ZWO Seestar 50

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ZWO Seestar 50

#1

Post by Star Dad »

I got a new toy. As the subject suggests it is the Seestar. I bought it to complement my outreach when I switch from moon/planets to deep sky objects. Most of my outreach is in bortle 4-5 skies and the faint fuzzies are really faint. For example the Andromeda galaxy looks like a dark gray golf ball on a black background. Underwhelming - even with an 8" scope. I've used it in the field now a couple of times. Now it's not going to replace my main AP gear - it hasn't the resolution nor light gathering capabilities - 50mm versus 208mm. This scope actually takes multiple images (default is 10 seconds) stacking them. This is my review so far of the little scope that really could.

The Sun. Damned difficult to find. In my three times imaging it's taken me about 30 minutes to get the sun acquired. My last attempt I actually used the moon which was up in the sky to target first. I noted that the telescope is NOT aligned with the plastic casing. Although the azimuth was relatively good the altitude was off by, I think, 5 degrees. If you ask the machine to find the sun, each time when I was close to it it would turn about 45 degree to counter clockwise to begin it's search. There needs to be a fix so that it starts it's search from where it is pointed. But finding the moon was relatively easy because I didn't have to worry about irradiating my eyes. Once it locked on the moon, I slewed to the sun and it found it almost immediately. I've got to make some sort of collapsible sight so that the unit can fit in its box.... or maybe cut out the foam padding so the sight can stay permanently mounted to the plastic "case". The images were fantastic though. Of course you cannot zoom in or AFAIK change the magnification.

Moon and planets: I have not used it on the planets but I can now show people the feature on the Moon in low resolution where I want them to look in my main scope under high power. So I can point to it on the tablet instead of saying "find the terminator in the horizontal middle of the moon go to the right about ten degrees and go up three craters". This should make it much more enjoyable and less work on my part.

Deep sky objects: It had no trouble plate solving to find targets. M10 began to really stand out after about 30 seconds. After 2 minutes it was bright. And, to me, the amazing thing is that even after 39 minutes I see no star streaking despite it being an alt/az mount. So passing that test I tried it out on the Veil Nebula. This was my 39 minute run. It took about 10 minutes before the faint nebula showed up - in the dark. At 39 minutes I stopped because the battery in the tablet was about done for. The Seestar still had a couple of hours left - I'm thinking about 6 hours of use before battery exhaustion. I post processed the image. So I have to admit that I took jpgs. I had not noticed the raw mode. I'm still trying to get used to the software. I'm not an android expert and the OS is driving me nuts with it's unfriendliness. But I'll catch on. Still though I processed the Jpg in StarTools and I was totally blown away. The colors were magnificent. I was happy enough with the stacked image but the post processing really popped.

The Good: very portable and a good foam box with collapsible handle. I will now take this on all my trips with she-who-must-be-obeyed. She has no objections and actually enjoyed watching it do it's thing. I'm going to teach her to use it in the field for outreach. Set up only requires that you get the mount level. You must, however, make sure that the 1/4" 20 connecting bolt is REALLY tight when affixing it to a tripod. I think they should raise the plastic case a couple of millimeters so the receiver can have a bit of a gap with the mount and bottom of the case. The teensy little bubble level on their tripod is all but useless. It comes with a solar filter. Supposedly it has internal filters that are used depending on the target. Not sure about what that really means. If you don't know what objects to image it has a list of objects to image that you can select from. It will accept RA/DEC coordinates as well. The tablet was able to stay connect even 50 feet or so away from inside my house.

The Bad: The tiny tripod it comes with is useful only if you want to sit on the ground or put it on a table. I'm making use of a manual Celestron tripod I bought years ago and had been gathering dust.

The Ugly: Finding the Sun. ZWO needs to fix the software to make it search from where it's pointed. Maybe there is a setting I've missed. And I need a sighting mechanism for daytime sun/moon.

All in all I think this will be a great addition for my outreach observing programs.
Cheers!
"To be good is not enough when you dream of being great"

Orion 203mm/f4.9/1000mm, converted TASCO 114mm/f9/1000mm to steam punk, Meade 114mm/f9/1000, Coronado PST, Orion EQ-G, Ioptron Mini-Tower and iEQ30, Canon 70D, ASI120MM,ASI294MC, Ioptron SkyHunter, SeeStar 50
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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

#2

Post by helicon »

I haven't used one yet but both clubs I belong to have many converts who can't say enough about the Seestar breakthrough. Buy some stock in the company! (I don't think you can but you get the picture). Great review by the way!
Edit: The ZWO CEO and founder is a guy named Sam Wen according to the ZWO site. Maybe ask him.
-Michael
Refractors: ES AR152 f/6.5 Achromat on Twilight II, Celestron 102mm XLT f/9.8 on Celestron Heavy Duty Alt Az mount, KOWA 90mm spotting scope
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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

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Post by Bigzmey »

Nice review! This little scope taking the field by storm!
Scopes: Stellarvue: SV102ED; Celestron: 14" & 9.25" EdgeHD, 8" SCT, 150ST, Onyx 80ED; iOptron: Hankmeister 6" Mak; SW: 7" Mak; Meade: 80ST.
Mounts: Celestron: CGE Pro. SW: SkyTee2, AzGTi; iOptron: AZMP; ES: Twilight I; Bresser: EXOS2; UA: MicroStar.
Binos: APM: 100-90 APO; Canon: IS 15x50; Orion: Binoviewer, LG II 15x70, WV 10x50, Nikon: AE 16x50, 10x50, 8x40.
EPs: Pentax: XWs & XFs; TeleVue: Delites, Delos, Panoptic & Plossls; ES: 68; Vixen: SLVs; Baader: BCOs, Aspherics, Mark IV.
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Filters: Lumicon: DeepSky, UHC, OIII, H-beta; Baader: Moon & SkyGlow, Contrast Booster, UHC-S, 6-color set; Astronomik: UHC.
Solar: HA: Lunt 50mm single stack, W/L: Meade Herschel wedge.

