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Micro-Cyclope

$2,499.00
SKU mini-cyclope

Turbulence level (or seeing) is a great concern when recording images of objects the sky, because this is simply jeopardizing astronomical telescope resolution. Recording images during best seeing is really a big advantage. In order to achieve this goal, continuous seeing measurement is required to optimize image recording time. To get seeing / turbulence measurements, the DIMM method is mostly used by professional observatories in order to measure atmospheric seeing (or turbulence) and allowing to optimize targets and observation programs. 

Nevertheless, DIMM method requires a telescope with enough focal length (>3000mm) and enough aperture (>250mm), and to track bright stars the whole night. This is quite stringent and can be a quite costly approach. The telescope needs a shelter, and automatically jump from a star to another to get not so far away from zenith.

ALCOR-SYSTEM provides a method to overcome some of the drawbacks of the DIMM system.

In the northern hemisphere, a bright star called "polaris" that does not move so much in the sky and is bright enough.

The fixed seeing monitor uses the Polaris star, and ALCOR-SYSTEM is proud to present this new product : micro-CYCLOPE seeing monitor

To compare this product with the Cyclope, is simple. Both are totally identical, but the micro-cyclope does not have any sub system to measure external and internal temperature and humidity, and has no front entrance window automatic heating system to remove dew (if any).

The goal of this product is to measure atmospheric seeing condition in a continuous fashion, so this setup stays outdoors all the time 24h a day, and is aimed at the polaris star in a fixed fashion.

This system can only work in the northern hemisphere, at latitudes above 15° North, for southern hemisphere please contact us for solutions.

The fixed seeing monitor is a totally sealed system that can overcome all extreme weather conditions, and is not sensitive to wind gust due to its strong design. The software starts measurements automatically when the Sun is below the horizon and only when the stars are visible.

The added value of this product compared to competitors are :

- better measurement accuracy because of more and smaller pixels
- ethernet link to the host
- ability to measure very low seeing figure, whereas other systems are not reliable under 1.5 arcsec seeing.
- strong and robust construction, that avoid measurements to be jeopardized by wind gust

This system offers watertight connectors, for continuous outdoor operation.
The line of sight can be adjusted accurately to aim at polaris star. Once this is performed, there is no need to carry out any further adjustements. The system is made of high quality alloy colorless anodized aluminum.

The weight of this item is 4.8 kg, and size is 200 mm x 150 mm (base) Height is 260 mm

Included Software

The software is embedded to this system (Windows 7/10 versions only).
The field of view of the system is 3.6° x 2.5° and perfectly accomodates the polaris star path throughout the whole night / whole year, so that continuous measurements can be performed.

 

Since the image recording is performed continuously, it can provide a figure of seeing expressed in arcsec (or Fried's Ro) in a continuous matter, if weather conditions allows. 0.55µm wavelength is used, but also 1.55µm figure can be provided by the software.

The next plot shows seeing measurement over the course of a night. The data is coming from this product (vertical axis is seeing, horizontal axis is time)

 

Data Validation

In order to validate this concept is working in reliable fashion, it has been compared with other systems, at the same time and the same place, twice.

Comparison with DIMM

Another test consisted in using a Ritchey Chretien 250 mm F8 telescope, with a standard scientific sony ccd camera, and a pixel scale of 0.35 arcsec per pixel. The exposure time was 5 sec, and unsaturated star FWHM was measured on both star axis. The selected star was always close to zenith.

The red dots are the star FWHM over the time from the RC telescope. The black dots are from the cyclop apparatus, and shows very good agreement with the telescope measurements.
Here are the results, the blue line is from the DIMM and the red line from the fixed seeing monitor.The agreement between these two plots is very good, so the data coming out from the fixed seeing monitor can be regarded as reliable.
A last comparison with 10" DIMM system, carried out in July 2016. This is very close, and some difference is visible because polaris star and a star in cygnus constellation has been used, so the optical atmospheric path is not exactly the same. 

 

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Exceptional Mount

A couple of years ago, I wanted to replace my old VMA200 mount with something more modern.
While visiting the Paris Astronomy show (RCE 2012) I noticed the Nova120. At that time, it was a brand new offering that I have not seen before, hence my hesitation to purchase
I wanted to purchase a E.U product to guarantee the quality and ease of access to support in my own language. I checked the forums and heard nothing but good things about the Nova120 so I decided to purchase it.

I have used enough astronomical instruments in the last 30 years to know what great quality is. The Nova120 coupled with the PRISM v10 and a CDK20 (508 mm) helped me pull off 900s unguided images with great ease. (Raw FITS File here). Payload of this setup is about 80 kg (160 lb).

The dizzying slew speeds, excellent accuracy and painless tracking makes this hobby easy and enjoyable again.
After using this setup for a year and a half, the only problem I had was rebalacing the gear after changing scopes. The superb electronics and software included make this tasks even more easier that just eyeballing the scope for movement due to unbalance.

You can very easily watch the motor consumption and know where the unbalance is....that easy. I have so much data that it is becoming difficult yo keep up.
I have absolutely zero regrets, this purchase has made everything easier: No summer/winter worm-gear adjustments, no guiding... just start imaging night after night after night.

Eric Barbotin

Imaging Made Easy

Prism is my GoTo program for observatory control and imaging. Prism's many features make imaging taking a breeze.

I was concerned about giving Prism a try , especially as its quite expensive. So far Im very impressed and glad of my decision.
Im a beginner at all this so haven't tried other more recommended software, Prism appealed as it seems to do everything instead of using several programs 👍🏻

Great lightweight guide scope

This guide scope replaces a 400/80 that was waaay too heavy for what it did. The smaller 60mm scope does a great job guiding and I can RA balance with just one counter weight now - much better - and it looks like something Ferrari designed

Still learning Prism using Wireless links...

I have much of your software working at this time... I have it parked on my main computer, and a notebook... My main computer is a OverClock computer with 32 Gigs of RAM Clocking presently at 4400MHz with software parked on SSD drives... The rotation dome by NexDome is still not working... Most problems like this have to do with ASCOM Drivers... There is not very much detail information on how to use this software... I have to feel my way to a total operational staus... Second issue... The rain in the San Francisco Bay Area this year has limited my access to my larger telescope (12 inch SCT)... This rain has been so significant, I was force to weatherize my observatory... My goal here is,,, I am trying to remotely control my observatory totally. I have used Netgear Powerline 2000 to handle camera images and discover controlling rules to do that... High speed is vital for images with cameras over 3 Megs... I have both 12 Mega sensors and 24 Mega sensors... I am also using Netgear Nighthawk router and its mating extender to increase control signals to my observatory that is about 100 feet on the side of hill... I am also using Virtual Here software on a Raspberry Pi inside the observatory to solve the USB interface requirements... I started out using Model B and B+ on level 3 raspberry Pi's... I have moved to Level 4 Raspberry Pi to gain access to USB 3.0 technology... Big difference! I hope by early spring to have everything working... Bob Ritter MicTechS