Vaonis Vespera: Selected/Adapted Questions from the Vaonis FAQ/Kickstarter Forum

Introduction | Overview of the Questions | Selected/Adapted Questions from the Vaonis FAQ/Kickstarter Comments | Links

Archive

On this page I present selected/adapted questions regarding my electronic 2" refractor telescope Vaonis Vespera 50 mm/200 mm (f/4). These questions originate from the Vaonis FAQ and the Kickstarter comments on Vespera. And there are some questions some that I came across myself. This FAQ can be regarded as a "permanent construction site"...

Notes:

Note: In June 2024, I sold my Vaonis Vespera smart telescope. I therefore cannot report any further experiences with it here.

 

Introduction

Since the Vaonis FAQ is very detailed and extensive, I only selected questions that I think are interesting. Mostly these are technical questions or questions concerning observation. Some of these things are also discussed in the Kickstarter comments, partly answered by Vaonis, so I have also included such questions or will include them in the future. And last but not least, there is one or the other question that I am trying to answer myself...

Furthermore, I tried to arrange the questions according to topics.

In any case or if in doubt, I do recommend consulting the original Vaonis FAQ in the Vaonis Help Center.

Note: I may add further questions in due course...

 

Overview of the Questions

Note: Many questions have been changed in detail without this being noted here!

Troubleshooting, Maintenance

Telescope, General Questions

Battery

Operation, Observation

Wi-Fi, Internet

Add ons: Filters, Heating, Backpack, Tripod

 

Selected/Adapted Questions from the Vaonis FAQ/Kickstarter Comments

Troubleshooting, Maintenance

Question: What will happen in the event of a breakdown/breakage?

Since Vespera is a brand new product, it may have youthful defects. In case of proven defects, failure or breakage, we invite you to contact our support department at support@vaonis.com. After a diagnosis with one of our technicians, your product will either be repaired remotely with a software update or has to be sent back to our factories for repair.

Repair support is only available in countries where delivery is offered.

Telescope, General Questions

Question: An aperture of 50mm is very small. Why this choice?

Vaonis: You would be amazed what you can get with a 50mm apochromatic quadruplet! Just look at the results of the RedCat bezel, which alone (no frame, tripod or on-board computer) costs $750 (astrobackyard.com/william-optics-redcat-51/).

The most important thing to remember with Vespera:

We challenge anyone to do better in less than 10 min :)

Question: Can I use Vespera in cities, how sensitive is it to light pollution?

Yes, Vespera can be used in light polluted areas. An optional light pollution filter is offered as an accessory on the Vaonis Website (I got one with the Adventurer Pack)..

Question: Can I observe the planets with Vespera?

Vespera is mainly designed for deep sky observation (+ Moon and Sun) but it will be possible to point to the planets. They will appear very small in the field of the picture, but you will still be able to distinguish details such as the rings of Saturn and the bands of Jupiter.

Question: Can I do solar observations with Vespera?

Yes, a solar filter (ND - Neutral Density) is available as an accessory on the Vaonis Website (I acquired one in October 2022).

Question: Is there a limit to the apparent magnitude of stars that Vespera can detect?

Yes, Vespera does 10-second exposures and their stacking makes it possible to reach a apparent magnitude higher than 13 mag under a good sky (the lower the brightness, the larger are the magitude numbers).

Question: Is the observation of comets and asteroids possible with Vespera?

This feature is first available in manual pointing (by entering coordinates), later in the catalog of pre-configured objects.

Question: What is the field of view and the pixel scale of Vespera?

The field of view is 1.6° x 0.9°, the pixel scale is 3"/pixel.

Question: Does Vespera offer a mosaic mode?

Yes, since the introduction of the CovalENS technology, Vespera offers a mosaic mode. Here is a summary of mosaic characteristics for the Vespera (from the CovalENS article by Vaonis):

For details on the mosaic mode see:

Questions: What is the sensor used in Vespera? What is the resolution of the images that Vespera captures?

