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eVScope - Entry Level EAA?

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#26 OleCuss

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 10:12 PM

They could end up selling a lot of those eVscopes.  They effectively already have more than 1700 pre-orders with a total amount of money received at well over $2 million.

 

Considering that they have had an effective but not at all overwhelming (although very over-hyped IMHO) marketing campaign the suggestion I take from this is that there is a big pent-up demand for devices such as this Unistellar unit.  I'd bet that any of our major astronomical vendors would be absolutely delighted if they could ever have pre-orders for 1,700 instruments costing $2,000 each.  Maybe they equaled or exceeded those kinds of numbers back during the misguided Comet Halley craze, but I have my doubts.

 

I, too, have some real concerns about the longevity of this Unistellar camera.  Maybe they've all been addressed but I really don't know it:

 

  1. Collimation.  I'm not sure there is much of a provision for doing this.  Might not need to be done often, but if you ever have to take out the mirror for cleaning I'd be guessing you need to re-do the collimation at least then.
  2. Cleaning the mirror.  I've dropped the mirror out of a number of Newts for cleaning and I'm not entirely sure how easy it will be with this camera.  Might be very easy or they may require you to return the thing for servicing?
  3. Cleaning the sensor.  This is the cleaning which actually sort of concerns me most.  Cleaning sensors can be fairly straightforward but it can also be a bit delicate.  The pixel-side surface of the sensor is not even visible for inspection without removal and I don't know how easy it will be to remove and re-install (think collimation/alignment?).
  4. Focusing - I'm betting they have some sort of provision for doing this but I don't know about it.  It may be that with great tolerances they figure they can set it once during manufacture and never have to do it again since you won't be using different eyepieces with it.  But again, it seems a bit iffy if you ever clean either the mirror or the sensor.  Anyway, my best (but probably misguided) bet is that you use screws on the sensor holder to do both the alignment and focusing - and that the assumption is that you won't have to do this often.
  5. Battery replacement.  If I buy a $2,000 instrument I'm going to want to be able to replace the battery when it gives out.  It may be simplicity itself or it may be that the battery is quickly unavailable.  If it is really simple to replace I'd probably want to get an extra or two with a charger so I could go to multiple-day star parties and swap out the batteries if I'm not able to recharge the thing.
  6. No upgrade path that I know about - not even to an IMX385 sensor.
  7. Fairly small FOV seems likely (we could run the numbers but I don't remember the focal ratio of the camera).  I tend to like a relatively wide FOV.

 

And yes, I'd want to have the ability to put the image on a good screen rather than an ersatz eyepiece.  I think there has been a suggestion that you can access the image on something like a smartphone through their app, but I think the app is just for control.

 

Upshot for me at this time is that I find this version (as I understand it) to be unsuitable for my use.  This does not, however, mean that a future version by Unistellar or by a competitor would not get my business.

 

The fact that it is not suitable for me at this time does not, however, mean that it will not be exactly what others would want.  I don't own a single product made by Apple but my wife and daughters all have one, and even my Android smartphone's battery can't be swapped out (and it wasn't cheap).

 

Also, the ability to put the Unistellar in a backpack and fairly readily transport the thing on your back for even several miles to a dark site, set the thing up and have it working quite soon (little cool-down with the small mirror) and no hassles of hooking up cameras, power, etc.?  Then readily packing it out again?  This thing in even this version could be pure gold for some people even in its first version just due to the portability and ease of setup/use.

 

I applaud the developers, those who are investing/buying, etc.  I do not applaud what I consider to be over-hyping, but I still hope that they will sell a whole lot of them.  I also hope that the price comes down and this and similar scopes sell by the tens or hundreds of millions.



#27 Rac19

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 03:22 AM

 

I applaud the developers, those who are investing/buying, etc.  I do not applaud what I consider to be over-hyping, but I still hope that they will sell a whole lot of them.  I also hope that the price comes down and this and similar scopes sell by the tens or hundreds of millions.

I too think that the marketing blurb is over the top. I don’t understand why there are close up images of minot planets or asteroids for example.



#28 Phil Cowell

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 02:17 PM

It reminds me of those “binoculars” or observation telescopes found in public places. No apparent focusing adjustment.

 

My gut tells me that some will be sold, but not very many. Setting it up & actually using it will still take effort and interest.

Their kickstart got over $2.2 million in funding. There’s  going to be more than a few is my guess.


Edited by Phil Cowell, 09 March 2018 - 02:24 PM.


