In the shops
The latest books, apps, software, tech and accessories for space and astronomy fans alike
1. Book How to Live in Space
Cost: £16.99 (approx $21.50) From: Andre Deutsch Ltd
With missions to the Moon and Mars planned in the near future, frequent All About Space writer Colin Stuart describes the practicalities and difficulties of living beyond Earth. Making use of infographics and images, Stuart’s book is split into four parts. The first section is an introduction to space travel, looking at its history from Yuri Gagarin through to astronauts living on the International Space Station, explaining how we get into space with powerful rockets. Next up is a chapter describing astronaut training, detailing everything from how astronauts are selected, to what it is like to go on a centrifuge or the famous ‘Vomit Comet’ aeroplane for zero-gravity training, to actually getting into space and docking with the ISS. The third part looks at how astronauts live in space, from eating and drinking to the inevitable description of how astronauts go to the toilet, and more straight-faced fare such as protection from solar radiation. Finally, the books ends with a look to the future and how astronauts will experience new missions to the Moon, Mars, asteroids and perhaps, one day, interstellar travel.
2. Finderscope Omegon red dot finder
Cost: £17.90 (approx $22.70) From: omegon.eu
Finding a desired celestial object through the eyepiece of your telescope can be difficult; your field of view through the eyepiece is usually quite narrow, and if you’re using a reflecting telescope the image is also upside down. Finderscopes, which are low- or zero-magnification pointing devices attached to the tube of your telescope, are the answer. This red dot finder from Omegon makes things even easier. It sports a frosted glass panel with zero magnification, meaning it shows the sky as it actually is, upon which a red LED dot is superimposed. Simply align the red dot with whatever you want to look at in the sky – say the planet Jupiter – and hey presto, your telescope will then also be aligned with Jupiter, saving you the task of nudging your ‘scope around looking for it. Omegon’s red dot finder is made for use on Sky-Watcher, Celestron and Vixen brackets that can attach to any telescope, and features a dimming function so you can make that red dot as bright or as faint as you are comfortable with just by turning a knob.
3. Eyepiece Omegon Super Wide Angle
Cost: from £90-£126 (approx $114-160) From: omegon.eu
Super-wide angle (SWA) eyepieces provide really wide views of the night sky, perfect for taking in extended deep-sky objects such as galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. This revamped range of SWA eyepieces from Omegon sport grippable rubber armour, a more comfortable eyecup with eye relief suitable for glasses-wearers, internal baffling to reduce light scatter and high-definition views all the way to the edge of the field, with barely any distortion to the image.
There are six eyepieces in the range, with focal lengths of 38mm, 32mm, 26mm, 20mm, 15mm and 10mm. The 38mm, 32mm and 26mm have two-inch barrel diameters and enormous true fields of view. The 20mm, 15mm and 10mm varieties have 1.25-inch barrels. Their 70-degree apparent field of view means you’ll feel like you’re floating among the stars in no time.
4. App NASA Space Images
Cost: Free From: iTunes/Google Play NASA’s various space missions, from the Hubble Space Telescope to New Horizons, produce a vast amount of wonderful space imagery, and now they’ve all been wrapped up together in this third version of NASA/JPL’s Space Images app. Features include the ability to share images from the app on social media, save the best images to your favourites folder, turn images into backgrounds or wallpapers for your devices, browse through hundreds of images and videos with detailed captions describing each image and a comprehensive search mode. The app works in conjunction with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s new Space Images website at jpl.nasa.gov/ jplimages. Best of all this app is free, so there’s no excuse not to download it and start sharing wonderful images of the cosmos.
“Their 70-degree apparent field of view means you’ll feel like you’re floating among the stars in no time”