Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

What happened to the Unistellar eVscope?

  • Please log in to reply
84 replies to this topic

#1 25585

25585

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 6358
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2017
  • Loc: In a valley, in the UK.

Posted 04 October 2019 - 02:42 PM

https://phys.org/new...-astronomy.html

 

 



#2 junomike

junomike

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 17291
  • Joined: 07 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Ontario

Posted 04 October 2019 - 02:50 PM

Says it's shipping in Feb 2020.  IMO that 2020 might mean Hindsight!


  • Augustus and 25585 like this

#3 Richard O'Neill

Richard O'Neill

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2237
  • Joined: 19 Aug 2014

Posted 04 October 2019 - 02:52 PM

 Wow, those folks sure know how to dress up a pig in a poke. Since you already have scopes you might consider adding a GEN 3 night vision viewer.

 

 http://televue.com/n...eize-the-night/


Edited by Richard O'Neill, 04 October 2019 - 03:11 PM.

  • sink45ny and 25585 like this

#4 25585

25585

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 6358
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2017
  • Loc: In a valley, in the UK.

Posted 04 October 2019 - 02:53 PM

Says it's shipping in Feb 2020.  IMO that 2020 might mean Hindsight!

$2999 ..... anyone pre-ordered already? 



#5 Augustus

Augustus

    Fly Me To The Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 8249
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2015
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 04 October 2019 - 02:54 PM

Like all investor scams, the shipping date keeps sliding to the right, because it's not even a legitimate functioning product. Same with the HiUni.

 

Says it's shipping in Feb 2020.  IMO that 2020 might mean Hindsight!

Shipping date has been continuously pushed back.



#6 atan

atan

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 97
  • Joined: 11 Jul 2006
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 04 October 2019 - 02:54 PM

I'm a backer and the latest is that they have been dealing with battery certification issues that is forcing them to delay the release of the product. They are going through beta-testing right now with the product from what I understand from the Kickstarter project. 



#7 Augustus

Augustus

    Fly Me To The Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 8249
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2015
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 04 October 2019 - 02:58 PM

I'm a backer and the latest is that they have been dealing with battery certification issues that is forcing them to delay the release of the product. They are going through beta-testing right now with the product from what I understand from the Kickstarter project. 

"Battery certification issues"... yeah, right.

 

The "prototype" used what was basically a modified Celestron SLT mount. If you've noticed, the supposed final product only exists in computer renders and looks spindly as hell. It's fake and you just wasted a lot of money.


Edited by Augustus, 04 October 2019 - 02:59 PM.


#8 atan

atan

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 97
  • Joined: 11 Jul 2006
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 04 October 2019 - 03:08 PM

I can only respond based on what they say is causing the delay. If you have other information that suggests otherwise, I'm all ears. The prototype shown in the article is pretty old. As a backer, I've been getting regular emails from them about their progress. Supposedly manufacturing is ready and they are actively beta-testing the telescope to make sure there aren't surprise issues with it before building them out in mass.

 

It's my understanding they have been joining various local astronomy groups around the world showing off the telescope. It definitely doesn't look like what's in the article.

 

I get the problem with their marketing. There is a lot of hyperbolic statements made about it. All the features described already exists in today's telescopes from plate solving to image stacking. 



#9 photoracer18

photoracer18

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2976
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Martinsburg, WV

Posted 04 October 2019 - 03:15 PM

Well to be honest if it uses Lithium batteries it would need some battery certifications in order to be shipped. Also when someone partners with SETI I don't see what this scope has to do with the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. You could build something just as good by marrying a Celestron Evolution 6-8 scope and NV.


  • Augustus likes this

#10 Augustus

Augustus

    Fly Me To The Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 8249
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2015
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 04 October 2019 - 03:16 PM

I can only respond based on what they say is causing the delay. If you have other information that suggests otherwise, I'm all ears. The prototype shown in the article is pretty old. As a backer, I've been getting regular emails from them about their progress. Supposedly manufacturing is ready and they are actively beta-testing the telescope to make sure there aren't surprise issues with it before building them out in mass.

 

It's my understanding they have been joining various local astronomy groups around the world showing off the telescope. It definitely doesn't look like what's in the article.

 

I get the problem with their marketing. There is a lot of hyperbolic statements made about it. All the features described already exists in today's telescopes from plate solving to image stacking. 