#29 diceless

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 12:06 AM

It is a viewport and not a eyepiece. And to make it even better, the view through it is square.

#30 saguaro

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 09:47 AM

Anyone in Las Vegas planning to attend one of these CES events?

https://unistellarop...izen-astronomy/



#31 mvas

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Posted 07 January 2019 - 11:01 AM

That news article is misleading ... Unistellar will not have a booth at the 2019 CES show ( Jan 10th )

 

Instead they will be at the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas on Jan 12th ...

https://www.neonmuse...e-neon-boneyard

 

The 1st prototype was completed in September of 2018, which was originally scheduled for July 2018.

Unexpectedly, a 2nd prototype was then needed.

It was completed in November of 2018 - which was the original "Ship working product to investors / customers" date

 

Now, May 2019 is the latest "Ship working product to investors / customers" date.


Edited by mvas, 07 January 2019 - 11:14 AM.


#32 Ishtim

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 11:17 AM

Additional info for the eVscope "World's most powerful consumer telescope" over on the SETI site

https://www.seti.org...-pad-will-boost

 


Edited by Ishtim, 08 January 2019 - 11:17 AM.


#33 OleCuss

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Posted 08 January 2019 - 01:08 PM

That kind of over-hyping for what is still vaporware is irritating.

 

I'm hoping that it turns out to be a good camera but it is not a good sign when there is huge funding and they can't quickly bring it to the market.



#34 ccs_hello

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Posted 17 January 2019 - 12:42 AM

Remember that it is not fundamental technologies ain't there, but

"even the caveman can do" aspect that is hard.

 

Integrating parts together then assuming user will know how to tackle the (normal astro life) unexpected is the false assumption.

Many sponsors on that project probably have close to zero experience on basic telescope/EAA/astro fields.

Say, out of focus, star alignment, leveling, different exposure time, etc. are all now become our basic instinct.

Do you think the caveman will achieve that level (or the magic scope can replacement those churns)?

 

- to be honest, spend that much money on a basic scope probably will have less

return on investment when compare with paying for a private 10hr lesson with an experienced astronomy dept student...

 

- to make it less error prone, lots of thing will have to be factory tuned then glued to avoid touching.

On the other hand, if astro is that easy, why don't we see astro gears come with everything glued (as will work perfectly forever)?



#35 Astrojedi

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 10:31 AM

Integration of so many electronic and mechanical parts for reliable plug and play operation and then manufacturing at scale within cost and performance is *incredibly hard*.

 

Folks who are supporting this effort will need patience and should be ready for few years of beta testing before it fully matures. But despite that I think this is the right direction for the hobby. I just hope established vendors take notice as well.



#36 OleCuss

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Posted 19 January 2019 - 12:40 PM

I very much agree that amateur astronomy needs to have something like these cameras incorporated into it.

 

I also agree that putting such a system together and have it work reliably has to be a very difficult thing.  We who have put together systems which worked and then used the systems and tweaked the hardware and/or software settings in order to get what we wanted/needed have to have some understanding of this.  Much harder to put together such a system if the end-user doesn't expect to be doing any tweaking.

 

The thing is, it would be much more reassuring if it were clear that from the beginning those who claimed they could do this understood just how hard it was and gave realistic expectations in terms of both performance and finish dates.

 

The Unistellar product has been over-hyped to a ridiculous degree from the beginning and they ended up with massive funding.  One would have hoped that they would have understood what they were doing and had been and are realistic.  A shortage of funding should not be the issue for them if they were at all realistic about what they are/were trying to do.

 

I've not recently looked at their site but I don't remember the hype for the Hiuni being quite so bad.

 

The Stellina hype doesn't look quite as bad either but their deadlines have done a bunch of slipping.  Some of the language might be construed to make one think they may have actually shipped some of their units but I don't think that is the case.  But at one point in their site they say, "Stellina integrates a sensor specifically designed for astronomy. . ." which gives one just a little pause to wonder if they understand how that sensor industry works.

 

My speculation is that the biggest issue is software/firmware.  Trying to get all the mechanical bits to work together could be a bit of a trick but I doubt it is the biggest problem.  I'd see the biggest problem as automating the image acquisition and processing across a broad range of targets, levels of light pollution, and end-user desires.

