Vaonis Vespera - Information (2" Refractor)

Introduction | About Vespera | First Thoughts (without Owning Vespera...) | Look | Visited Sky Objects | First Experiences | Photo Attempts | First Conclusions | Links || Appendix: Technical Data | Appendix: Comparison of the Vaonis Vespera, Vaonis Stellina, and the Unistellar eVscope

On this page, I provide some information about my (hopefully) forthcoming electronic 2" refractor telescope Vaonis Vespera 50 mm/200 mm (f/4). I supported it in a Kickstarter campaign starting on October 1, 2020 on the very first day. The campaign closed successfully at the end of October 2020. Vaonis promises the delivery for Christmas 2021, provided everything will go well.

Initially, this page will contain preliminary information and describe the course of the project. After having received the Vespera telescope, I will describe my own experiences here.

Notes:

 

Introduction

Vespera is the second telescope that the French company Vaonis develops. For this purpose, Vaonis started a Kickstarter campaign on October 1, 2020, which I backed very early to get an early-bird offer - and I succeeded. I learned about this campaign because Vaonis contacted me personally. The campaign ended successfully at October 31, 2020 (2,163 backers, 2,559,952 $, even a little more successfully then eVscope with 2,144 backers and 2,209,270 $). Since the funding goal was reached, the development of the telescope can go on (see the project schedule below), until finally the mass production begins. Delivery of the telescope is scheduled for Christmas 2021, but experience shows that Kickstarter projects rarely deliver "as promised."

Update: Since the end of January 2021, Vaonis offers Vespera on its Website for 1499 EUR (European price + 50 EUR shipping; delivery scheduled for spring to summer 2022).

Details on the telescope can be found further down!

Photo: The Vaonis Vespera telescope (from the Vaonis-Website (EN); permission for use granted)

Project Schedule (from Vaonis/Kickstarter)

Original Project Schedule

Updated Project Schedule (End of November 2020)

 

Delivery

Here I will describe the "delivery history" including all the delays...

 

About Vespera

What is Vespera?

Vespera is meant to become a small and affordable version of Stellina. It is also a refractor, but a quadruplet with 50 mm aperture (like binoculars) and 200 mm focal length (aperture ratio f/4). It uses a Sony IMX462 Starvis sensor with HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels). This gives a field of view of 1.6° x 0.9°, which makes the Vespera a small rich field telescope. Its image scale of 2.99 is quite high and leads to undersampling, but according to Astronomy.tools, this is acceptable for rich field telescopes. With a weight of 5 kg and a height of 40 cm, the telescope is light and compact, making it an ideal travel telescope. The internal battery lasts for 4 hours, which is enough for me at least. I decided to go for the "Adventurer" package with a backpack, an additional battery, and an additional high tripod. In the shops, Vespera is supposed to cost $1500 ($1900 for the "Adventurer" package), but I am afraid that like the Stellina and eVscope the actual final prices will be higher.

Update: Since the end of January 2021, Vaonis offers Vespera on its Website for 1499 EUR (European price + 50 EUR shipping; delivery scheduled for spring to summer 2022).

Here are some technical data:

Technique

    

Optics

    

Mount

  • Weight: 5 kg
  • Size: 15 x 8 x 3.5 in (40 x 20 x 9 cm)
  • Power supply: AC power with USB power supply
  • Autonomy: ≈ 4 hours of use with internal battery
  • Image processing: Integrated and adapted to target
  • Alignement: Automated
  • Focusing: Automated
  • Water resistance: IP43
  • Accessories included: a custom designed tripod, an American or European type USB power adapter, a USB power cable
  • Control: Smartphone/Tablet
 
  • Objective: ED quadruplet refractor with Lanthanum glass (S-FPL52)
  • Aperture: 2 in (50 mm)
  • Focal length: 8 in (200 mm)
  • Focal ratio: F/4
  • Focus: Integrated autofocus
  • Field of view: 1.6° x 0.9°
  • Magnification: 33 x
  • File formats: JPEG, TIFF, FITS (16-bit RAW)

Sensor

  • Sensor: Sony 1/2.8" CMOS IMX462 - 2.1 M
  • Pixel Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Pixel Size: 2.9µm x 2.9µm
 
  • Type: Alt-azimuth
  • Pointing: Automated with star aiming technology
  • Guiding: Autonomous autoguiding included
  • Field derotator: Not included

Other

  • Filter: Light pollution filter optional
  • Dew control: Heater optional

More about this telescope on page Vaonis Vespera: The new way to observe the universe (Kickstarter). Vaonis also already compiled an FAQ for this telescope: desk.zoho.eu/portal/vaonis/en/kb/vaonis/vespera

Why Did I Opt for the Vaonis Vespera?

