Vaonis Vespera - Photo Comparisons with Different Exposure Times

Introduction | Observations up to 30 Minutes | Selected DSO | Briefly Exposed DSO | Conclusions | Links


On this page I present photos from the same DSO that were taken with my Vaonis Vespera at different exposure times. The point here is to show how the result changes during the first 20-30 minutes of observation (or even less) and to find exposure times that lead to an "acceptable" result (depending on the DSO type). What "acceptable" means depends on the intended use case and the requirements of the user.


Note: As I sold my Vespera in June 2024, no more new photos will be added.




Photos: My Vaonis Vespera Pro (end of July 2022)

The tests on this page are intended to investigate the extent to which the Vespera can also be used to make observations with shorter exposure times in acceptable quality. By "acceptable" quality, I mean an image quality that is sufficient for the respective application in the opinion of the "amateur astronomer". Therefore, here are some "use cases" for the Vespera!

Note: As far as exposure times and image quality are concerned, Vaonis has "shaken things up" with the mosaic mode. However, this means that normal shots and mosaic shots are not comparable in terms of exposure times, at least as long as the first mosaic run has not yet been completed (this takes 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the mosaic). For this reason, I will only deal with "normal" photos in the following, as we are talking about short exposure times here.

By the way, I "grudgingly" decided to use longer exposure times for mosaics, especially as the image quality of mosaics is better than that of single images for various reasons. But that does not mean that I would not prefer shorter exposure times...

"Optimal" Photos

For many Vespera owners, the "purpose of use" is solely to obtain "optimal" photos. Here, too, many owners have different ideas! Some try to achieve the "best possible" result by working for hours with the best software tools and possibly extremely long exposure times and/or by combining different shots*.
*) Among Vespera owners it seems to have become common to combine (stack) TIFF files (final state of the image stack in TIFF format) from different observations with the same device or even with different devices.

Other owners, often those with an EAA background*, are neither willing to expose for a long time nor to post-process for a long time. Especially when it comes to post-processing, they do not want to spend a lot of time and effort, but want to achieve results quickly (in just a few minutes). For them, the results are then certainly "optimal", but usually far from the results achieved by the first group mentioned. I would count myself among these people.
*) EAA = electronically augmented astronomy: basically the "component version" of smart telescopes in recent years (when there were hardly any); typically, its proponents never aimed at high image quality, but emphasized the "observing experience" (which typically lasted only a few minutes per DSO).

Especially when I newly owned the Vespera, I tried to use the shortest possible exposure times, usually even shorter than the recommended times of Vaonis (which start at 15-30 min...). It turned out that I was able to achieve quite acceptable results with the short exposure times for star clusters (open, globular) and some bright objects (M 27, M 31). On this page I try to take a closer look at this "impression" of mine.

Further Applications

In addition to putting the focus on individual images, there are further applications for the Vespera that a number of owners pursue and for which the very best image quality is not necessarily the most important thing.

Galaxy hunting: It is "galaxy season" in spring, and if you "aim" at the constellation Virgo, for example, you can combine many galaxies in one image. However, most of them only look like blurred stars and do not show any details. I then use the Web site to identify the objects, because I can only recognize a few of them myself.

Admittedly, the Unistellar eVscope telescopes (Equinox for the rest of us (CloudyNights)) are better suited to galaxy hunting (1-2 min exposure time is often sufficient), but I have also been successful in this discipline with my Vespera! However, I mostly took mosaics in order to have the largest possible field of view, which requires correspondingly long exposure times (at least 30-40 min).

Working through object lists: Probably the best-known catalog of DSOs is the Messier catalog (110 objects). There is now a competition called the Messier Marathon, in which you try to observe all or as many objects from the catalog as possible in one night. It is sufficient to briefly identify an object visually, but reliable identification on photos/screens usually requires at least a few minutes of exposure time. That is a lot of hustle and bustle if you want to spot everything in one night! Of course, there are also variants of this competition that give the observer more time (in the end, everyone can decide for themselves...), but certainly no one wants to work through the list of Messier objects with a "speed" of one object per night (which would be the case if you want to achieve optimal results and expose an object all night or even longer).

