Technology marches on

The march of progress continues apace, and in this month’s reviews Pete Lawrence gets to play with the Atik Infinity CCD camera. This compact device not only captures great pictures of the sky, it can also show the images being built up live on your screen as well, making it ideal for public outreach. It makes you wonder how far such technology can go and indeed, how they can fit it into something so small and easy to handle!
Of course, having a sensitive camera is only part of the story, as you need a good telescope to collect those photons in the first place. This issue we say ‘hello’ to new reviewer Tim Jardine, who explores the virtues of the Vixen R200SS Newtonian reflector (pictured), fitted with a Wynne corrector.
Marrying the right combination of camera and telescope (and mount of course) along with good dark skies gives you the chance to take stunning images, and Tim’s efforts with the Vixen certainly show off what the scope and corrector can do in experienced hands.
However, let’s not forget that even modest equipment can provide some decent viewing and imaging experiences, as I found out while testing the Bresser Messier 8-inch Dobsonian. Although you’d expect a dobsonian - a basic alt az system - to just be used for simple observing, Bresser are really thinking outside the box with this design, so to speak. The tube is not fixed in place, but held by tube rings attached to the altitude tangent arms. So, by detaching the arms and adding a vixen mounting plate, you can attach the tube to an equatorial mount for deep sky viewing or imaging. A neat touch indeed.
There is something for everyone in this month’s reviews, so make sure you get your copy of the latest issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, out 21 January.



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