From a young age, we’re introduced to toys in one way or another. As we get older most of us ditch the toy soldiers or model cars for real ones in order to get to work, where our imagination can sometimes take a back seat. If you’re anything like me, though, you may still have a few old favorites tucked away in your loft – and a recent resurgence in creative home projects has seen people building dioramas to showcase their old (and new) figurines in a new way.
• Get closer to your subjects with the best macro lenses (opens in new tab)
A common goal seems to be creating realistic scenes, with people using air blowers to kick up dirt and dust, or sparklers (outside) to create explosions or fires. Today I’m lucky enough to have my hands on an incredible macro lighting kit from Adaptalux, particularly its Sci-fi Kit that enables me to use a combination of its red and blue lights (white also comes in this pack).
Today I’ll be shooting on my office desk using my computer screen for a dark backdrop, and a Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.
Opening the box from Adaptalux I was immediately invigorated. I often shoot the same type of photography over and over again, so having something new to play with ignited a fire in my creativity. In the past, some new kit has felt overwhelming and needed days to get to grips with it, but this was straight out of the plug-and-play era, and that suits me down to a T.
I simply grabbed the LED hub (officially called the Control Pod 3.0), attached a couple of lighting arms, and boom – glorious red and blue lighting to my model (The Walking Dead‘s Rick Grimes) to bask in. Everything simply clicks into place with strong magnets, and the lighting arms are strong but flexible to keep your lighting exactly where you left it as you compose your shot.
Feeling pretty inspired by the prospect of shooting an entirely new genre of photography, and by how easy this was to set up, I found myself shooting some decent images inside just a few minutes of originally opening up the box.
Once you are set up, it’s pretty easy to control everything you need; one quick press on the Control Hub’s only button made the red light flash, and with the single dial around the button I could increase or decrease the power. Another short press would take me straight across to the blue light for any minor adjustments, and the diffusers could come on and off as I please.
Using magnets is such a great move – I personally hate screwing fixtures together only to get something cross-thread or stuck halfway on or off.
The main control hub will enable you to connect up to five lighting arms at any one time, so if your scene is lacking some natural tone you could bring in some white light to balance it out. All the arms will enable you to twist the bulb end for a wider or narrower spread of light, giving you very fine control of everything happening in the shot.
Although the Sci-fi Kit comes with white, red and blue lights, other colors are available as a single purchase if you wish to enhance your collection. Having a lower output meant that I could retain detail everywhere and set the perfect mood; I tried macro photography once before with flash and found it was too powerful, creating harsh highlights.
The main takeaway here for me is not just how well crafted and on point for its user base this Adaptalux kit is, but the fact that it has inspired me to easily delve into a totally new genre of photography and actually enjoy using it. Sometimes equipment can feel like a gimmick, but this felt like a necessity to start truly exploring the world of macro photography.
Adaptalux adds Xenon Flash Arms to lighting system (opens in new tab) Canon RF 100mm Macro tips (opens in new tab)
The U.S Park Service has a hard time dealing with especially large tracts of natural beauty. It’s more than a little difficult to manage the hundreds of thousands of acres that fall within national parks like Kings Canyon or Yosemite, and they only constitute small fractions of the surrounding wilderness.
Take the Rocky Mountains, for example. The Rockies stretch from the upper reaches of New Mexico, through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, and British Columbia. Each peak and valley holds precious and stunning natural wonders found nowhere else on Earth, but creating a national park of that size would be simply impossible.
So, instead, Colorado has Rocky Mountain National Park, a microcosm of the sprawling range which offers tourists, climbers, and hikers a glimpse of the treasures hidden between and atop the labyrinthine peaks. Yet with all the pomp and glamor—and of course the name—of Rocky Mountain National Park, other protected lands in the range are overlooked. This a good thing from a conservational standpoint, but it also means a wealth of unseen scenery waiting for the curious and the dedicated.
King among these lesser-known tracts is the Maroon Bells Wilderness, 283 square miles of emerald valleys, crystalline lakes, dizzying passes, and some of the highest summits on the continent. Straddling Gunnison and White River National Forests and only ten miles from Aspen, it is one of the best-kept secrets of the Rockies.
