New Gear

Here are links to reviews Alan has written recently about new gear, with most products featured in The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide in the chapters indicated. Do check the review site AstroGearToday for more test reports, by Alan, and by other reviewers such as AstronoMolly, Jamie Carter, David Dickinson, Lee Pullen and Ed Ting.


Binoculars (Chapter 5)

My survey of 50mm binoculars (the best size overall for hand-held astronomy use) in the August 2021 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. Not available on-line.

A review of the new Celestron Ultima 10×50 Porro-prism binoculars (mentioned in Chapter 5) on AstroGearToday.com.

A review of good 42mm and 50mm beginner binoculars under $200 (shown in Chapter 5), published in the July-August 2020 issue of SkyNews magazine.

A review of the Athlon Midas G2 10×50 roof-prism binoculars (shown in Chapter 5) on AstroGearToday.com.

A review of the premium Maven B4 10×56 binoculars (shown in Chapter 5) on AstroGearToday.com.

Great high-end binoculars sold direct from MavenBuilt.com.


Telescopes (Chapter 7)

A review of the Sky-Watcher Heritage 150 tabletop Dobsonian telescope recommended but not shown in Chapter 7. In the January/February 2022 issue of SkyNews magazine. Not available on-line.

A review of the Orion StarBlast 6-inch tabletop Dobsonian at AstroGearToday. This is a fine entry-level scope for all beginners. We recommend it in our book, but this review goes into more details.

A review of the Sharpstar 94mm EDPH apo refractor for visual and photo use. In the July/August 2021 issue of SkyNews magazine. Not available on-line.

A review of the excellent Sky-Watcher FlexTube 8-inch Dobsonian telescope at AstroGearToday.

A review of the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX102mm entry-level refractor with app-aided pointing (shown in Chapter 7) on AstroGearToday.com.

A review of the Orion StarSeeker IV WiFi-enabled GoTo 130mm Newtonian telescope (shown in Chapters 7 and 11) in the March-April 2021 issue of SkyNews magazine. In print and digital issue only; not available on-line.

Unfortunately, this telescope made by Synta/Sky-Watcher, along with other Orion StarSeeker models, now appears to be discontinued by Orion, as a part of their purchase of Meade and re-alignment of their product lines. Pity! It was excellent.

A review of the Sharpstar 76mm EDPH apo refractor for visual and photo use (shown in Chapters 7 and 17) on AstroGearToday.com.

A review of the Sharpstar 140mm PH apo refractor for visual and photo use on AstroGearToday.com.

A review of a trio of beginner 80mm and 90mm refractors from Explore Scientific, Meade and Orion (shown in Chapter 7) in the November-December 2020 issue of SkyNews magazine. In print and digital issue only.

Unfortunately, the excellent Meade StarPro series appears to be discontinued, a victim of Orion’s purchase of Meade. Pity!


Accessories (Chapter 9)

A comparison test of wide-field 24mm eyepieces for 1.25-inch focusers, from Celestron, Explore Scientific and TeleVue. At AstroGearToday.

A review of custom-built Wood Wonders eyepiece and accessory case (shown in Chapter 9) on AstroGearToday.com.


Star Trackers (Chapter 17)

A review of the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer Mini tracker (shown in Chapter 17) on AstroGearToday.

A review of the Sky-Watcher WiFi-enabled Star Adventurer 2i tracker (shown in Chapter 17) on AstroGearToday.com.

A review of the popular iOptron Sky Guider Pro tracker (shown in Chapter 17) on AstroGearToday.com.

A review of the Omegon Mini Track mechanical wind-up tracker (shown in Chapter 17) in the May 2019 Sky & Telescope magazine. In print and digital issue only.

Alan’s test in 2019 of the popular low-cost Move-Shoot-Move MSM tracker and time-lapse motion controller (shown in Chapter 17), is on his blog at AmazingSky.net.

A review of a more recent MSM model and accessories appears in the December 2021 Sky & Telescope magazine.


Telescope Mounts (Chapters 7 and 17)

A review of the Sky-Watcher EQM-35 entry-level GoTo mount (shown in Chapter 17) on AstroGearToday.com.

It’s a fine small mount to get started in deep sky imaging with a small telescope.

A review of a pair of Sky-Watcher mounts, the manual alt-azimuth AZ5 and the GoTo alt-azimuth AZ-GTi (shown in Chapter 7) in the September-October 2020 issue of SkyNews magazine. In print and digital issue only.


Autoguiders (Chapter 17)

A review of the ZWO ASIair WiFi controller and ASI120mm / 30F4 combination for autoguiding (shown in Chapter 17) published at AstroGearToday.com.

A review of the Lacerta MGEN-3 stand-alone autoguider (shown in Chapter 17) published at AstroGearToday.com.


Astrographs — Refractors and Reflectors (Chapter 17)

A review of the William Optics RedCat 51mm astrograph (shown in Chapter 17) in the March 2021 Sky & Telescope magazine. In print and digital issue only.

A review of the SharpStar HNT150 Hyperbolic Newtonian astrograph (shown in Chapter 17) in the September 2020 Sky & Telescope magazine. In print and digital issue only.


Cameras and Filters for Astrophotography (Chapter 17)

A thorough testing of the stock Canon R6 mirrorless camera for astrophotography at Alan’s blog site. A shorter review is here at AstroGearToday.

A test of the Optolong L-eNhance and L-eXtreme filters vs. the IDAS Nebula Booster NB1 and NBZ filters, all dual narrowband models for one-shot color cameras and modified DSLRs and DLSMs. At AstroGearToday.

A comparison review of several soft-focus diffusion filters for adding photogenic glows to stars in nightscape and constellation images. At AstroGearToday.

A review of the Canon EOS Ra astronomy-modified mirrorless camera (shown in Chapter 17) in April 2020 Sky & Telescope magazine. In print and digital issue only.

Unfortunately, as of late 2021, Canon has discontinued the EOS Ra. Modified DSLRs and mirrorless cameras must now be purchased from third party suppliers.


Lenses for Astrophotography (Chapter 17)

A guide to choosing the best lenses for nightscape shooting, in the January 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. Not available on-line.

Tests of the premium “holy trinity” zoom lenses for Canon’s RF mount and mirrorless cameras. At AstroGearToday, with the 15-35mm f/2.8 lens here and the 28-70mm f/2 and 70-200mm f/2.8 here.

Alan’s test of the Rokinon SP and Sigma Art 14mm lenses for nightscape and tracker photography, on his blog site at AmazingSky.net.

Alan’s test of the Venus Optics Laowa 15mm lens for nightscape and tracker photography, on his blog site at AmazingSky.net.


Polar Alignment Aids (Appendix)

A review of the QHY Polemaster polar alignment camera (shown in the Appendix) in the July 2018 Sky & Telescope magazine. In print and digital issue only.


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