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First Light With Seestar S50

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#1 Astro_In_Tampa

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 12:06 AM

My Seestar from Astronomics showed up yesterday! So I charged it up and took it outside tonight to see what it could do. I burned through the first 29% of the battery just trying to get it to find the moon! I had to turn it to calibrate it 4 different times before it finally found it. Once it did though, we were off to the races!

 

I wasn't sure how long it would need to stay on a given target to get the best picture, so I pretty much stopped each one at a random point. The fact that my neighbors had their homes lit up like they were signaling UFO's from Andromeda didn't help. But all things considered, I'm quite pleased with my purchase. Again, these were literally first light pictures so I wasn't expecting Hubble grade results. More tweaking and experimenting is certainly in order.

 

I created a new album on here to share them in case anyone is interested in seeing what this camera/scope will do from a Bortle 7 back yard.

 

Enjoy!

 

Rick


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#2 JohnTMN

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 01:18 AM

My Seestar from Astronomics showed up yesterday! So I charged it up and took it outside tonight to see what it could do. I burned through the first 29% of the battery just trying to get it to find the moon! I had to turn it to calibrate it 4 different times before it finally found it

Rick

4 different "calibrations" and battery use to find the moon?

What ever happened to just looking?

Man, all your photo share is finding targets. You forgot something,,

Look at your targets,,
Ya know? It's not a race,, it's viewing,(?)


Edited by JohnTMN, 13 April 2024 - 01:21 AM.


#3 ShaulaB

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 01:32 AM

You forgot something,,

Look at your targets,,
Ya know? It's not a race,, it's viewing,(?)

Thanks Rick for sharing your images! I have been curious to see what a SeeStar 50 can do. Now that the eclipse has happened, I might consider buying one.

 

Now to John. When I read Rick's list of scopes, it seems clear to me that he HAS looked at these targets in the eyepiece. Probably quite a bit. Some of us want to try imaging. Having a more or less plug-and-play rig is nice for someone starting on the journey to making images. We are all in this hobby for different reasons. It's ok to do what one likes. It does not seem ok to shame people for following a different astronomical path.

 

Social media. It is what it is.


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#4 JohnTMN

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 01:43 AM

Thanks Rick for sharing your images!

 

Now to John.,,

Some of us want to try imaging.

Having a more or less plug-and-play rig is nice for someone starting on the journey to making images.

It's the beginners section,(?)

Have the forums rules changed?
 


Edited by JohnTMN, 13 April 2024 - 01:49 AM.


#5 Anony

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 02:43 AM

Looks really neat to me. And I see most of those exposure times weren't very long at all. 

 

Eventually I'd like to get a seestar myself... or the next version... If nothing else it'd be a good Winter option. I can stay cozy warm while my scope freezes.

 

And not sure if this counts as astrophography exactly... technically, I guess? But it's not traditional astrophotography. So the moderators can decide there. Could just as well say it's simply a computerized scope.

 

Edit: And I see a moderator liked the OP's post...so expect it's fine.


Edited by Anony, 13 April 2024 - 02:58 AM.

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#6 WillR

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 09:32 AM

Thanks for sharing Rick. I have been thinking of getting a Seestar myself.

 

I like the detail in the galaxy shots. I was having a bit of trouble identifying 2264, until I realized you had centered on 15 Mon and the "tree" is angled to 8 o'clock with the top cut off (see my image). You might want to try imaging it with 15 offset so you get the Cone Nebula.

 

This is one of the disappointing things about the Seestar to me- the odd aspect ratio and small FOV. I may wait for a version with more of a square FOV or a mosaic feature. I know it is designed to look at on a phone, but many people would prefer looking at it on a tablet or laptop. Is that the native resolution? When I took it into Photoshop, I realized how small it was.

 

BTW, 3 nice doubles here which I labeled on my image ( 15 Mon is a triple with one tough companion)

 

Ignore a certain poster who may not realize how many negative posts he makes, and maybe should think twice before posting at 2:30 in the morning.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2264 Seestar.jpg

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#7 astrokeith

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 09:38 AM

My Seestar from Astronomics showed up yesterday! So I charged it up and took it outside tonight to see what it could do. I burned through the first 29% of the battery just trying to get it to find the moon! I had to turn it to calibrate it 4 different times before it finally found it. Once it did though, we were off to the races!

