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What happened to the Unistellar eVscope?

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#76 MikeMiller

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 04:09 PM

And, I do want to apologize if it seems I have been overly negative about products like this. I really want these to be successful, but crowdfunded electronics have a well deserved bad reputation.

 

When it comes to photography and other electronic devices, "Kickstarter + expensive electronics = scam" is true more often than it is not. I am concerned about this infecting our hobby and turning people away. 

 

While I don't think these are scams; I do believe that the makers of Unistellar and Stellina are at least attempting to put out a good product. They might fall into the overpromise, underdeliver, overpay model of kickstarters

 

For instance, Hiuni is most certainly a scam that played of the hype created by Unistellar and Stellina. Kickstarter is buyer beware, and Indiegogo is almost always a scam if it is something expensive from a new and unknown company.


Edited by MikeMiller, 18 November 2019 - 04:10 PM.

 

#77 OleCuss

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 07:46 PM

Well. . .

 

We've had at least one member post some pretty nice photos from his Stellina.  I think they are better than I expected and I expected them to be good.

 

I'm actually not sure that the eVscope will have better light-gathering than does the Stellina.  If you figure a coating which will likely have a loss of 6-8% of its light due to imperfect reflectance.  I've read that our Newt primaries may lose as much as 20% of their light to scatter.  The eVscope will also have a central obstruction of a size which I do not know - I'm assuming they are minimizing the size but if they are using a board camera and then need to circularize or put in bigger supports it may be bigger than I hope.

 

What should be a roughly 100% better light-gathering advantage for the eVscope could disappear in its entirety.

 

But you should still have better resolution for the eVscope due to the larger aperture.

 

I know that I'm sorta going against popular opinion, but I've more hope for the Hiuni than for the eVscope.

 

A really plugged in person said that the Hiuni folk are serious people.

 

If you read the bios for the Hiuni team they read just about as they should for a group to develop the Hiuni.  But I'd happily agree that the bios could be fake if it weren't for the fact that I was told they are serious people.

 

If you want more light-gathering, the Hiuni should beat either the Stellina or the eVscope unless it is very poorly designed.

 

The Hiuni will actually have the sampling just about where I'd want it to be whereas that is not true for either the Stellina or the eVscope.  Maybe that was just luck but it just might suggest the Hiuni bunch know just how they need to do this for maximum performance.  A downer is that I have not been able to learn how good the sensor is - could be much noisier than I'd like.

 

I don't get the Hiuni updates, but what is available publicly would suggest they are either into beta-testing or have entered the beta-testing phase.  Yup, they could be faking that but I think it would be easier to hype the product in another manner.

 

I really like it that they are talking beta-testing.  Assuming their approach to processing images is similar to that of the Stellina, beta-testing with skilled users could allow crowd-sourcing of the settings for processing.

 

I cannot swear that the Hiuni isn't a scam but I've more confidence in it than I have for the eVscope.

 

Time will tell.  None of them has any of my money so far.


Edited by OleCuss, 18 November 2019 - 07:48 PM.

 

#78 Augustus

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 08:13 PM

Well. . .

 

We've had at least one member post some pretty nice photos from his Stellina.  I think they are better than I expected and I expected them to be good.

 

I'm actually not sure that the eVscope will have better light-gathering than does the Stellina.  If you figure a coating which will likely have a loss of 6-8% of its light due to imperfect reflectance.  I've read that our Newt primaries may lose as much as 20% of their light to scatter.  The eVscope will also have a central obstruction of a size which I do not know - I'm assuming they are minimizing the size but if they are using a board camera and then need to circularize or put in bigger supports it may be bigger than I hope.

 

What should be a roughly 100% better light-gathering advantage for the eVscope could disappear in its entirety.

 

But you should still have better resolution for the eVscope due to the larger aperture.

 

I know that I'm sorta going against popular opinion, but I've more hope for the Hiuni than for the eVscope.

 

A really plugged in person said that the Hiuni folk are serious people.

