SkyWatcher S20510 Star Adventurer Astro Package (Black)
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- Multiple preprogrammed speeds for time lapse photography
- Tracking rate selectable between Sidereal, Solar and Lunar
- Built in polar scope with illuminator
- DSLR interfrace for automatic shutter control
- Built-in auto-guiding interface
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|Item Dimensions||11 x 18 x 25 inches|
|Shipping Weight||4.45 pounds|
|Style Name||Astro Package|
The Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer is a user-friendly and multi-function mount to satisfy all your needs for astronomy, astrophotography and time-lapse photography. It is a high precision, portable and stable celestial tracking platform for sidereal, solar and lunar tracking with automatic DSLR shutter release control. Also, it contains preprogrammed parameters assisting you to create interesting time-lapse videos with your DSLR.The Astro Package includes the Star Adventurer mount, polar scope illuminator, and dec bracket. Optional EQ base is available.
Top customer reviews
SkyWatcher Star Adventurer Photo Package
Equatorial Wedge (Recommended. This makes polar alignment MUCH easier.)
Counterweight Kit (Recommended, especially when using heavier cameras and lenses.)
70-200mm IS USM L lens (for Andromeda at 200mm)
24-105mm IS USM L lens (for the Milky Way at 24mm)
Imaging: 10 images each @ 30sec with ISO 1600 @ 38 deg F. Periodically, and after a few minutes, I noticed I started to get some star trails, so I re-aligned to Polaris between image sets as needed.
Processing: I followed the workflow with image stacking as described on the LonelySpeck web site. I'm still learning how to optimize the images.
I attached images to show different configurations with the SkyWatcher. The ball mount option makes it easier to compose wide-angle shots.
You don't need expensive camera equipment to take great photos with the SkyWatcher. However, I do recommend using a camera with manual settings that can take raw images.
To help me align the camera to the parts of the sky I wanted to shoot, I used an Xtend-a-Sight™ Plus II bracket which attaches to the flash shoe on your camera, and allows you to add a reflex site (purchased separately).
I used a Sight Mark Sure Shot Reflex Sight, but any sight capable of attaching to a weaver-style rail should work. This setup makes sighting in dark skies much easier than just pointing and hoping for the best. I still took a couple of test shots to fine-tune object centering.
The sight is attached to my camera in one photo. I attached a close up image of the Xtend-a Sight with the reflex site.
One final thing to note. There are 2 ways to align to polaris through the polar scope. Both ways work. One method is a bit complicated, and is described in the product manual. When done correctly, this should result in accurate alignment. The other method is easier. With the reticle positioned with 0 at the top, and 6 at the bottom (see image), you just simply you place polaris in the correct position on the reticle. The correct position of Polaris can be determined using an iPhone or Android app. The easy method will work, but it can be prone to misalignment. I used the easy method when I took my images, so that may be the reason why I had to re-align periodically.
The one small issue I had, was calibrating the polar scope. The machining on the eyepiece threads had too much play, allowing you to move it around, even when screwed almost all the way in!
Good for two minutes exposures unguided. Total portable mount you can take every place. Very well made and easy to setup and use.
This unit is well made and makes it easy for someone interested in astrophotography and time-lapse photography. You need to have some understanding of polar alignment and what you can move after making that alignment. The wedge makes this very easy. Once that is completed you turn the dial to the star and that starts the tracking. What is not really clear is that you can depending upon the position of the switch which is S-middle(marked time lapse)-N. The N and S are selected based upon which hemisphere you are in. It is unfortunate that they mark the middle position as time lapse because that made me think that I had to have the switch in that position to begin time-lapse photography, but each position of the switch will determine the length of time that the shutter is activated, which means that all positions start time-lapse. The manual includes some examples and it was in there that I had a better understanding on how the mode selection works. In the Star when you select say N for the Northern hemisphere, then chart indicates that the interval is 100, but what that means according to the example is that the shutter will open for 99.5 seconds and an interval of .5 second.
The arrow keys when pushed move the Star Adventurer at 12 times the sidereal rate, which is a way of saying that it advances the head to a different position in its rotation and when you let go it will continue to track as normal assuming that you have not moved from the polar alignment. The arrow keys also are used to indicate various errors or low battery.
The lunar mode requires that you perform a polar alignment, but the solar mode does not. I had to contact Sky-Watcher to find this out.
The polar alignment is much easier with the optional wedge. The dials in the back allow you to set up a polar alignment manually, but I found it much easier to use an app which are readily available. The one that I use is PS Align Pro which includes the reticle alignment for the Star-Adventurer. This app has other very useful functions and would recommend it for use with the Star Adventurer.
The Star, Solar, Lunar and .5X will rotate 360° and the others only 180°.
I recommend the Star Adventurer to anyone interested in astrophotography.