Maroon Bells Geology
Like the rest of the Rockies, the mountains of the Maroon Bells Wilderness were formed by the subduction of a number of tectonic plates beneath North America between 80 and 55 million years ago. This literally crumpled the landscape, thrusting up a huge train of mountains spanning more than 3,000 miles.
When people talk about the Maroon Bells, they’re usually referring to the two highest peaks of the wilderness, which also happen to be the most picturesque. Maroon Peak (14,163 ft.) and North Maroon Peak (14,019 ft.) are two of Colorado’s famous “fourteeners” which stand side by side in the middle of the park. Both are composed of a unique variety of mudstone, a family of sedimentary rocks formed by the cementation of layers of mud or clay over eons. The specific type of stone present in the two peaks has a striking reddish-purple hue, hence their names. Mudstone is crumbly and fractures easily, making it challenging and dangerous to climb, but it’s also responsible for the unusual and eye-catching striations on their faces.
The wilderness also boasts a collection of jewellike alpine lakes, fed by glacial melt and rainwater and slowly draining, via small creeks and subterranean seepage into the larger rivers below. Each valley in the park is encircled by high and precipitous ridges, transforming each vale and glade in its own private sanctuary, its sapphire pools and verdant gardens of wildflowers bounded by formidable talus slopes and icy towers above.
Endless Aspen Trees
Photography opportunities around Maroon Bells and all throughout Colorado are absolutely endless. Especially in the Spring and the Fall, the endless hillsides full of Aspen trees provide beauty around every corner. Photographing trees is one of my favorite things to do and there are certainly no shortage of amazing trees all across the state.
Aspen trees are found across most of North America, from Canada all the way down to Mexico, so that’s not necessarily going to narrow down your options. Birch trees, however, are generally only found in the eastern United States and parts of Canada. So, if you’re out West, the golden leaves waving at you probably belong to an aspen.
Activities Around Maroon Bells
Maroon Bells offers all the staple recreational activities afforded elsewhere in the Rockies, with an added bonus of seclusion compared with some of the more popular areas nearby.
Hiking is the main attraction. The Maroon Bells Wilderness boasts an extensive network of trails providing access to all its major attractions and hidden gems. Difficulty ranges from the relaxing promenade around Maroon Lake to the challenging and comprehensive Four-Pass Loop. Because of the numerous steep mountain ridges in the park, many of the harder trails require fording passes as high as 12,500 feet. Even with the smaller size of the park, exploring it all is no easy feat.
Climbing is another popular activity in the wilderness, as it is all across the Rockies. The majority of experienced climbers come to Maroon Bells for its eponymous peaks. A popular project across Colorado is to summit all the “fourteeners” in the state—all the peaks whose elevations surpass 14,000 feet. Of the fifty-eight fourteeners in Colorado, Maroon Peak holds 27th place, and North Maroon Peak claims 50th. This might seem to imply a significant difference in height, but one must remember the tallest fourteener in the state, Mount Elbert, is only 14,439 feet. Of course, other types of climbing besides summiting are also popular, and many visit the area to practice bouldering and other more technical forms of the sport.
The Maroon Bells Wilderness also offers ample opportunities for skiing during the winter months. Once the major roads into and around the park become impassable to cars, Maroon Creek Road becomes transformed into a Nordic-style ski slope for use by the public. This 6.2-mile stretch offers a 1400-foot change in elevation, a gentle grade easy and accessible for all skill-types. The only obstacle to be aware of is the equally popular snowmobile tours which share the road. Other opportunities for skiing and snowboarding are offered by the mountainous slopes of the park, but these must be reached by foot though miles of snow and ice, and may be leagues away from the nearest road or home—challenges only to be attempted by those with significant experience.
Other activities include camping for the purposes of sightseeing, backpacking, skiing, or climbing; mountain biking is allowed on some of the more level and popular trails; fishing is permitted in lakes and streams with a proper license; finally, stargazing and astrophotography is possible everywhere in the park, but best at the higher elevations and on clear nights.
Ten miles to the northeast of Maroon Bells stands Aspen, and any trip to one should necessarily include the other.
Aspen was founded as a silver-mining frontier town back in 1879. During its first three decades, the town boomed and could soon boast a hospital, police department, opera house, and even electricity. The settlement slumped when the productivity of the mines waned, but was revived in the 1930s as a skiing destination; an industry which still thrives today.