The scope they show all those fancy renders of (and exists only in renders, by the way) has a tripod that is WAYYY too small to support much of anything besides a digital camera. I think that alone and the fact that they keep using it should be a red flag. Then there's the optical design, the "citizen science" BS, and the obviously fake photos (particularly the one of M51) they use in their advertising. Seriously, I could make a better scam if I wanted to......

 

Kickstarter and Indiegogo have way too many investor scams that people fall for - from the "Triton" artificial gills (which had similar battery nonsense to the Unistellar actually, LOL) to the Fontus self-refilling water bottle to "SOLAR FREAKING ROADWAYS". And now this and HiUni. The "Stellina" is the only legitimate one of these scopes out there and if you notice its images are pretty mediocre and overall the design and advertising are pretty conservative and honest, as they should be.

 

In the words of P.T. Barnum, there's a sucker born every minute.


Edited by Augustus, 04 October 2019 - 03:17 PM.

  • Spacefreak1974 likes this

#11 havasman

havasman

    Voyager 1

  • ****-
  • Posts: 10054
  • Joined: 04 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Dallas, Texas

Posted 04 October 2019 - 03:18 PM

I'm guessing that the attractive hyperbolic flim-flam was scrutinized by most folks and found out for what it is: click bait for the uninformed for a product that offers no real advantage over existing successful technologies. Old story; nothing to see here. More snake oil. Move along please.

 

My experience with Kickstarter projects is that exactly 3/4 of them never reach the market even after becoming "fully funded" and that most are patently fraudulent. But the low ticket price makes it unlikely that gullible participants (like I have been) will seek restitution or enforcement under applicable laws.


Edited by havasman, 04 October 2019 - 03:20 PM.

  • Augustus likes this

#12 atan

atan

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 97
  • Joined: 11 Jul 2006
  • Loc: San Jose, CA

Posted 04 October 2019 - 03:27 PM

Wow, ok I will leave this thread alone. 


  • Asbytec likes this

#13 sg6

sg6

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6333
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2010
  • Loc: Norfolk, UK.

Posted 04 October 2019 - 04:16 PM

Feb 2020 is another delay, cannot recall to initial release date, but there seems to have been a few.

Battery certification sounds good, but why not build it around a certified battery ?

 

SETI is plain stupid to anyone with a scope and any knowledge. That never made any sense and I suppose should have acted as a warning/question to anyone. You do not look for alien life with a 4.5" (114mm) scope.

 

Their light amplification appears to be just video stacking. A Meade DSI will filter out poor frames then you stack the remainder. Selection is done for you so just good frames are stacked.

 

The package looks a lot like a Meade LS in many ways, it has GPS, it will align, Meade DSI collects video will filter for good frames and might stack for you to give an enhanced image. Just refresh the display at 5 second intervals, we do that at presentations to get the color from things like M57. Works easily. Think we use 2 second intervals of video.

 

Everything they list under "Smarts" can have a different name, and in effect exists;

Autonomous Filed Detection, My goto's will suggest the object based on RA+Dec

Automated Star alignment: Meade LS and Starsense.

Automated Pointing  =  Goto.

Automated Celestrial tracking = Goto again.

 

Will it make a market appearance? Not sure. Presently would say less then 50% chance, and not as good as the marketing.


  • Augustus likes this

#14 Forward Scatter

Forward Scatter

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 97
  • Joined: 22 Jul 2018
  • Loc: Wandering the PNW

Posted 04 October 2019 - 08:27 PM

A bit of the Theranos model, eh? 

 

Caveat emptor


  • Augustus likes this

#15 Augustus

Augustus

    Fly Me To The Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 8249
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2015
  • Loc: Connecticut

Posted 04 October 2019 - 08:28 PM

A bit of the Theranos model, eh?

Caveat emptor


I actually think Theranos started out as a legitimate attempt and became a scam once they realized it was impossible to actually make the product.

Unistellar et al were scams from the beginning.

#16 Forward Scatter

Forward Scatter

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 97
  • Joined: 22 Jul 2018
  • Loc: Wandering the PNW

Posted 04 October 2019 - 08:44 PM

"Our telescope will revolutionize amateur astronomy by allowing people to see in real time, celestial objects that until now have only been available as images in books or online. Our compact 4.5-inch telescope allows observers to see objects fainter than Pluto and achieve sensitivity equivalent to a one-meter telescope!"