As the saying goes: Half she pulled him, half he fell down. In the end, it was a mixture of curiosity and "supposed need." I was already flirting a little bit with the Stellina, but then I had already decided on the eVscope and backed it in a Kickstarter campaign. And the Stellina became more and more expensive. Later, I learned from tests that the Stellina exposes much longer than the eVscope, where often a few minutes are enough for a proper photo. I can therefore observe many more objects with the eVscpe in one evening than with the Stellina. I was actually quite happy that I had decided for the eVscope, even though the Stellina is clearly ahead in terms of image quality.

Vespera attracted me because of its wide field of view, which 1.5° wide horizontally. Thus, the Vespera is almost a "rich-field" telescope and complements the eVscope well, which only offers a field of view of 0.5°. In addition, Vaonis states that the Vespera achieves good results in about 5 minutes (but for achieving very good results, it will probably take half an hour to an hour...). Of course, I was also attracted by the completely different technique of the Vespera, especially the comparison between a lenticular and a Newtonian telescope. And last, but not least, the much lower price of the Vespera, also thanks to the Kickstarter campaign, which did not exist for the Stellina, also played a role in the decision...

Of course, the Stellina does a lot of things better than the Vespera, but that should not surprise considering the price difference. A table comparing the Vaonis Vespera and the Vaonis Stellina can be found in the appendix. I took this information with slight modifications from the Vaonis Website.

Weiter unten mache ich mir erste Gedanken über das Vespera (und seine Mitstreiter), ohne das Vespera zu besitzen...

Who is Behind the Vaonis Vespera?

    

Cyril Dupuy, founder and CEO of Vaonis, in an interview

 

The Vaonis team

(Photos from the Vaonis-Website (EN); permission for use granted)

Vaonis is a French company based in Montpellier, France, that designs and manufactures telescopes and accessories. The company was founded in 2016 by Cyril Dupuy, a young start-up entrepreneur, after obtaining his Bachelor in Optics and Aerospace. From his experience of using different telescopes with complex installation, long user guides and recurring breakdowns, he imagined and designed Stellina, the world's first all-in-one telescope connected to a mobile app. Vaonis' products are designed and developed by specialists in optics, mechanics, electronics, material and ergonomics, giving special attention to its design, quality and safety. (From the Vaonis Website, adapted)

 

First Thoughts (without Owning Vespera...)

Above I explain why I opted for Vespera, even though I already own an eVscope. And why not the Stellina? Well, Stellina is without question the better telescope in all respects, except for size and weight, of course. But with its price of 4000 EUR it is simply beyond what I am willing to spend. My expensive telescopes (C8, TLAPO1027, eVscope) are all, depending on the device, with or without accessories just under 2000 EUR. So this seems to be my "pain limit". I will not allow myself any more to have the infamous 6000 EUR refractor, which is supposed to be the "measure of all things"... The are the "strong points" of Vespera for me: the comparatively low price (thanks to the Kickstarter campaign; but 20% VAT have to be added...), the large field of view, the combination of a small size and a low weight making Vespera suitable for travel and iat its image quality is noticeably better than that of the eVscope (although the objects are smaller, and it takes longer to create an image).

How Long Will It Take, until I Get a Satisfying Image with Vespera?

I note above that Stellina requires longer exposure times than the eVscope and that I am glad to own the eVscope because it allows me to visit many more sky objects during one observation session. I also noted this in the comments at Kickstarter and read different opinions about this. I downloaded the Stellina app and saw there that the recommended exposure times for Stellina typically range from 15 to 30, and up to 60 minutes. And the longer you observe, the better the image duality and the more colors and details appear, the comments say.