 

I wasn't sure how long it would need to stay on a given target to get the best picture, so I pretty much stopped each one at a random point. The fact that my neighbors had their homes lit up like they were signaling UFO's from Andromeda didn't help. But all things considered, I'm quite pleased with my purchase. Again, these were literally first light pictures so I wasn't expecting Hubble grade results. More tweaking and experimenting is certainly in order.

 

I created a new album on here to share them in case anyone is interested in seeing what this camera/scope will do from a Bortle 7 back yard.

 

Enjoy!

 

Rick

The key it seems to finding the Sun and Moon, is to a) stay away from anything that can interfere with its built in compass. Cars in particular! and b) start with the scope base level. Use the included levelling feature to help.

 

An alternative for the moon is to start with some other sky object, which will cause the Seestar to plate-solve and calibrate exactly where it is and how level. Then it should find the moon dead on.


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#8 sevenofnine

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 10:24 AM

Thanks for sharing Rick! We are all welcome here. My Seestar has shown me many amazing objects that never show more than a couple of hazy dots even in my 8" Dob on high power. M51 for instance borg.gif

 

IMG_2120.JPG .

 

 

 


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#9 project nightflight

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 03:06 PM

I burned through the first 29% of the battery just trying to get it to find the moon! I had to turn it to calibrate it 4 different times before it finally found it. 

Seestar-Gotos to the moon depend on the internal compass, which is not very reliable as you have noticed. There is a neat trick another Seestar owner mentioned a while ago: Start your session in the „Stargazing“ mode instead of the „Lunar“ mode. Perform a goto to any object, e.g. a bright star. This forces the Seestar to do several plate solvings, resulting in a proper alignment without using data from the compass. After the scope has found the bright star, select the moon in the sky atlas of the app and perform a goto to the moon. The moon will look overexposed in the „Stargazing“ mode but at least it will be centered. So simply change the mode from „Stargazing“ to „Lunar“ and you are ready to shoot the Moon. We tried this procedure ourselves and it works fine.

 

But most important: Enjoy your Seestar, this little bot really is fun!


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#10 NDBirdman

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 03:09 PM

I've got one, they are fun little scopes!  Mine gets temperamental at times, 19 outa 20 times its spot on.  Every so often, mine will give me a rough time locating the sun or moon.  I've had it refuse to find the moon so went back to main menu and selected DSO, select an object and it's spot on, go figure.  I have noticed if there's clouds in the sky, the really high ones you can barely see, my scope does not cooperate with focusing very clear.

 

All I will tell you is just use it, figure out it's little glitches and enjoy.  My C8 scope with hyperstar and 2 cameras are now collecting dust.  Yes, my bigger scope does show much more details, where I am, clear sky can come and go faster than I set it up!


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#11 truckasaurus

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 04:32 PM

these are great first shots and the exposures were not that long too.   yeah this is on the xmas list for this year.  thanks for sharing.  


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#12 Astro_In_Tampa

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 05:11 PM

Thanks Rick for sharing your images! I have been curious to see what a SeeStar 50 can do. Now that the eclipse has happened, I might consider buying one.

 

Now to John. When I read Rick's list of scopes, it seems clear to me that he HAS looked at these targets in the eyepiece. Probably quite a bit. Some of us want to try imaging. Having a more or less plug-and-play rig is nice for someone starting on the journey to making images. We are all in this hobby for different reasons. It's ok to do what one likes. It does not seem ok to shame people for following a different astronomical path.

 

Social media. It is what it is.

Hey there! Thanks for the message. You are exactly right. I have looked at all those targets in my scopes many times before. Many I can see, and many I can't see from my Bortle 7 skies. What I've NEVER been able to do is take a picture of anything I can see to share with family and friends. Wanting to take pictures but having no desire to spend $5K+ on an AP rig made getting the Seestar a no-brainer. Especially when you consider that while the Seestar is doing it's thing, I can (and will be!) using my visual scopes to do my thing. A little detail that JohnTMN overlooked. Some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time. waytogo.gif  
 


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#13 Astro_In_Tampa

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 05:22 PM

Thanks for sharing Rick. I have been thinking of getting a Seestar myself.

