Shelyak - Alpy 600 Base Module Spectrograph

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ALPY is a new modular product line for spectroscopy. ALPY allows the user to add components as desired with separate spectrograph, guiding module and calibration module.

Manufactured by:
Shelyak Instruments

Product Description

SHELYAK INSTRUMENTS  Alpy 600 Spectrograph

Check out Jim Ferreira's article and photos with the Alpy 600 Spectrograph below:

Alpy 600 CCD mode
ALPY is a new modular product line for spectroscopy. ALPY allows the user to add components as desired with a separate spectrograph, guiding module and calibration module. It is multi-purpose (on a table, at a telescope; slit, slitless, optical fiber connector;  visual use, or with a CCD camera or DSLR...) and very easy to use with minimal adjustments to make. ALPY is an efficient system with a spectral domain from near-UV to near-IR with a resolution around 10A.


At left is the Alpy 600 in CCD camera configuration


The core element of the ALPY product line is the Alpy 600 spectrograph. With a 600gr/mm grism (grating + prism), the Alpy 600 offers compacity, low resolution (resolving power R~600), and dispersion compatible with current CCD cameras in astronomy. Focal ratio is f/5.  The
ALPY product line has been designed around standard mechanical threads  (M42x075, SM1, SM05) to facilitate the integration with your existing instrumentation.
ALPY product line also includes a separate guiding module (mirror slit 23µm) and a calibration module with neon/argon and tungsten lamps. ALPY offers a complete solution for astronomical spectroscopy.  Each ALPY module is independant, making ALPY unique and revolutionnary.
Progressive investment  
You have the choice of the module you want to get based on your budget and need. Upgrade your equipment over time through a sustainable investment. Discover slit based spectroscopy with the Alpy 600 base module which will bring you lot of possible observations on a workbench or at your telescope. Complete your investment with a guiding module to reach out fainter targets and utilize longer exposure time with your CCD camera. Then add a calibration module to get easier and more accurate wavelength calibration (neon/argon) and flats (tungsten).
Beyond modularity between the Alpy 600 spectrograph, guiding module and calibration module, the spectrograph itself is versatile and multi-purpose.
It's versatility allows interface with most CCD cameras with a standard M42x0.75mm thread. A C-mount adapter is available as well as a barlow lens element extending the backfocus and enlarging the spectrum, specially designed for Digital SLRs.
The removable standard slit includes multiple positions (25µm hole; 25µm, 50µm, 100µm or 300µm slits; 5µm tolerance) with a clear position (3mm hole) for a slitless mode.
A fiber connector mounting is also available making the Alpy 600 compatible with our optical fiber eShel solution.
Last but not least, the Alpy 600 is also a visual spectroscope (with or without slit) with an optional widening lens element. Watch for solar spectrum with Alpy 600 alone, or look for stars or nebulae spectra using Alpy 600 as an eyepiece on your telescope (diamètre 31.75mm).
Easy to use
Weight (<200gr, without camera), compacity and modularity makes Alpy 600 very easy to use. The  available guiding module is also very straight forward to use. There are very few adjustments to make.
ALPY product line benefits from Shelyak's experience and expertise in the area of astronomical spectroscopy.  For exemple, Alpy 600 optics have been specially designed for this spectrrograph, allowing an excellent quality spectrum through all the visible domain from near-UV  to near-IR (calcium triplet).
                       Alpy 600 Visual mode            
       Alpy 600 slit
             llustrations above show the Alpy 600 in (left) Visual Mode and (right) Slit Mode

Alpy 600 spectral images in quasi slitless (above) and narrow slit of 23µm using optional Alpy guiding module (below)

The ALPY product line benefits from our experience and expertise in the area of astronomical spectroscopy. For example, the Alpy 600 optics have been specially designed for this spectrograph, giving an excellent quality spectrum through all the visible domain from near-UV (Balmer serie, astonishing H&K lines) to near-IR (calcium triplet).