Cyril Dupuy, CEO of Vaonis, writes in the comments that Vespera compensates for its smaller aperture by using longer exposure times (which also applies to Stellina). But elsewhere I also found that Vespera already shows a picture after half a minute to 1 minute and should show nice pictures after about 5 minutes. And in a comment it was also written that for demonstrations for other observers it is enough to expose for 5 minutes (but for best pictures 1 to 2 hours...). Obviously, it is a question of personal taste how long you want to expose. This is also true for the eVscope, where you can stop after 1 to 2 minutes for many objects. In the end, I will only know more about this when I can compare Vespera and eVscope directly. But for the time being, I assume that you can observe faster with the eVscope, if that should be important to you...

Vespera and Extended Sky Objects

With its horizontal field of view of 1.5°, Vespera is almost a rich-field telescope and therefore suitable for observing larger sky objects. The whole thing has a little hook, though, which I do not know how large it is. The sensor has an aspect ratio of 16:9, so it delivers a "wide screen image" (which I do not like). An object such as the Andromeda galaxy (3° x 1°) fits quite well into this field of view - but only if both, sensor and galaxy, are aligned the same way. But that is probably rather rarely the case! With a normal astronomy camera, you can turn the camera in such a case until the axes are aligned. With Vespera, however, this is not possible - the sensor cannot be turned.

    

M 31 in Stellarium with FOV of Vespera - here the axes are aligned

 

M 31 in Stellarium with FOV of Vespera - here the alignment does not fit, but M 100 is now in the FOV...

What can you do? One possibility is to wait for a season or time when both main axes are aligned in the same way. Vaonis gave another recommendation in the Kickstarter comments: Use the mosaic mode! This might be a solution, but it multiplies the time needed for a photo and thus, sets higher demands on the weather. Instead of one hour, the sky needs to stay clear for many hours. Maybe, Vaonis should offer a simple 2:1 mosaic mode consisting of just two photos on top of each other to alleviate this problem (1.5 x 1.8° or a little less vertically, because of some overlapping)...

Do I Need the Forthcoming Filters?

The following filters will be offered for Vespera: Sun filter (ND), CLS (light pollution), Hydrogen-Alpha, Oxygen-III and Sulphur-II. I did not choose a reward with filters because I wanted to save the money in the first place, and I rarely use filters. And I dare to doubt whether a sun filter is useful at Vespera, because the sun does not get very large with it (see the moon photo). For this purpose, I will rather use other telescopes for which I already own solar filters.

I did not even know what the Hydrogen Alpha, Oxygen III, and Sulphur II filters are actually good for, I haved to read up on that first (these are narrow band filters for gas and planetary nebulae). And the colors might get false, as well... Probably, the light pollution filter would be the best choice for me. But I think I will start without any filters for now...

Do I Need the External Heating to Prevent Dew?

For years, I have observed without having any dew problems, which may have been due to the observation times and the used telescopes, mostly Newtons. Only in the year 2019, I had major occurrences of dew at a refractor and later also at my C8. Since I had not expected that, the telescope fogged up quickly without me being able to do anything. Since then, I am aware that dew can be an issue, especially with refractors and telescopes having a lens or glass plate in front. Since the Vespera does not have a dew cap, nor is one offered for it, I think there is no way around buying an external heating such as the one that Vaonis will offer.

But such a heater has to be powered by electricity, and this certainly cannot be done from the internal accumulator, even if Vaonis should decide to make it exchangeable. At the latest with the additional heater you need an external battery. So I think that my suggestion to leave out the internal battery and use an external battery (a power bank) like Stellina would be the easiest solution.

Power Supply

While the Vaonis Stellina is powered by an external battery (powerbank), the company has planned for Vespera to install the battery internally and not replaceable by the user, as is the case for smartphones, tablet and laptop computers. During the Kickstarter campaign for Vespera, some backers objected to this solution in the comments. A few backers even threatened to withdraw their support if it was not ensured by the end of the campaign that the battery can be replaced by the user. On the other hand, there were also numerous supporters of the solution conceived by Vaonis. I was the only one who proposed a third approach, namely not to use an internal battery, but to use an external one instead, as it is the case with Stellina.