 

If you read the bios for the Hiuni team they read just about as they should for a group to develop the Hiuni.  But I'd happily agree that the bios could be fake if it weren't for the fact that I was told they are serious people.

 

If you want more light-gathering, the Hiuni should beat either the Stellina or the eVscope unless it is very poorly designed.

 

The Hiuni will actually have the sampling just about where I'd want it to be whereas that is not true for either the Stellina or the eVscope.  Maybe that was just luck but it just might suggest the Hiuni bunch know just how they need to do this for maximum performance.  A downer is that I have not been able to learn how good the sensor is - could be much noisier than I'd like.

 

I don't get the Hiuni updates, but what is available publicly would suggest they are either into beta-testing or have entered the beta-testing phase.  Yup, they could be faking that but I think it would be easier to hype the product in another manner.

 

I really like it that they are talking beta-testing.  Assuming their approach to processing images is similar to that of the Stellina, beta-testing with skilled users could allow crowd-sourcing of the settings for processing.

 

I cannot swear that the Hiuni isn't a scam but I've more confidence in it than I have for the eVscope.

 

Time will tell.  None of them has any of my money so far.

You can tell from the Hiuni videos that the thing is literally a fake CGI render, the pictures are fake, the mount design is idiotic, the 6" f/12 Mak optics are moronic, the "demo unit" looked like it had had the corrector cleaned with a Brillo pad and the price point is impossible.

 

The Unistellar might be a scam too ultimately, but their demonstration hardware is at least real.


 

#79 OleCuss

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 09:46 PM

You can tell from the Hiuni videos that the thing is literally a fake CGI render, the pictures are fake, the mount design is idiotic, the 6" f/12 Mak optics are moronic, the "demo unit" looked like it had had the corrector cleaned with a Brillo pad and the price point is impossible.

 

The Unistellar might be a scam too ultimately, but their demonstration hardware is at least real.

Your points are appreciated.  I'm hoping it's no scam but I'm not putting any money on it either. . .

 

I should probably point out, however, that Hiuni folk have a YouTube video from back in 2018 which shows what appears to be a very early prototype which does not appear to be CGI.  Looks to me like it might actually have been a 3D print job.  I think they didn't find it suitable and afterward designed to work with Bosma.

 

Yeah, assuming they actually did the early prototype does not mean they are a going concern today.

 

And again, I've not bought into any of these systems.


Edited by OleCuss, 18 November 2019 - 09:58 PM.

 

#80 Forward Scatter

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 11:07 PM

A Rasa8 is 200mm aperture and Stellina is 80mm. At least the Unistellar is 114mm.

 

An az-pro vs whatever the Stellina is sitting on?

 

I can pretty much guarantee the camera on the Stellina won't compare to a Zwo ASI294.

 

Now, is the ease of operation of these scopes worth the massive upcharge? Well, I guess that is only judged by the owner.

 

I won't be believing any pictures they post on their websites. Considering how many department-store telescopes have HST images of Andromeda on them; its all marketing fluff. I will be more likely to believe a picture from a CN member that explains how they processed the image.

 

As far as youtube reviewers go, find out which ones of them received their product for free in return for a review. I might trust Astrobackyard, though.

Note to YouTube reviewers in general: Enough of the "unboxing" videos. Enough of edgy videography of places like Vegas or Coachella. Spend more time actually reviewing the instrument, preferably while actually using the darn scope or camera. 20 minutes of viewing travelogue and selfies to get 30 seconds of actual product review really is a waste of everyone's time, even if it is "hip". This trend actually makes viewers and CN curmudgeons very skeptical of the message, as it's obvious the infill is used to hide a very thin message.


 

#81 arrowspace90

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 10:40 AM

I had my CPC-8 out last night under the best skies I have seen in the greater DFW area (north of DFW).  I could look up and see the winter Milky Way when I got out of my car.  Awesome.  A 44 minute drive from home.