Aspen is known across the world for its snow sporting opportunities and facilities. Chief among these is the Aspen Snowmass, a massive winter sports complex and resort which has been home to the WInter X-Games since 2002. The four major divisions of the complex—Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass, are major training grounds for amateur and professional skiers and snowboarders from all across the globe.
Beyond the snow, hiking and climbing are also popular in the peaks around Aspen, and the summer months see no fewer visitors than in winter. Another draw is, of course, the city itself. Aspen is home to dozens of local artists, from painters and potters to fine art photographers. Much of this art can be viewed and purchased from the array of excellent local galleries, celebrating the beauty and uniqueness of the surrounding landscape.
If you plan to visit the Maroon Bells, it’s more than likely Aspen will be your home-base. If so, consider taking in the sights and attractions of this alpine hamlet as well as the wilderness beyond.
Despite its lower visitation than places like Rocky Mountain National Park, the Maroon Bells Wilderness suffers no shortage of adventure or scenery. Back in the 1950s, it proved worthy of the lens of Ansel Adams in his aptly named Maroon Bells, and has certainly lost none of its majesty since then. Whether passing through Aspen or even just crossing the Rockies in general, this secluded wild is well-worth the journey.
La gran tormenta de polvo que amenazaba a la continuidad de la misión Insight de la NASA comienza a dar muestras de debilitamiento con el cambio de estación en el planeta rojo.
Tras un mes de nerviosismo en la agencia espacial por el desarrollo de esta tormenta debido a que en ocasiones suelen ser intensas y muy persistentes parece que poco a poco se va dispersando y los paneles solares de las sonda vuelven a recibir más luz solar.
Recordemos que una gran tormenta global de polvo fue la causante de que en 2018 la misión Opportunity llegase a su fin. Los rovers Curiosity y Perseverance no corrían riesgo ya que obtienen su energía de sus generadores por radioisótopos (MMRTG), pero la sonda Insight si que es dependiente de la energía solar.
Grandes tormentas de polvo que cubren todo el planeta
Algunas tormentas de polvo locales se producen durante cualquier época del año marciano, pero las tormentas más grandes se vuelven más comunes a medida que finaliza el verano en el hemisferio sur, llegando a convertirse en enormes tormentas globales que afectan a todo el planeta. Esto fue lo que sucedió en la pasada oposición de Marte en 2020 en la que una gran tormenta de polvo cubrió la totalidad del planeta privándonos de las mejores imágenes justo cuando estábamos más cerca.
Debido a los desequilibrios de calor producidos en los cambios de estación y a la menor gravedad y densidad de la atmósfera marciana las tormentas de polvo además de globales suelen ser muy duraderas.
Los científicos creen poco probable que veamos otra gran tormenta de polvo este año en Marte así que parece que podremos disfrutar del planeta rojo durante estas semanas próximas a su próxima oposición, el 8 de diciembre. Recordad que es el mejor momento para apuntar nuestros telescopios hacia el planeta rojo e intentar observar sus casquetes polares, valles y planicies.
Numerosos astrónomos aficionados llevan ya varios días siguiendo la evolución del acercamiento de Marte y habían constatado que la gran tormenta de polvo era notable en sus fotografías planetarias. Esperamos que el tiempo mejore y poder empezar a hacer seguimiento de esta nueva oposición marciana.
Pergear has announced the arrival of the ultra-compact TTartisan 27mm F2.8 Autofocus Lens For Fujifilm cameras. The new lens features a pancake design with a 41mm equivalent focal length, which makes it an ideal choice for everyday use.
What marks this lens out is the inclusion of a fast autofocus system with manual override for those that want. The lens’s aperture is also adjustable, utilising the aperture ring that is an integral part of the lens barrel.
Ensuring that the lens is fully suitable for a huge range of photographic genres, from landscapes and portraits to the street, the lens incorporates an aperture range between f/1.2 to f/16.
Running through a few of the main features of the new lens. The artisan 27mm F2.8 Autofocus has been designed for APS-C-format FUJIFILM X-mount mirrorless cameras, and considering the camera’s crop factor; this provides a 41mm equivalent focal length.
Design-wise the lens has been developed to be as compact as possible, taking on the everyday pancake lens look and style. This low profile makes it an ideal choice as an everyday lens.
