the kit(maybe) as its not "compatible" or some other excuse!

Shirva(Davy) is right its the "Emperors new clothes" syndrome but hell its your money - hope it turns out great.

Me I like to be one step behind "The best thing since slice bread" especially in tech.

Clear Skies :thumbsup:

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Been there stash,,, I saw the Skywatcher az gti and liked the idea,, there was only two folk on sgl who posted they had one just before mine was delivered,, and we had it before American market,, nothing on Skywatcher website,, leap of faith,,but we're talking Skywatcher and have a large amount of astronomy kit on offer.

The scope is appealing and a new concept my worry is , that it may not live up to expectations and it is a one trick pony,, if it gets bad reviews and you have bought one,, where is the resale value

If you buy a mount scope camera ect separate and it doesn't perform bto your expectations you can sell it and buy something better ,, 

They talk about linking these scopes together to gather data ect,, great idea  and I'm all for that,, but a two grand scope can sit idle the same as a one grand set up if you don't have clear skies, we all know going by forums that the weather world wide has been poor,, the broadcasting on night skies network has dropped big time and only a fraction of what used to be done and it's used by pretty serious video astronomers,, because the new scope may be endorsed by seti won't mean a thing if it's not getting used.

I hope it works out but I fear it may be outdated before it's launched unless it has some smart design features such as interchangeable camera modules..

Given that most folk on here have serious kit for the hobby and use a computer as a standard piece of there Astronomy kit to run there camera .

1,, to display the image

2,, to stack short exposure images

3,, to change basic camera settings,, gamma, exposure ect,,

I really wonder how this new scope can jump from lunar to deep sky Astronomy as shown in it's demo presentation,, even zwo gives recommendations on what there cameras are best for,,

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It will be expensive compared to what you could set up yourself.  I could get similar results with a Celestron 130SLT, a ZWO ASI224MC and a Windows 10 tablet for about the same price as the kickstarter early bird price.  But a lot of people would prefer a turn key solution.  There's no figuring out different software, picking cameras, setting everything up, etc.  You just set it up and it works.  But the target market is probably not people like us.  The only benefit I could see for myself is it would serve as a nice, compact, travel video astronomy setup.  Everything fits in a large backpack and sets up quickly.     It would also be good at star parties where other observers don't want the glare of a screen spoiling their night, though that could be mitigated with a standard video astronomy setup. 

As for upgrading, I'm not sure how much difference a new sensor could add to the IMX224.  It's already a pretty low noise and is a very sensitive sensor.   The newer sensors like the IMX385 offer a wider view but similar sensitivity.  The field of view of any sensor is going to be limited to what resolution they can display in that little eyepiece screen.   For example, the highest density screens are about 300 pixels per inch (Some state that's about the limit of the human eye for seeing detail).  If the screen were equal to a 2" eyepiece, you're only seeing a screen that's about 600x600 pixels.  So even if there was a wider sensor with equal sensitivity (e.g. the IMX385), it may not make much difference in what you could see in the eyepiece screen.   So, even with a 224, you're still going to have to pan around to see everything.  Any digital zooming will be limited to the pixel size of the camera.

One thing to note, the current product isn't slated to be shipped for another year (November of 2018).  So it's still a product in development and things could change for the final version.

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A pain for those of us who like viewing big nebulae. I need to get using my lodestar more...

 

Peter

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Will find out in 17 days,, all or bust,,, $150,00 pledged looks like they need a hell of a lot more money to kick-start it

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18 hours ago, shirva said:

Will find out in 17 days,, all or bust,,, $150,00 pledged looks like they need a hell of a lot more money to kick-start it

They have over $1.6 Million pledged.

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42 minutes ago, Robrj said:

They have over $1.6 Million pledged.

Sorry folks,, I saw it had the 1.5 million I took that as the target they had to reach,,, should be able to make a telescope for 1.6 million 😀

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17 hours ago, shirva said:

Sorry folks,, I saw it had the 1.5 million I took that as the target they had to reach,,, should be able to make a telescope for 1.6 million 😀

Don't think they are doing it for the love of Astronomy(oh cynical me !). 

