Posted on Leave a comment

New SESTO SENSO 2 Robotic Focusing Motor

SESTO SENSO 2 Animation

SESTO SENSO 2 – The highly accurate, advanced, vibration free, robotic focusing motor for your telescope! Connect it to the USB port of your EAGLE or Windows® computer to electronically control focus while still allowing you to manually move your focuser by hand if needed. If you don’t want to focus using a computer, you can connect wirelessly from any smartphone or tablet using the integrated Virtual HandPad via the built-in Wifi network in the SESTO SENSO 2! Thanks to the Self Centering Clamp technology (SCC), SESTO SENSO 2 can be installed on most focusers without the need of external brackets. The supplied FOCUS Manager software and ASCOM driver allow easy configuration of the many advanced features of SESTO SENSO 2. Thanks to the precisely controlled motor with integrated electronics, SESTO SENSO 2 achieves incredible precision of just 0.7 microns. 

Posted on Leave a comment

First Primalucelab ESATTO 2″ Microfocuser Sold in Australia

We recently received a shipment of ESATTO 2″ and ESATTO 3″ focusers from Primalucelab. These had been pre-ordered by customers who wanted to get in early and receive an ESATTO from Primalucelab’s first production run. 

I asked one of our customers to send some images of his telescope with the ESATTO 2″ installed. Along with the images he provided some excellent  feedback which he has allowed me to publish here. He preferred to be anonymous so we will refer to our customer as DS from South East Queensland. 

DS owns a Takahashi Mewlon 210

There are a number of Adapter options for connecting the ESATTO 2″ to Takahashi telescopes.

Thanks to its low profile, the ESATTO 2″ is the perfect motorized focuser for Takahashi telescopes with M72 thread. By adding the PL3600244 M72 adapter, you can thread the ESATTO 2″ focuser directly onto the back of these telescopes.

But the Mewlon 210 telescope uses a M71 thread!

Primalucelab suggest adding the Baader BAA2558231 M71/M72 adapter to connect to the Takahashi Mewlon telescopes.

Mewlon 210 + BAA2558231 M71/M72 + PL3600244 M72 + ESATTO 2"

DS decided to use his existing SC thread adapter

DS already had a SC thread adapter attached to his Mewlon 210 so he decided to leave this in place and directly connect the ESSATO 2″ focuser using the PL3600209 SC Adapter. His existing camera and filter wheel was attached to a Mewlon x0.8 Reducer / Flattener that provided a 2″ nose piece on the telescope focuser side. To accomodate this DS also purchased the PL8410001 2″ Visual Back.

Mewlon 210 + Tak SC thread Adpater + PL3600209 SC Adapter + ESATTO 2" + PL8410001 Visual Back


Our Customers Comments and Feedback

Initially DS sent an email to thank Sidereal Trading for delivering his new focuser. He was obviously very happy with the design and build quality.

Thank you for the ESATTO 2” Robotic Focuser and adapters, received today.

I am conflicted; I’m not sure if I should fit the ESATTO to my telescope, or frame it as a work of art in an Art Gallery.

As usual, the arrival on new astro gear coincides with the arrival of local cloud an storm conditions, so I will not be able to test it in the field for a couple of days.

Cheers DS

As promised, please find attached a couple of photos of the ESATTO motorised focuser attached to my Takahashi Mewlon 210 and a couple of annotated images showing the components of my imaging train that I have used to obtain a 56mm distance between the Metal Back of the Tak x0.8 Reducer/Flattener and the CMOS Chip in the ZWO ASI1600MM.

I also managed to locate a drawing, source unknown, but it looks like a Tak internal drawing that indicates the Optimum Focus is set at 105mm from the rear of the mirror assembly, but this can be allowed to extend an ADDITIONAL 118mm giving a maximum of 223mm. My optical train comes in around 170mm so I am somewhere between these two points.

Cheers DS

First Impressions

When I first operated the ESATTO, I freaked out as the motor noise was very similar to my Tak EM200 Mount when slewing, and I temporarily thought my mount had made an uncommanded slew, until I reconciled the disconnect between my auditory and visual input sensors (ears and eyes).

