Ask any amateur astronomer about the difficulties of seeing stars from the center of a major metropolis — New York City, for example — and they will tell you that light pollution typically masks the ability to see anything beyond just a few faint stars.
Unistellar, however, is aiming to make urban astronomy possible with it’s new eVscope, an electronic telescope that’s currently in prototype and which the company aims to begin shipping in November 2018. Unistellar says the new instrument is 100 times more powerful than a traditional telescope.
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“The Unistellar eVscope is so sensitive that an urban astronomer can observe Pluto directly in the eyepiece, like we did a few days ago from San Francisco,” said Franck Marchis, Unistellar’s Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Planetary Astromomer and Exoplanets Research Group Chair at the SETI Institute.
The eVscope uses a new technology that allows a user to know where it’s pointing, so you don’t have to spend hours to do an alignment procedure, especially when it’s cold outside. Everything is integrated into one instrument.
“All you have to do is plug it in to charge it, then take it with you,” Marchis told Travel + Leisure. “In just a few minutes, it finds your target.”
The company has launched a crowfunding campaign to develop its first run of eVscopes. Within a week, Unistellar met its goal of $150,000 and the amount keeps growing. With two weeks to go, the Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $1.7 million, with 1,600 backers.
“After two years of prototype development, building, and testing, we were proud to bring our compact, intelligent, and powerful telescope to market,” said Arnaud Malvache, president and CTO of Unistellar. “Our team also demonstrated the prototype at several star parties in Europe and the U.S., and these efforts paid off beyond our wildest expectations, with a landslide of backers.”
Unistellar Telescope Credit: Courtesy of Unistellar
Want to try it for yourself? Attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January will get an opportunity to experience the eVscope prototype in person when Unistellar conducts a product demo. If you already want to order one, eVscopes are available on Kickstarter for $1,499. The campaign runs until November 24.