Astronomy: reviews

Pointing a Sword, or better… a “Gladius” at the Heavens!

Nowadays, high-resolution imaging of the solar system bodies is one of the few sectors of astronomy where amateurs can still make their significant contribution not only from a purely esthetical, but also from a scientific standpoint. However, this type of activity is very demanding and unforgiving of even the tiniest flaw, as every single bit of the instrumentation (from the optics to the imaging detector) is pushed to its limits. The Gladius is a telescope specifically optimized for high-res imaging. […]

Magzero MZ-5m vs modified Vesta Pro

by Emmanuele Sordini and Lorenzo Comolli The MagZero MZ-5m camera, the Italian flavor of the QHY5 CCD guider, has been around for quite a while, and has ever since been quite popular among amateur astronomers as a good bang for the buck. This camera has already been reviewed on back then, we highlighted its streghts, such as its lightweight as ease of use (thanks to the built-in ST4 compatible interface; this time, we do a side-by-side comparison of sensitivity and […]

The Magzero MZ-5m Camera: autoguiding on a budget

One of the most-feared bugaboos for those who take up long-exposure digital imaging is getting nice round stars, as a result of good-quality autoguiding. To this end, there are several options available on the market: however, they are mostly dedicated devices (e.g. self-guiding cameras from Sbig, or Starlight Xpress’ SXV Guider ), or very powerful but pricey products (as is the case with the STV from Sbig), or even newcomers which still have to conquer their customer base (e.g. the […]

Tuning the Synta EQ6: a “Technical Nightmare!”

In fall 2004 my beefiest mount was a Losmandy GM8, which I still happily own. The most obvious upgrade would have been the G11, but back then, I simply could not afford it. The Synta EQ6 was a very cheap option, widely known for its very good price/performance ratio but also for its poor mechanical quality. I ran into a (like new) used one, which I paid about 750, or almost 1/4 of a new G11. In december 2004, I […]

Skywatcher ED80 refractor preview

It’s been quite a while (actually at least fifteen years 😉 ) since chinese-made products hit the amateur astronomy market. At the beginning, only small accessories such as adapter rings, eyepieces, prisms and finders were made in the Far East by Japanese, European and American companies to cut down on costs. Then came low-end complete telescopes such as small department-store refractors and reflectors, up to 150 mm in aperture; anyway, medium- and high-end OTAs and mounts were still largely dominated […]