But I couldn't help but wish I was getting my own photos of that sky.  The complex and expensive world of astro-photography is definitely beckoning.  My CPC, they say, cannot be easily deforked.  I will keep it always to grow my neo-classic observing skills (though not star hopping and only alt/az).

The eVscope will hopefully, hopefully be something I could set up in my home driveway, light pollution and all.  Something my family could see the Orion Nebula through as more than a grey blur.

I am reading intro to photography posts here on CN.   It requires more assets than the Bank of America.  But hard to resist dipping in.  I drool with envy at any of the "amateur" photos I see.  I realize they require moon shot tech and financing...yikes. 


Edited by arrowspace90, 19 November 2019 - 10:43 AM.

 

#82 MikeMiller

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 11:28 AM

Note to YouTube reviewers in general: Enough of the "unboxing" videos. Enough of edgy videography of places like Vegas or Coachella. Spend more time actually reviewing the instrument, preferably while actually using the darn scope or camera. 20 minutes of viewing travelogue and selfies to get 30 seconds of actual product review really is a waste of everyone's time, even if it is "hip". This trend actually makes viewers and CN curmudgeons very skeptical of the message, as it's obvious the infill is used to hide a very thin message.

This is how many youtube review channels operate. All flash, little substance. And desperate to not criticize the product too much, lets others will stop sending them free stuff.


 

#83 cmooney91

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 11:34 AM

And then there is AvE


 

#84 arrowspace90

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 10:41 AM

No they don't. Since you are posting in the EAA sub forum, I'm assuming you realize the differences between EAA and astrophotography. Using short subs and modern stacking technology you can get some really great images with surprisingly inexpensive equipment (at least relative to astrophotography). Scroll up to post number 64 above and see how much Corey's system costed. And having seen a number of his YouTube videos of his live streams, I can tell you he gets some pretty nice images.

 

My system, like the rest of my life, is pretty darn modest as well. Because I made my own tripod out of scrap scrap 2x3s and some furniture-grade plywood, I was able to get the price of my entire set up down to even less than Corey's.

 

attachicon.gif Imaging Setup 130_SLTs.jpg

 

And here is an image I got last night with it of Triangulum. Certainly not as nice as a multi-hour AP marathon, but costs 15% what an eVscope costs and involves zero hours of post processing. And is just plain fun.

 

attachicon.gif Stack_160frames_640s.jpg

That's very cool.  Great pics.  Kudos to people like you.


 

#85 skysurfer

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:20 AM

Looks like a nice device, but why a dedicated telescope ?

Why not a camera with builtin image stacking, possibly GPS and plate solving which can be popped in to any 1.25" barrel and connects via wifi / Bluetooth to any smartphone / tablet ? I know there is a guiding device (I forgot its name, but it ends with .ai) which has offline plate solving and GPS and pops in any 1.25" barrel, but not intended for viewing or photographing, but guiding.

This even allows the user to screw in filters in the eyepiece barrel such as UHC or Halpha.

Then a 16" Dob will show much more than a 4.5" EVscope.

It should be even possible to include a moving sensor which tracks the stars for a short time (due to the small FOV), like the Pentax K1 does.


Edited by skysurfer, 22 December 2019 - 08:23 AM.

 

#86 OleCuss

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:02 AM

The idea behind the eVscope and similar cameras is that you end up with a portable system which you can set up on its support (tripod or tailgate or whatever), turn it on and then in a few minutes use an app to select a target.  You don't have to focus or do anything but watch the screen.

 

If you use a separate camera then you have to be concerned with using the right adapter, hook up cabling, set up a computer, select the software packages, do the focusing, mess with the white balance, fiddle with the histogram, tweak this and that, etc.  Many of us don't want that.

 

And yeah, a 16" beastie is going to get me a whole lot more signal in a far shorter time period.  No question.

 

The key attraction of these AstroOptical Cameras is that they are integrated and dead-simple to use.  Portability is also huge.