Observing: DSOs: 3203 (Completed: Messier, Herschel 1, 2, 3. In progress: H2,500: 2258, S110: 77). Doubles: 2577, Comets: 38, Asteroids: 294
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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

#4

Post by messier 111 »

This seestar is attracting new fans every day. For the price it is incredible.
thank you for this report.
REFRACTORS , . Lunt 80mm MT Ha Doublet Refractor .

BINOS REFRACTOR , apm 82mm sd on the way here .

BINOS , Celestron 7x50 made in Japan .

Seestar S50 Smart Telescope .

EYEPIECES, 26mm Nagler t5 , 2-zoom Svbony 7-21 ,2 x Baader Hyperion Universal Zoom Mark IV 8-24mm 68° , Orion Premium Linear BinoViewer .

FILTERS, Nebustar 2 tele vue .Celestron uhc . Apm solar wedge . contrast booster 2 inches and 2 x 1,25 inche .

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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

#5

Post by xa-coupe »

I've got one for portability and also those times I CBF setting up the main imagining rig. The images aren't as clear as I'd like but to be honest I haven't done any off machine stacking yet.

I love it and would recommend it to those who want something small, portable and vey very easy.
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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

#6

Post by Star Dad »

1 minor addition - I have now drawn a line on the casing marking the centerline of the scope. I drilled a small hole in the plastic case along the line near the front of the scope into which I can put a toothpick. I'll use a long one to help find the sun and a shorter one to offset the vertical angle to get the moon. Sighting along the plastic body of the scope shows it to be off vertical by a couple of degrees making it difficult to find the moon. So the toothpicks should help... and the nice thing is I don't have to modify the case for a sight.
"To be good is not enough when you dream of being great"

Orion 203mm/f4.9/1000mm, converted TASCO 114mm/f9/1000mm to steam punk, Meade 114mm/f9/1000, Coronado PST, Orion EQ-G, Ioptron Mini-Tower and iEQ30, Canon 70D, ASI120MM,ASI294MC, Ioptron SkyHunter, SeeStar 50
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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

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Post by Gordon »

I've used my SeeStar for solar a few times. I've never had any issues with it finding the sun (within one minute). I always place it so when it starts, it will rise to the north (on off button towards the east.) I make sure it's pretty accurately aimed. This has worked fine for me.
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Scopes: Explore Scientific ED80CF, Skywatcher 200 Quattro Imaging Newt, SeeStar S50 for EAA.
Mounts: Orion Atlas EQ-g mount & Skywatcher EQ5 Pro.
ZWO mini guider.
Image cameras: ZWO ASI1600 MM Cool, ZWO ASI533mc-Pro, ZWO ASI174mm-C (for use with my Quark chromosphere), ZWO ASI120MC
Filters: LRGB, Ha 7nm, O-III 7nm, S-II 7nm
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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

#8

Post by Gfamily »

Apologies if anyone's seen this already (I've posted it elsewhere a couple of times).
It's to show its capability for terrestrial use.
Left image, APS-C at 41mm, right is the SeeStar.
GridArt_20240712_183232738.jpg

It's the Chateau at Falaise in France where William the Conqueror was born 996 years ago.
Last edited by Gfamily on Sat Jul 13, 2024 9:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

#9

Post by Razz »

This may not help you with your issue but have you done the compass calibration step?
Telescopes: SvBony SV503 80mm, Apertura AD10, Daystar SS60DS,Bresser AR-127s, 6" GSO Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph
Mounts: Skywatcher AZ-GTe, EQ6-R Pro
EPs: Baader Q turret with 32mm Classic Plossl and 18mm, 10mm, 6mm Classic Orthos and Q Turret barlow 2.25x
Baader Hyperion Mark IV 8-24mm zoom, Hyperion zoom barlow 2.25x
Filters: Celestron Variable Polarizing, SvBony F9131A UHC, Baader O III 10nm, Classic Lumicon O III, homemade solar filter with Baader OD 5.0 film, Optolong UV/IR cut
Cameras: Canon EOS Rebel T3i, ASI 224 mc
Guiding: iOptron iGuider 30mm scope/camera
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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

#10

Post by Star Dad »

OH? Guess I have more to learn.... Is there someplace I can get a decent manual? The one on the ZWO site doesn't give much detail.
"To be good is not enough when you dream of being great"

Orion 203mm/f4.9/1000mm, converted TASCO 114mm/f9/1000mm to steam punk, Meade 114mm/f9/1000, Coronado PST, Orion EQ-G, Ioptron Mini-Tower and iEQ30, Canon 70D, ASI120MM,ASI294MC, Ioptron SkyHunter, SeeStar 50
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Re: ZWO Seestar 50

#11

Post by Star Dad »

Gordon wrote: Fri Jul 12, 2024 7:14 pm I've used my SeeStar for solar a few times. I've never had any issues with it finding the sun (within one minute). I always place it so when it starts, it will rise to the north (on off button towards the east.) I make sure it's pretty accurately aimed. This has worked fine for me.
For every time I've gone out I pointed the SeeStar so it's facing north... maybe something is off with the compass which is mentioned above by Razz.
"To be good is not enough when you dream of being great"

Orion 203mm/f4.9/1000mm, converted TASCO 114mm/f9/1000mm to steam punk, Meade 114mm/f9/1000, Coronado PST, Orion EQ-G, Ioptron Mini-Tower and iEQ30, Canon 70D, ASI120MM,ASI294MC, Ioptron SkyHunter, SeeStar 50
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