As it operates, the ESATTO sound like a Maserati purring along, no doubt a testimony to Filippo’s heritage.

The ESATTO is performing extremely well and the Windows 10 Application was very intuitive to operate

I managed to record Nereid, a mag 18.7 satellite of Neptune last night (Bortle 6 skies) with this set up, but my spacing was only 51mm so I have now inserted a 5mm Extension Tube to give me 56mm and will try this next time I get a clear night. I found mag 19.9 stars in the image which is quite impressive from the light polluted suburbs of Brisbane. I have attached a cropped copy of the Nereid image, which does show some comatic stars at the edge and I am hoping this is due to the incorrect 51mm distance.

I continue to be impressed with the ESATTO which I “manually” focus using The Sky X Pro HFD Graphing Method by stepping the ESATTO in/out using the Win 10 App.

Just bear in mind that all the various measurements I have made and the sources from where I obtained various details are not Tak approved or controlled, so I cannot vouch for their accuracy.

Cheers DS

Posted on Leave a comment

Voyager Astro-imaging Software – Available from Sidereal Trading Pty Ltd

Voyager is the most reliable Astrophotography software for image capture and hardware control available today. 

It integrates and orchestrates your mount, camera, filter wheel, rotator, guiding system and more – all the hardware and software needed to take astro images. Do you have a dome or roll-off roof with an ASCOM driver?  Voyager can control them too.

Want to learn more about this incredible software.
See Why Voyager or the full list of Voyage Features

Ready for Reliable Imaging?
Get the 45 Day Free Trial

Fill out the form below and click the Send button.  We will send you a link to download a 45 Day fully functional free trial version of Voyager.  If you decide to buy Voyager we will send you a license file so you can continue using your copy of Voyager – no need to reconfigure anything 🙂

Posted on Leave a comment

Voyager – Review

My Journey So Far

I am an astrophotographer that started looking up with a camera on a Telescope around September 2016, my start on AP was like every other person, Didn’t know how an equatorial mount works, and had no idea about the celestial pole…

My first experience with an observatory was with a NexDome, a Plastic Wonder, easy to assemble, rotation and shutter opening automated, all controlled by SGP, this set up started to raise my imaging level and step by step you want things to work over night and gather photons while sleeping…

Then, things started to happen, one night it was PERFECT, the next, nightmare, mount not parking, shutter not closing, meridian flip failed, or simply the focusing routine went bananas and everything fell apart…

I hate the case of constant “Downloading” that made me loose a complete night…

I started to go deep into settings, scripts, adding new devices such as Cloudwatcher, Dragonfly, new power supplies, energy backup, etc////

But always a weak point, the Software…

Then I moved houses, sold the DOME (personal economy reasons)…

Next day I started to look at a disassembled shed with passion, thinking, how hard can it be to build a roll off roof…

I did it, cheap, easy to figure it out, Nice roll off roof on my backyard, all the toys…
Imaging computer
Mount
Telescope
Camera
Dragonfly
Cloudwatcher
Roof Motor
Flat panel
EVERYTHING…

BUT
It was the Same Software, I could not tame it, the Same Issues were causing problems… AGAIN…

So I started to look for other OPTIONS!!!
(But I was low on money)

First I looked at other packages, Maxim, CCD Commander, The Sky X, etc. All of them industry standards but EXPENSIVE, and on top of that I needed a Director, a MANAGER to take care of the orchestra…
Enter ACP, CCD Autopilot, Maxpilote… Most of them needed someone from the above list and also more money on licenses and more complexity to the game…
Then…. the day came… looking for options, google is my friend and somehow I ended reading some posts on a forum and some guy asked something about VOYAGER software
Wait, what?
After more google searching, I found this simple Webpage, downloaded a demo and off I went…
I met the paradise of astrophotography…
Somehow, an Italian astrophotographer wrote a piece of software that I immediately understood. The software was in English but the manual in ITALIAN… No problem, is so intuitive that I found my way
around…

Night 1…

First time EVER that I used something for astrophotography and it all worked…

For example… Setting up equipment was a breeze, after reading the options I found all the right settings in one go: Telescope, Camera, Filter wheel, Flat panel, Cloud watcher, EVERYTHING fell on its place… Then, something called ON THE FLY… I found a way to tell the software what Target I wanted, then I created a simple sequence and after a Plate Solve and Sync, it was imaging!!!