 

If you take a look at what ZWO is doing?  They keep selling more hardware and computing power.  I think they have the idea of doing what you are talking about.  It might take several components to do it, but the idea may be that you get your OTA set up and then hook up the ZWO camera and the ASIAir - and in combination with a phone app you are rocking and rolling.

 

But if you take this approach then you still need to have a user who knows how to polar align (if using a GEM) and is willing to do so.  You need to have a user who is willing to set up the GoTo model (in most cases).  The user needs to be willing to supply power to the camera, run a data cable to the computer, power the computer, power the mount, etc.

 

Those who have the Stellina simply unplug the charger, take it outside and set it on something appropriate, turn on the switch - and in a few minutes they are observing.  It's dead simple.

 

The eVscope and Hiuni experiences should be very similar with the biggest differences being that maintaining them may be more difficult and the eVscope should allow you to view through a faux eyepiece.

 

 

But watch ZWO, QHY, Atik, etc.  I think you'll see them continue to supply the Conventional AP market for quite a while but start moving toward an integrated (but ugradable) system after the image circle.  This will simplify things but will not serve the AstroOptical Camera market.


 

#87 arrowspace90

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:22 AM

I downloaded the new evscope Unistellar app on my iPhone but my iPad reports that the app requires specific features it lacks.  Is that fixable?

 

I am likely in the queue for a February delivery.  My strategy will be to get to the observing site and set up the Rasa 8 on a target.  While it stacks images, the evscope provides the old time visual observing.

To me, this beats retreat into the house to watch video games.

 

 I probably won’t be out on the coldest nights, but here in Texas there is usually some milder weather even in mid winter between cold fronts.


 

#88 gkarris

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 03:03 PM

Well, film and video cameras went digital.

 

I was thinking, why not Telescopes?

 

Well, I guess these are the "Digital Telescopes".

 

I hope they're for real, they would be a Godsend for people like me, stuck in very light-polluted skies.

 

What will really matter is how good the turn-key, out-of-box experience is with these.

 

I have bad feeling thinking reasonably priced ones are still well over 5 years out...

 

frown.gif


Edited by gkarris, 22 December 2019 - 03:05 PM.

 

#89 StarTeacher

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 07:10 PM

OK  I can now spill some beans.  The Beta test period has concluded.  I was a Beta tester.  From what little I could glean, I was about one of 200 Beta testers in the US, and there were maybe 300 testers around other parts of the globe.

 

The start of the much-delayed beta test period began after the beginning of "The Cloudy Season", here in Milwaukee by the shore of Lake Michigan. Since late October, it's either been overcast at night or below 20 degrees (F) where we live, so I was only able to use the eVscope a few times. Once we get warmer temperatures, I will be performing a complete, in-depth critique, with many photos.

 

The beta test was very useful.  A number of issues were uncovered, both simple and complex, and were all addressed through software. The latest app update will address issues of image noise, something which I observed.  I can't wait for comfortable, clear skies to test it out.  The update also permits much better automatic gain/contrast settings, so that planets and the moon can be better imaged. Already, users are sharing beautiful DSO images they've obtained. Once I've completed my observations using the last update, and confirmed my expectations, I will write the complete review and post it here.  Positive OR negative!

 

Here, I will just mention my first impressions.

 

The package arrived by United Parcel Service (UPS), no signature was required.  For such an expensive purchase, I would have felt more comfortable if a signature had been required.

 

The corrugated cardboard box mimics the shape and strength of a wooden crate, in that all outside edges are protected with an additional layer of cardboard. Save for three small indents on one panel, there was no visible damage to the outside of the box.

 

Inside the box were the quick start guide, the technical guide, and a personalized welcome note. 

 

Tripod setup:
Extendable legs use a secure cam locking system. The aluminum tripod is durable and strong.  Unistellar obviously put considerable money into the mount, unlike many other telescope manufacturers’ setups. There is a circular bubble level that does a very reasonable job indicating when the tripod is, indeed, level.  None of the bolts became loose during shipping.

