The$4000 Cheat Mode for Astrophotography

The Vaonis Stellina makes astrophotography straightforward and accessible to anybody, and shared viewing capabilities make it excellent for teams. The app is academic, straightforward to make use of, and guides you thru the viewing expertise. However are the photographs definitely worth the time and price funding, or would you be higher off simply Googling it?


  • Model: Vaonis
  • Sensor Measurement: 1/1.8-inch
  • Photograph Decision: 3096 x 2080 (6.4MP)
  • Battery: 10,000mAh exterior battery
  • Connection: Adhoc Wi-Fi community
  • Measurement: 19 x 15 x 4.7 inches (49 x 39 x 13 cm)
  • Weight: 11.2kg / 24.7lbs
  • Lens: f/5.0 400mm focal size, doublet apochromatic refractor

  • Stupidly straightforward to make use of
  • Properly designed app guides you thru what’s presently seen
  • Timeline view reveals you the picture bettering with every further publicity

  • Every remark takes 30-120 minutes
  • Cannot view planets

Purchase This Product

I am within the enviable place of residing simply on the sting of Bodmin Moor in rural southwest England, in a delegated dark-sky zone. Which means it is probably the greatest locations in England for star watching. So I used to be very excited when Vaonis provided to lend me one in all its Stellina telescopes, an automatic star-finding app-controlled astrophotography machine. Fortunately, it requires zero data of astrophotography and can be utilized by absolute novices.

What Is Stellina?

The Stellina is an enormous all-in-one astrophotography system that robotically locates, tracks, and images star clusters and nebulae. It is totally transportable, features a 10,000mAh battery (sufficient for 5 hours of steady use), and broadcasts its personal Wi-Fi community. Utilizing the accompanying Singularity app, you may be guided via astronomical targets which are presently seen—nebulae, clusters, constellations and many others—from which you’ll be able to provoke an remark. For the superior customers who want to monitor these distant undiscovered alien colonies, it’s also possible to goal a particular set of coordinates, although most customers will need to stick to the recognized checklist of targets.

stellina- outdoors

The Stellina will then tilt and rotate by itself accord, autofocus, and start monitoring the goal because it strikes throughout the night time sky, stacking a collection of quick publicity pictures to create the ultimate {photograph}. Observations can take from quarter-hour to 2 hours(!), relying on the goal and what number of exposures shall be wanted. As the photographs roll in, you are introduced with a timeline view, so you possibly can see the {photograph} getting higher in real-time.

Stellina Specs

Internally, the Stellina telescope makes use of a 400mm focal size customized f/5 lens with an 80mm aperture and doublet apochromatic refractor—which so far as I can inform means there needs to be no chromatic aberrations nor will the colours of the celebs be modified. It even has a built-in heater to keep away from points with dew and misting up, however one factor to notice is that its working temperature bottoms out at 0C (32F), so these larger up north won’t be capable to use this to its fullest. That each one feeds right into a 6.4MP Sony IMX178 sensor, which supposedly has a metropolis gentle suppression filter on it, so in concept, even in built-up areas it is best to nonetheless get good pictures. As talked about, I am situated in a dark-sky zone, so I did not take a look at out the impact of metropolis lighting.


The lens zooms 50 occasions in a 1 x 0.7-degree area of view and has an computerized mechanical area derotator to seize the optimum area of view. For an concept of what meaning, the complete area of view is in regards to the measurement of a full moon:

stellina app output - moon

The Stellina is mounted in an altazimuth configuration (which implies that it spins and rotates in a single axis). All the pieces is powered by the included 10,000mAh over USB-C—although the battery is each detachable and generic, so it is easy to switch or carry spares. The battery matches into an inside cavity, however there’s loads of room to suit one thing bigger. I need to applaud that design alternative, because it manages to maintain the cabling neat and tidy, means the Stellina is transportable, however will not be hampered by the failure of an inside battery in 5 to 10 years.

The battery cavity additionally options two customary USB-A ports, into which you’ll be able to match a storage machine if you would like to manually course of the RAW information from the digital camera. That is optionally available although; it’s miles simpler to only save the JPG of the ultimate processed picture to your smartphone or pill machine.

stellina- tripod

A 3rd-party tripod can also be included within the package deal—a Gitzo Sequence 3 Systematic carbon fiber and aluminum tripod. It is extremely secure and simple to affix to the bottom of the Stellina, and features a small bubble stage with adjustable toes, so it is easy to stage issues out.

stellina- setup and box

The one factor lacking is a bag to hold all of it in. Though the field the Stellina is packaged in has a sturdy deal with, it is not likely a carry case, and nor does the tripod slot in there. I want just a little extra thought had gone into an built-in carrying answer, maybe a tough plastic case for the entire thing. As it’s, it’s kind of awkward to hold round and really heavy anyway, so I would not plan on trekking up a mountain with it, however placing the Stellina behind your automotive to the campsite is actually an choice.

Utilizing the Stellina

I needs to be completely clear right here in that I haven’t got the slightest clue about astrophotography: that is how straightforward that is to make use of.

When you’ve plugged the battery in (bodily eradicating and inserting the USB-C plug is the one method to really kill the ability), there’s a single startup button on the entrance. Then then you definately connect with the inner ad-hoc Wi-Fi community, and open up the Singularity app. Stellina goes via a collection of initialization steps: it locates itself with GPS, measures the ambient temperature to make sure the lens is warmed up sufficient and there’s no misting happening, and it autofocuses on the sky. So long as it is not cloudy and your location is correct, there needs to be no points. In case you can see stars, Stellina will be capable to as properly. If you cannot, it actually cannot both and you will get an inititialization error.

