The company Unistellar is developing a small telescope called the evScope that includes an active light amplification system that greatly brightens and sharpens images:

Turn the Amplified Vision ON and the system will start to accumulate light from the objects you are viewing all the while projecting it directly into the eyepiece of the telescope: the image is progressively intensified and in a matter of seconds colors and shapes of galaxies and nebulae, invisible in normal telescopes, will appear. Turn Field Recognition ON and the system will recognize and name the objects in the field !

More about the evScope in New Telescope “Gives Back the Sky” to City-Dwellers – Scientific American Blog Network

Called the “eVscope” (pronounced Ee-Vee Scope) for short, Unistellar’s product outwardly appears to be just a typical 4.5-inch Newtonian reflector—a simple small telescope that, along with its tripod, easily fits inside a backpack. But a peek through its eyepiece reveals the eVscope’s power: Using a proprietary system of sensors, optics and specialized software, the telescope can amplify and display the accumulated light from a faint target over time, stacking up and processing hundreds of images to correct for instrumental jitter and smeared exposures to build up vivid, sharp views that rival those from far larger and more expensive equipment. And, as Marchis intends to show with his demonstration from a Brooklyn graveyard, the technology even works under poor viewing conditions—such as in and around New York City, where the glare of city lights is so oppressive that even on clear nights one can practically count on fingers and toes all the stars visible to the naked eye. (The technology works so well, in fact, that Unistellar’s eVscope has managed to capture and display images of faraway Pluto in its eyepiece as a dim and distant dot hanging in the light-polluted skies over Marseilles, France, and San Francisco.) 

The evScope is sensitive enough for amateurs to do real science with it. The company plans to encourage citizen science projects with the device:

Through a partnership with the SETI Institute, eVscope users will have the option of automatically uploading their observations to an online database for use by amateur and professional astronomers alike. “We’ll build it up slowly, with a thousand eVscopes providing millions of frames for any given region of sky that can be combined to get good signal to noise,” Marchis says. “We could use it to search for Earth-threatening asteroids and comets, stellar occultations, supernovae, variable stars; maybe even things we can scarcely imagine—a flash of light, a laser pulse from another cosmic civilization? Who knows what we might find—it’s not like we have been observing the sky continuously at these magnitudes.”

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Unistellar plans to begin selling the evScope in 2018.

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