 

After the unboxing, I was able to go out on just three nights during the 6-week test period.  Oct/Nov/Dec is notoriously cloudy by Lake Michigan, as the water temperature is warmer than the air temperature, causing considerable fog and overcast conditions whenever the air temperature is above freezing.

 

Brief review of the iOS app: Once you learn the meaning of the icons, it is intuitive and easy to use.  The eVscope acts as its own WiFi hotspot, and your cell phone connects quickly.  Up to 10 others can link to your eVscope (as passive observers), which means they can see, on their phone, what you see in the eyepiece.

 

The eVscope is operated completely from the app. Except for the fixed eyepiece diopter and the ability to manually focus the telescope (yes, a Bahtinov mask IS included), all functions are accomplished through the app.  You can setup the app so that it will view only objects in your lines of sight; if there's a building behind you, for example, you can restrict the R.A. to avoid it.  The same goes for Declination. These parameter limiting aspects will be useful in an urban environment, for example.

 

As far as I can tell, the eVscope can only be "aligned" (told where on Earth it is) when there are several stars visible.  So for now, I can't observe until about 45 minutes after sunset.  It compares the stars it sees with an internal database to figure out where it is.  Many testers have asked that precise location finding be accomplished through the phone's GPS, and it is expected that such a feature will be included in a future app revision.

 

The goto functions worked flawlessly. Yes, I DID see color in M57 and M27! It is an amazing sight to behold from suburban Milwaukee skies.

 

Once I can obtain images as clear as those being generated by other users, I will finalize my report, and include lots of step-by-step photos using the app.

 

NOTE: The M57 image, below, is one of the first screen shots I created. It is not a "downloaded file" from the telescope (meaning, it is lower in quality) and I had not had a chance to critically focus the eVscope yet. I wasn't even at a point where I could determine the magnification, which at that point was not yet part of the beta app version. It was also made after only a few seconds of observation; the longer the eVscope tracks an object, the clearer it becomes.  So please don't judge too harshly!

 

eVscope3.jpeg eVscope4.jpeg eVscope1.jpeg


Edited by StarTeacher, 22 December 2019 - 07:23 PM.

 

#90 OleCuss

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 07:26 PM

Thank you!

 

It looks like it can perform pretty well.  I'm looking forward to seeing more.


 

#91 GOLGO13

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 07:34 PM

Glad to hear it's coming together...hopefully it works out well. Did slewing from object to object sound good? I'm wondering how the internals are of it.


 

#92 StarTeacher

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 07:53 PM

Golgo13, slewing was smooth. A future update will "fix" what many users experienced:  The brains of the system only moved the telescope in one direction (in increasing values of RA).  So if two objects were 40 degrees apart, but one was  "in front" of the other, from an RA perspective, the eVscope would slew 320 degrees.  The update will certainly decrease battery usage, although the battery is rated for something like 8 (summertime?) hours.


 

#93 alphatripleplus

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 08:49 PM

When you mention the M57 capture was made "after a few seconds" can you be a bit more specific. For example, was the exposure closer to 2 sec, or 5 sec, or maybe 10 sec? Do you have any other technical specs you can share on this capture? 


 

#94 jprideaux

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:00 PM

Thanks Star Teacher! From your usage so far, would the electronic eyepiece be the preferred mode of viewing or would a mobile device (smart phone or pad) be preferable?

And also, is it really manual focus? Or is it auto-focus but it lets you tweak the focus if needed?
 

#95 StarTeacher

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:37 PM

Jprideaux, From what I can tell so far, I think that the image on the phone is as nice as that through the eyepiece.  The EP is fixed and is aimed at a small OLED screen.  Pretty hi-res, though.

 

Also, the system seems to be autofocusing, but the focus can be tweaked by aiming at a bright star and using the focus grating.