In addition to the Messier catalog, there are other lists such as the Herschel 400 catalog or the list of 100 Herschel objects from Stoyan's Herschel Guide (see also Herschel 100+10-List). And finally, anyone can make their own lists from DSO that they want to work through. But for all these lists, you do not want to spend too long on one object, but you do want to see the object in acceptable quality.

Demonstration for other observers: When I wanted to demonstrate my Unistellar eVscope to friends, I quickly learned (and already suspected beforehand...) that the attention span of "astronomy lay people" is very limited. Since you typically look at the result on the screen of a smartphone or tablet computer, this is the "measure of all things" and not a "final result" on a large computer screen or a printout. In my opinion, the photos on the smartphone/tablet also look much better and more contrasty (in the dark!) than later after transferring them to the computer (in the light!). It is therefore important to capture the attention of the observers on this (small) screen, and this rarely works for longer than 3-5 minutes per object. Promising the guests that a photo will look much, much better after 10 or 30 minutes is of no use at all. By then they will have all run away!

I have to admit that the eVscope is much better suited to this purpose than the Vespera. Some objects, especially star clusters, are easy to recognize after one minute and many have already reached their "optimum" for the presentation after 3-5 minutes. With the Vespera, this takes a couple of minutes longer. I have never investigated this in more detail, but a waiting time of 5 minutes should not be exceeded for demonstrations. 10 minutes waiting time* is definitely too long!
*) An EAA proponent makes regular demonstrations on the Internet, where you can follow the whole observation. He stayed on a DSO for a maximum of 10 minutes and read object descriptions from Wikipedia in between. This made it bearable, especially as the guests were (or still are) all hobby astronomers...


To cut a long story short: There can be many reasons why you do not want to expose DSO with the Vespera for hours in order to achieve an "optimal" result, but instead want to expose DSO as briefly as possible without having to make major compromises in terms of image quality. On this page, I try to give you some clues as to which exposure times can be sufficient for certain applications of the Vespera (provided that the sky is dark enough!).

What is on this Page?

In the following, I present three "tests" in which I present photos with short exposure times:


Observations up to 30 Minutes

On October 22, 2022, I observed and photographed the following Deep Sky Objects with the Vaonis Vespera in order to conduct a comparison with the Unistellar eVscope 2:

One might say that among them there are, with M 27 (planetary nebula) and M 31 (galaxy), two easier objects and with the galactic nebulae IC 5070 (Pelican Nebula) and IC 5146 (Cocoon Nebula) there are two more difficult objects.

These observations also show well how the images become brighter with a longer exposure time. And you can decide at what exposure time the image appears "good enough".

M 27


M 31


IC 5070


IC 5146

First photo   First photo   First photo   First photo
1 min   1 min   1 min   1 min
2.5 min   2.5 min   2.5 min   2.5 min
5 min   5 min   5 min   5 min
10 min   10 min   10 min   10 min
15 min   15 min   15 min   15 min
20 min   20 min   20 min   20 min
30 min   a little more than 22 min   30 min   a little more than 27 min

My first observation is that the DSO and also the stars get brighter over time. This is in agreement with what Vaonis writes:

Object Brightness

In the following example, the Vespera photo of the Pelican Nebula IC 5050 already shows nebular structures in the original; brightened up, they are much better visible (this time).


Vespera: IC 5070 (30 min)


Vespera: IC 5070 (30 min), made brighter


Selected DSO

In the following, I present observations of selected DSO (and DSO types) with 15 up to a maximum of 30 minutes exposure time and with intermediate stages. Here I tried to consider different DSO types to show the differences in exposure. The photos are from my early days with the Vespera, when I mainly observed with short exposure times. All photos are unprocessed!

