Unistellar eVscope - First Experiences Part 2 (V 1.0)

Introduction | The New App Version (Version 1.0.0) | Very first Photos with the New App Version | Charging the eVscope | Gallery | Small Bug List | First Conclusions on Version 1.0 | Links

On this page, I describe my first experiences (no observations) with my electronic 4,5" Newton telescope Unistellar eVscope (I took part in a Kickstarter campaign in mid-November 2017; it arrived on January 27, 2020). This second "experiences" page covers first experiences with the app version 1.0 (from March 12, 2020 on). Possibly, these are useful for others who want to acquire the eVscope as well...

Notes: See page Overview of the eVscope Pages for just that! For a detailed version history of the app, see page App Version History.

 

Introduction

Photos: My eVscope (End of January 2020)

Read First, Please!

My eVscope arrived at my home at the end of January 2020. During the first weeks, it had an app with a version number below 1.0. My experiences with this early app version are reported on page Unistellar eVscope - First Experiences.

Note: Those who already start with a newer app version do not need to read the above-mentioned page.

The following experiences are based on the app version 1.0 (1.0.0 to 1.0.6) and refer partly to changes compared with the original state, partly to changes made in the course of this version. On the one hand, the stability of the app has been improved, which was indeed urgently needed, without me calling the app in version 1.0.6 already "stable". On the other hand, some changes were made regarding the functionality and the user interface (list not complete):

For a more detailed version history, see page App Version History.

Anyone who has purchased an eVscope of a later delivery (batch) or is considering buying an eVscope will not be interested in many of the experiences described below because he or she will be using the app at a later stage! For these eVscope owners, there is therefore no need to read this page, unless you are interested in how the app has changed over time.

 

The New App Version (Version 1.0.0)

The new app version (V 1.0.0) has been available in Europe since March 12, 2020, and I loaded it the same day (a Canadian eVscope owner was the first to point this out to me on the day before). First of all, the app required me, as did the previous version, to update my eVscope. In contrast to the Canadian eVscope owner, who needed three attempts, this succeeded right away. Besides bug fixes, which were urgently needed, the new app version offered the following new functions:

Photo: The app screen in the "User" tab now shows the three new functions eypiece focus helper, dark frame, and parking function

So the first thing I did after the update was to take a dark frame:

After the update, the app "noticed" that there is no dark frame yet and recommended to take one.

I then switched to the "User" tab and clicked "Take Dark Frame" (see photo further above).

         
 

First, a message appears that reminds you to put the telescope cap on; you should also do all this in a dark room.

 

The dark frame is taken...

   

Ditto

 

Ditto, it takes a while...

 

Finished! Connection to eVscope interrupted.

On that same evening, I was able to take a few photos and at least found that the hot pixels were drastically reduced. Later, I found that when I observe in "Enhanced Vision" mode for a longer time, some hot pixels are appearing.

I also tried the new focusing aid for the eyepiece (eyepiece focus helper), but at first did not understand how it works. In the meantime, however, I got it! If you activate the eyepiece focus helper, a pattern is displayed for one minute in the eyepiece, which you can use to focus the eyepiece (by turning it). The app shows a timer that runs backwards. So you know how much time is left for focusing. If the time was not sufficient for the focusing, you can re-activate the function.

    

The eypiece focus helper: a pattern is displayed in the eyepiece that can be used for focusing

 

The timer for the eyepiece focus helper (to the right of the button text)

After a little "wobbling", the parking function puts the tube in a vertical position and switches the eVscope off. You can tell that the eVscope is switched off in the app by the fact that the WLAN connection is lost (and the smartphone searches for another WLAN connection...).

I discuss changes to the photos in the following section!

 

Very first Photos with the New App Version

In the evening of the day when I installed the new app version 1.0 (12.3.2020), I was able to work briefly with the eVscope and observe three objects, namely M 44, M 67 (both in the constellation Cancer/Crab) as well as briefly M 50. In the following, I present my best photos here, together with older versions where there were still many hot pixels:

         
M 44 - Feb 24, 2020        
   
M 44 - Mar 12, 2020        

After I took these first photos, and the next day some more, and compared them with the corresponding older ones, I noticed the following:

           

M 42 original with old app version

 

Further M 42 original with old app version

   
   

Photos above made extremely bright in order to reveal the rings (click the images to see the original size)

 

Photo below brightened up so that the vignetting becomes obvious (new app version)

   

M 42 original with new app version

 

Photo processed "to taste"...

 

Photo brightened up with the same strength like those with the old app version

Changes with version 1.0.3: Overlay Can be Added or not

Version 1.0.3 introduced the possibility to turn the label (called "overlay") on and off in the app's user settings (User > General > Add an overlay when saving an image). It was not mentioned that the image size changes from 1120 x 1120 pixels with overlay to 1280 x 1080 pixels (sensor format) without one. This option makes the entire sensor area available for photos, and makes it easier to position objects because the photo corresponds to the view on the smartphone. With an overlay, this only works reliably if you look through the eyepiece. The enlarged area also has the advantage that you can get several objects better into the field of view.

Example: For M 65/66 the overlay makes it quite tight, without overlay both fit well into the image:

    

M 65 & M 66 - March 22, 2020, processed

 

M 65 & M 66 - April 23, 2020, processed

Example: With M 84/86, there is now more room for a third galaxy (NGC 4402):

    

M 86 and M 84 (right; top left NGC 4402) - March 25, 2020, processed

 

M 86 and M 84 (right; top left NGC 4402) - April 22, 2020, processed

 

Charging the eVscope

According to the Unistellar Knowlege Base (What is the recommended temperature range for my eVscope?), the eVscope can only be charged between +10°C and +40°C; this also applies to charging the eVscope while observing. On request, I also received the following information from Unistellar (Yann) on February 6, 2020:

I cannot say at the moment from my experience, whether the new app version really brought any changes. The information for app version 1.0 promises improved battery life in cold weather, which is in line with what Yann wrote. On the other hand, the information regarding the temperature range on the Help Center has not been updated yet.

 

Gallery

Initially, the photo gallery of the Unistellar app was a "book with seven seals" for me. On the other hand, it offered so little functionality that I did not see any reason to use it at all. In the end, the gallery seems to be a copy of the album "Unistellar", which the Unistellar app creates in the Photo app when you save photos (using the store icon). In this respect, it is more recommendable in my opinion to use the Photo app, at least, if you are not connected to the eVscope - but also in general. So I thought! But the gallery can also be quite useful, namely for judging the photos you have just taken (see page Tips and Tricks). This is much more convenient with the gallery than with the Photos app.

 

Small Bug List

 

First Conclusions on Version 1.0

Version 1.0 of the Unistellar app has introduced a number of improvements, including some urgently-needed features (parking, dark frame recording) and also some detail enhancements (slight increase of the image field with overlay, abort options). I may not have noticed all of the detail improvements yet. Version 1.0.0 was still quite unstable, and two updates (1.0.1 and 1.0.2) were soon published. It is possible that these have increased the app's stability. Version 1.0.3 allows you to switch off the label ring (called "overlay"). Thank you, Unistellar! Two further version updates followed until the end of June 2020 (up to version 1.0.6). among others, the introduced a German and a Japanese user interface and the option to use tablet computers for controlling the eVscope.

This app version still had a number of bugs before the new app version 1.1 was published on October 5, 2020.

 

Links

 

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gerd (at) waloszek (dot) de

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07.10.2020