After that, you possibly can browse the checklist of objects within the night time sky which are presently accessible to look at, every with a blurry thumbnail of what you would possibly count on to see. You may discover a handful of really helpful objects, however it’s also possible to delve into full listings for every kind of object, and filter out these not seen or kind by how a lot time is required. Every object has a really helpful remark time for the perfect picture, so all it is advisable to do is hit the Observe button, and that’s just about it.

Assuming it may get a lock on the thing and would not get obscured by clouds you’ll quickly start to see pictures rolling in, although keep in mind that the preliminary views shall be just a little disappointing. Each minute or so, the image will enhance barely; some will start to construct up colours. The dwell view reveals the newest mixed stack, however throughout remark it’s also possible to playback all the present exposures to see how the picture has developed over time, export the photograph, or cease the remark at any level and choose one other goal.

stellina app output -pacman nebula
The Pacman Nebula

If circumstances worsen the Stellina will detect that and really reject the photographs in order to not stack up undesirable pixels. If too many pictures in a row are rejected it’ll let you understand you so you possibly can both abort or simply hold ready when you suppose the clouds will transfer alongside.

stellina app output -ngc2403
NGC2403, clearly

The entire system is extremely intelligent, and you may get some beautiful pictures out of it. The battery life is greater than sufficient for a night of stargazing, although you possibly can at all times swap it out if it is advisable to. That mentioned, my iPad died properly earlier than the battery on the Stellina did.

stellina app output - north american nebula
American Nebula

Apparently it’s also possible to join multiple sensible machine to view the output, whereas solely the primary machine stays in management and the remaining simply observe the output. This makes it excellent for stargazing teams or faculties.

stellina app output - random cluster
Random cluster of stars

The Vaonis Stellina genuinely makes astrophotography stupidly easy for anybody. It is plug and play so long as you’ve good circumstances; all it is advisable to do is select what to take a look at, guided by the app by way of what you possibly can presently see and what has good visibility in the meanwhile, then let do its magic. It is the final word astrophotography cheat mode.

However Is It Too Simple?

The Stellina is not excellent, and to my eyes no less than, it has some evident limitations.

The primary (and I apologize if that is apparent to these of you who’re extra versed in astrophotography than I’m) is that you may’t observe planets, so when you had desires of taking high-quality zoomed-in photographs of Saturn’s rings, that is not occurring. It is simply not that sort of lens: it is designed to look at nebulae and clusters primarily. You’ll be able to actually level at planets, however the outcomes are disappointedly small. As talked about, the sphere of view is roughly the dimensions of a full moon. Planets are a lot smaller than that. That is Saturn:

stellina app output - saturn
That is Saturn

Secondly, the photographs you get are spectacular—however are they $4000 spectacular? Please do not misunderstand me right here—I understand that creating a coherent picture of one thing situated a whole bunch of billions of miles away clearly is not a easy job—however nor are you breaking new floor. To take a seat there with a telescope, find a star, and look via the eyepiece is one factor; and even to align your digital camera completely, monitor a star, take a stack of pictures and post-process all of them your self, should really feel like fairly an accomplishment.

However with the Stellina, one thing feels misplaced in translation. It is virtually … too straightforward. If you are going to cheat anyway—choosing a goal to look at out of your smartphone then sitting again whereas the machine does all of the laborious work—why not simply cheat higher and use Google as a substitute? You will discover significantly better images of your remark goal in a fraction of the time it takes for Stellina to stack pictures. On the promoting worth of round $4000, you would purchase a DSLR, huge lens, tripod, and star finder, and also you’d have a extra adaptable little bit of package than this.

stellina- google images cheating
If you are going to cheat anyway, you would possibly as properly simply Google it as a substitute

If you wish to simply get outdoors and do some star watching with mates or household, then gazing a smartphone or pill display is the very last thing you need to do. It’ll wreck your night time imaginative and prescient. If I am having a star-watching night time then I am going to make an exception for one particular person to make use of an AR app like Star Stroll to level out constellations, however sitting there gazing a display to see pictures develop is simply not my concept of enjoyable. The easiest way to make use of Stellina that I discovered was to set it up, let it do its factor, cowl up my iPad, and depart it alone for an hour. Verify what it is provide you with once you’re achieved for the night.

Lastly, I am going to point out that whereas I used to be blown away by how ridiculously straightforward to make use of the Stellina is, the alternatives I needed to actually use it had been very rare. You’ll be able to’t use it when it is raining; you possibly can’t use it when it is cloudy; and you’ll’t use it when the moon is round. In order that was about one night time in thirty that I used to be really capable of take a look at this. That is a failing of our great British climate somewhat than the Stellina, however it’s possible you’ll end up getting much less use of your funding than you hoped for.

Is Vaonis Stellina for You?

There’s rather a lot to like in regards to the Stellina. It is wi-fi so you possibly can take it anyplace—particularly helpful when you’re heading up out of the town for a weekend away. The battery is straightforward to switch, and the app is a pleasure to make use of. It is the final word astrophotography cheat mode and the photographs you get are nice, due to the way in which it robotically tracks the celebs. It stacks a collection of much less noisy faster exposures, so that you get a significantly better general high quality than one massively lengthy publicity. The flexibility to attach a number of units makes it excellent for stargazing teams and academic settings.

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