This is nice!!!

So I moved on to check out Guiding, I was amazed to find RoboGuide, in short, is like having a person decide all the best settings and working wonders with PHD2… Amazing… Next, Focusing… back then it was based on a star, the software has a feature called RoboFire… oh boy, hit a button and the software finds the right settings after running a routine where it sets the perfect curve… after that, every focusing routine was fast and precise…

(These days Voyager also has a mode called Local Field that sees the entire frame where the target is)

I was IMPRESSED….. all of this on the same night!!!!

It all worked like a charm

Night 2…..

Moving to the advanced stuff…
I started to use look at Viking, a piece of software from the same developer that controls Ethernet relay
boards… I asked Leo if he could control the Dragonfly… wait for it, in a week he sent an update and
Dragonfly was implemented… Even the inputs…  
WHAT!!!!!????
I started to organize my ideas and make sense of the complete puzzle… 

The tool, the DIRECTOR!!!! Dragscript!!!!!!
Dragscript is a super clever way of scripting, drag and drop commands in order to create a sequence of
actions and decisions…
Took me 3 hours to test functions and sections of scripts divided in blocks… How to wait for
astronomical darkness, how to fire up the relays on the dragonfly and how to call out a sequence…
ITS ALL WORKING… But wait
I needed the most important part…
Suspend and restart the session with the safety status from the cloudwatcher…

After realizing how the SUSPEND EVENTS AND EMERGENCY EVENTS work on Dragscript,
I built my first complete Script…

That night I was supper happy it was not perfectly clear, patchy cloud sections coming my way,
what better opportunity to test the whole thing…

Picture This… Its All Clear

  • About 10 pm, the script starts and confirms that astro darkness has began…
  • Then it continues on to connect to Dragonfly and rest of equipment
  • Goes on and Switched on Mount, Camera cooler, Observatory, focuser and telescope FAN
  • Opens the ROOF and waits for the REED SWITCH to report back the OPEN status… Brilliant!!!
  • Then it orders the mount to slew to a defined Alt AZ position and perform a Blind plate solve… It does
  • Following that it starts the sequence… this sequence instructs the mount to slew and
  • precisely point to a target…
  • Injects a Focusing routine and after a minute the complete setup is imaging…
  • I could only be impressed…

This is the best part!!!

  • The Cloud watcher detects clouds and immediately the roof closes
  • The mount stops tracking and the camera stays Cold, all in stand by… waiting…
  • 15 minutes after… clear again… Cloudwatcher reports Safe and the resume events kick in…
  • Voyager opens the roof
  • Blind solves
  • Goes to target
  • Focusing routine and resume imaging…
  • Clouds passed by 3 more times… And 3 more times the story repeated…
  • What a beauty…
  • After all the sequence finished, the script ordered the Mount to Park… Close the roof, Warm up the camera and wait for 10 minutes…
  • Disconnect from equipment and then switch off the gear…
  • I could not be happier…

I had a ROBOTIC OBSERVATORY.

Voyager Review by: Diego Colonnello

Posted on Leave a comment

Sky-Watcher Dealership

Sky-Watcher Catalogue
Sidereal Trading Pty Ltd are please to announce that we can now supply our customers the fantastic Sky-Watcher range of telescopes, mounts and accessories.
Download your copy of the latest Sky-Watcher Catalogue

If your interested in a camera tracking mount check out the latest versions of the popular Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer

Posted on Leave a comment

Australian dealership for Rainbow Astro

Rainbow Astro Mounts

Sidereal Trading is excited to announce that we are now the Australian dealer for Rainbow Astro. Rainbow Astro is a division of Rainbow Robotics, a professional mechatronics technology company that designs robotic telescope systems. Rainbow Astro have developed a range of high-end telescope mounts featuring innovative technologies that will impress the most discerning astrophotographers.