To ensure you get the shot, the lens features a bright f/2.8 maximum aperture that will enable you to capture creative images with plenty of control over the depth of field and work in lower light conditions where you need as much light passing through the lens as possible.
The internal makeup of the lens sees 6 elements in 5 groups, including 2 high refraction index lenses, which can effectively suppress colour difference and control spherical aberrations. In addition to the lens, optics is a 7-blade diaphragm that helps to contribute to a smooth bokeh quality.
Finally, the optical design renders a 56° angle of view to produce a distinct visual. This FOV makes the lens perfect for still-lifes, close-ups, streets, and travel photography.
The artisan 27mm F2.8 Autofocus Lens For Fuji Amazon Link is available now.
Oct. 29—The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve will begin accepting the Japan Credit Bureau (JCB ) credit card for online reservations and in-person admission fees in November, according to city officials.
Starting Tuesday, Hanauma Bay’s advance online reservation system at will accept the JCB credit card for payment, along with Visa and Mastercard, for entries that begin on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the JCB credit card will also be accepted for in-person admission payments.
The nature preserve is regularly closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Concessions operating within the nature preserve will not accept the JCB credit card as they are not expanding their forms of acceptable payment.
The change was made in anticipation of Japanese tourists returning to Hawaii in coordination with Gov. David Ige’s office, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s office, and multiple city agencies including the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Prior to the pandemic, Hanauma Bay, which remains a popular tourist destination, drew an average of 3, 000 visitors a day.
In 2020, city officials temporarily closed the preserve for more than eight months due to pandemic-related restrictions, then reopened it in December, with a new reservation system that takes about half the number of daily visitors to strike a balance between conservation goals and public recreation.
The online payments are non-refundable, unless the nature preserve is closed due to unforeseen circumstances, officials said. The reservations are non-transferable, and a matching, valid photo ID is required prior to entry.
Reservations and payments can be made for up to 10 people at a time, consisting of no more than five children and /or five adults. Admission is free for keiki ages 12 and under and Hawaii residents with a valid photo ID.
Hawaii residents may also continue to access the nature preserve without a reservation for the first two hours of operation, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., Wednesdays through Sundays.
Visit the nature preserve’s official website at for more information.
Perfectly silent and with zero backlash. Last night I finished calibrating and allowing the mount to carry the full weight of all scopes I’m using and still perfectly silent and smooth. I’m hoping for some great and starry nights ahead of me soon.
The gap in the foreground where the timing belt will come through
R.A. motor in a close up image
R.A. axis opening with the LED-light in the background
Rowan Astronomy Worm Mount
Rowan Astronomy Worm Mount middle and right. The old worm mount case on the left and the lubricant used to re-lubricate the screw
Side by side comparison of worm mount cases
The mount split in DEC and RA halfs
The fascination of star gazing had already started during the very first years of my childhood. I was looking up at the night sky with my grandfather every summer night, studying constellations, the phases of the moon cycle, counting satellite passages and by using his binoculars to discover globular clusters of stars. Equipped with star maps from his home-library I was gradually discovering more and more of this fascinating world we call universe.
Even though years went by, the interest and fascination of cosmos had never left me… I found myself occupied with many other things before astronomy finally became my main hobby in recent years.
I was born in Stockholm, Sweden 1979 and grew for the most part of my childhood years in Greece. Later I’ve studied physics at Lund’s university and was hoping to continue with astronomy. At my free time I was an active amateur astronomer in South Sweden, Lund. At some point I was also appointed as chief of observatory for the Tycho Brahe Astronomy Society in Lund.
Circumstances in life led me to move with my family to California. Today I’m working as a sofrware developer within the aviation industry and weather systems for airports. During my off-time, I spend most of my time with my wife Melissa and our daughters.
My main hobbies are astronomy, astrophotography, game development and I was also a member of several astronomy societies in south Sweden but time was never enough to continue being an active member.
This blog is dedicated to my family (Melissa, Vanita and Lena Grace), our friends and to all of you who share the same fascination towards the beauty of this science and all the mysteries yet to be revealed by our constant discoveries!
It was while taking a weekend trip to a college friend’s home that he first met Tierney… who juuuust so happened to be his friend’s… sister. Immediately, Tom was attracted to her. But he *also* knew this totally violated guy code – being into your friend’s sister, that is.
