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SVBony SV106 50 mm Guide Scope Unboxing Installing First Impressions

Can you use a guide scope as a finder scope? I did. Here are my first impressions of the SVBONY 50 mm guide scope.

While this seems to be a generic guide scope that has sold under different brand names, it doesn’t appear to be cheaply made. This appears to be a good quality product with excellent fit and finish. The rough focussing tube is long enough to reach focus without the need of an extension. The helical focuser was very smooth with no rough grinding feel. When rotating the focuser, it does not rotate whatever is attached at the focuser end. So if you have a camera attached, it will remain in the same orientation instead of twisting any cables that might be attached to it.

When I aligned it during the day, I found the images came through very clearly. The 6 thumb screws took some getting used to for alignment but I was able to align it with precision. I also appreciate how it has nylon tips to prevent scratching the scopes’ nice finish. Finally, the price of this guide scope is so reasonable that I think it offers excellent value for your money.

A few things worth noting are that the trade off for not needing an extension tube to reach focus is that you cannot use a diagonal as an attachment. Also, this did not come with any manual so you would have to figure it out for yourself on how to assemble and install it. I hope this video helped a little bit in that regard. And lastly, the images through the eyepiece appear upside down, but I already expected that. Overall, I think this is a great addition to my astronomy gear.

  1. SVBony SV106 Guide Scope:
  2. SVBony Dovetail Base:

Celestron Advanced VX Mount: Unboxing and Assembly

Finally, my latest video after 2 years! It’s great to be back. This unboxing was my first time seeing the Celestron Advanced VX mount in person and it did not disappoint. My first impression after seeing this mount was that it appeared to be well constructed overall. The tripod legs were thick and heavy. The equatorial mount looked like a fine piece of engineering.

I still don’t know much about this mount yet and I haven’t decided yet which telescope to get. But if you have a suggestion, please let me know in the comments section. What I’m looking for is something lightweight and easy to setup.

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Clear skies!

My First Shot in Astrophotography During Perseids 2015

In this report, I tried my had in astrophotography with my Canon EOS Rebel T3i also known as the Canon EOS 600D. I used the Canon EF-S 18-55 mm STI lens kit, the one with the very quick and quiet focus motor.

Seeing conditions were excellent. It was moonless, cloudless, dry with a very light breeze. The temperature was on the chilly side that I needed to wear a head sock and a jacket. However, I shot the photos from my backyard which was subject to a lot of light pollution.

I should have done more research in astrophotography before attempting it for the first time because I had no idea how to use any of the “manual” modes. I ended up using the “No Flash” setting on the dial. Out of the two dozen meteors that I saw that night, I only captured 3 to 4 on film and all of them were grainy. Enjoy the video.

Click here to watch it in a new window.

Aligning a Finderscope with the OTA

If you are not seeing the same object in your finderscope and your eyepiece, your finderscope is probably out of alignment. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to align your finderscope with the OTA.

  1. Set your telescope on a solid base. Outdoors would be ideal, but if you have to do this indoors, as long as you have access to a window, it should be fine.
  2. Insert your eyepiece into the telescope. Choose the one with the lowest power or magnification.
  3. Point the telescope at an object that is at least a half mile away and center it in the field of view. A good object is the top of a roof or a light post.
  4. Look through the finderscope. If you don’t see the same object in the center, adjust the knobs on the finderscope mount until it appears in the same central point in the field of view.
  5. Replace the eyepiece with the next step up on magnification.
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 for each of your eyepieces.

For a visual tutorial, watch the video below. Enjoy the video.

Click here to watch it in a new window.

Don’t Overlook Binoculars: 5 Advantages Over Telescopes

Obviously, they have their shortcomings in terms of aperture and magnification, but binoculars are often overlooked by new astronomers because when they think about astronomy, they automatically think about telescopes.

In this video, I will show you 5 advantages that binoculars have over telescopes:

  1. They are small and lightweight.
  2. They are easy to transport.
  3. You might already have one.
  4. They are less expensive.
  5. They make it easier to find objects.

While they also have their obvious disadvantages, like smaller aperture, binoculars have a special place in astronomy. Enjoy the video.

Click here to watch it in a new window.

How to Sketch Stars for New Astronomers


Similar to regular sketching, astrosketching is a relaxing and rewarding activity where the subject is the beauty of the night sky.
In this video, i’ll cover the basics of amateur astronomy sketching including:
– Why Astronomy Sketching is Fun
– What tools you need
– Sketching techniques
– Logging your observation
– Digitizing your sketches
– and some common Challenges
I used M45 as my subject which is perfect for beginners like me. You are drawing a portrait of the universe. Take your time and enjoy it.

How to use an Equatorial Mount for Beginners

In this video, I will introduce new astronomers to the basics of using telescopes on an equatorial mount. How to use an Equatorial Mount for Beginners will explain the difference between an equatorial mount and an altazimuth mount and the advantages of each. How to determine the right ascension and declination motions using slow motion control knobs. Without getting too technical, I will describe the equatorial grid, right ascension, declination and how your equatorial mount follows these imaginary lines. I also walk through a simulation of how it would operate out in the field using Stellarium planetarium software.

Northern Lights Show in Canada Tonight


Canadian’s thawing out from a bitter ice storm may get rewarded with shimmering northern lights in the next couple of days.


The University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute predicts much of Canada and the northern fringes of the U.S. should be able to see the northern lights. Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Seattle and Des Moines might see the shimmering colours low on the horizon.


U.S. federal space weather forecaster Joe Kunches said the sun shot out a strong solar flare late Tuesday, which should arrive at Earth early Thursday. It should shake up Earth’s magnetic field and expand the Aurora Borealis south, possibly as far south as Colorado and central Illinois. He said the best viewing would probably be Thursday evening, weather permitting.


The solar storm is already causing airline flights to be diverted around the North Pole and South Pole and may disrupt GPS devices Thursday.


The northern lights are a result of charged particles from the sun interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field. As particles from the solar wind enter the Earth’s upper atmosphere, they collide with the individual atoms of our atmosphere to produce the spectacular light show.

The aurora borealis is also called the northern lights since it is only visible in the North sky from the Northern Hemisphere. What you see is a bright glow observed in the night sky, usually in the polar zone.  The aurora borealis most often occurs from September to October and from March to April.


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Collimate a Telescope without a Cheshire

In this video, I demonstrate how I collimate my newtonian telescope without a cheshire (if you don’t have one). There are 3 basic steps to collimating: 1) Center the secondary under the focuser; 2) Align the secondary to the primary; 3) Align the primary back to the secondary. In step one, I will use a camera phone instead of a cheshire to center the secondary under the focuser tube. Click on the video below to play.