Affordable Active Optics

Katie Curtis
Santa Barbara Instrument Group, pioneer of the first commercially available active-optics for amateur telescopes, has developed the AO-8 ($699) for their popular ST series of self-guiding USB cameras. The AO-8 utilizes a tip-tilt transmissive element to correct for tracking errors and some atmospheric distortions. It requires significantly less back focus than the older mirror-based AO-7. As a result, the AO-8 can be used with off-axis guiders in conjunction with the optional Remote Guide Head ($695), enabling it to guide on fainter stars at rates of up to 10 corrections per second without having to guide through your imaging filters. The AO-8 also offers a larger clear aperture than its predecessor, and it's powered through the proprietary I2C accessory port of any ST-series camera.

Santa Barbara Instrument Group

47-A Castilian Dr.
Santa Barbara, CA 93117

805-571-7244;'s New Product Showcase is a reader service featuring innovative equipment and software of interest to amateur astronomers. The descriptions are based largely on information supplied by the manufacturers or distributors. Sky & Telescope assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of vendors statements. For further information contact the manufacturer or distributor. Announcements should be sent to Not all announcements will be listed.