The Seestar S50 is a Game Changing Smart Tabletop Telescope

If you have a smart phone or a tablet then YOU can be a Time Traveler with the Seestar S50 smart telescope from ZWO.

This groundbreaking design marries a 2.1-megapixel Sony IMX462 CMOS sensor (offering a usable image resolution of 1920×1080) with a 50mm f/5 apochromatic triplet lens refractor telescope. All of this is seamlessly integrated into a computer-controlled alt-az mount, which, when paired with the accompanying app, delivers an unparalleled stargazing experience reminiscent of the invention of binoculars. Lunar imaging is as simple as a click on “Lunar,” while solar imaging, facilitated by the provided solar filter, is just a click away on “Solar.” Moreover, a comprehensive sky atlas provides a myriad of celestial objects to explore, with a curated list of “best targets for tonight” for those seeking inspiration. Capture a few snapshots, and watch as the software automatically stacks images to produce the optimal shot.

In short, it’s a game changer.

Learn Astrophotography

The ZWO Seestar S50 revolutionizes amateur astronomy. While it may not boast professional-grade specifications, its setup is a breeze. In just a few minutes, you’re ready to capture stunning images of the Cosmos ranging from the Moon and stars to planets, nebulae, comets, and galaxies. Contrast this with the typical time traveler’s ordeal of wrangling tripods, mounts, computers, and a barrage of other equipment, all while battling the elements. With the Seestar, you can be up and running in 10 minutes or less, even opting to command your cosmic exploration from the comfort of your couch (or bed – we don’t judge). And should the heavens decide to weep, the Seestar is far simpler to relocate indoors than a conventional Time Machine to avoid the rain.

I won’t recount the other many reviews of this telescope. Instead, I’ll share my personal experiences and observations. Initially, I acquired the Seestar with solar photography in mind. Despite daylight seeming more forgiving than nocturnal shots, capturing the Sun poses its own challenges. Safety is paramount; without the proper filter, staring at the Sun risks ocular injury and damage to your equipment. Furthermore, the Sun’s heat creates atmospheric turbulence, manifesting as a wavering effect when observed through a telescope that can ruin many pictures.

Thankfully, the Seestar includes a dedicated filter, eliminating the need to gaze directly at the Sun. As for atmospheric turbulence, the Seestar tackles this by rapidly capturing a series of exposures, akin to a short video. Sophisticated software then cherry-picks the best frames and combines them to produce a superior image, minimizing the distortions caused by atmospheric instability. The Seestar automates this process seamlessly, providing users with consistently impressive results.

Since the 2024 Eclipse was to pass directly over my back yard, I thought it would be great to set up the Seestar and have it track the Sun during the entire event – from first contact (the beginning of the partial eclipse phase) all the way through fourth contact (the end of the partial eclipse phase after totality). Sadly, it was 100% wall-to-wall clouds and there was nothing the Seestar could take pictures of. Very disappointed in that, but the Seestar did perfectly track the Sun all day (the clouds parted later in the day) and kept spot on target for more than hour hours.

A more in-depth article about this great little Time Machine will be forthcoming as I use it more and learn its ins and outs.