Accessorise that telescope!

Astronomy accessories are the next step in practical observing to help you get the most of your kit, writes BBC Sky at Night Magazine reviews editor Paul Money.

Revelation Visual Colour Filter Set. Credit: Kerin Smith, Telescope House

Our printed astronomy equipment reviews in BBC Sky at Night Magazine traditionally concentrate on the larger or more sophisticated products such as telescopes, mounts, complete systems, the latest astro cameras: items along those lines.

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This is because of the print format and of course trying to fit the other items into our printed magazine that we all want to read. Yet all this equipment usually requires something a bit extra to really get the best from them: yes I am talking accessories.

In many cases the basic astronomy accessories supplied (if any) with your purchase are adequate to the task in hand but to be fair, they are often at the lower cost end of the market to keep the price of the system or item down.

It is often worth considering a simple upgrade, be it a better finder or a better eyepiece, for example, to enhance your experience when under the stars. If you have the budget an upgrade may be the solution.

Sometimes there are additional products that add to the telescope or mount in question, and I like to think of accessories as two sections: those that are upgrades and those that are additional items.

For the latter a good example is using an Atmospheric Dispersion Corrector or ADC which helps when viewing the planets or Moon when they are very low in the sky, and we will be looking at some in the coming months.

We have been busy (when I say we, I mean my colleague Iain!) putting up our reviews online and one new thing we’ve introduced is more concise online reviews of astronomy accessories.

We touched on filters last month, but they are a small part of the plethora of items available to make your astro experience that bit more special.

Our accessories reviews are already available online and each month we will be adding between two and three new items as we review them.

We’ll be covering filters, star diagonals, focal reducers and all manner of items for both visual and photographic use, except cables and similar items.

These accessory reviews will be only available from our website, so keep an eye on our reviews section at www.skyatnightmagazine.com/reviews.

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