 

I'd imagine the imaging challenge could be limited somewhat by limiting the imaging to targets which would be contained within a specific database and are found by the mount and plate-solving.  Then one could have optimized settings for those particular targets.  The end-user might find that to be too limiting?  Even if you limited the setting optimizations to a list similar to the Messier objects, making sure it would work could mean having multiple alpha/beta testers in both hemispheres doing a bunch of images of each of those targets at different right ascensions and in varying conditions - and that could take a while to arrange and may be substituting complexity for complexity.

 

I would be hoping that one or more of these projects would be working with the Tiny1/TinyMOS people to learn what they did and possibly be able to use their work as a starting point or to augment their own efforts.

 

Well, I really want each of those projects to be wildly successful.  I also hope Meade and Celestron are working on their own versions of the idea(s) but I'd not expect to hear from them until their units were very close to done.


Edited by OleCuss, 19 January 2019 - 12:46 PM.


#37 Tardigrade

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 10:18 AM

All great points, this being said I would then love to hear what EAA experts suggest as a state of the art EAA system in the $2500.00 range. 

 

I assume it would be from quality discreet components, not need to be a turn key system but should consider the purchaser as a non-gadget guru, looking to make a onetime purchase, who already has a Ipad/Iphone type device for display and control etc. 

 

Should include GPS go to mount not requiring polar alignment, OTA, camera, maybe Triad type filter, controller, real time stacking? and battery.

 

If you can't make the $2500.00 benchmark would still love to see you thoughts.

 

Looking forward to your insights.

 



#38 OleCuss

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 11:46 AM

We cannot define state-of-the-art for you and a bunch of us would not necessarily mess with GPS for our purposes.

 

Give me sort of my "state-of-the-art" and I'd probably be talking something like an Avalon Instruments mount, an 8" RASA and add an ASI183 camera with a really good computer with a really big SSD or M2 drive.

 

But given a more modest budget?  Depending on your target preferences you could get a 130mm SLT for $400 or less.  Get the StarSense for under $350.  Get an IMX385 camera for $370.

 

That comes out to under $1200.  You don't need a 2" filter so you can still afford to get the Triad if you want.  You can also buy the computer and SharpCap.

 

 

What you should be paying for with the Stellina, Hiuni, or eVscope should be the ability to easily backpack the thing and you can just flip a switch and it'll select the needed parameters to give you a great viewing experience on the screen.

 

We can arguably put together a more capable system for less than what these pending cameras are likely to cost (at least initially) but it won't be quite the same mix of capabilities.  But then, if we put together our own system we can also upgrade the various components independently and that is a benefit as well.



#39 jprideaux

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 05:32 PM

I'm researching the same thing and am finding that $2500 may really not be enough unless you are willing to go low-end.

 

One configuration I'm considering is the following equipment stack:

  • $1699     RASA 8 
  • $1299     iOptron Az Pro with 2" tripod
  • $  799     ASI183MC Pro
  • $  300     some useful filters (like H-alpha)
  • $  300     other accessories

Throw in your own existing (hopefully) laptop.

 

perhaps all together around $4400.  

 

Of course if I did this, I would have to hang my head in shame putting a RASA on an Alt-Az mount lol.gif but for simple EAA, that might be enough and be fairly easy to set-up and use.

 

(P.S., I'm not an expert)


Edited by jprideaux, 23 January 2019 - 05:34 PM.


#40 ccs_hello

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 06:42 PM

Gears probably will constitute 10% of the overall cost, while

90% will have to go to automation, recover from bad setup, dealing with unexpected, customer support (and tranquilizer/sleeping/HBP pills, CSR seeing a shrink bill), etc. etc.

 

Remember most of us here have reasonable astronomy hobby knowledge and have the motivation.

While the $2500 coffers are most like the type who would buy a sleek (yet department store grade shiny) scope in his/her studio apartment and

bought the ideas that  the "automagic scope" is the upgrade version of his/her existing (now collecting dust) shiny scope.



#41 OleCuss

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Posted 24 January 2019 - 05:25 AM

I do get it that the system(s) in question have development costs which greatly exceed the cost of the individual parts.  Shucks, it wouldn't surprise me if they hire an engineer to help design an assembly plan and they may have to hire a writer for the owner's manual.  Lots and lots of costs.

 

Since they willingly chose to do this they'd better not complain about needing to see the Psychologist!!!

 

And I'd want the buyers to feel very welcome here along with their automagic cameras.

 

It should be understood that if I had the relatively available funds, it were no longer vaporware, and it had good reviews that I trusted - I'd happily consider getting one of the automagic cameras with the Stellina being the most likely.  I think they really do have their place and for me that "place" would mostly be for outreach.




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