M 13 (Globular Star Cluster; Hercules)


M 13, Aug 25, 2022 - 1. frame


M 13, Aug 25, 2022 - 2:30 min


M 13, Aug 25, 2022 - 5 min


M 13, Aug 25, 2022 - 10 min (no longer exposed)


M 13, Aug 25, 2022 - 15 min (no longer exposed)


M 16 (Galactic Nebula; Serpens)


M 16, Nov 1, 2022 - 1. frame


M 16, Nov 1, 2022 - 2:30 min


M 16, Nov 1, 2022 - 5 min


M 16, Nov 1, 2022 - 10 min


M 16, Nov 1, 2022 - 15 min


M 16, Nov 1, 2022 - 20 min


M 16, Nov 1, 2022 - 25 min


M 16, Nov 1, 2022 - 30 min (no longer exposed)

M 17 (Galactic Nebula; Sagittarius)


M 17, Aug 16, 2022 - 1. frame


M 17, Aug 16, 2022 - 2:30 min


M 17, Aug 16, 2022 - 5 min


M 17, Aug 16, 2022 - 10 min


M 17, Aug 16, 2022 - 15 min (no longer exposed)


M 52 (Open Star Cluster; Cassiopeia), NGC 7635 (Galactic Nebula; Cassiopeia)


M 52, Aug 25, 2022 - 1. frame


M 52, Aug 25, 2022 - 2:30 min


M 52, Aug 25, 2022 - 5 min


M 52, Aug 25, 2022 - 10 min


M 52, Aug 25, 2022 - 15 min (no longer exposed)


M 81 (Galaxy; Ursa Major)


M 81 Aug 28, 2022 - 1. frame


M 81, Aug 28, 2022 - 2:30 min


M 81, Aug 28, 2022 - 5 min


M 81, Aug 28, 2022 - 10 min


M 81, Aug 28, 2022 - 15 min (no longer exposed)



Briefly Exposed DSO

Here I present "short-exposure photos" of DSO (only up to 10 minutes). These photos are also mostly from my early days with the Vespera, when I was still mainly observing with short exposure times. All photos are unprocessed.

M 37 (Open Star Cluster; Auriga)


M 37, Feb 13, 2023 - 1. frame


M 37, Feb 13, 2023 - 2:30 min


M 37, Feb 13, 2023 - 5 min


M 37, Feb 13, 2023 - 10 min (no longer exposed)

M 42 (Galactic Nebula; Orion)


M 42, Jan 18, 2023 - 1. frame


M 42, Jan 18, 2023 - 2:30 min


M 42, Jan 18, 2023 - 5 min


M 42, Jan 18, 2023 - 10 min (no longer exposed)

NGC 869/884 (Open Star Cluster; Perseus)


NGC 869/884, Aug 12, 2022 - 1. frame


NGC 869/884, Aug 12, 2022 - 2:30 min


NGC 869/884, Aug 12, 2022 - 5 min


NGC 869/884, Aug 12, 2022 - a little more than 7 min (no longer exposed)

NGC 2174 (Galactic Nebula; Orion)


NGC 2174, Feb 12, 2023 - 1. frame


NGC 2174, Feb 12, 2023 - 2:30 min


NGC 2174, Feb 12, 2023 - 5 min


NGC 2174, Feb 12, 2023 -10 min (no longer exposed)



The longer I browse through my Vespera photos, the more examples I find that show acceptable results even with shorter exposure times. I also think that there are now enough examples on this page, so that there is no need to put additional objects on this page. In any case, I can say that, depending on the type and brightness of the object, exposure times of between 5 and 30 minutes are in many cases sufficient to obtain "presentable" photos (faint and large galactic nebulae are an exception to this). That might be enough to access 10-30 DSO in one night. For "very good" photos, however, longer exposure times and extensive post-processing are mandatory.

How long you need to expose a DSO depends, as we all know, on the type and the brightness of the DSO, but I think it also depends on the quality of the sky. In winter/spring 2024, I did not get really satisfactory results with the Vespera even with open star clusters; I faintly remember that the sky quality was not the best... But perhaps Vaonis also changed the algorithms in the meantime, so that longer exposure times are now required? Since mid-June 2024, dithering was introduced also for normal exposures, which makes the imaging process slower (it is unknown, to what extent).

See also page Vaonis Vespera Pro - Photo Comparisons with Different Exposure Times for a similar test with the Vespera Pro. Basically, this telescope requires significantly longer exposure times than the Vespera, so it is less suitable for the tasks described above.




An den Anfang   Homepage  

gerd (at) waloszek (dot) de

About me
made by walodesign on a mac!