Lambda max is the wavelength at which the maximum fraction of light is absorbed by a solution. Lambda (λ) is a Greek letter that scientists use as the symbol for wavelength.

Lambda max is the wavelength at which the maximum fraction of light is absorbed by a solution(in this case by Alpy600). Lambda (λ) is a Greek letter, that scientists use as the symbol of wavelength.


Accesories Supplied:

multi-position non reflective slit: 25µm hole, 25µm/50µm/100µm/300µm slits, 3mm hole

  • spectrograph core with 600gr/mm grism, second order filter (cuts around 720nm and above) and collimator lens
  • M42x0.75 camera adapter with objective lens (focus adjustable for CCD back focus: 10.5-21mm)
  • 1.25inch telescope adapter
  • Alpy 600 mechanical body


Shelyak : Alpy 600 spectrograph - first spectra

Below are first spectra with the Alpy 600 using a Stellarvue SV80S APO and The Imaging Source DMK41 video camera, or, Atik ATK16 CCD camera.  Results with the DMK41 camera have been outstanding.  However, the Atik ATK16 CCD camera 8um pixels with the SV80S 480mm FL produces images that are considerably under-sampled.  The resulting spectra contain distorted continuum, primarily on the blue end - in part this is due to the slight curvature ('smile') of the 2D spectra produced by the grating-prism (grism).  The curved spectra traverses several horizontal rows of pixels, but because of under-sampling, the transition is in rough gradient steps.  It may be possible to reduce the under-sampling distortions by slightly defocusing the telescope to enlarge the star on the slit.  Some experimenting is in order.

I did not purchase the Alpy 600 with its guiding module (...eventually).  So far I have been able to center a bright star on the spectrograph slit, then carefully align the 80mm guide scope utilizing the cross-hair reticule function in the PHD guiding software and TIS DMK21 video camera.  Once the guide scope is aligned and locked in I can center fainter stars on the slit, then switch to guiding mode.  Still lots to try and learn.

So far the Alpy 600 is a winner.  Initial setup is pretty straight forward, and well explained in the introduction / instructions on the included CD.  From what I have seen so far, it is a VERY well thought out instrument, the results speak for themselves.

I purchased the Alpy 600 from Woodland Hills Telescopes @ -- helpful, informative service.

Stellarvue SV80S f/6, 80mm guidescope, Losmandy GM8 mount

Flip-mirror, Alpy 600 spectrograph, Atik ATK16 CCD camera


The following are spectroscopy graphs of different stars using the Alpy 600 from Shelyak. The X Axis is the measurement of wavelengths (measured in Angstroms in this case) while the Y Axis represents the number of times the spectrograph instrument detected that wavelength. For example, take a look at the graph below of EZ Cma Wolf Rayet Star. Since these types of stars are losing mass extremely rapidy, these stars tend to have less hydrogen and more helium and nitrogen. In the case of EZ Cma, helium is abudant. If you would rather get the results in nanometers, simply divide the Angstroms number by 10. So therefore He II below would be at 656 nm.

Above, spectra of Wolf-Rayet star EZ Cma with Alpy 600 spectrograph using a SV80S and Atik ATK16 CCD camera. Below is a similar Wolf-Rayet star, WR141, recorded with a Star Analyzer SA100, 100 lines/mm grating, using same scope and camera.  The increase in spectral resolution is clearly apparent in the Alpy 600 spectra above.


