Star Adventure mini
In this short article we will talk about the Mini Star adventure of Skywatcher, a brand specialized in telescopes, equatorial mounts and astrotracker. The Star Adventure was born as a star-tracker, but the mini version compared to the normal version, expands the possibilities for use in the world of time lapse thanks to specific modes that allow the control of numerous parameters. In the box we will find the Star Adventure mini, the polar telescope and an accessory for the latter that allows you to illuminate the grid inside and facilitate the alignment of the polar star. It will be necessary to buy separately the special cable to connect our SLR and Star Adventure. The cable will vary from model to model of our dslr, in case you do not already have a compatible one, you can buy it at 10-15 euros online or in most of the equipment stores.
Some technical details:
- Weight: 600 gr.
- Power supply: 2 AA batteries or to mini USB 5V port, autonomy of about 24h at maximum charge
- Dimensions: 105mmx 78mmx70mm
In this guide we will mainly analyze the use of Star Adventure mini for the realization of timelapse, concluding with some basic information for use as a star tracker. The Star Adventure allows you to create both horizontal and vertical panoramas, taking advantage of the central folding column if present in our tripod, or a second head to be placed between the tripod and our Star Adventure mini. The maximum load supported is 3kg.
The assembly is very simple and fast, in fact, thanks to the presence of a 3/8 "hole in the lower part, you can attach the Star Adventure directly to the tripod, while the upper part has a 3/8" screw that allows the assembly of a head to which then attach our SLR. A reducer is also supplied to move from the 3/8 "to a 1/4" hole. After inserting our cable, there is nothing left to do but to connect our Star Adventure mini through WiFi, to a mobilesul device which we will have installed the dedicated app, which can be downloaded for free from the Play store or the Apple store.
We now enter specifically on the operating methods with which we can use our Star Adventure min the realization of time lapse. Once we have accessed the app on our mobile device, we will be faced with several choices possible, let's proceed to analyze them individually in detail.
EXPOSURE-ADJUST TIME LAPSE
This mode is the one that we can define the "Standard" mode, in fact it is suitable for all those situations in which we will not have to use exposure times greater than 0.5 seconds. The shutter speed will be set directly on the SLR along with the other parameters. First we must decide how to program our shooting session.
We can set one of these three parameters:
1. the duration of the video interval (in hours), that is the duration of our shooting session;
2. the duration of the final video that we would like to get during editing (in seconds). It will be necessary to specify if we will work at 25fps (PAL) or at 30 fps (NTSC);
3. the number of shots we want to make;
Once you have chosen the preferred mode we can set:
• the desired value for the interval between two shots (in seconds)
• the angle of movement (in degrees) or the rotation speed (in degrees / hour)
To conclude we will have to decide whether the rotation will be clockwise or counter-clockwise and if you turn off WiFi at power-on so as to limit the consumption of batteries. Also ended this last step and after setting all the various settings on our SLR in manual (exposure, ISO, aperture, WB), we can start our sequence with the "Start" button that we will find in the screen at the top right.
LONG-EXPOSURE TIME LAPSE
This mode will instead be suitable if the exposure time should be equal to or greater than the second. So let's start by setting the first parameter with the desired shutter speed (in seconds) and then adjusting the other settings (they will be the same as in the previously viewed mode: Exposure -Regular). Once the compilation of the various fields has been completed, all we have to do is launch the sequence with the "Start" key.
ASTRO TIME LAPSE
Finally we will have available this mode, for which we must make some clarifications before explaining the various parameters to be set. In fact, this mode exploits the original function of the Star Adventure, ie the ability to perform long exposures of the sky, without having the celestial moved wavy (it will be the landscape that in the individual photos will be moved). Between one shot and another the astroinseguitore will bring back the machine in the initial frame, so that in the final video you will still have the motion of the stars.
However, it will be necessary to make a single shot to use as a foreground in order to eliminate the blurred background due to tracking during shooting. You will then need to mount the Star Adventure mini by following the instructions in the manual, so you can align the polar star, thanks to the use of the polar scope. To best perform this last operation, I recommend the use of the Latitude base, an accessory sold separately that allows for a more precise alignment. Once the alignment is finished and the framing is adjusted for our shot, through the second head fixed on the tracker starter, we return to our app to set the various parameters of the sequence.
The first parameter to select is the exposure time (in seconds), after which we will have to decide the number of photos we want to make. The last parameter to be decided, which is of fundamental importance is the speed of pursuit, which will vary according to the celestial body that we want to avoid being moved during the shot. Once this last selection is finished, we are ready to start the sequence.
The Star Adventure also allows you to perform single long exposures chased for both wide-field photos and Deepsky objects, for the latter case if you use relatively long and heavy focal lengths, you must determine well that the weight is within the maximum load and evaluate the purchase of the counterweight in order to have a more balanced and therefore stable configuration. Finally you can also use it in manual mode where, through two simple buttons, you can rotate the camera. This function is useful for making video shots, but it is not possible to adjust the rotation speed.