Astronomy on the go

'Portability should be its middle name' - in the January issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, Steve Richards reviews Vixen's A62SS 2.5-inch achromatic refractor
View a 360° image of the refractor here
Credit: www.thesecretstudio.net

As the January issue arrives on your doorsteps we’re almost at Christmas, so let me start by wishing everyone Season’s Greetings! It’s a New Year issue for us and as always, this month we had a good selection of kit to review.

Vixen have again come up with a new refractor, the A62SS 2.5-inch, and 'portability' should be its middle name. Portability does seem to have been a common theme in telescope manufacturing over the last few years; perhaps this is because more people than ever are traveling to far-flung places to enjoy not just exotic landscapes but also the wonders of the night sky away from the scourge of light pollution.

The beauty and advantage of these small scopes is that they give you the option to simply use a tripod for basic observing or to add on one of the portable tracking mounts do some astrophotography. I’m sure we will see this trend continue, especially as we enter the year of the ‘great American eclipse’ where portability and quality will be key to success. See what Steve Richards makes of the scope in his review in our January issue.

Talking of tracking mounts, this month I review the new iOptron Sky Tracker Pro DSLR camera mount, which is mainly aimed at basic camera setups with perhaps a long lens for additional magnification. We had a great time using it for wide-field constellation and Milky Way astrophotography and it certainly makes for a simple set up: just add tripod and camera and away you go.

Finally, another trend that will surely continue in 2017 is the cooling of cameras so they can take not just great planetary images, but also deep-sky too. Pete takes a look at the ZWO ASI290MM cooled monochrome CMOS camera and discovers just how versatile it is.

For all this month’s reviews and much more, make sure you pick up a copy of the January issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, out 22 December!

 

Click here for the full list of Paul's blogs for BBC Sky at Night Magazine.

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