A leader in the ‘smartscope’ industry releases its exciting new eQuinox telescope.

It’s every amateur astronomer’s dilemma. If you’re like me, the basic equation of ‘should I observe tonight?’ is always up against the same basic equation: is the time and effort worth it? Living under bright downtown urban skies, my options are to either head to the parking garage rooftop (and be restricted to bright targets), or load up, drive for several hours, setup at a remote dark sky site, observe, then repeat the reverse process and head home in the early AM hours…

In the above scenario, the best telescope is the one you end up using most… and it’s in this capacity that Unistellar’s new eQuinox ‘smartscope’ excels. We had a chance to review their original eVscope last year, and the eQuinox is a very similar unit, with a few key innovations.

Three views of Unistellar’s eQuinox

I’ve owned many telescopes of all types over the years, going back to some of the very first ‘goto’ units in the 80s… most of which, needed a little astronomical know-how to successfully get to a target on the first night out. I can say that Unistellar’s eQuinox works as advertised, right out of the box: simply secure the unit to the tripod, turn it on, connect it to your phone’s wifi, put it through a quick sky alignment (the unit uses plate-solving and GPS to know where it is and what it’s pointed at) and you’re off and running. Suddenly, with the eQuinox telescope, deep-sky targets are again in grasp, even from our downtown parking garage rooftop perch. For example, we managed to nab faint +11th magnitude comet T2 Palomar with the ‘scope, a target we’d never bother to go after from downtown.

Four downtown, deep-sky views…

Unlike other star-pattern alignment units, the eQuinox is also very forgiving. We found it was able to easily able to accurately align even under partly cloudy skies, just 30 minutes after sunset. The app gives the user suggested targets currently above the horizon, or you can custom enter the Right Ascension/Declination coordinates (great for comet hunting).

Four views of the Unistellar control app..

Ironically, much like a rich field refractor, the wide-field (about the size of a Full Moon), doesn’t deliver amazing planetary views: instead, the eQuinox really shines when it comes to deep-sky astronomy.

Fine-focusing of the unit’s optics is a snap, and is accomplished using the large knob on the back of the tube assembly and the Bahtinov aperture mask. The unit even comes with a small toolkit to adjust the mirror alignment (if it’s even needed) and the tripod
Did you miss our previous article…