But after getting his friend’s stamp of approval to reach out to Tierney, he did. Their friendship formed, but as they both joke now “it was a SLOW burn.”
However, as time passed, their relationship grew… and grew… and grew. Into something more. Into something neither of them could deny. Through Tierney’s med school in Pittsburg and Tom’s ranger school in Anchorage, Alaska, they’ve made it work and found a way to balance school, responsibilities, and most importantly: time together. They’ve chosen each other through it all, no matter the obstacle, and I have no doubt that’s what makes them so strong as a couple now!
While visiting Tom in Savannah, they visited one of their favorite parks. It was there that Tom asked Tierney to be his wife… then surprised her by having their parents and her brother there afterwards to celebrate IN PERSON. <3
Tom & Tierney, I’m so excited and honored to be your wedding photographer and to have you two in front of my camera!! I can’t wait to document your day and am counting downnnn to May! For now, enjoy a few of my favorites from your engagement session!! Xo
For Photographers: Love creamy skintones & soft colors? Learn to edit light & airy here!
Hold on, isn’t Black Friday still weeks away? That’s what we thought. But Best Buy is claiming to have started its Black Friday sale almost a month early, and it has some massive TV deals. The biggest deal is the LG Class A2 48-inch OLED 4K smart TV for $1,299.99 $569.99 (opens in new tab) – a massive saving of $720.
We highly rate LG as a TV brand, and the OLED 4K display on this option offers super-rich colours and punchy contrast. The TV comes with built-in access to Netflix, Prime Video, the Apple TV app, Disney+, HBO Max and more than 300+ free LG Channels. WebOS 22 allows the customisation of separate accounts for family members, and you can easily search with voice control on the LG Magic Remote.
Want a larger or smaller screen? No problem because there are discounts on other sizes too. Just click through on the link below and select the size you’re after. See below for more options, or see our regular guide to the best TVs.
The best Best Buy TV early Black Friday TV deal in the US
Not found what you want? Here are some more deals on TVs wherever you are in the world…
One of the most common questions I get is “what portable power source do you use for astrophotography”. This is a hot topic in the astrophotography community, and there are many options to consider for powering your gear at night.
When deciding on an off-grid power station, you need to think about things like battery life, power output, power input charging, and the number and types of output ports. There is no one-size-fits-all option, as budget and weight come into play as you explore the higher-end options.
If you’ve ever browsed the Portable Power Stations on Amazon, you’ll know that there are literally hundreds of options to choose from. However, choosing the right one for your telescope and astrophotography purposes requires a slightly different approach.
Which portable power station is best for astrophotography in the field?
Whether charging via solar panels when you are off-grid is important to you, or you need a unit that can save your butt during a power outage – there is an option for you. If you enjoying comparing features and prices, selecting the best portable power station for your astrophotography needs is actually kind of fun.
In this article, I’ll describe my experiences using a premium portable power station, and provide a number of alternatives suggested by astrophotographers around the world.
Feel free to leave a comment describing the portable power station you use, to help create a complete resource for astrophotographers. Just like everything else in this hobby, there are many options to choose from at various price points.
The Need for a Portable Power Station
When taking pictures of space from the backyard, I plug into household AC power, but what about when I travel to a dark sky location? Milky Way photography with a DSLR and star tracker is one thing, but running a robust deep-sky imaging kit away from home is another.
There is a good chance, that if you’re an amateur astrophotographer, at some point you will need to invest in a quality portable power station. Something that can reliably power your astronomy telescope and accessories throughout the night.
Portable power stations are essential while camping.
Visual observers sometimes need power for a goto computerized mount and maybe a few dew heaters, but astrophotographers? We need to power anywhere from 3 to 17 devices (or more) and if even one of them fails, you can kiss your precious picture goodbye.
Thankfully, today’s portable power stations are equipped with many output ports, including dedicated AC and DC ports and multiple USB types. Some of them even include integrated wireless charging areas to charge your phone.
Here are some of the potential devices you will need to power on your astrophotography setup:
Powered Devices for Astrophotography
In the following video, I provide an overview and real-world experiences using the brand new Anker 757 Portable Power Station. Anker asked that I provide an “astrophotographer’s perspective” of their new mobile power station.
This is a great option to consider if you need a serious power station that can handle a wide variety of devices. If you are running a simple setup in the field, this type of portable power may be overkill for your astrophotography needs.