This is a Sony Starvis CMOS IMX462LQR sensor (1/2.8") that offers excellent performance in terms of noise and sensitivity in low light. The sensor has a raw image size of 1945 x 1109 pixels, a maximum frame rate of 120 fps, and square pixels of 2.9 µm x 2.9 µm.

Vespera uses the recommended pixel size for the sensor of 1920 x 1080 (full HD). There is also a mosaic mode available for Vespera (CovalENS).

Update: In the meantime, Vaonis introduced the Vespera Passengers with an IMX585 sensor, launched the Vespera II with the same sensor in early 2024 and previously announced the Vespera Pro with an IMX676 sensor.

Questions: Why do you not use a 4K (3840/2160) or larger (better) sensor inside Vespera? I saw on internet that the Sony IMX462 Starvis LPA is designed for lunar, planetary, autoguiding, and not for DSO? Is this right?

Cyril Dupuy (Vaonis; adapted): The IMX462 is the latest Sony sensor, so in terms of technology it is the right choice, although the resolution is not 4K. In terms of cost, it is impossible to integrate a larger sensor for the same price. Fortunately, the mosaic mode allows you to make images up to 4 x the size of the sensor.

Update: In the meantime, Vaonis introduced the Vespera Passengers with an IMX585 sensor, launched the Vespera II with the same sensor in early 2024 and previously announced the Vespera Pro with an IMX676 sensor.

Question: How is Vespera different from eVscope?

Cyril Dupuy (Vaonis): Vespera has a newer and more efficient sensor, autofocus, better optical quality. Vespera does have a smaller aperture but this is compensated by the exposure time, no false eyepiece, because we think the best and most comfortable eyepiece is your smartphone or tablet.

Question: What are the minimum/maximum temperatures in which Vespera can operate?

Vespera is designed to be used between -10° and 40° Celcius. Below -10° C the instrument will still be able to operate without risk of damage, but:

Battery

Question: How long does the battery last?

The battery is rated for an operation of up to 8 hours. In case of activation of the dew heating system autonomy was measured at 6 hours.

Question: Can the battery be replaced by the user?

No, the battery cannot be replaced by the user, it can only be replaced by Vaonis. Vespera has to be sent to Vaonis in France for a battery replacement.

Vaonis: If the battery happened to have any defect during the warranty, we would ship your product for free, repair it, and ship it back in a timely manner (it takes less than 48h to ship both ways). It is also possible to plug in an external battery.

Vaonis: If after several years the battery should weaken a bit, you can easily connect a power bank next to the Vespera. We have designed an instrument that is powered like your smartphone, in 5V. Therefore, any battery on the market will be able to power your Vespera for as long as you want!

Question: Is it possible to continue observing while charging the internal battery?

Yes! Vaonis answered in the comments of the Kickstarter campaign that this is possible. It should therefore also be possible to run Vespera on the balcony or terrace from a power supply unit to be independent from the runtime of the internal battery.

Question: Can I use a power bank?

Yes. As long as it has a USB-C port, it should work with Vespera. Other USB ports should work via adapter.

See also the Vaonis Knowledge Base (Help Center): What type of battery has Vespera?

Answer: Vespera has an integrated battery. However, it will be possible to connect external batteries to enjoy long nights of observation!

Check the specs for the spare battery:

Question: Will instructions be available for opening up Vespera to replace a defective battery after the warranty expires?

Since the battery will not be user replaceable, there will be no instructions for replacing a defective battery. Affected users have either to send Vespera to France for battery replacement, or muddle their way through with an external battery; the latter should be possible.

Operation, Observation

Question: The observations are in real time, but you seem to combine multiple frames to get a better image quality - how do you do this?

With Vespera and its image processing software, you start to see images after just 10 to 15 seconds. Vaonis uses live stacking algorithms to stack each new image taken by the Sony sensor. So every 10 to 15 seconds you will see a new image, resulting from stacking with the previous image. Obviously, the longer you wait, the better is your photo. Typically, you need about 5 minutes for a good photos, but you may need 30 to 60 minutes for very good photos (or even two hours...).

>> In the Singularity App you can watch the evolution of the stack as an animation.

Question: How does Vespera handle setup/initialization?