 

I like the detail in the galaxy shots. I was having a bit of trouble identifying 2264, until I realized you had centered on 15 Mon and the "tree" is angled to 8 o'clock with the top cut off (see my image). You might want to try imaging it with 15 offset so you get the Cone Nebula.

 

This is one of the disappointing things about the Seestar to me- the odd aspect ratio and small FOV. I may wait for a version with more of a square FOV or a mosaic feature. I know it is designed to look at on a phone, but many people would prefer looking at it on a tablet or laptop. Is that the native resolution? When I took it into Photoshop, I realized how small it was.

 

BTW, 3 nice doubles here which I labeled on my image ( 15 Mon is a triple with one tough companion)

 

Ignore a certain poster who may not realize how many negative posts he makes, and maybe should think twice before posting at 2:30 in the morning.

Thanks for the post Will. Last night was my first time using the scope, and I was just curious to see what it could do and I wanted to try and familiarize myself with the interface. I noticed that when it said the object was centered and I started gathering the images, the image would shift to the left or right sometimes, right when it started to take the pictures. Not sure what that's all about. Probably some setting I jacked up and need to fix. With regard to the Christmas Tree nebula, I believe it thinks 15 Mon is the "center" of the nebula, so that's why it focused it's attention there. I just need to get smarter on how it thinks and works so I can make the appropriate adjustments to get everything into the limited FOV. Thanks so much for the info you provided! I'll be out there again tonight with both my Dob and the Seestar and I'll check them out! The other poster has been on ignore for some time now. Not really sure why he's allowed to be on here at all with the volume of negative and flat out obnoxious comments he's made to people, but I don't need to engage with that nonsense.
 


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#14 Astro_In_Tampa

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 05:30 PM

The key it seems to finding the Sun and Moon, is to a) stay away from anything that can interfere with its built in compass. Cars in particular! and b) start with the scope base level. Use the included levelling feature to help.

 

An alternative for the moon is to start with some other sky object, which will cause the Seestar to plate-solve and calibrate exactly where it is and how level. Then it should find the moon dead on.

I must admit I found it quite odd that it couldn't find the largest target in the night sky. I was in my back yard away from everything, and it made me level the scope before it would do anything. So I suppose it's possible I didn't have it level enough?? I followed the instructions to calibrate it by turning it in a circle, and after 4 times doing that, it finally found the moon. After that, every target I chose it found the first time and was dead on. I ran out of battery around midnight and I brought it in, charged it back up, and went out again at 5:30 right before the sun came up to try and get Alberio and any comet it could find. It maintained it's calibration from earlier and found everything right away. So I was pleased with that. 

 

Considering it was my first time using it, the short exposure times, all the light pollution in the sky around me and my neighbors lights flooding my yard all dang night, I'm quite pleased with the pictures I was able to get. Hopefully tonight will be even better!
 



#15 Astro_In_Tampa

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 05:36 PM

Thanks for sharing Rick! We are all welcome here. My Seestar has shown me many amazing objects that never show more than a couple of hazy dots even in my 8" Dob on high power. M51 for instance borg.gif

 

attachicon.gif IMG_2120.JPG.

Awesome picture!! Your experience (and mine!) is exactly why I bought this scope. Looking forward to taking many more like it. Thanks for sharing!! waytogo.gif



#16 Astro_In_Tampa

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Posted 13 April 2024 - 05:37 PM

Seestar-Gotos to the moon depend on the internal compass, which is not very reliable as you have noticed. There is a neat trick another Seestar owner mentioned a while ago: Start your session in the „Stargazing“ mode instead of the „Lunar“ mode. Perform a goto to any object, e.g. a bright star. This forces the Seestar to do several plate solvings, resulting in a proper alignment without using data from the compass. After the scope has found the bright star, select the moon in the sky atlas of the app and perform a goto to the moon. The moon will look overexposed in the „Stargazing“ mode but at least it will be centered. So simply change the mode from „Stargazing“ to „Lunar“ and you are ready to shoot the Moon. We tried this procedure ourselves and it works fine.

