Review: Unistellar eVscope reveals the excitement of astronomy with iPhone and Apple TV

Astronomy is a field that is often complex for the casual observer. In combination with the iPhone and Apple TV, the Unistellar Enhanced Vision telescope demystifies the complexities and provides an approachable viewing experience. Read more to see our experience.

What is an eVscope?

Technically, the eVscope is a telescope, but on the inside, it contains a camera with a 114mm/4.5 inch diameter mirror that has a focal ratio of f4. This smart telescope sends light to a Sony Exmoor IMX224 imaging sensor that fits inside a 65cm tube mounted on a motorized arm and motor.

The eVscope contains a self-guiding computer that works to compile the images taken by the scope and a lithium-ion battery that’s good for nine hours. The package comes with a tripod setup and a power supply along with an accompanying mobile app. The takeaway here is that Unistellar has managed to compile a full astrophotography rig into one compact smart device that’s very easy to use.

Getting started

The setup of the eVscope is straightforward and only takes a few minutes from start to finish. They offer a very helpful guide here. The simplicity is highlighted here and is much easier than other astrophotography setups. First, you’ll set the tripod up at the desired height and then use the bubble level to make sure that it’s level with the accompanying adjustable legs.

Next, you’ll take the eVscope and attach it to the tripod with the optical tube facing the sky. You’ll need to tighten the two knobs to secure the telescope to the tripod. Finally, you can remove the cap on the tube and the eyepiece, then turn on the telescope by pressing the power button for a couple of seconds. The eVscope is now ready to be used; connect to the wireless network that the eVscope generates and jump into the application. 

Once in the app, you’ll need to run the alignment to properly configure the telescope to the night sky’s viewing range. This feature is called Autonomous Field Detection and is an excellent feature that self aligns with the viewing range. It’s best to point at a bright start and start the field detection process. When that is complete, you are ready to go.  

One key to optimal viewing is dialing in the focus on the telescope, which you will need to do manually. Here is how you do it:

  • Using the app, slew the eVscope to a bright star of your choice.
  • Using LiveView on the app, slowly rotate the focusing knob on the back of the telescope until you achieve perfect focus (all the star spikes should cross at the center of the star).

Unistellar offers a host of resources to help get you started, including the “How To Focus” article.

Using the eVscope

Using the eVscope is intuitive and straightforward, accommodating the novice and expert user levels. There is a handy menu full of stars, nebulas, and superclusters that the eVscope displays for suggested viewing based on your location. This setup allows users to get going very quickly and start the process of viewing the night sky.

Enhanced Vision is a patented technology that allows a live view of faint objects from the live accumulation of the light received from them. The details are seen in various Galaxies, nebulae, and superclusters.

More than a telescope

The Unistellar EV scope is more than an astronomy tool; it brings fascination and excitement and serves as a launchpad for astronomy interests. It embodies the movement to reach the stars and brings excitement and wonder to somebody who may never have seen galaxies, nebulae, or even the Milky Way galaxy.

During my time with the Unistellar eVscope, I found myself wanting to show it off and have “Star Parties,” having a reason for people to gather even during these uncertain times to show the beauty of space. Deep space observation is where this telescope shines; the eVscope delivers on the expectations of viewing beautiful structures full of color and wonder. This telescope brings you within just a few minutes of delivering on the lofty expectations.

Utilizing the Unistellar app, I would stream my phone via an Apple TV to a larger screen where many people could see the sky’s live view. Once the enhanced Vision isolates in on a cluster or some other near side field, you could see the excitement build and eyes in reaction to the sheer beauty of an enhanced view of space. Unistellar has done a miraculous job with their overall Vision for this telescope and the seamless connection through Apple devices made the viewing experiences superb. 

One of the Unistellar team’s main goals was to bring excitement back to astronomy. With a combination of intuitive design, fantastic software, and its sheer simplicity, this telescope bridges the gaps and complications to deliver an excellent viewing experience. This telescope provides more than excitement to astronomy; it elicits lifelong interest in viewing the beyond. Throughout my numerous viewing sessions, the wonder and curiosity of viewing deep space grew tremendously in my 4-year-old. We now regularly spend time looking out at the stars and moon, where he is pretty convinced he will visit.

The Unistellar eVscope delivers beautiful deep-space observation in a relatively compact setup. It’s easy to transport and can be deployed and tore down in just a few minutes. Everything is built into the eVscope (battery, viewing apparatus, and onboard computer) and serves as an all-in-one solution for observation. It has an accompanying mobile app that interfaces with the telescope to bring you an informative viewing experience and directions to take to get started quickly.  

Building relationships to enhance the experience

They also recently announced the Unistellar Citizen Science: Asteroid Occultations, which aims to build on the community participations by group observations based on location. This is huge news for the community as this initiative will provide another outlet to build the community through group observation. This service will allow you to view Near Earth Objects of various sizes as they come within a reasonable viewing range. This is very neatly organized and provides great detail about what and where the views will be.

I will admit, I love the Unistellar eVscope, but it does have its shortfalls. Due to the design of the eVscope, viewing in solar system planetary objects does not deliver the same experience as you would receive on a standard telescope due to the digital components present. On a traditional telescope, you would have the option to swap out a magnifying eyepiece to view objects like Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn with more visible features and detail.   

I enjoyed my time with the eVscope; it delivers on the astronomy experience they sought to deploy. The built-in tools and features bring even the beginners along quite quickly into viewing deep space objects with focus and clarity. The eVscope has integrations with mobile app platforms that deliver an enhanced experience where many people can share in on the viewing and serve as a viewing party telescope.  

Special discount today!

The Unistellar eVscope regularly costs $2,999, but for Black Friday, they are currently running a special discount of $200 off. So you can get started seeing deep space objects for only $2,799!

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