This large 1500W power station can power a robust setup for multiple nights.
Portable Power Station vs. a DIY Solution
The Anker 757 Portable Power Station is a fantastic unit, capable of powering several devices for an extended period of time. However, many amateur astrophotographers believe that it is more cost-effective to just “build your own” DIY power supply using a deep cycle marine battery.
There are some serious cost savings if you take this route, and there are many great how-to tutorials available online to build one. To build one you will need:
A sealed deep cycle marine batteries
DC to AC power inverter
Unfortunately for me, I have not had much luck with a DIY deep cycle marine battery unit (yes, I built one several years ago). My poor experience taking this route is likely due to the fact that I have zero experience in the field of electrical or mechanical engineering. It seems that I am the exception in the astrophotography crowd.
As I mentioned in the video, bulletproof reliability is critical to me, and I am willing to pay a little extra for it. The all-in-one package that Anker has created is impressive and is a smart option for anyone willing to pay the added cost.
Here is an example of someone who built their own portable power station using a mix of components. If you’re up to the task of taking on projects like this, you can really save some money. Again, this is beyond my personal skill set, but it’s an option.
Video: How to Make a Portable Power Station
A Portable Power Station for your Telescope
To me, the most important feature of a portable power station for astrophotography is reliability. It also has to have enough power to go at least an entire night (or 2) before needing to be charged.
It also needs to have enough output ports for all of the astrophotography accessories I need to plug in from USB-powered dew-heaters to my laptop charger.
If the portable power station is not up to the task of providing a constant source of power to my rig for an entire night without interruption, it’s useless to me. Even a brief outage means I lose the connection to my telescope mount, the autoguiding goes nuts, and I squander a precious clear sky.
I’d rather run a 200-foot extension cord than risk a battery that flickers in and out. I’ve had this happen before, and it’s absolutely infuriating. The good news is, that most of the astrophotography gear we all use does not consume a lot of power, with a few exceptions of course.
Anker 757 PowerHouse
I tested Anker’s flagship 1500 Watt power station to run my deep-sky astrophotography rig, the 757 PowerHouse. It’s pretty heavy (44 pounds), but the built-in handles make it a lot more manageable.
The 757 uses premium LFP (LiFePO4) batteries, and it can charge from 0% to 80% in about an hour. It’s a slick package made with an automotive-grade aluminum frame. It’s vibration and temperature resistant, and here’s an important one, it’s silent.
The Anker 757 PowerHouse is a 1500W (1228Wh) power station with LPF (LiFeP04) batteries and 13 ports to connect various devices.
There are 13 ports in total to power everything you need for your astrophotography imaging rig. There is 1 “car-socket style” DC port which you might use for your computerized telescope mount.
I still use a DC connection for my Sky-Watcher EQ-6 Pro equatorial mount, so I was pleased to see it there. The rest of my astrophotography equipment is powered by the AC and USB outputs on the power station.
I like to plug in things like a 12V 4A power supply for my ASIAIR Plus, or Celestron NexStar 8SE into the AC output ports. The USB-A ports are perfect for my USB-powered dew heater bands, although you’ll need to make sure that you have long cords to reach the power station from the objective of the telescope.
Those of you with laptops, cooled dedicated astronomy cameras, and autofocusers will have more than enough power to play with for about 2 straight nights (depending on usage and temperature).
When running an advanced astrophotography setup including my Sky-Watcher EQ8-R Pro mount, cooled camera, and dew heaters, the 757 PowerHouse had 45% power left after 1 full night.
One thing I should note – if you’re using the power station to power your rig, do not use “power-saving mode”. This is designed to turn off when your device is fully charged, which is not applicable when powering your equatorial mount for an entire night.
AC Output (Bypass Mode): 100-120V~ 12A Max, 50Hz/60Hz, 1440W Max
AC Output (Inverter Mode): 110V~ 13.64A, 50Hz/60Hz, 1500W Max
USB-A Output: 5V⎓2.4A ( 2.4A Max Per Port )
Car Charger Output: 12V⎓10A
Discharging Temperature: -4°F-104°F / -20°C-40°C
Charging Temperature: 32°F-104°F / 0°C-40°C
The light bar is handy to have when you’re off-grid, and I am happy to see that it is a warm color temperature and that it is soft. A lot of the lights on portable battery packs use hyper-white, blinding LEDs. This one is a warm, orange color.
