Due southtar tracking mounts that are light and
portable – which are suitable for cameras
and small telescopes – have become popular in contempo years. One of these is Sky-Watcher’s Star Adventurer tracking mount, which nosotros reviewed in October
The latest incarnation has just been released, the
Star Adventurer 2i Wi-fi Pro Pack, and we took it for a test on the few articulate nights we had at our disposal.
The Star Adventurer 2i looks fresh and new in its white livery, which helps to make it more visible at
night than the original metallic red version.
is faithful to the original model and the ‘Pro pack’ consists of the Wi-Fi-enabled mount, ball head adaptor, illuminated polarscope, dovetail 50-bracket, equatorial wedge and counterweight shaft with a 1kg counterweight.
Power is provided by four AA batteries or an external 5V DC power supply. If you intend to use the camera ‘Snap’
feature check the electronic shutter release cable
required for your camera before you lot purchase. The OVL website lists many camera makes with bachelor cables.
For wide-field imaging with, say, 16mm through to ~100mm lenses, the brawl head adaptor allows yous to use a tripod ball head (sold separately) to attach the camera to the mount. You’ll also need to purchase a separately sold tripod, which is recommended as this will provide a expert solid back up for your setup.
For longer, heavier lenses or for pocket-sized, short-focus scopes the dovetail L-bracket and counterweight is
indispensable – Sky-Watcher recommends a maximum load of 5kg.
For our review we used lenses that ranged from 18mm to 400mm with our Canon 50D and modified 300D DSLRs, and so swapped to our Equinox 80ED refractor with the same DSLRs.
When you apply the supplied round (and vivid green) Vixen-fashion mounting adaptor to attach the ball caput and camera to the mount, y’all’ll detect that the adaptor covers the polar axis, which ways that you’ll take trouble with polar alignment as the view will be blocked.
The way round this is to polar align first and then put the adaptor, ball head and camera on afterwards
set for imaging.
If you are
using the dovetail Fifty-bracket and
counterweight, then there is a slot allowing yous to polar marshal with all the equipment still attached, which is handy as the extra weight could slightly alter your polar alignment.
Rotating the control knob, you can select a range of presets, which include the usual ‘Lunar’, ‘Solar’ or ‘Sidereal’ options, but there is now an interesting ‘App’ improver.
This is the setting to utilize when y’all’re controlling the mount via Wi-Fi and the free Star Adventurer Panel app for Android and iOS platforms.
We plant the app had lots of functions and was very easy to employ; its chief function is to set the tracking charge per unit and length, and number of exposures, all of which can exist stored, which is handy for repeated employ.
Once polar-aligned, nosotros programmed a range of timings using the app with the Catechism 50D and its 18–55mm lens prepare at 18mm.
We took a 30–minute exposure of the constellations of Cassiopeia
down to Perseus with only slight star trailing. Although light pollution and a slightly hazy atmosphere did not
help, a 20-minute exposure revealed pivot sharp stars.
Satisfied that the mount functions well with a wide-field lens, nosotros replaced the ball caput with the dovetail L-bracket and counterweight to try information technology with our 100–400mm lens. With the lens set at 100mm we observed Orion’s heart and achieved five-infinitesimal exposures with no trailing.
Next, we set up it at 400mm and tried the Pleiades, achieving two–minute
exposures. We stacked 9 of the Pleiades exposures
for an image and if conditions had allowed, we would
take been able to go out it running for more with a great result.
Finally, on the dark earlier
Jupiter and Saturn’s Dandy Conjunction we tested the mount and our Equinox 80ED refractor, using both a DSLR and ASI 224 color camera, to capture the close encounter.
Overall, the addition of Wi-Fi to the Star Adventurer
2i Pro Pack gives a new cord to its bow and makes
it a stunning piece of kit for whatever astrophotographer.
Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer 2i Pro Pack’due south Wi-Fi adaptor
Past adding an in-built Wi-Fi adaptor, Sky-Watcher has brought the Star Adventurer into the 21st century. Many people are familiar with Wi-Fi control of gadgets and this is appealing to astrophotographers who enjoy using a lightweight and portable mountain and controlling it with a smartphone.
There are many options, merely when the app is used in conjunction with the camera ‘Snap’ port, we found the control of our photographic camera worked a care for. For instance, exposure elapsing and groups of exposures can be fix and stored for repeated employ.
The app allows control and adjustment of the right ascension (RA) axis of the mount to help with fine tuning the target in the field of view, something we found useful when capturing the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
Another useful feature is the Polaris position chart, as this
helps with the setting up procedure. At that place is also a ‘Bulb’ mode that requires you lot to hold the exposure ‘button’ downward for every bit long every bit you want the exposure to continue.
Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer 2i Pro Pack: outstanding features
Switches and guide port
On i side is the main selector knob which allows you to cull from ‘Sidereal’, ‘Lunar’ and ‘Solar’ tracking rates, ‘App’ and ‘Off’ options, likewise as settings for fourth dimension-lapse photography. On the other side you’ll find left and right arrow buttons, a ‘S/N’ (South/Northward) selection switch, the camera ‘Snap’ port, the ‘Auto Guider’ port and a socket for an external 5V ability supply.
Tracking mount body
The mountain body is the workhorse of the Star Adventurer 2i. It contains the integrated polarscope, command selection knob and various ports, however is quite lightweight and tin can exist used when information technology’s attached directly to a tripod – with latitude adjustment done via the tripod’south tilt head – or with the supplied equatorial wedge.
The equatorial wedge can be set from null to 90˚ latitude for either Southern or Northern Hemispheres with an easy to utilise adjustment knob and locking handle. Nosotros constitute that longitude adjustment via two adjustable bolts helped to fine-melody the alignment; the bubble level also helped to level the mount.
Dovetail Fifty-bracket with fine tuner
A fine-tuning mountain assembly can be added, which allows for a small telescope to be attached either for visual or guiding apply, and it has its own transmission boring-motility control for declination. A 2nd brawl-and-head adaptor tin can likewise be added for dual-imaging purposes forth with a counterweight bar and counterweight.
Polar alignment is vital and the Star Charlatan 2i has a built-in polarscope, which tin can be used for both Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and we institute information technology worked without any extra calibration. The external polarscope illuminator does its job well, merely information technology does demand to be removed earlier calculation the camera equipment for broad-field imaging.
Sidereal, Lunar and Solar, App, Timelapse (Astro, Regular and Long
4x AA batteries or 5V DC external supply
Polarscope with separate red-light illuminator
‘L’ mounting subclass, congenital-in Wi-Fi, camera ‘Snap’ command port, guide port, 1/4-inch – 3/8-inch thread converter
Optical Vision Ltd
This review originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of BBC Sky at Nighttime Magazine.