Celestron Skyris CCD Cameras in Stock

Celestron Skyris CCD Camera

Celestron Skyris CCD Camera

The much anticipated new range of Celestron Skyris CCD cameras powered by The Imaging Source are now here and in stock ready for dispatch. You can see them in our online store by clicking here or by calling into our showroom in Tring.

The partnership between Celestron and The Imaging Source has been very fruitful resulting in a much improved range of Planetary CCD Cameras. Building on the original Imaging Source DMK range the Celestron Skyris cameras feature a much faster USB 3.0 connection. This allows the Celestron Skyris 618C and 618M to achieve frame rates of up to 120 fps. In addition the Celestron Skyris has an improved casing designed to improve heat disipation and does not have an extra glass cover in front of the CCD chip. This allows better light transparency and enables any dust build up to be more easily removed.

Whilst the existing range of Imaging Source DMK USB 2.0 cameras will continue to be available, the much improved USB 3.0 versions will be Exclusive to the Celestron Skyris range.

The Celestron Skyris 618C and 618M are the fastest of the range and best for pure planetary work, The Celestron Skyris 274C and 274M have the largest CCD chips on the Skyris range and are perfect for Solar Imaging, with the Celestron Skyris 445C and 445M having the smallest pixel sizes allowing higher resolution. The Skyris 445 is good inbetween choice between the 618 and the 274 with its own benefits.

Opening Hours – Closed Saturday 24th August.

Please note that our showroom will be closed on Saturday 24th August 2013 and we apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause. You can still browse our shop online and place orders in the normal way at www.tringastro.co.uk and we will be open as normal from Tuesday 27th. Some appointments are still available for bank holiday Monday so please call us if you are interested in visiting ‘out of hours’.


A Guide to the Perseids Meteor Showers

This coming week sees one of the most prolific meteor showers of the year.  Its a chance for everyone to become Astronomers and better still you won’t need any equipment!  This guide has been produced and shared by Ralph at Active Astronomy to help you enjoy this visual treat.  For further information and other excellent astronomy based articles please visit his site at; www.activeastronomy.org
Peak times:  
Quite a few Perseid meteors can be seen up  to a week before and after the peak, but the best time to observe them is between midnight and dawn on the morning of the 13th August.
Perseus – the radiant (where the meteors appear to originate) is actually between the constellations of Perseus and Camelopardalis – see the image above.
Magnitude +2.3 (on average) but much brighter fireballs and smoke trails are often seen during the Perseids.
None needed. Perseids are best viewed with the naked eye but are also easy to photograph with a DSLR camera set to take 5-10 second exposures.
Earth’s orbit passing through debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle which returns every 130 years.
The Zenithal Hourly Rate (or ZHR) is the amount of meteors you could expect to see, on average, each hour under perfect sky conditions, if the radiant were at the zenith. The Perseids’ ZHR is around 90 but youprobably won’t see that many unless we have one of the occasional years of higher activity – 2009 saw a ZHR of 200! Also, short bursts of higher activity is also seen around the peak of the shower (8pm BST/7pm UT on 12th August).
The best way to view the Perseid meteor shower is to find a dark site. A northerly-facing recliner or a sun lounger will be a comfortable way to wait for the show. Perseus will be low on the horizon but it’s often better to look a hand’s width north of the radiant where the Earth’s atmosphere is less of a hindrance – above the ‘M’ or the crown of Cassiopeia is a good place to start. Many metoer watchers prefer to look straight up towards the zenith but you’ll know what’s best for yourself after a few minutes of observing them shoot across the sky.
But be aware that popping back into the house for a warm up will ruin your eyes’ dark adaption, so it’s best to have everything you’ll need with you when you begin.

We are now an Official Opticron Dealer





Its official! we are delighted to be confirmed as Opticron Dealers which means we now have a huge range of optics for all you birdwatchers and nature lovers too.  Opticron are a long established UK based company that offer quality optics, outstanding customer service, and fantastic aftersales care at very reasonable prices.

The Opticron range includes field scopes or spotting scopes, compact binoculars, full size binoculars, tripods and a whole range of other optical accessories.  The range covers a multitude of price ranges and sizes so we usually have something to suit almost any purpose!

We keep Opticron stock and display units in our showroom or you can of course buy online at www.tringastro.co.uk

Come and see us soon – Free Hobnob with every visit applies while stocks last ;-)


Skywatcher 200mm Dobsonian Review by Jonathen Harty

I think we all remember our first telescope. Mine was a Tasco 3” Refractor. It was given to me by my Uncle on Christmas day 1976. It was fiddly, unstable and the views were pretty rubbish but I stuck at it for months until I remember seeing “the big one”, Saturn’s Rings.

Even through that tiny telescope the sight was just astounding.