 

But most important: Enjoy your Seestar, this little bot really is fun!

Thank for that tip! I'll give it a try tonight. Hopefully it kept it's calibration from last night. I'll find out shortly!
 


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#17 AGrayson

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 05:07 AM

Welcome to the S* club! Check out the seestar s50 photos thread to see the community work, and the seestar s50 thread for general discussion on the scopes hardware, software, and future updates.
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#18 scottinash

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 06:12 AM

Thanks for your post, Rick.   I have been a visual observer for well over 40 years and just pushed the purchase button on a Seestar this past week and anxiously awaiting its arrival tomorrow.  

 

Many years ago, I was able to spend a couple of nights observing through one of my big scopes with a friend’s Collins I3 image intensifier and it has lingered strongly in my memory. To be able to see intensified visuals quickly and without hours of processing time at a computer hits the niche for me!  Will it replace my enjoyment of being out under the sky star hopping via the eyepiece?  No way!  However, it will be a welcomed addition to that experience, just like the Collins intensifier was, with exception that I now will have saved files/images to group with the observing session for further study.  I’m not expecting, nor planning, to compete to out-do other imagers nor print wall hangers via the Seestar; it’s merely an extension (to me) of the personal observing experience! 
 

Keep looking up!


Edited by scottinash, 14 April 2024 - 06:16 AM.

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#19 astrokeith

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 09:02 AM

I'm a dedicated visual observer, and see astrophotography as a rabbit hole I just dont want to go down. But I bought a Seestar mostly out of curiosity as I'm an engineer and early adopter.

 

What you get for the money is amazing IMHO. ( about the same as an Ethos eyepiece) The control App makes using it easy and pleasant. Last week I was at a star party with my 18" dob, and the Seestar sat on the ground near me requiring attention only every hour. It was like a (small and silent) observing companion.

 

The images will never compare with the dedicated AP'ers but it's not supposed to. I was particularly surprised by the solar images, (although the supplied solar filter doesnt do it any favours - I use a Baader film and it is way better)

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_0703 (1).jpeg
  • IMG_0697.jpeg

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#20 project nightflight

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 09:05 AM

Even when you do astrophotography (as we do from time to time), the Seestar is a nice addition to the arsenal. It is up and running within minutes. Here are two examples where we used short breaks in the clouds to capture comet 12P and the supernova 2024gy in NGC4216:

 

https://www.cloudyni...tos/?p=13345579
https://www.cloudyni...tos/?p=13374794

 

With a conventional astrophotography rig or even with a DSLR on a tracker we would have been clouded out after the time it takes to set up the equipment.


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#21 WillR

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 10:57 AM

I'm a dedicated visual observer, and see astrophotography as a rabbit hole I just dont want to go down. But I bought a Seestar mostly out of curiosity as I'm an engineer and early adopter.

 

What you get for the money is amazing IMHO. ( about the same as an Ethos eyepiece) The control App makes using it easy and pleasant. Last week I was at a star party with my 18" dob, and the Seestar sat on the ground near me requiring attention only every hour. It was like a (small and silent) observing companion.

 

The images will never compare with the dedicated AP'ers but it's not supposed to. I was particularly surprised by the solar images, (although the supplied solar filter doesnt do it any favours - I use a Baader film and it is way better)

Nice!  Did you take the solar filter film off the supplied filter ring and replace with Baader, or did you fabricate the entire filter, ring and all?


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#22 astrokeith

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 11:29 AM

Nice!  Did you take the solar filter film off the supplied filter ring and replace with Baader, or did you fabricate the entire filter, ring and all?

I 3d printed a few accessories - a dew shield, a thin solar filter holder (allows parking),  solar filter/shield combo and a 2" filter holder with dew shield.

 

The shields are a snug fit, but get knocked off if you forget to remove them before parking!