Vespera is automatically set up / initialized in less than 5 minutes:

Meanwhile, the autofocus is also active during the observation (AcutENS).

Question: What is the alignment procedure?

Vespera's alignment procedure is fully automatic. If the sky is sufficiently black and transparent, Vespera will be able to detect stars, take a picture and perform star field recognition. Among other things, this consists of analyzing the position of the stars among themselves and comparing this information with its internal data in order to determine its orientation. This last step is called astrometry.

Question: Is the focusing performed by Vespera manually or automatically?

The focus is managed automatically before each observation (autofocus). Vespera adjusts its focus with a similar approach than its alignment: it takes a picture of the sky and looks for the position of the focus for which the stars are the sharpest.

Since the introduction of AcutENS, Vespara also corrects the focus during observation. Vaonis write:

Question: Does Vespera track the stars?

Yes, Vespera integrates automatic tracking (GoTo), which allows to follow the movement of the star according to the movement of the Earth.

Question: How does Vespera compensate for the lack of a field derotator?

Vespera realizes unitary exposures of 10s. This is enough so that the field rotation is not visible on the raw images. Thus, the field rotation is compensated when stacking the images. Thanks to Vaonis' image processing algorithms which take into account the entire signal perceived in the field, it is therefore possible to stack images without limits and without field loss.

Question: How long can you expose the object if there is no field derotator?

Vaonis: As much as you want! The field of view will be slightly smaller but there is no exposure time limit.

Vaonis: Field derotation is accomplished through stacking images like on Stellina or the eVscope. No single exposure is long enough at 200 mm to cause streaking of star images. I've exposed up to an hour with no streaks. The instrument always knows where it is in the sky due to these integrated technologies.

Question: Is it possible to change Vespera's camera settings (exposure time, ISO...)?

Vaonis decided in summer 2022 to open manual settings to the Vespera as well.

Question: How do I observe with Vespera?

Preliminary: After the initialization procedure has finished, you select a target (called "pointing") and start the GoTo to access it. As soon as the target is reached and optimally positioned in the field of view, automatic tracking starts on the one hand, and stacking of images on the other. Vespera suggests an optimal exposure time for every object in its data base.

Question: Is coordinate pointing available in Vespera?

Yes, this feature is available through Vespera. The coordinates used are those of the J2000 reference frame (right ascension and declination) and are accessible on sites such as Wikipedia or in applications like Stellarium.

Question: How is manual pointing accomplished?

Cyril Dupuy (Vaonis): A ll you need to do is enter the coordinates of the object in J2000 format and Vespera uses plate solving algorithms to guarantee a good centering of the requested area in the field.

Question: Is there a multi user mode on Vespera?

Yes, it is possible to connect up to 5 mobile devices simultaneously on Vespera. One of them will be considered as administrator and the others will be able to view the photographs taken with the instrument.

Question: How can I retrieve Vespera's photos?

Photos in JPEG and TIFF format can be saved directly to a mobile device. Photos in FITS format can also be transferred to a mobile device or to a cloud/server using Vespera's Wi-Fi.

Question: How many items are in the catalog?

Vespera and Stellina offer the same object catalog (currently more than 300 objects). New objects are added with each update and a suggestion form is available in the Singularity app. The objects that are not listed in the catalog are accessible via the pointing by coordinates, giving users access to an unlimited number of objects to be photographed.

Update: There is now an extended catalog with more than 4000 objects (no descriptions). These targets are handled like manual targets, but the coordinates are filled in automatically. For details see Extended catalog in Singularity (Vaonis KB).

Question: Where can I check which objects are included in the catalog?

Nowhere. In October 2020, the list contained all Messier objects, well known NGC and IC objects, the moon, seven planets, and other objects.

Question: Should I thermalize my Vespera?

Take Vespera out at least 30 minutes before starting the initialization so that the telescope is at the same temperature as the ambient temperature (it can influence the focus) (from Stellina FAQ, should be valid for the Vespera as well).

Wi-Fi, Internet

Question: What will be the range of Vespera's Wi-Fi?

