See the stars in 4K: Vaonis Vespera II smart telescope

Vaonis Vespera II product marketing photo
(Image credit: Vaonis)

What is the Vaonis Vespera II

The world of smart telescopes has grown even larger this year with Vaonis releasing their next generation smart telescope. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV earlier this month, smart telescope manufacturer Vaonis unveiled the significantly upgraded second generation of the Vaonis Vespera, the Vaonis Vespera II, sometimes written as the Vaonis Vespera 2. 

Alongside Vaonis, other smart telescopes were announced or launched at CES. Celestron launched the pricey Celestron Origin, and french manufacturer Unistellar launched the Unistellar Odyssey and Odyssey Pro

The Vespera II is a comparatively more affordable smart scope that offers newcomers to astronomy an extremely simple way to explore the night sky — with just one piece of equipment and a smartphone or tablet app. It takes a just minutes for the Vespera II to orient itself, detect the configuration of the sky and start shooting photos.

Using Vaonis' Singularity app, users can select from a database of 3400 celestial bodies in the cosmos. The Vespera II will automatically slew to it for you to observe and photograph. You can punch in custom coordinates too.

Vaonis Vespera II product marketing photo

The Orion Nebula viewed on a tablet, Vaonis have highlighted there's no post-processed image involced.  (Image credit: Vaonis)

You can download the app and sign up to Singularity by Vaonis to 'create your observatory' before you make a purchase to get a feel for it. It is quick and intuitive and gives information about your location. For example, looking at the app as we write, we know that tonight there will be a 91% full moon, it will be windy and we aren't expecting rain. We can see that the M13 Hercules Cluster will be visible but the Barnard 72 (Snake Nebula) won't be. We can plan our evening of skywatching ahead of time and follow an hour-by-hour (or less) plan to make sure you don't forget to look at something you want to. You can connect up to 10 devices at once so the whole family can collectively enjoy the views on their own devices rather than having to share the same screen.

Vaonis Vespera II product photo on a white background

The Vaonis Vespera II has the same pleasing and modern design as its predecessor. (Image credit: Vaonis)

Aesthetically, the compact and lightweight smart scope features the same futuristic, curvy design that users loved in the original Vespera, but it's what's inside that matters.

Vaonis Vespera II: Tech specs

Key Specs

Optical design: Refractor

Aperture: 2-inches (50 mm)

Focal length: 250mm

Focal ratio: f/5

Total kit weight: 12.96 lbs (5.87kg)

Mount type: Computerized GoTo altazimuth

CMOS Image Sensor: Sony IMX585

It uses clever algorithms to 'harness every photon,' an updated Sony IMX585 8.3-megapixel sensor (replacing the IMX462), and boasts premium optics. In our Vaonis Vespera review, we found the resolution to be pretty uninspiring — at just 2 megapixels the resulting images felt soft. We're delighted to say the resolution has been boosted more than four times to 8.3MP. With Vaonis' patented Live mosaic capture, users can capture up to four times the field of view of the scope and boost the resolution to 24-megapixels. 

To further improve your images the Vespera II features live auto-focus and live image enhancement. The Vespera II cleverly automatically forsakes bad images and uses image-stacking to enhance clarity, in real time. Extra-low dispersion glass is used to ensure image quality across the field of view.

The Vespera II saves the images as RAW files, so you can use a photo editing app to make adjustments to your liking. 

Andromeda galaxy as photographed with the Vaonis Vespera II

The Andromeda Galaxy as seen in 18 megapixels with the Vespera II, captured using live mosaic mode. (Image credit: Vaonis)

We are over the moon to find that Vaonis has abandoned the proprietary cable — in the original model, the connector had to be orientated correctly and the slot was difficult to navigate in the dark. For this release, Vaonis has thankfully converted to a universal USB-C connection. This is especially important because as the battery is rated for just four hours of use, you'll likely want to keep a power bank or power station nearby to keep it topped up.

We think it's strange that Vaonis hasn't included the tripod as part of the purchase. Instead, you have to fork out an extra $100, or $149 for a slightly taller adjustable one. Given that it's targeted at newcomers to astronomy it adds a barrier to an otherwise ready-to-operate, all-in-one device.

When can you get our hands on it?

You can order the Vespera II right now, they began shipping on January 15th, 2024. It costs $1590.

If you haven't already invested in 'traditional' astronomy and astrophotography gear and want to be able to take and share deep space images right away, the Vaonis Vespera II is a good solution. It's much more affordable than the Celestron Origin ($3999) and the Unistellar Odyssey which sits at $2499, but will give you much better results than more budget-friendly models like the DWARFLAB Dwarf II. What's more, it's quicker and (probably) more affordable than starting to build your gear. More importantly, much easier and less time-consuming than mastering the techniques needed to get similar shots to what this device can do for you.

If you're a traditionalist who would prefer a more hands-on approach to skywatching and astrophotography, check out the best telescopes and best cameras for astrophotography.

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Tantse Walter
Contributing Writer

Tantse Walter is a photographer and adventurer that's spent seven years facilitating global adventurous expeditions. She loves getting into the nitty-gritty of sourcing and planning trips. Whether that be for astrophotography location scouting, or just for the love of exploration. Tantse enjoys taking creative, bright and bold photos of people, places, animals and the night sky. Tantse’s photos have been purchased by notable companies such as Ford and Cross Country Trains as well as an upcoming book about the songs, rituals and musical history of Capoeira.