In addition to advanced robotic telescope mounts, Rainbow Astro make a range of accessories for RC telescopes. Sidereal Trading has receive our first shipment of RSF Secondary Mirror focus kits for 8″ and 10″ RC Telescopes. The RSF Focuser replaces the secondary mirror holder with a Stepper Motor Moving Focuser. This allows the original focuser to be complete removed and replaced with an optional Fixed Focus Adapter that provides threaded couplings to mount the camera to the telescope. The Fixed Focus Adapter eliminates any possibility of camera tilt being introduce by a poorly constructed focuser.

RSF Series Secondary Mirror Focuser
RSF Series Secondary Mirror Focuser
RC8 Fixed Focus Camera Adapter
RC8 Fixed Focus Camera Adapter

The RSF Secondary Mirror Focuser Kit incudes Hand Controller and an ASCOM driver allowing remote focus via a USB cable connected to a PC.

You can purchase the DIY kit to upgrade your telescope or buy a Sidereal Trading upgraded GSO RC telescope with the focuser preinstalled. 

The RSF-8 and RSF-10 Secondary Mirror Focuser Kits 

Posted on Leave a comment

Why NexDome

NexDome Features

Unlike half-dome designs, NexDome is a classic observatory dome with more than 100 degrees of shutter opening, allowing you to point your telescope to the zenith while remaining shielded from stray light and wind.

Highlights:

  • Nexdome’s unique dome wheels are installed at two different angles. An upright set of wheels bears the weight of the dome and provides for rotation, while a second set of wheels keeps the dome from shifting, resulting in smoother rotation. The second set of wheels, in conjunction with the dome’s angle lip, provides critical protection from uplift in high winds.
  • The 2.2 meter inside diameter provides plenty of space to operate up to a 14” Schmidt Cass or a refractor 1400mm long.
  • Nexdome’s higher walls make entry easier and provide more room for longer telescope tubes compared to conventional domes.
  • Shipping costs are reduced due to the nesting of parts, and thus smaller shipping packages.
  • The NexDome’s light weight makes motorizing the dome easier.
  • Structure and enclosure materials are combined, resulting in fewer parts.
  • Assembly is simple and easy.
  • Thanks to patented design, there is no need of any caulking or weather stripping at the joints

NexDome Comparison Chart
NexDome Comparison Chart

Specifications

Height 90″ (228.6cm)
Diameter 92″ (233.7cm)
Door Size W36″ x H44″
Aperture Width 24″ (61cm)
Open Past Zenith 14″ (35.6cm)
Weight 250 lbs.
Material Extruded ABS with Solarkote ® UV Coating
Tested Temperatures -60º to 120º F (-60º to 48º C)
Warranty 5 years

Proudly Made in USA and Canada.

Posted on Leave a comment

Control Your EQ Series Telescope Mount Directly From Your Computer

EQDIRECT-Cables

Would you like to bypass the hand controller and control your EQ Series Equatorial Mount directly from a computer? Then you need to install EQASCOM and purchase an EQDIRECT USB to TTL serial cable. Why pay $75 or more when you can purchase a Sidereal Trading EQDIRECT cable for $50.

Three models are available:

The EQDIRECT-USB-DB9 is compatible with EQ6/NEQ6 Pro Series mounts and provides a 5V TTL serial signal via a DB9 connector.

The EQDIRECT-USB-RJ-5V is compatible with HEQ5/AZ-EQ6/EQ8 and provide a 5V TTL serial signal via a RJ45 connector

The EQDIRECT-USB-RJ-3.3V is compatible with AZ-EQ6/EQ8 and provide a 3.3V TTL serial signal via a RJ45 connector

All cables are based on the FTDI USB to serial chipset for maximum compatibility with your operating system.

To learn more about EQASCOM refer to THE EQMOD PROJECT website.

Posted on Leave a comment

Modifying the Skywatcher Pier Extension

The 20cm Skywatcher NEQ6/AZ-EQ6 pier extension is a great way to gain the extra height needed to prevent long focal length OTA’s from colliding with the tripod legs. The extension is attached to the tripod using the standard central bolt. Even if the central bolt is tightened as much as possible, it doesn’t take much force to rotate the pier. This can be very annoying if you have carefully polar aligned the mount and it accidentally rotates while you are loosening or tightening the clutches on the AZ-EQ6.