 

Alphatripleplus, the "exposure" can be limited by the user, if desired.  I've been told by the ownership team that images get better with time.  If my images were after 15 seconds, then they'd be even better at 115 seconds, or even longer.  I've seen images online taken after 5 minutes and they look amazing.  If I can duplicate that look & feel, then I'll become their best ambassador.  I'm looking forward to some clear, warm nights to do some awesome viewing.  Personally, I would not mind at all to wait for the image to "develop" over a few minutes.  We'll see!

 

Lastly, is there a way for me to respond directly to each person's question here on this thread?  I'm still inexperienced with this forum!


 

#96 StarTeacher

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 09:45 PM

jprideaux, I just re-read your post at the top.  DO NOT BUY THE eVscope for its imaging abilities!!!

 

The eVscope is for VISUAL astronomy ONLY. Yes, it can capture SMALL .tif files for sharing, but it does NOT offer the resolution offered by telescopes (astrographs, etc.) with DSLR-mating ability or better.


 

#97 jprideaux

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Posted 22 December 2019 - 10:53 PM

...
Lastly, is there a way for me to respond directly to each person's question here on this thread? I'm still inexperienced with this forum!


Every post here just goes to the bottom of the thread. You can optionally quote someone or mention their screen name to answer questions. One convenient interface is the Tapatalk app that facilitates quoting someone to let people know what/who you are responding to.

My interest in the eVscope is for EAA (not imaging). I’m also looking into the Stellina or putting together my own system. I know I could put together something more versatile (and better) but I may end up spending more all said and done and have a system that takes a lot of effort to set-up and use. I’m attracted to the eVscope (and Stellina) for the ease of use for those times when I only really have 45 minutes before bed to go out and view something. Something fast and simple would be great!



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

#98 StarTeacher

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 05:04 AM

Augustus, I hope that you were being facetious when stating that "You do not seem like a shill at all......"

 

I am passionate about astronomy public outreach.  I engaged management at a nearby suburban mall to allow my club to perform sidewalk astronomy on a regular basis, and even convinced them to turn off their street lights on those occasions.  Of the half-dozen or so amateur astronomy clubs in southeastern Wisconsin, the one I belong to (Northern Cross Science Foundation), is known to be the most active in public outreach.  I spearheaded the fundraising efforts to raise he money to build a 12'x24' roll-off roof observatory on public land, as part of our outreach philosophy. Until my retirement, I regularly volunteered my evening time to host monthly open-houses there, showing the public views through our half-meter equatorial fork mounted Newtonian.  I've proudly served multiple terms on their board of directors.  I've volunteered my time to teach astronomy concepts at local schools and nature organizations.  Over the past two decades, I've donated thousands of outreach hours in service to the public.

 

When the eVscope Kickstarter campaign was announced, I saw an opportunity to take a risk (a sizable financial risk) because I believed that the founders of Unistellar were on the right track in developing an amazing tool that has the potential to transform the area of public outreach. DSOs, in color, from urban skies!

 

No, I am not a shill and I take umbrage at the mere thought. 

 

If you read between the lines, I am not yet convinced that the eVscope has hit the high mark I expected it to reach.  Due to poor weather, I have achieved only limited scope time and reached equally limited success.  I am an absolute stickler for detail and perfection in instrumentation.  The biggest question mark I need to answer is the telescope's ability to provide noise-free images identical to those seen on both the company website & Facebook page, AND those published online by current users.  During the beta period, there were many issues to overcome (connectivity, imaging, etc.) that each had to be addressed by email with people 7 hours ahead of me.  Getting answers often took time due to both the time difference and because I was one of hundreds of testers they were communicating with.  Add in the lousy weather we were (are) experiencing and it was, at best a slow and arduous process.  I do not consider MY testing to be complete, and will not until I can set it up and obtain images I'd want to tell all my buddies about at the next club meeting.  Has that happened yet? No.  And I've told Unistellar management that in no uncertain terms. 

