Vaonis Vespera - Mosaic Mode

Introduction | First Experiences with the Mosaic Mode | Another Test of the Mosaic Mode | First Conclusions | Links

On this page, I describe my first experiences with my electronic 2" refractor telescope Vaonis Vespera 50 mm/200 mm (f/4) using the mosaic mode (which is still in beta state).

Notes:

 

Introduction

         

Photo: My Vaonis Vespera (end of July 2022)

In the following, I describe my first experiences with the Vaonis Vespera in Mosaic mode. This mode was already announced during the Kickstarter campaign for the Vespera (and probably even earlier for the Stellina). It was supposed to be available in 2022, but in between, I also found references to 2023. Anyway, on October 27, 2022 I received an email from Vaonis that the Mosaic mode is available in a beta version for both the Stellina and the Vespera. This meant that I had to update the Singularity app and thus the Vespera, which I had already done a couple of days earlier to get the Vespera ready for the new solar filter.

Some Information...

A general introduction to the new Mosaic mode can be found in the article "CovalENS, the first 'panorama mode' ever embedded in a telescope": vaonis.com/covalens-the-first-panorama-mode-ever-embedded-telescope. Vaonis has also provided some information on the Mosaic mode in its Knowledge Base; here I link to some of the questions that are answered there; sometimes, I provide the answers in shortened form (no images):

Summary of mosaic characteristics for Vespera (from the CovalENS article):

For more information, please read the Vaonis Mosaic Mode Tutorial (support.vaonis.com/portal/en/kb/articles/mosaic-mode-tutorial). The short instructions below are based on it.

Short Instructions

  1. Prerequisites: Turn the Vespera on, connect your smartphone to its WiFi, start the Singularity app, and initialize the Vespera.
  2. Select the Mosaic Mode: Mosaic mode is available either from an object in the catalog or a manual target. After pressing the "Mosaic" button for a selected target, perform the following steps in the Singularity app on your smartphone/tablet.
  3. Frame Size: Set the field size up to four times the original field of view (1.6° x 0.9° > 3.2° x 1.8°) by moving the frame corners with one finger.
  4. Frame Adjustment: Change the frame location by moving the frame with one finger, change the field orientation (rotation) with two fingers. Possibly, you need to fine-tune the frame size for an optimal fit of the objects.
  5. Capture: Start the mosaic process, which should last for one hour for first results and for two and even more hours for a nice photo.
  6. Stop: Cancel the observation in order to stop the mosaic process.

In the following, I report on my first own experiences with this new functionality.

 

First Experiences with the Mosaic Mode

October 27, 2022

Already on the first evening, i.e. on the evening of October 27, 2022, the sky seemed suitable for a first test of the Mosaic function. At least that was what I thought...

I chose the Cirrus Nebula as the first target. The two partial nebulae NGC 6960 and 6992 fit more or less into the extended field of view. But after a short while, the stacking process stopped, because in the meantime clouds had come up in the area of the constellation Cygnus.

So I tried my luck in another direction, where stars were still visible, and pointed the Vespera at the Andromeda galaxy M 31, including the satellite galaxies M 32 and M 110. However, the "view through" to the galaxy is quite "tricky" on my terrace, and after three quarters of an hour the stacking process stopped again, this time probably because M 31 had disappeared behind obstacles.

Since in the South some stars were visible again, I made a last attempt in the direction of the North American Nebula NGC 7000 and the Pelican Nebula IC 5070. Both together do not quite fit into the extended field of view, but at least a large part of both. Again, this attempt ended after three quarters of an hour, this time probably because of clouds once again. The photo was also quite dark and hardly anything of the nebulae could be seen on it. However, it turned out that this photo could be post-processed well, so that both nebulae can be seen better. The M 31 photo, on the other hand, could hardly be improved by post-processing. In the following, I present my two mosaic attempts in unprocessed and processed versions:

    

M 31 mosaic with M 32 and M 110, 290 frames, about 48 min

 

Ditto, cropped and processed

 

NGC 7000/IC 5070 mosaic, 262 frames, nearly 45 min

  Ditto, processed

October 30, 2022

On October 30, 2022, I made a second attempt at mosaics, this time again and twice at NGC 6960/6992. But only the first attempt was useable; it lasted for more than one hour. For the two nebulae NGC 6960 and NGC 6992, the extended field size seems to be a bit too small to really include both of them well.

    

NGC 6992/6960 mosaic, 368 frames, a little more than 1 h

  Ditto, processed

I then started another mocaic attempt, this time at M 33 (triangular galaxy), but aborted it soon, because M 33 already fits into the normal field of view; so I took a "normal" image of M 33, which I present here as well:

    

M 33, 269 frames

  Ditto, processed

November 1, 2022

On November 1, 2022, I made two more attempts at mosaics. First, I created a mosaic of M 103 and its surround, that is NGC 654, NGC 659, and NGC 663 (I used astrometry.org for figuring that out (see below). Secondy, I took a photo of the Heart Nebula IC 1805. Together with the Soul Nebula, it does not even fit a mosaic, and for a simple photo it is too large. I therefore took a mosaic of it.

    

M 103 and more, 365 frames, about 1 h

  Evaluation by astrometry.org
 

IC 1805, 375 frames, about 1 h

  Ditto, processed

 

Another Test of the Mosaic Mode

January 18, 2023

On January 18, 2023, the sky looked clear, and I took my eVscope 2 and later also my Vespera outside. With the Vespera, I first observed the Orion Nebula M 42/43 which is now coming "around the corner" in the South East, and thus, can be observed from our terrace. Next, I tried creating a mosaic including M 42/43 and the Running Man Nebula NGC 1977. On my first attempt, the app lost the connection to the telescope, and I had to abort the observation, before NGC1977 was included in the mosaic. My second attempt worked well, and I stopped it after 40 minutes, because both targets were already captured well. The resulting photo looks nice, particularly, when I create a square version of it.

    

M 42/43, Jan 18, 2023 - original (65 frames = 640 seconds)

 

M 42/43, Jan 18, 2023 - large (65 frames = 640 seconds), processed

 

M 42/43 with NGC 1980, Jan 18, 2023 - original (41 frames = 400 seconds), mosaic

 

M 42/43 with NGC 1980, Jan 18, 2023 - large (41 frames = 400 seconds), processed

 

M 42/43 with NGC 1977 and NGC 1980, Jan 18, 2023 - large (241 frames = 2410 seconds), mosaic

 

M 42/43 with NGC 1977 and NGC 1980, Jan 18, 2023 - large (241 frames = 2410 seconds), processed

M 42/43 with NGC 1977 and NGC 1980, Jan 18, 2023 - large (241 frames = 2410 seconds), processed, square section

 

Ditto, lights made 50% darker

 

Ditto, lights made 100% darker

 

First Conclusions

The mosaic mode of the Vespera (and Stellina) opens up a new world of possibilities, with respect to larger fields. Many objects that are larger the the Vespera's field of view still fit the field of view of the mosaic mode, which is four times the original view of the Vespera (3.2° x 1.8° versus 1.6° x 0.9°). After an hour of observation time, the mosaics look quite satisfying, but they should look even better after two or more hours of observation time. So, the mosaic mode is something for people with patience or people who might do other things, while they let the Vespera create a mosaic...

By the way, you can also crop mosaics to your own taste and stop recording before it is finished as a whole (see the example of the Orion Nebula with the the Running Man Nebula).

 

Links

 

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23.01.2023