However, I wish that there was a red light option to protect your night vision even better. I also wish that clicking the display button for a second time (when it’s on) turned it off, but it doesn’t. So, you may want to cover this up with tape if you are at a star party or a gathering where any amount of light needs to be shielded.
The manual states that the operating temperatures should be between 32 and 100 Fahrenheit – or 0 – 40 Celsius. That definitely puts a limit on the times of year you can use this power station, and it’s something to consider.
I use a portable power station to run my Celestron NexStar 8SE while camping.
Smaller Options for Astrophotography
Jackery Explorer 500
If you’re on a budget and prefer to keep your power station light and portable, the Jackery Explorer 500 Portable Power Station is a great option to consider. This power station weighs just 13 pounds and is one of the lightest and most portable rechargeable lithium battery generators on the market.
Jackery Explorer 500
The Jackery Explorer 500 has a 518 watt-hour (24Ah, 21.6V) lithium-ion battery pack and a pure sine wave inverter. It includes 1 AC outlet, 3 USB-A ports, 2 DC ports, and 1 car socket. Jackery also offers a smaller version with less wattage (Explorer 240) for maximum portability.
Bluetti EB3A Solar Generator
The Bluetti EB3A is another portable power station to consider. This one only weighs 10 pounds, yet it has a 268.8Wh capacity and features an impressive 9 output ports. This unit was named the “Best value portable power station” on CNET’s list of Best Portable Power Stations.
This power station can be charged using the optional Bluetti solar panel, and even has a dedicated mobile app to monitor battery levels and output information. The Bluetti EB3A is an impressive unit that I hope to experience firsthand in the future.
If you need a lot of power, have a look at the Bluetti AC200P. This monster weighs 60 pounds and offers a whopping 2000 watts of power!
Togo Power Advance 350
The Togo Power Advance 350 was specifically designed for charging laptops, mini-cooler, drone, and other outdoor electronics. With 330W, it has more than enough power to handle running your astronomy gear for an entire night.
The AC pure Sine Wave outputs will provide clean power to your devices. It features 8 output ports in total, including 2 handy 12V 10A DC ports for powering your astrophotography devices like the ZWO ASIAIR, and/or dedicated astronomy camera.
This unit can be charged using a solar panel in about 5-8 hours on the road, and also features a 10w wireless charging area for your smartphone.
Togo Power Advance 350
There have never been so many great portable power stations available to choose from. The price, wattage, and the number of ports on these units vary widely. The Anker 757 PowerHouse is an excellent choice, in my opinion, if you’re willing to pay extra for a heavy-duty power station.
The car battery booster-style packs I purchased from the hardware store in the past, were a huge letdown. All of them would hold less and less of a charge over time, and would unexpectedly shut off in the middle of an imaging session. Thankfully, portable power stations have come a long way since then, and are much more reliable.
I know that a lot of you have built your own DIY power supply consisting of a marine battery, and an inverter. If you enjoy that type of thing (and know what you’re doing), by all means, go for it. You’ll likely save some money and get to work on a fun project.
If you are more comfortable in the office than in the shop (like me), one of the many fantastic pre-built portable power stations is likely a better fit, and worth the added cost.
Be sure to choose a unit that has dedicated output ports for the astrophotography equipment you use most, and that it can reliably power your rig for at least 1 entire night before requiring a recharge.
For now, I’ll continue using the Anker 757 PowerHouse on my astrophotography and camping adventures, and plan on getting a lot of use out of it for several years. I hope that this article was useful to you and that you have a better understanding of the options available in 2022.
Even More Options to Consider
Here is a list of options provided by the AstroBackyard community on YouTube and Facebook:
Eden joined 360Cities three years ago. Since then he has published almost 300 360º videos making him one of our more prolific 360º video contributors.
Thanks to his work, you can travel in time and visit Notre Dame in Paris and other wonders and cities like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher or the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, canals of Amsterdam, the Colosseum in Rome, Piazza San Marco in Venice, Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, the Christ the Redeemer Monument in Rio De Janeiro, and from the inside of the Louver Pyramid.
Don’t miss the chance to travel the world by visiting Eden’s profile page. Check out his videos in VR too!