As the years passed, interest waned until I was once again given a Chinese ‘frac on a wooden tripod. This was soon replaced by a Helios 114mm Newtonian on a proper Eq1 mount. A Meade ETX 90 followed and then a William Optics 66mm and a Skywatcher 200p on an HEQ5. Sadly the 200p just didn’t get used. The mount was too much hassle to set up every time it was clear so it sat in my garage until I sold it and purchased a little Celestron 90 SLT. What a wonderful little scope. Excellent goto, crisp views, easy to setup and really portable. I used this more than any other scope I’ve owned.

But, you know how it is. The aperture gets you. You just get that feeling that you need a little bit more….girth!

So after having a great time on the deck at the wonderful Kielder Observatory with Gary’s 12” Dobsonian I was hooked.

10” and 12” would be too large to keep at home, and would be a little too strenuous on the wallet so I opted for a Skywatcher 200 from Neil at Tring Astro. I looked at a few reviews and pulled the trigger. The service from Tring was excellent. I had twitter updates every step of the way. I ordered late on Monday, the scope arrived Thursday and delivery was free. The driver even called to arrange a time for him to deliver.

I was greeted at home by two large boxes. The biggest was the OTA and the smaller was the Dobsonian base which is flat packed. The packaging was very good and they really weren’t that heavy at all.

The OTA was very well packaged with very thick polystyrene formed sections, and even though the box had taken a knock in transit, this didn’t cause any issues.

Image one

The large box also contains the finder scope and adapters and all the hardware for assembling the base. The bubble-wrap bags also make fantastic Smurf hat so you can look stupid on the internet.


The instruction manual is very good, which makes a real change as these things have always been terrible. It is the same manual for the 150/200/254mm scopes. I believe the bigger dobsonians have a proper bearing as opposed to just a friction design.

The second box is the Dobsonian base. This consists of five heavy MDF boards 15mm thick, flat-packed. Again the base assembly instructions are good, but I found the supplied allen keys and screw driver are poor quality and are just a little too small for the 14 screws supplied to assemble the base. It is also pretty laborious tightening each of the allen head screws by hand, so I used a battery screwdriver with the correct size allen key bit and put the base together in about six minutes. The friction system which allows the scope to be rotated is very simple and can be modded with a lazy Susan bearing. I initially over tightened the main bolt that holds the two base plates together, but this wasn’t apparent until first light.

The whole setup was assembled in about 20 minutes, but if this is the first telescope you have owned it would probably take a little longer.


The biggest surprise for me with this scope was that the collimation was pretty good right out of the box. I will be collimating properly as soon as I can. I have never been happy with my focuser cap with a hole drilled in it and as soon as funds allow I will be buying a decent Cheshire Collimator.


The first clear night since buying the scope came two days later. It was still cloudy and the wind was picking up, but I couldn’t resist catching Saturn which was low on the horizon and was bound to be hard to view clearly. On the Antoniadi Scale it was III (Average seeing, with larger air tremors.) The scope was placed outside at about 9pm, and I started viewing just after 10pm. My view from home is clear south and west, and Saturn was just about visible because it was still very light.

The first issue with the scope was the finder. I had set this up earlier and felt it may be an issue with observing. The supplied finderscope is a 9×50 straight through version. Now unless you have a neck like an emu, viewing through this thing is a nightmare. The quality of the finderscope itself is very good, but you have to lean over and crane your neck to be able to use it. This is a common problem which Skywatcher have solved by producing a Right Angled Finder version which would be much easier to use. Sadly it costs in the region of £70.

To solve this issue I fitted my old Telrad and removed the finderscope and replaced it with a red dot finder from my Celestron 90mm SLT.

Not ideal but better than straining to target the scope.

This isn’t a complaint, but I found that the scope was a little low for me, I’m 5’11” and felt another 6” of height would help a great deal. I will be making a wheeled cart for the dob and this I’m sure will sort the issue out. It is probably just a matter of getting used to the Dobsonian setup, and I remember feeling the same with a 200mm on an HEQ5 which conversely seemed far too high in many situations.

Thankfully Saturn was low and I was able to sit in a chair and comfortably view.

I always like to start looking at objects in my Revelation 32mm EP and then work down. This is a very wide EP and the view of the planet was just lovely against a blue background of a still light summer sky. I then worked down to 15mm and instantly congratulated myself on my purchase. Even though seeing was poor the ringed planet looked incredible. It was difficult to see details but I felt that if viewing was better they would be jumping out at me. I then switched to my 12.5 Baader Phantom EP, and the atmosphere cleared enough for a spectacular view. The Cassini Division was there and the beautiful yellow shading of the planet was easily visible. It was almost in 3D for a moment and I rushed to fit my x2 Barlow. Now here is where the issue of my over-tightening the azimuth bolt came into play. At this magnification the planet zooms through the eyepiece so you are often nudging the scope to catch up. Mine was a little difficult to do and I would often nudge too far and loose the planet altogether. Frustrating but nothing that can’t be solved.