Initially, Vaonis insisted on its solution, but then the company surprisingly gave in and promised to check once again whether a replaceable battery could be realized with justifiable effort. Vaonis also reacted to my suggestion, but did not seem very willing to opt for it... Meanwhile each side presented its arguments, which Vaonis promised to compare and discuss. I do this myself as well in form of a table:

Argument Internal Battery, not Replaceable by the Owner Internal Battery, Replaceable by the Owner External Battery Comment
General View... Elegant and comfortable solution (except for the disadvantages...), which is also used by Apple a.o.); not environmentally friendly and economical due to the necessary shipping for battery replacement Convenient solution for owners; owners do not need to send the device to Vaonis for battery replacement, thus saving time and money Not that elegant solution; owners do not need to send the device to Vaonis for battery replacement; the most economical solution in terms of effort, for Vaonis as well... Each solution has its pros and cons...
Battery Replacement Owners have to send the device to Vaonis in France Owners let Vaonis send them a new battery. Owners let Vaonis send them a new external battery or buy a 5 V powerbank from another manufacturer (requires an adapter). In my opinion, an external battery is the simplest solution
Redesign of Components and Case No delay of development Delay of the development, maybe a bigger and heavier case is needed... Slight delay of development; space of the battery either remains free or is used to reduce the size of the case or other components. A replaceable battery will probably require major changes to the case design and thus, delay development considerably
Transport in Airplane as Checked-In Luggage Not possible because of the internal battery Possible after removing the battery (battery in hand luggage) Possible (battery in hand luggage) This seems to be a "killer" argument against a non-removeable battery.
Transport in Airplane as Hand Luggage Possible, Vespera's battery has less than 100 Wh. Possible, Vespera's battery has less than 100 Wh. Possible if Vespera's external battery has less than 100 Wh. This is possible in all cases as long as Vespera fits into hand luggage.
External Anti-Dew Heating (Needs Electrical Power) Requires a second external battery. Requires a second external battery. Could be powered by the external battery, if it has two connectors; otherwise a second battery (or an equivalent adapter) would be needed. Here the solution with an external battery seems to be the most practical to me.
Battery is Depleted Connect external second battery or charger. Connect external second battery or charger. Change external second battery or connect charger. It is not clear what happens when the battery is exchanged; without a buffer battery, the power supply would be cut off and Vespera would have to be restarted. Here it is unclear to me whether Vespera has to be restarted after a battery exchange. Maybe you can connect the charger for a short time to bridge the exchange.
Charging the Battery By connecting the charger to Vespera By connecting the charger to Vespera; if necessary, after removing the battery, it can also be used outside of Vespera. Outside of Vespera Here it is unclear to me whether Vespera can like the eVscope be operated while the battery is charging.
Cable Twist Caused by Power Cord No with internal battery alone; possible with external battery or power charger No with internal battery alone; possible with external battery or power charger Possible with external battery or power charger Depends on how many turns Vespera will make to access its targer...

At the end of the campaign, Vaonis(regrettably) decided to stick to the internal battery.

 

Look

Here I will present photos of the unboxing, the telescope itself, and its accessories as soon as I got my sample. Up to them I will present some photos from the Vaonis Website or the Kickstarter campaign. These show, of course, protoypes and not the fnal product.

Vespera Look

The following photos show protoypes and not the fnal product (from the Vaonis press kit, adapted; permission for use granted).

    
     
 

Detail

 

Detail

 
     
 

(Photos from the Vaonis press kit (EN); permission for use granted)

Backpack, Accessories

    

Backpack

 

Filters

 

High tripod

 

Solar filter

(Photos from the Vaonis-Website (EN); permission for use granted)

 

Visited Sky Objects

Here I will present a list of deep sky objects that I observed and photographed with the Vaonis Vespera.

 

First Experiences

Here I will list my very first experiences with the Vaonis Vespera.

 

Photo Attempts

Here I will present my very first photo attempts with the Vaonis Vespera. Up to then, I present photos from Vaonis that were taken with prototypes of the Vespera telescope.