 

During the beta period, app updates were frequent, as management listened carefully to the testers. They came out with a completely improved manual & quick start guide because we told them that the (American) English version used idioms and words that were completely foreign to us on this side of the Atlantic.  There were times during the test period so frustrating that I wanted to return the unit.  But they kept refining the app, and each time the previous session's frustrations were eliminated.  I am impressed with the development/management team at Unistellar.  They took the time to call me on the phone to discuss a particular bug I'd uncovered (I'm sure I was not the only one to report it).  I saw that they deeply care about the product and, moreover, the user experience.  After all, that's the aim of the beta test period. 

 

The point is that the eVscope has the potential to expand astronomy public outreach like nothing else I've seen.  And when I'm finally able to test the latest updated iOS software for myself, and when I achieve buttery smooth views of the moon and DSOs, I will then, and only then, use it at public and private events, star parties, etc. Right now, I am still a bit skeptical but have high hopes that I'll soon be among the ranks of users who've reported (and published) amazing views. 

 

Shill?  I think not. Skeptical technician, who's hopeful for attainment of success? Guilty as charged.


Edited by StarTeacher, 23 December 2019 - 05:05 AM.

 

#99 Augustus

Augustus

    Fly Me To The Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,609
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2015
  • Loc: Stamford, Connecticut

Posted 23 December 2019 - 05:14 AM

Augustus, I hope that you were being facetious when stating that "You do not seem like a shill at all......"

I am passionate about astronomy public outreach. I engaged management at a nearby suburban mall to allow my club to perform sidewalk astronomy on a regular basis, and even convinced them to turn off their street lights on those occasions. Of the half-dozen or so amateur astronomy clubs in southeastern Wisconsin, the one I belong to (Northern Cross Science Foundation), is known to be the most active in public outreach. I spearheaded the fundraising efforts to raise he money to build a 12'x24' roll-off roof observatory on public land, as part of our outreach philosophy. Until my retirement, I regularly volunteered my evening time to host monthly open-houses there, showing the public views through our half-meter equatorial fork mounted Newtonian. I've proudly served multiple terms on their board of directors. I've volunteered my time to teach astronomy concepts at local schools and nature organizations. Over the past two decades, I've donated thousands of outreach hours in service to the public.

When the eVscope Kickstarter campaign was announced, I saw an opportunity to take a risk (a sizable financial risk) because I believed that the founders of Unistellar were on the right track in developing an amazing tool that has the potential to transform the area of public outreach. DSOs, in color, from urban skies!

No, I am not a shill and I take umbrage at the mere thought.

If you read between the lines, I am not yet convinced that the eVscope has hit the high mark I expected it to reach. Due to poor weather, I have achieved only limited scope time and reached equally limited success. I am an absolute stickler for detail and perfection in instrumentation. The biggest question mark I need to answer is the telescope's ability to provide noise-free images identical to those seen on both the company website & Facebook page, AND those published online by current users. During the beta period, there were many issues to overcome (connectivity, imaging, etc.) that each had to be addressed by email with people 7 hours ahead of me. Getting answers often took time due to both the time difference and because I was one of hundreds of testers they were communicating with. Add in the lousy weather we were (are) experiencing and it was, at best a slow and arduous process. I do not consider MY testing to be complete, and will not until I can set it up and obtain images I'd want to tell all my buddies about at the next club meeting. Has that happened yet? No. And I've told Unistellar management that in no uncertain terms.

During the beta period, app updates were frequent, as management listened carefully to the testers. They came out with a completely improved manual & quick start guide because we told them that the (American) English version used idioms and words that were completely foreign to us on this side of the Atlantic. There were times during the test period so frustrating that I wanted to return the unit. But they kept refining the app, and each time the previous session's frustrations were eliminated. I am impressed with the development/management team at Unistellar. They took the time to call me on the phone to discuss a particular bug I'd uncovered (I'm sure I was not the only one to report it). I saw that they deeply care about the product and, moreover, the user experience. After all, that's the aim of the beta test period.

