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Astronomical opposition is the exciting time when the earth aligns precisely between the sun and another planet. This happens because of our faster and smaller orbit.
Saturn, the ringed planet, was recently in opposition on Saturday 14th of August. Saturn is a favorite celestial object for many and is visible to the naked human eye. The first view of Saturn through a telescope is an astronomical highlight for many sky-watchers, even more so if you can catch it when it is fully illuminated by the sun, as you could earlier this month. Saturn is now continuing to shift west and is visible until January 2023. The next Saturn opposition will be in August 2023.
If you didn’t manage to sort your kit out before August 14th, fear not, there’s still plenty of time to get everything you need ahead of Jupiter’s opposition on the 26th of September 2022. It is the biggest and fastest-spinning planet in our solar system.
What makes the 2022 Jupiter opposition even more special in 2022 is that it will be closer to Earth than it has been in the last 70 years. The king of the solar system will appear bigger and brighter than usual and you should be able to easily spot the four of its largest moons when using the correct kit.
If you want to upgrade or invest in some new astronomy kit to truly appreciate the Jupiter opposition, look no further than the Celestron products we have picked out below.
CELESTRON STARSENSE EXPLORER 8-INCH DOBSONIAN: KEY SPECS
Optical design: Newtonian reflector
Aperture: 8-inches/203 mm
Focal length: 47.24-inches/1200 mm
Focal ratio: f/5.9
Eyepiece focal length: 0.98-inches/25 mm (48x)
Total kit weight: 43.4 lbs/19.68 kg
Mount type: Alt-azimuth Dobsonian
We’re huge fans of Celestron here at Space.com. They have been an optics industry leader for decades and continue to produce premium quality astronomy instruments and accessories. We’d highly recommend starting your search with Celestron’s telescope collection (opens in new tab) for your next instrument.
We recently reviewed Celestron’s StarSense Explorer 8-inch Dobsonian telescope. It is an affordable instrument (RRP £649.99) that offers sharp and immersive views of galaxies and nebulae, but also planets and the moon. The StarSense technology will guide you to point your telescope at Saturn, Jupiter, and over 4,000 other celestial objects, leaving you with more time enjoying visuals of what the solar system offers rather than manually spending time scoping to find them.
It is a ‘push-to’ telescope rather than a ‘go-to’ telescope, which we like because it is more hands-on and immersive than a machine that does all the work for you. There is also a 10-inch version of this model if you can stretch your budget to RRP £849.99 for increased resolution and light gathering capabilities.
RRP: From £649.99
Celestron has recently released a USB cooling fan to accompany its Dobsonian telescopes. The fan is mounted to the back of the instrument and cools the primary mirror to match cooler nighttime temperatures faster and prevent your mirrors from accumulating dew. Even during the current high temperatures, you’ll still want a cooling fan to circulate the air around the mirror and at just RRP £24.99 this is a great option. Disposable batteries or a 12V power source are not needed, thanks to the USB power source.
For those looking for a much more sophisticated telescope and want one of the best telescopes available to regular consumers, check out the new Celestron EdgeHD 9.25-inch HD telescope. This is an example of a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that is an excellent tool for astrophotographers. It produces aberration-free images across a wide field of view and has a highest useful magnification of 555x.
CELESTRON EDGE HD 9.25-inch WITH STARSENSE KEY SPECS
Optical design: EdgeHD
Focal length: 2530mm
Focal ratio: f/10
Eyepiece focal length: 23mm
Total kit weight: 9.53KG
Mount type: Computerized Equatorial
Thanks to its 9.25-inch aperture and premium StarBright XLT coatings, it gives more than 800 times the light gathering power over the naked eye. It is also relatively light and portable and has a rechargeable battery with enough capacity for a whopping 10 hours of continuous shooting.
Celestron has recently released a series of E-lux eyepieces (opens in new tab) to get even more light into your eye, ideal for deep-sky objects. They also have comfortable rubber eyecups and long eye relief of 24/36mm for comfortable viewing, including glasses-wearers, which is often overlooked. They are available as 26, 32 or 40mm models.
RRP: From £79.99
As the name suggests, these eyepieces were designed to provide the sharpest and clearest views from the center to the very edge of the field of view.
The eyepieces have a sleek and modern finish, made from high-grade aluminium, and a black anodised outer surface. They have a molded non-slip rubber grip to make handling easy and to minimise the risk of accidental drops. The optics are fully multi-coated to allow for the best light transmission, and the wide field of view lets you see more of the night sky at once so you can quickly find and focus on your desired subject. We’d recommend these eyepieces for viewing stars, planets and the craters on the moon in all their glory.
Like the E-lux series, the Ultima Edge series (opens in new tab) have rubber eyecups and long eye relief to make them comfortable for all, including spectacle wearers.
They are available as 10mm, 15mm, 18mm and 24mm with a 1.25-inch focuser, and 30mm with a 2-inch focuser. What’s more, if you have more than one Ultima Edge eyepiece, you can switch between them quickly with only minimal refocusing required thanks to their parfocal design.
RRP: From £149.99
Celestron have developed a rigid aluminium dew shield (opens in new tab) for 6-inch to 14-inch lenses, they will not flex or fold. They have velvet-lined interior to absorb any excess moisture and reduce unwanted light from entering.
The Dew Shield keeps the lens below the dew point for longer, preventing dew forming on the lens. Because the shield blocks stray light from entering the telescope, an added bonus is that the images contrast is enhanced, this is especially desirable for astro work.
Read below for more dew-busting gadgets.
RRP: From £99.99
Celestron has developed dew-heater rings (opens in new tab) that fit its Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, which are available for 5-inch to 14-inch optical tubes. They permanently mount to your telescope and disperse heat equally across the lens and are much more effective than heating bands or strips as they heat the glass directly.
RRP: From £29.99
For the ultimate setup, Celestron has also developed the Smart Dewheater Controller 2x (opens in new tab), which works in conjunction with the Thermostat (opens in new tab) and uses real-time data to provide just enough heat to the dew-heater ring to prevent dew forming, this maximises battery life.
To protect your Optical Tube Assemblies (OTA) when moving your telescope from location to location, Celestron has a range of stylish, practical and ultra-durable padded carry bags (opens in new tab) and tripod bags (opens in new tab) to provide maximum protection for your valuable equipment. They come in various sizes, from 8-inch padded OTA bags to 40-inch telescope and tripod bags.
RRP: From £99.99
The final Celestron product we wanted to mention, which is worth a look if you don’t have much storage space, is the tabletop tripod (opens in new tab) for use with the Nexstar SE and Nextsar Evolution (opens in new tab) telescopes. The tabletop tripod, as the name suggests, eliminates the need for a full-height tripod, reducing assembly time and kit bulk. Sit it on an elevated, flat surface, use the bubble leveler to ensure it is level, and set your telescope on top. When you’ve finished, the legs fold inwards underneath the mounting plate, making it incredibly compact and portable.
Celestron’s website (opens in new tab) has everything you need to maximize sky-watching enjoyment, starting with the upcoming oppositions. There, you will find all you need to know about Celestron’s vast range of products and newest releases. Be sure to keep an eye on Space.com’s Celestron deals page, which we continuously update with the best deals and savings on Celestron products. Follow Celestron on Twitter (opens in new tab) and Instagram (opens in new tab) for regular news.
Editor’s note: If you snap an amazing photo of Jupiter or any other night-sky sight and you’d like to share it with Space.com for a story or image gallery, send images, comments and location information to email@example.com.