This problem is easy to fix. Luckily the pier base plate is made of aluminium and is very easy to drill. The solution is to drill a 4mm hole very close to edge of the plate and tap it out to 5mm. You can then use an M5 socket head bolt to provide a locking post. The head of the bolt fits nicely into the original post hole on the tripod plate.

Pier plate with M5 tapped hole
Pier plate with M5 tapped hole
Pier plate with post bolt
Pier plate with post bolt
Pier plate with post bolt
Pier plate with post bolt
Pier Extension
Modified Pier Extension
Pier Extension
Pier Extension attached to tripod

With the central bolt tightened it is now impossible for the pier to accidentally rotate.

Posted on Leave a comment

Star Stuff II Sponsored by Sidereal Trading

Star Stuff II

Sidereal Trading are really excited to be sponsoring Star Stuff II. After the sell-out success of the inaugural “Star Stuff – Festival of the Cosmos” last year, organiser Dylan O’Donnell has confirmed the space and science themed weekend will be returning to Byron Bay in July 2018.

If you’ve added a Personal Observatory to your list of Must-Have astronomy equipment then this is a great opportunity to see and touch a NexDome. Sidereal Trading will have a fully functional NexDome Personal Observatory operating in the Star Stuff Vendor Pavilion. Speak to the Sidereal Trading staff, ask questions and learn how easy it is to build your observatory.

At the same time you can enjoy the amazing line-up of Key Note Speakers, enjoy the beautiful 5-Star Elements of Byron resort and relax under the dark skies of Byron Bay.

For more information and to book tickets visit www.starstuff.com.au

Posted on Leave a comment

saxon AZ-EQ6 Pro Mount with Steel Tripod

saxon have release the AZ-EQ6 Pro Mount with Steel Tripod.  If you have ever wanted to purchase an AZ-EQ6 Pro then now is the time. For a limited time only Sideral Trading are offering $200.00 off the regular retail price. Pay only $2399.00 for the best version of the popular EQ6 Series mounts. (Discount Vouchers can not be used with sale items)

The saxon AZ-EQ6 Pro Mount with Steel Tripod provides the precision and stability needed for serious observing and astro-imaging

This AZEQ6 Pro mount includes a built-in illuminated polar scope for both Southern and Northern Hemisphere, a latitude adjuster with micrometer scale, an azimuth polar-alignment adjuster, aluminium setting circles, large manual slow-motion tracking controls, bubble level and steel tubular tripod legs

The saxon AZ-EQ6 Pro Mount with Steel Tripod features and includes the following:

  • A user friendly Synscan hand controller
  • 2x 5.1Kg counter weight
  • Wall-to-wall large accessory tray
  • An extension 150mm counterweight shaft
  • 2” stainless steel tripod legs
  • Retractable counterweight shaft
  • Accept narrow (V-style) or wider (D-style) dovetail mounting plates
  • Smooth and quiet belt driven
  • Motor resolution at 0.14arc sec (or 9.216,000 steps/rev.)
  • Slew speeds from 1.25x, 1.75x, 2x, 8x, 16x, 32x, 64x, 400x, 500x, 600x, and up to 3.4°/sec (800X)
  • Sidereal, Solar and Lunar tracking rates
  • One, Two and Three star alignment options
  • Auto guider interface for astrophotography
  • Guiding speed from 0.125x, 0.25x, 0.50x, 0.75x, or 1x
  • Minimal vibration for steady long-exposure astrophotography
  • Payload Capacity 20Kg
  • Containing over 42,900 objects with complete Messier, NGC and IC Catalogues.
  • Positioning accuracy up to 5 arc minute.
  • Permanent Periodic error correction (PPEC)
  • Firmware upgradeable via internet download
  • PC Compatibility
  • Car power supply adapter included

For more information or to purchase click saxon AZ-EQ6 Pro Mount with Steel Tripod