 

LOL. Love the "sensitivity" statement. No discussion of resolution or light gathering ability. Quite the spin. 

 

Theranos was started as anything other than legit. The founder/CEO had not even a basic background in the field and lived in a bit of a fantasy world. I've worked at biotech companies that were founded on assay artifacts, capitalized on the assumption that the science would pan out eventually or that the risk could be flipped over to the public as overhyped IPOs.


  • Augustus likes this

#17 OleCuss

OleCuss

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2582
  • Joined: 22 Nov 2010

Posted 04 October 2019 - 09:03 PM

I would suggest not being quite so hard on Unistellar.  It is not an easy thing to bring a new and complex system to the market.  There are lots of ways in which it may not go smoothly, especially if those working to make it happen are not experienced at developing systems of a similar nature and complexity to market.

 

Some bobbles are almost certain to arise along the way and it is better to bring a functional unit to market than to ship a very problematic unit.

 

That said?

 

Yeah, it is over-hyped.  The emphasis seems to be more about publicity than about performance and a presentation which will demonstrate to folks like the members of this forum that it is a viable product.

 

The SETI thing, however, may not be quite as silly as one might think.  The idea that those little scopes in any combination are going to see little green men/women in another star system would be nuts - not happening.

 

But if the SETI thing is about receiving notifications of events available at that time and perhaps allowing SETI or another entity to point your scope to a particular location and image for a bit?  This could be interesting if they have figured out how to do some very sophisticated or very simple work.

 

SETI is plugged into the astronomy community no matter how fruitless I consider their search to be, they will likely know of new night-sky events of note before the rest of us.  So if there is a previously undetected comet or NEO - or maybe a supernova?  SETI can use what is effect a network of small cameras to let us know of the event.

 

The eVscope should also be somewhat capable of doing useful work in exoplanet finding.  IIRC, one of the earliest exoplanet detection systems was a 4" refractor.  If one had a system of thousands of OTAs at your disposal it might be interesting to be able to accumulate data and see if one can detect a transit.  I suspect there are technical issues which will result in little benefit but it would be interesting.

 

There has also been speculation that since the potential resolution of a scope is dependent on the aperture, that the ability to simultaneously use widely separated optical scopes as a single unit might give unprecedented resolution - and that the combined lightgathering could provide some spectacular imaging.  If they've figured out how to do that, however, I'll be pretty surprised because there are a lot of technical challenges although having effectively identical rigs would help in some ways.

 

So IMHO the SETI thing is not bogus.  What's more, the fact that SETI actually is working with them means that there actually has been some hardware/software under development at some level.  The SETI involvement probably does persist since they are supposed to have a SETI person and Unistellar both at their event tomorrow night:  https://www.flir.com...view2018-q1.pdf  And yes, if anyone is in the Flagstaff, Arizona are tomorrow night it would be great if you could attend - should be some wonderful scopes in a nice dark area and even the roll-away observatory should be interesting:  https://lowell.edu/g...ck-observatory/

 

As best I can tell, battery certification should take no more than about 8 weeks.  I'd also expect a well-run development scheme to have the certification done while the rest of the system was being worked.  So to me, a 4 month (or more) delay in shipping due to battery certification is rather inexplicable.

 

The upshot is that while I actually do believe that the Unistellar team has tried to develop a viable and marketable system, I'm betting they are amateurs at development and production and this has resulted in delays at a minimum or possibly outright failure.

 

I'm glad I didn't participate in their program but I'd still not be surprised if they turned out a viable unit.

 

Anyone remember the Tiny 1 camera?  There were delays with that as well.  The developers had their own problems with a less complex system.  They even ran out of the ability to obtain a vital component before they delivered the camera to some of those who participated.  But they leveraged their tech and development base to far more rapidly put out their Nano1 and those who did not get the Tiny1 are apparently getting the Nano1 instead (might be an upgrade?).

 

They may still deliver a viable unit.  I'll still consider it to be over-hyped and I've yet to see how the mirror and sensor are to be cleaned or collimation achieved, but it is possible that this camera will be delivered.


Edited by OleCuss, 04 October 2019 - 09:07 PM.


#18 25585

25585

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 6358
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2017
  • Loc: In a valley, in the UK.

Posted 05 October 2019 - 02:22 AM

The package as a whole is the appeal. eVscope is not meant to rival more sophisticated EAA setups, it's marketed as a viewing gadget more than a telescope.