The point is that the eVscope has the potential to expand astronomy public outreach like nothing else I've seen. And when I'm finally able to test the latest updated iOS software for myself, and when I achieve buttery smooth views of the moon and DSOs, I will then, and only then, use it at public and private events, star parties, etc. Right now, I am still a bit skeptical but have high hopes that I'll soon be among the ranks of users who've reported (and published) amazing views.

Shill? I think not. Skeptical technician, who's hopeful for attainment of success? Guilty as charged.


My apologies, that was said rather impulsively.

I’m still skeptical, especially considering the price which seems rather high for its capabilities. Would be interested in testing it out.
 

#100 Augustus

Augustus

    Fly Me To The Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 9,609
  • Joined: 26 Dec 2015
  • Loc: Stamford, Connecticut

Posted 23 December 2019 - 05:14 AM

Augustus, I hope that you were being facetious when stating that "You do not seem like a shill at all......"

I am passionate about astronomy public outreach. I engaged management at a nearby suburban mall to allow my club to perform sidewalk astronomy on a regular basis, and even convinced them to turn off their street lights on those occasions. Of the half-dozen or so amateur astronomy clubs in southeastern Wisconsin, the one I belong to (Northern Cross Science Foundation), is known to be the most active in public outreach. I spearheaded the fundraising efforts to raise he money to build a 12'x24' roll-off roof observatory on public land, as part of our outreach philosophy. Until my retirement, I regularly volunteered my evening time to host monthly open-houses there, showing the public views through our half-meter equatorial fork mounted Newtonian. I've proudly served multiple terms on their board of directors. I've volunteered my time to teach astronomy concepts at local schools and nature organizations. Over the past two decades, I've donated thousands of outreach hours in service to the public.

When the eVscope Kickstarter campaign was announced, I saw an opportunity to take a risk (a sizable financial risk) because I believed that the founders of Unistellar were on the right track in developing an amazing tool that has the potential to transform the area of public outreach. DSOs, in color, from urban skies!

No, I am not a shill and I take umbrage at the mere thought.

If you read between the lines, I am not yet convinced that the eVscope has hit the high mark I expected it to reach. Due to poor weather, I have achieved only limited scope time and reached equally limited success. I am an absolute stickler for detail and perfection in instrumentation. The biggest question mark I need to answer is the telescope's ability to provide noise-free images identical to those seen on both the company website & Facebook page, AND those published online by current users. During the beta period, there were many issues to overcome (connectivity, imaging, etc.) that each had to be addressed by email with people 7 hours ahead of me. Getting answers often took time due to both the time difference and because I was one of hundreds of testers they were communicating with. Add in the lousy weather we were (are) experiencing and it was, at best a slow and arduous process. I do not consider MY testing to be complete, and will not until I can set it up and obtain images I'd want to tell all my buddies about at the next club meeting. Has that happened yet? No. And I've told Unistellar management that in no uncertain terms.

During the beta period, app updates were frequent, as management listened carefully to the testers. They came out with a completely improved manual & quick start guide because we told them that the (American) English version used idioms and words that were completely foreign to us on this side of the Atlantic. There were times during the test period so frustrating that I wanted to return the unit. But they kept refining the app, and each time the previous session's frustrations were eliminated. I am impressed with the development/management team at Unistellar. They took the time to call me on the phone to discuss a particular bug I'd uncovered (I'm sure I was not the only one to report it). I saw that they deeply care about the product and, moreover, the user experience. After all, that's the aim of the beta test period.

The point is that the eVscope has the potential to expand astronomy public outreach like nothing else I've seen. And when I'm finally able to test the latest updated iOS software for myself, and when I achieve buttery smooth views of the moon and DSOs, I will then, and only then, use it at public and private events, star parties, etc. Right now, I am still a bit skeptical but have high hopes that I'll soon be among the ranks of users who've reported (and published) amazing views.

Shill? I think not. Skeptical technician, who's hopeful for attainment of success? Guilty as charged.


My apologies, that was said rather impulsively.

I’m still skeptical, especially considering the price which seems rather high for its capabilities. Would be interested in testing it out.
 


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