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_6225 (1).jpeg

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#23 Tony Bonanno

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 12:05 PM

Hi Rick,

 

I think you are off to a good start.  I've had a Seestar since they were released and I'm happy to say that I have no regrets.  I have the big imaging rigs, but there is no way I'm going to tear them down and pack them in a vehicle..  Fortunately I live in a bortle 4 area and strict lighting covenants ....  so I just leave the two imaging platforms outdoors with covers.  Since getting a Seestar, I've found it to be terrific in several ways.  Sun / eclipse images are a piece of cake, the size is great for traveling, and it is perfect for sharing some nice viewing/images with friends and neighbors at sites away from my house.  I can take it to a little star party and show folks objects in more detail than they are seeing visually through other scopes.  People love it.  And with a little patience, careful leveling and setup, etc., it is pretty amazing how much you can actually capture at a dark sky site.

Later you can do a little post processing on the files, even the jpeg from your device, and get some pretty nice results.  Attached image is Bubble Nebula with 26 minutes of stacking with Seestar and some post processing in Lightroom.  

 

Clear Skies Rick!

 

IMG_2273-Edit.jpg


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#24 Astro_In_Tampa

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 10:56 PM

Thanks for your post, Rick.   I have been a visual observer for well over 40 years and just pushed the purchase button on a Seestar this past week and anxiously awaiting its arrival tomorrow.  

 

Many years ago, I was able to spend a couple of nights observing through one of my big scopes with a friend’s Collins I3 image intensifier and it has lingered strongly in my memory. To be able to see intensified visuals quickly and without hours of processing time at a computer hits the niche for me!  Will it replace my enjoyment of being out under the sky star hopping via the eyepiece?  No way!  However, it will be a welcomed addition to that experience, just like the Collins intensifier was, with exception that I now will have saved files/images to group with the observing session for further study.  I’m not expecting, nor planning, to compete to out-do other imagers nor print wall hangers via the Seestar; it’s merely an extension (to me) of the personal observing experience! 
 

Keep looking up!

I think you summed up my feelings perfectly! The Seestar is intended to compliment my visual hobby, not replace it. It happened to work extremely well just yesterday!! I love globular clusters and I was searching for something I haven't seen yet. While searching for M1, I *thought* I stumbled upon a new galaxy smack-dab in the middle of a triangle of 3 stars. It definitely presented itself as a "faint fuzzy" with my Astro Tech 28mm UWA 82 FMC EP. So I did an EP change to a zoom EP and at 7MM and averted vision I could identify individual stars. So I figured this MUST be M1! So I finished up what I had the Seestar doing, and I told it to image M1. Sure enough, it turned to what I was looking at and started imaging. I had in fact found M1! Totally different view in my EP than with the Seestar. But still very cool. 



#25 Astro_In_Tampa

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 11:02 PM

Hi Rick,

 

I think you are off to a good start.  I've had a Seestar since they were released and I'm happy to say that I have no regrets.  I have the big imaging rigs, but there is no way I'm going to tear them down and pack them in a vehicle..  Fortunately I live in a bortle 4 area and strict lighting covenants ....  so I just leave the two imaging platforms outdoors with covers.  Since getting a Seestar, I've found it to be terrific in several ways.  Sun / eclipse images are a piece of cake, the size is great for traveling, and it is perfect for sharing some nice viewing/images with friends and neighbors at sites away from my house.  I can take it to a little star party and show folks objects in more detail than they are seeing visually through other scopes.  People love it.  And with a little patience, careful leveling and setup, etc., it is pretty amazing how much you can actually capture at a dark sky site.

Later you can do a little post processing on the files, even the jpeg from your device, and get some pretty nice results.  Attached image is Bubble Nebula with 26 minutes of stacking with Seestar and some post processing in Lightroom.  

 

Clear Skies Rick!

 

attachicon.gif IMG_2273-Edit.jpg

Beautiful picture!! While I would love to be able to create pictures like that, I just have no desire to drop the kind of money required and invest the time required to do it properly. So the Seestar was the perfect solution for me. I was able to get a beautiful picture of the Orion nebula last night. The Seestar will allow me to share some of what i see visually, with family and friends. 

 

As for star parties... Do you know if multiple people can connect to the Seestar at the same time? It would be nice if a group of people could all connect to it and watch as a picture developed on their phones or tablets.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Orion Nebula.jpg

Edited by Astro_In_Tampa, 15 April 2024 - 04:54 AM.

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