 

To me, it's more a toe dipping into the future of visual astronomy than anything else. In the age of Instagram its got the right vibe, science is a bonus. Unistellar needs an Elon Musk type backer for its tech and battery side. Hopefully larger models may follow.

 

Night vision is monochrome. This scope is colour. People want colour. This scope is in concept a digital camera with a big lens and auto image processing modes. Things like overheating, insulation, battery recharge times, continuous running time, power supply options and other practical electronic portable device issues as laptops, tablets and phones have are bigger concerns. 

 

I look forward to impartial, objective reviews next Spring...   


  • arrowspace90 and tommyr like this

#19 StarTeacher

StarTeacher

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 13 Jan 2013
  • Loc: Mequon, WI

Posted 09 October 2019 - 08:54 PM

As an early backer, I am aware that the first full-production units are being shipped to beta testers, worldwide, this week.  It is my understanding that beta testing will last about a month or so. I can't imagine why a Feb 2020 couldn't be a realistic date for shipment new orders of the mass-produced unit.

 

The eVscope is for visual astronomers.  The device is not designed for astrophotography, although "souvenir" TIFF images can be captured and transmitted to a smartphone in a size/quality suitable only for things like social media.  While low in resolution, when hundreds of people around the globe capture the same event (NEAs, occulting star objects, etc.), the sheer numbers of images can form useful scientific information - and possible even stereo-pair images.

 

In my opinion:  The eVscope will transform public outreach astronomy.  Its electronics are such that they can pierce the cloak of light pollution to bring the heavens to people who have never seen DSOs before: most anyone living in urban or suburban skies.  With the frame accumulation abilities of the eVscope, M27 and M57 (for example) are visible in full color from polluted skies: NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris (The city of lights!). In my years of urban sidewalk astronomy, I've never been able to show DSOs to the public, as the light polluted skies would render them in contrast too low for the untrained observer to enjoy, much less, to even see.  Soon I'll be able to do so - and in color.

 

This new telescope will be a game-changer in terms of astronomy outreach.

 

With its self-orienting, go-to, and anti-light pollution abilities, I see my eVscope traveling to schools in my area, performing astronomy public outreach far more frequently that I was with my big Celestron SCT.  The gibbous or full moon will not be an issue any longer, which means that there will be twice as many viewing nights in a month - limited only by cloudcover.  With its ability to show the public in Downtown, USA (Milwaukee, in my case) the wonders, in color, in the skies above, the eVscope will likely generate greater interest in amateur astronomy in ways (and numbers) far greater than have been achieved thus far.

 

Sure, there are many limitations in its design: the OLED viewing screen, digital magnification, low-res imaging, controllable only via WiFi, etc., but for what I'm going to use it, it's perfect.  I've never written a telescope review before, but I plan to, soon after receiving my eVscope.


  • arrowspace90, OleCuss, Everglades and 2 others like this

#20 jprideaux

jprideaux

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 141
  • Joined: 06 May 2018
  • Loc: Richmond, VA

Posted 09 October 2019 - 10:12 PM

StarTeacher, I’m sure there will be lots of people very interested in your review.
  • StarTeacher likes this

#21 arrowspace90

arrowspace90

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 114
  • Joined: 15 May 2009
  • Loc: United States

Posted 24 October 2019 - 12:41 PM

The eVscope is expensive for sure.  More than many fine, conventional telescopes.

 

But let's face it, the limitation for amateur astronomy is light pollution, not the size of the mirror or even the GEM mount.  You can get a pretty excellent scope with GEM for 3k.

What you don't get is the image stacking built in for a through the eyepiece experience.   When my poor C-8 is in my driveway on the best of nights, it is totally limited by light pollution even when basically pointed straight up.  SW New Mexico is about a 15 hour drive...

 

Any leg up on being able to see anything remotely inspiring is a tall order these days in amateur astronomy.  So I am going in on the eVscope.

The traditional telescope makers need to understand that people are not going to keep spending more money to see less.  I'm betting they will have a competing scope on the market soon.

 

A huge number of deep sky objects were discovered from rooftops and windows in the heart of Paris and London, because the world was not lit up with wasteful electric lights.  Even with small, primitive scopes, people were able to discover objects that today we can't see even with a big mirror, all because people have to have big boogie man lighting on their homes UNSHIELDED.  
And the same with vanity lighting on their homes, all of which point up, not down.