Alpha Orionis "Betelgeuse", Alpy 600, SV80S, DMK41 video

Beta Auriga, Alpy 600, SV80S, DMK41 video

Spectra of Orion Nebula core next to Trapezium star groug, Alpy 600, SV80S, DMK41 video

Solar spectra, Alpy 600, SV80S, DMK41 video

Be star Zeta Tauri, Alpy 600, SV80S, DMK41 video














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Name Shelyak - Alpy 600 Base Module Spectrograph
Manufacturer Shelyak Instruments
Model SHE-PF0035
Attachment various
Barlow Lens optional
Camera Adaptable T2 camera interface
CCD M42X0.75mm (C- mount adapter optional)
Focal Ratio f/5
Lo-Res Images resolving power R~600 @ 6563Å
Prisms grism (grating + prism) dispersive element
Spectral Response 3750Å - 7200Å
Telescope Interface as eyepiece (31.75mm dia.)
Use true spectrograph


Review and collect 40 points.
Review by:
The basic unit works better than I had expected but it took some effort to get it working. I am using The Alpy 600 with an SBIG ST-2000 camera. It turns out that the CCD chip in this camera is further back than some of the other brand cameras. In addition, at one time my camera had an RGB CCD and was later replaced with a monochrome chip. As a color camera, the T adapter was designed to be able to have a 1-1/4" UV/IR filter screwed into it. This capability made the T adapter protrude an extra mm or so beyond even the pure monochrome cameras. To get the Alpy to focus is was necessary to remove the locking ring and screw the Alpy in 1/2 turn shy of its full in capability (an use Locktite rather than the locking ring.)

The ISIS software had a steep learning curve. There is no manual or help files - only a tutorial that refers to another tutorial that in turn refers to a third one. It is made slightly more confusing in that even though the tutorials are in English and the screen displays are in English, the figures in the instructions are in French. Many of the included files are in French with no English translations. Eventually I got most of it figured out.

The software would also be more useful if it had a way to print the displays. The only thing that can be printed is the final dispersion figure and this is a three step process. And there was a problem with this. ISIS was designed to interface with gruplot via the pgruplot function. The included CD includes version gnuplot 5.03. Unfortunately the pgruplot was deprecated starting with version 5.0 and I have not been able to change the calling routine in ISIS. After much hair pulling, I gave up and downloaded an older version and it works properly.

So far I only have the basic unit so aligning with a star in slit mode takes so work. I have a separate guide scope piggybacked on my main scope and have had no issues with 10 minute exposures. I do plan to get the guide module in the near future. (Posted on 3/15/2016)
Review by:
I purchased My Alpy600 base module complete with calibration and guide modules in April 2013. I have been using it on a Meade 10”sct. This unit is designed for low resolution spectra with an approximate 4000 Angstrom range. I have absolute high praise for this unit. My imaging sessions begin with taking flats and neon images, and that takes about 5 minutes. The unit is so stable that I can use the neon image for calibrating all spectrum images taken throughout the observing session regardless of where in the sky the targets may be. Since taking flats is so easy, I can take new flats each night. I submit my spectra to ARAS, and I find that they match well with those taken by others. Most of my spectra are of symbiotic stars, but during the summer of 2013 most of my spectra were of NovaDel2013. The Alpy600 performed superbly for this campaign clearly showing nightly changes in spectra as the nova evolved.

As a low resolution spectroscope, it will not show the detailed features in emission lines as will be seen with a high resolution unit like the LHires III. But the advantages include a wider range of wavelengths so that more emission lines can be shown in a single image. There are many uses for low resolution spectroscopy, and this unit is very capable of producing high quality spectra suitable for scientific purposes.

Keith Graham
(Posted on 2/7/2015)
Review by:
This is a versatile and robust intermediate level spectrograph. It is a big step up from the Star Analyzer system, but not quite at the same level of the LHIRES platform. The modular nature allows for as much or little accuracy of final spectral calibration as desired. As a stand alone system the ALPY is quite capable for solar, lunar and other bright celestial object spectral analysis using one of its many slit modes for either visual work, or imaging. It is also capable of obtaining spectra for the many lamp sources available in a lab setting. When combined with the calibration and guiding modules it is capable of obtaining high quality spectra that can be easily calibrated to show spectral features for dimmer objects. It is lightweight, sturdy, and simple to use, and will stands to be a great tool for someone ready to take their next step into spectroscopy. (Posted on 2/4/2015)
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