    

M 27 taken with a prototype of Vespera

 

M 27 in Stellarium with FOV of Vespera

 

M 13 taken with a prototype of Vespera

 

M 13 in Stellarium with FOV of Vespera

 

M 31 taken with a prototype of Vespera

 

M 31 in Stellarium with FOV of Vespera

 

M 42/43 taken with a prototype of Vespera

 

M 42/43 in Stellarium with FOV of Vespera

 

Veil Nebula taken with a prototype of Vespera

 

Moon taken with a prototype of Vespera

 

M 33 (Triangulum Galaxy) taken with a prototype of Vespera (Oct 12, 2020)

 

M 33 in Stellarium with FOV of Vespera

 

M 81 and M 82 taken with a prototype of Vespera (January 2021)

 

M 81 und M 82 in Stellarium with FOV of Vespera

The photos were taken by Vaonis in a Bortle 6 area, in the South of France. (Photos from the Vaonis-Website (EN) /press kit; permission for use granted; simulations created with Stellarium)

 

First Conclusions

Here I will list my first conclusions with respect to the Vaonis Vespera. Until then, everything looks quite promising to me.

 

Links

 


Appendix: Technical Data for the Vaonis Vespera

Hardware

Bag

Electronics

Smarts

Sensor Data

 


Appendix: Comparison of the Vaonis Vespera, Vaonis Stellina, and the Unistellar eVscope

Source: vaonis.com/stellina-vs-vespera#Diff

  Vespera Stellina eVscope
Weight 5 kg (11 lbs) 11.2 kg (24.7 lbs)

9 kg (19.8 lbs) including tripod

Height 40 cm (15 in) 49 cm (19 in) 65 cm (25.5 in)
Width 20 cm (8 in) 39 cm (15 in) 23 cm (9 in)
Depth 9 cm (3.5 in) 13 cm (4.7 in) n.a.
Telescope type Refractor Refractor Reflector (Newtonian)
Lens/Mirror Apochromatic Quadruplet Apochromatic Doublet mirror
Lens/Mirror special features Extra low dispersion S-FPL52 equivalent (ULD) with lanthanum glass Very low dispersion S-FPL51 equivalent (ED) with lanthanum glass BK7 glass mirror
Aperture 50 mm 80 mm 112 or 114 mm
Focal length 200 mm 400 mm 450 mm
Focal ratio F/4 F/5 F/4
Field of view 1.6° x 0.9° 1° x 0.7° 0.61° x 0.46° (36.7' x 27.6')
Mount Alt-azimuth Alt-azimuth Alt-azimuth
Field derotator no, done in software yes no, done in software
Image sensor Sony IMX462 Sony IMX178 Sony IMX224
Resolution 1920 x 1080 (2MP) 3072 x 2080 (6,4MP) 1280 x 960
Sensor size 1/2.8" 1/1.8" 1/3"
File formats JPEG, TIFF, FITS (TIFF/FITS in 16 bits) JPEG, TIFF, FITS (TIFF/FITS in 16 bits) PNG
USB port (pictures download) no (with Wi-Fi) yes no (with Wi-Fi)
Autofocus yes yes no
Light pollution filter Optional yes no, maybe done in software
Dew control Optional yes no
Temperature/humidity sensor no yes no
Battery type Integrated External (powerbank) Integrated
Battery life up to 4 h up to 5 h up to 10 h
Water resistance IP43 IP53 n.a.
Multi user mode up to 5 users up to 10 users yes (number unknown)
Number of objects in data base 200 (October 2020) 200 (October 2020) 4800, 120 with description
Object access via coordinates yes yes yes
2021/2022 Developments
Solar pointing yes (with optional filter) yes (with optional filter) yes (with optional filter)
Connected battery yes yes possible
Connection to Wi-Fi hotspots no yes no
Scheduling of observations up to 3 objects unlimited no
Expert mode (camera control) no yes manual pre-processing (brightness,background) already available in 2020
HDR Image processing yes yes no
Pictures stocking in the app up to 100 images up to 100 images no, on the smartphone depending on its memory size
Mosaic mode 5 x sensor field (4 x sensor field according to Kickstarter comments) 16 x sensor field no

 

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27.01.2021