Lights are the big enemy and people have got to be educated about what they are doing when they leave all those lights on all night.  At the very least, outdoor lights should be shielded BY LAW.  IT's not difficult or expensive to shield!


  • OleCuss likes this

#22 GOLGO13

GOLGO13

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4526
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2005
  • Loc: West Virginia

Posted 24 October 2019 - 02:55 PM

One thing that could be interesting is how these do in moonlight situations or stray light situations. That can sometimes affect the images and maybe frustrate users not aware of the impact of such things.

 

The only issue I have is the scopes look they may have somewhat cheap parts. I remember going through 3 ETX70s before I got one that worked correctly (back in 2003 not speaking for how they are today, but could be the same). Hopefully the gears and such are well made. And software would be a big concern also.

 

I'm happy with night vision so far. It's a bit more costly, but not by much it appears. Of course it's a bit of a different animal.

 

I have no doubt it should be possible to make an EAA all in one scope. But I'd want to wait until the dust settles on something like this.



#23 arrowspace90

arrowspace90

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 114
  • Joined: 15 May 2009
  • Loc: United States

Posted 24 October 2019 - 03:08 PM

I'm guessing that the attractive hyperbolic flim-flam was scrutinized by most folks and found out for what it is: click bait for the uninformed for a product that offers no real advantage over existing successful technologies. Old story; nothing to see here. More snake oil. Move along please.

 

My experience with Kickstarter projects is that exactly 3/4 of them never reach the market even after becoming "fully funded" and that most are patently fraudulent. But the low ticket price makes it unlikely that gullible participants (like I have been) will seek restitution or enforcement under applicable laws.

I think what you say is just wrong.  Sure, if you live under dark skies that are readily available, and you have already heavily invested in a GEM and a big mirror, and a big DSLR, and a laptop with extensive software, and plenty of energy and time, you can get better results (not by looking through your eyepiece).

When I set up my 8in reflector in my driveway, and struggle to get Starsense to see enough sky to align (usually without success) after about 30 minutes I point it straight up at a big galaxy and see....nothing at all.   

This is why eVscope is going to be a bit hit.   Some are saying that the tech will even lead to the end of the GEM (algorithm makes it unnecessary).  By the way, it's currently in production.



#24 OleCuss

OleCuss

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2582
  • Joined: 22 Nov 2010

Posted 24 October 2019 - 03:18 PM

The concern about the eVscope shouldn't be that it is not a good idea - I think it clearly is.  There is concern about expense, but if it gives you what you want and little or nothing else does - then if you can budget for it the eVscope is well worth the cost.

 

I think the bigger concerns may have to do with rather ridiculous hype and then missed production targets.  While I happen to believe that a fairly competent device will be delivered it is difficult to attain a high level of confidence because ridiculous hype makes the honesty of the developers questionable and the missed delivery targets suggest either an unrealistic view of what it takes to make the thing - or deliberate misleading.

 

I think the missed delivery targets is/are more understandable than is the hype.

 

I still have yet to hear/read of their plans to collimate or to clean the mirror and/or sensor.  I probably should know, but I'm still not certain you can fairly easily swap out batteries.


Edited by OleCuss, 24 October 2019 - 03:20 PM.


#25 GOLGO13

GOLGO13

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4526
  • Joined: 05 Nov 2005
  • Loc: West Virginia

Posted 24 October 2019 - 03:37 PM

Another concern, which I think you are alluding to olecuss, is the longevity of the system. Will it work for a long period of time consistently. We shall see.

 

I like the real-time nature of night vision. And it also cuts out light pollution with filters. And I understand in dark skies it's even better (should be the same for this device I'd imagine). 

 

Night vision is another potential for outreach. But unfortunately it also is pretty expensive. Looking at the eVscope, it looks like it should cost more like $1200-1500. Maybe over time it will...or if it gets copied.

 

I'm wary of it only because it's not out yet and being put through the paces. If it turns out good, then fair enough. But this is one situation where I wouldn't personally be an early adopter. I hope it all comes together for you guys. 

 

Even things like go to mounts can have issues. And those companies have been developing them for many years. There are a lot of moving parts and things that could go wrong.

 

It'd be also interesting to see how the experience compares to night vision. Even if they are a bit different forms of EAA.




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics