Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 67

diagonal mirror, the telescope's secondary obstruction houses the camera,
which provides a true field of about 37
× 27 arcminutes with a pixel size of 1.7
arcseconds. The eyepiece view is circular
as in regular telescopes, so it's almost -
but not quite - wide enough to fit the
entire full Moon.
Unistellar says the effective magnification of the eyepiece is 50×. That
translates into an apparent field of about
25 degrees, comparable to an old Huygens ocular. It's a bit like looking down
a tunnel, but the light you see at the end
of that tunnel can be spectacular!
The telescope is attached to a singlearm alt-azimuth fork mount that
incorporates drive motors, an onboard
computer, and other electronics. There's
no hand control, though - you communicate with the eVscope wirelessly
using a smartphone or tablet running
the Unistellar app, available for both iOS
and Android devices. (I tested version
1.0.5, but by the time you read this, a
major update to version 1.1 should be
available.) What you see in the eyepiece
is also displayed on your handheld
device. I used both an iPhone 8s and a
4th-generation iPad.
The aluminum tripod is a premium
model with a wide range of adjustment
to accommodate observing while sitting
or standing. The combined weight of the
system is about 9 kg (20 lb).
Unistellar says the built-in rechargeable battery should last up to 10 hours.
My summer nights were too short to
test that in one go, but it seems about
right since I could observe for several
hours for several nights before needing
to recharge the battery.
The removable plastic dust cap
incorporates a detachable Bahtinov mask
to aid in focusing the telescope, accomplished by rotating a ring behind the primary mirror. There are also collimating
screws for use with a supplied wrench to
make sure the mirror is properly squared
with the camera. Instructions for collimating and focusing the telescope
are included in a 12-page technical
guide that comes in the box along with
a handy quick-start guide. Additional
instructions and answers to frequently

asked questions are on Unistellar's website, which I found quite informative and
where new tips are added regularly.

Getting Started
When you press a button on the fork
arm to turn on the eVscope, a thin ring
of faint red LED light comes on around
the button's rim - a thoughtful touch
to ensure no interference with dark
adaption. Within a minute, the eVscope
emits a Wi-Fi signal that you connect
to as you would any other network via
your smart device settings.
Next, launch the Unistellar app.
It will indicate that you're connected
to the eVscope with "Status: Operator." The app starts on the "eVscope"
tab; you'll see an image display labeled
"Live-View Mode & Sky Tracking Off."
The word "On" should follow "Mode,"
because the camera is on, just not
integrating - the displayed image is
refreshing 20 to 30 times per second.
Unistellar tells me this will be fi xed
in app version 1.1. As long as it's dark
enough, you may already notice some
stars on your device screen.
You'll also see a digital joystick with
a yellow dot and four
directional arrows. You
drag the dot up or down
and left or right to slew
the telescope (the farther
you drag it, the faster the
motors turn), and you tap
the arrows to nudge the
scope a few arcminutes in

any direction to center a target or, say,
pan around the Moon. At startup, slew
the telescope so it's pointing toward
open sky about one-third of the way
down from the zenith to the horizon. It
doesn't matter which direction it's facing, though in twilight it helps to aim
where it's darkest.
If the stars displayed on your handheld device aren't sharp, turn the focusing ring until they're as tiny as you can
make them, or follow the instructions
for using the Bahtinov mask. Then look
into the eyepiece and turn its diopter
adjustment ring until the stars look like
points there too.
Next, tap the auto-alignment button
next to the joystick - it looks like a
reticle or gunsight. This launches one
of the eVscope's most advanced features: autonomous field detection. The
camera records an image and compares
the star pattern against a celestial
database to figure out exactly where it's
pointed. This goes quickly because the
software already knows your location
and the current date and time thanks
to the Global Positioning System (GPS)
receiver in your smart device. Once

X The eVscope comes with
a high-quality, lightweight,
adjustable tripod. For an extra
$349.00, you can get a foampadded backpack made of the
same material as computer
bags. The backpack is too big
for an airliner's overhead bin but
easily fits in your car's back seat
or trunk and makes light work of
carrying the eVscope and tripod
to your observing site. Other
accessories include a dust cap,
slotted Bahtinov focusing mask,
eyepiece cover, charging cable
and wall plug, quick-start guide
and technical guide, and a set
of tools in case anything needs
adjustment or tightening.
sk yandtelescope.org * DECEMBER 2 02 0

67


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Sky & Telescope - December 2020

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Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 1
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - December 2020 - 3
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