Frequently Asked Questions
- How quickly do you ship?
- Have you ever had trouble delivering internationally?
- How long until my order arrives?
- How does aligning with the laser work?
- Does the motor vibrate and interfere with imaging at all?
- What is periodic error and how does the Nyx Tracker perform?
- Will I be able to take pictures at 300 mm focal length using the Nyx Tracker?
- How must the Nyx Tracker be oriented when using?
- Is it possible to attach a scope or reticle if I am in an area where I can't use the laser?
If you have a question that you don't see answered here, on the Tips & Tutorials page, or on the product page, don't hesitate to email me!
All orders are shipped within 2 business days unless specifically noted on the product page or via the announcement bar at the top of the home page.
No. Dozens of international shipments to a variety of countries have all arrived safely.
Domestic US shipments usually arrive within 3 business days, but may take up to 10 at times of high postal volume (holidays) and other extenuating circumstances (weather, worker strikes, etc).
International shipments usually arrive within 10 business days. During the holidays, a shipment to a distant country (Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand) may take up to three weeks.
The 5 mW green laser illuminates all the particles in the air in its path, creating what looks like a light saber in the sky. This light saber is essentially a bore sight made of green photons that is infinite in length. Where this boresight "ends," or appears to point, is the position in the sky to which the tracker is aligned.
By standing anywhere near the laser, you're looking down the boresight, since the distance between you and the axis of the laser is negligible compared to the length of the boresight. No matter where you are standing, so long as you can see the laser boresight, you can see where the tracker is aligned.
The motor produces very small vibrations as it turns, but the impact to imaging is nonexistent. It is literally in the noise - periodic error and stability are orders of magnitude larger contributors to tracking error.
Periodic error is the amount of pointing variation over the course of a tracker's rotational cycle, due mainly to fabrication tolerance variations in the driving mechanism. Depending on the driving mechanism, this cycle can be 2 minutes or half an hour. After alignment and stability, periodic error is the largest source of error in a tracking mount.
Periodic error is most easily measured by intentionally misaligning the tracker and exposing for many tracking cycles, then measuring the pixels between the peaks and valleys of the resulting sinusoidal path. The Nyx Tracker's tracking cycle is approximately 2 minutes with an average periodic error of 115 arcseconds. This table shows how this performance compares to other popular trackers on the market.
Nyx Tracker Periodic Error
The Nyx Tracker is designed for widefield astrophotography. Deep Sky imaging requires a heavier, more expensive tracking mount to be very successful. I recommend users stick to less than 100 mm with the Nyx Tracker until you've gained experience. With good alignment and skill you can get useful exposures out to 200 mm, but if you're aiming for anything above above that, you'll want to invest in a more expensive mount. The Star Adventurer (~$350 for the astro package) is a popular one I recommend. But if widefield is what you're after, the Nyx Tracker will serve you well.
There is no required orientation of the tracker itself, so long as the laser is pointed at the celestial pole! Some examples of Nyx Tracker setups I have used for imaging and testing are seen below.
Yes! If imaging in the vicinity of an airport or at a star party where others are imaging, you probably shouldn't use the laser. You can buy any finderscope, polar scope, or reticle that can be fastened to the tracker and adjust it for use: fasten it to either the top or bottom wood piece (which one doesn't matter), then turn on the laser in a place that's ok to do so. Align your scope to the dot projected by the laser at least 100 feet away. That should suffice, but if imaging at longer focal lengths you may have to make fine adjustments once you see results on the sky.