Sadly the clouds rolled in leaving just Arcturus (Alpha Bootis) shining through a gap so I had a quick look. It was very very bright, so much so that it was showing diffraction spikes (usually add these in photoshop ;-) ). It’s orange glow was very apparent, and then the clouds did their thing and ended observing for the night.

Overall I am overjoyed with the telescope. It was great to just have a scope and some eyepieces and a chair. No wires or cameras or webcams. The little quirks are probably more down to me getting used to the Dobsonian design, rather than faults with the scope. The finder is pretty difficult to operate and will be swapped as soon as possible. Other than this the 200mm is a fantastic piece of kit for a very reasonable price indeed. If you are on a tight budget then you really cannot go wrong here. I can’t wait for some proper dark skies so I can hunt some DSO’s.

Finally I must say thank you to Tring Astro for their excellent service. It is a pleasure to deal with them.

J Harty

30th June 2013

A big thank you to Jonathen not only for buying his Dobsonian Telescope from us, but also for taking the time to write this great review.

Thank you.

Celestron® Launches SkyrisTM USB 3.0 Planetary Imaging Cameras

935511We are Quite excited about the launch of a new range of CCD imaging products from Celestron in partnership with The Imaging Source. I have pasted the press release details below, but in addition to this you can find more details including prices in our shop by clicking here.

First indications are that these will be arriving into the UK in September, and we are already taking deposits now :-)


Celestron® Launches SkyrisTM USB 3.0 Planetary Imaging Cameras

Powered by The Imaging Source, Skyris turns the solar system into your personal photography studio.

Torrance, CA (July 1, 2013) – Get ready to explore the sky as a new horizon of creativity. For years, The Imaging Source has provided amateur astronomers with high-quality CCD cameras that elevate planetary imaging from a casual hobby into an art form. Now, Celestron, the world’s number one telescope maker, is thrilled to announce not only a landmark partnership with The Imaging Source, but the game- changing result of that collaboration: Skyris, a revolutionary new line of astronomical CCD cameras.

Designed for beginning and advanced imagers alike, each of the six color and monochromatic Skyris models reveals the solar system from a completely new perspective, allowing you to create stunning planetary images in crisp, high resolution. Superior internal components—including Sony® EXview HADTM imaging sensors and high-speed USB 3.0 connections—result in great camera sensitivity with ultra-fast image capture. Capture more exposures in less time to record moments of the most stable air, resulting in the best image quality. Finally, the dynamic 12-bit image output dramatically outranges the 8-bit output of standard planetary CCDs.

It’s all surrounded by Celestron’s carefully engineered external camera housing, designed for improved heat dissipation to minimize the temperature effect on CCD noise. The included Celestron iCap software and stacking software (for Windows) aid with capturing, filtering, aligning, stacking, and exporting your best images.

Skyris is available in six optimized configurations:
• 618C and 618M are our fastest cameras. Use for color and monochromatic

planetary imaging with long focal-length telescopes like Schmidt-Cassegrains

and EdgeHDs.
• 445C and 445M feature small pixels to generate exquisitely detailed images.

Use for color and monochromatic planetary, lunar, and solar imaging.
• 274C and 274M have the biggest sensors, field of view.

Tring Astronomy Centre Showroom – Latest Image

Tring Astronomy Centre

Its been another couple of busy weeks here at the Tring Astronomy Centre!  We are pleased to announce that we are now official dealers for Vixen and Opticron.  Vixen offer an interesting and innovative range of high quality Astronomy Mounts, Tripods and Telescopes.  Opticon on the other hand offer an excellent range of optics perfect for the nature lovers amongst you.  Come down to the showroom and see for yourself! Don’t forget there is a free hobnob for every visitor!

Altair Astro now in stock!

Altair Astro EDT-60We are very pleased to confirm that we are now an official Altair Astro Dealer.  I have spent the last couple of nights playing with the lovely little EDT-60 Triplet which is a joy to use.  The build quality is very good and the optics are simply stunning.  Ive enjoyed using this scope during that daytime too whilst waiting for the skies to darken.  Its a perfect travel scope that punches way above its weight! You can see this (assuming you can wrestle it off me) and a range of other Altair products in our showroom including the 80ED, Lightwave Eyepieces and the Starwave dual mounting system.  We will be adding many more Altair products as time goes on, all of which we cant wait to test ourselves in the field and display for you to see and try in our showroom.

There will be a free Hob Nob for every visitor who asks to see the EDT-60 on Saturday ;-) We will be open from 9am to 2pm so come and say hello!

Showroom starts to take shape


Its been another busy week burning the midnight oil, but finally our showroom is taking shape!  Still a few more telescopes to build up, but we have put the lovely Astro Canvas prints up and have stocked up with Hob Nobs!  If you are around Tring on Saturday please feel free to pop in, the coffee machine will be on!

We are located in The Old Silk Mill Trading Estate on Brook Street in Tring.  When you enter the estate from the road bear left and we can be found right at the bottom!