Again we shall see when he "final" version comes out.  Will the Chinese kit manufacturers's respond before it comes out ! 

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It's an all-in-one-package similar to what I've been doing for a decade using regular equipment.  It's really quite small in aperture and can't apparently view, for example, the central star in the Ring Nebula M57 - to me a minimum requirement. 

It has some strange design features, like on open tubes Newt-like scope [instead of a sealed optical window], a three-vane spider giving 6 diffraction spikes and potentally wobbly tripod connection.  The latter is quoted as ok as solved by guidance system  [!] but not IMO with the eye bumping the electronic EP as it will.  Direct wireless to phone screen would be better and social media  :)
 
From long experience I do seriously doubt that non astronomers would know what to look for beyond the obvious moon which anyone could aim for without expensive aids.  Even at my astro club most members are 'lost' beyond half a dozen famous deepsky objects sad that it is.
 
Nytecam
Edited by nytecam

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Sad indeed, but possibly to be expected with average small scopes and our own brand of London Lightpollution. There are plenty of objects if you look beyond the messier list which contains rather too many little galaxies.

Another fun game to play is to ask imagers where the object is that they’re imaging....;-) One issue with the unistallar is the small field of view, though if you want nebulae and planets you can’t keep everyone happy.

 

PEterW

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I personally wont go for the first evscope, but maybe the second version when the ironing has been done and the reviews are out. Failing that the revolution imager r2 and the sw azgti seem to be better economy for around £600 complete with good reviews for entry level EAA.

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I thought this thread was about the Unistella evscope and its "potential" ,not about being "Lord and mighty" and selfish comments on fellow Astronomers(or Non) who are learning their "trade". Its comments like this that put off "newbies" joining our hobby or threads.  

I for one didn't know about many objects outside the Moon/Plough etc when I first started and I admit that Planetarium software,Goto's ,Platesolving and learning have helped me expand my horizons into this vast subject.  Just as reading threads by Martin Meredith,Dom etc promote ideas and encourage people to look further than he Moon and in different ways (e.g. EAA / Video Astro)

So less of the swipes at less knowledgeable etc and promote the hobby by being a good ambassador.

I think you are correct TSRobot - hang fire and hope.

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3 hours ago, TSRobot said:

I personally wont go for the first evscope, but maybe the second version when the ironing has been done and the reviews are out. Failing that the revolution imager r2 and the sw azgti seem to be better economy for around £600 complete with good reviews for entry level EAA.

I have the az gti,, nice enough mount,, but not the best for an ed80 and DSLR,, DSLR is ideal on it, have it as my portable kit mount

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2 hours ago, stash_old said:

I thought this thread was about the Unistella evscope and its "potential" ,not about being "Lord and mighty" and selfish comments on fellow Astronomers(or Non) who are learning their "trade". Its comments like this that put off "newbies" joining our hobby or threads.  

I for one didn't know about many objects outside the Moon/Plough etc when I first started and I admit that Planetarium software,Goto's ,Platesolving and learning have helped me expand my horizons into this vast subject.  Just as reading threads by Martin Meredith,Dom etc promote ideas and encourage people to look further than he Moon and in different ways (e.g. EAA / Video Astro)

So less of the swipes at less knowledgeable etc and promote the hobby by being a good ambassador.

I think you are correct TSRobot - hang fire and hope.

Hands up,, I'm one of the folk that relies on a go to scope and skymap from Google,, just never got into learning that side of the hobby,,,, I have to agree with nytecam , I have reservations about it,, great concept but limited in this day and age of cameras coming out regularly now..

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Not trying to bash. A good staratlas, a cheap pair of bins and a dark sky and you can be happy for a long time. Under urban skies goto can really help and any electronic amplification will provide better views. Anything that helps widen engagement is a good thing.

 

peter

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