Just like Stellina, Vespera has its own Wi-Fi transmitter that allows users to connect with their mobile device to control it. The Wi-Fi targeted range is 30 meters (98ft), which will allow users to easily install Vespera in their garden and control it without losing network from home.

Question: Is it necessary to be connected to the Internet to use Vespera?

No. Vespera uses a Wi-Fi network to communicate with your smartphone, but that does not mean it needs an Internet connection. When users install the instrument, they simply need to go to their Wi-Fi settings and connect to the signal emitted by Vespera.

Users only need the Internet to:

Please note that in order to continue surfing the Internet, users will need to use the Data network (4G) of their phones as the Wi-Fi network will already be used by Vespera.

Question: What if I am at a place where there is no signal for my phone? Will Vespera be able to connect to some other kinds of GPS devices and still use phone to show the picture?

Vaonis: Not to worry, you do not need phone service to use your Vespera with your smartphone/tablet. You only need signal/service or Wi-Fi to download or update the app.

Question: The video says that after you physically setup Vespera, it will use the GPS signal from your phone to gain geosynchronous alignment. If you do not have cellular service at a location where you are doing the setup, how does it align itself?

Vaonis: Vespera uses your smartphone or tablet's GPS (no need to have service for that). If your tablet is a Wi-Fi iPad, for example, that does not have GPS, you can enter the location manually in the app. To summarize, no need to have a signal or service to use Vespera or Stellina. You only need that (or Wi-Fi) to download or update the app.

Add-ons: Filters, Heating, Backpack, Tripod

Question: Does Vespera incorporate a light pollution filter?

Contrary to Stellina, Vespera will not integrate an anti-pollution filter (CLS Filter). This is being offered as an accessory on the Vaonis Website (I got one as part of the Adventurer Pack).

See also: How to set up the Light Pollution filter? (Vaonis KB)

Question: Are we able to add filters on Vespera?

Yes, it is possible to add the full-aperture filters designed by Vaonis (50 mm): Solar (ND), CLS (light pollution), Dual Band Filter (H-Alpha and OIII).

See also: How to set up the Light Pollution filter? (Vaonis KB)

See also: My Vespera needs to restart after installing or removing a filter (Vaonis KB)

Question: Where can I learn more about the solar filter?

On page Observations of the Sun on this Website, in the KB article Solar Mode with Vespera, and in the Vaonis article Observing the Sun with Vespera and Stellina.

Question: Where can I find more information about the Light Pollution filter and the Dual Band filter?

On page Observations with Filters on this Website

Question: Can we use any other manufacturer's filter on Vespera?

No, it will not be possible to use existing filters, as Vespera will adapt its image processing and object suggestions, based on filters that will be used, by detecting the type of filter. Moreover, a full-aperture filter involves specific requirements in term of optical quality that are not guaranteed by most of the filters in the market.​​​​​​​​

Questions: Does Vespera incorporate a heating resistance system?

Vespera incorporates an anti-fog heating resistor, which is activated by the optional hygrometric sensor. The sensor is available for purchase on the Vaonis Website.

Hint: Read the KB article How to set up the hygrometer sensor for installing the hygrometer sensor.

Question: Can the hygrometer sensor and filters be used at the same time?

We have designed Vespera so that the optical arm can accommodate both the hygrometer sensor and the various filters you wish to use. We recommend that you leave the humidity sensor in place at all times.

Question: Can I leave the hygrometer sensor permanently screwed inside Vespera?

Yes. The sensor will automatically read the measures of temperature and humidity and activate the dew heating system if need be. This will avoid fog on your lens.

Question: Does Vespera come with a backpack?

The backpack was included in the Vespera's Adventurer Edition pledges on Kickstarter. It is available as an optional accessory for purchase on the Vaonis Website.

Questions: I already own the tall tripod for my full-size Stellina. Will that tripod work on Vespera? What about other tripods?

Yes, this is a standard universal size, so it will also fit Vespera (3/8" screw). Other tripods with this standard universal size will also fit, provided they carry a load of at least 5 kg.

 

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11.06.2024