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A whole different animal

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#1 Mary


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Posted 09 January 2013 - 03:17 PM

Ever since I've started observing I have mostly owned and used refractors. A newt or dob a few times and then decided to test the mak waters. More than anything, just to get experience on a different type of telescope. I took a not very expensive plunge into a 127mm Orion Apex. I had planned to mount it on the Vixen Portamount that I already had. When I first viewed thru the mak, I hated it, just absolutely hated it. I put it back in it's case and it sat in the closet untouched for many months. After throwing out my back a couple of times and getting a new patio door which greatly affected my getting my equipment out with any ease, and the upcoming season of cold, ice and snow, I decided to get the little 127 mak out again. Yes, I have a few small refractors, but I must say that I have been spoiled by the color-free views of my Lomo and NP101. I figured the little mak might give me the best of both worlds. Of course, the much narrower field of view was the biggest obstacle to overcome, so I decided to stick with the moon, the planets and some double stars. I have used this very small and easy set-up for several months now and I have to say that the experience has been enjoyable and rewarding. It's very easy for me to carry the rig out without any manuvering thru the door. I don't have to worry about scope swinging as I carry it, there are certainly no balance issues and best of all, color free viewing. While the image of Jupiter is softer than that of my refractors, it doesn't bother me that much anymore. I have enjoyed observing several of Jupiter's moons transits and also the GRS transits. When the seeing is good, I am really impressed with how wonderful Jupiter appears! Belts, bands, colors, barges and festoons are truly a sight to behold!

While I will most likely never part with my refractors, the little mak has earned my respect and it's place in my arsenal. I have more than gotten my $400 dollars worth! And my back has not complained in a long time! :bow:


#2 Astrojensen


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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:00 PM

Sometimes, small is big!

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#3 KerryR



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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:10 PM

That's pretty much exactly my experience, same scope, same alt az head.

Not the best scope out there, but there's very little available that's so light, so easily mounted adequately, and easily moved out the door... for the price.

#4 Eddgie


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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:05 PM

This is always the case with the MCT and SCT designs. They are not in direct competition with similar sized refractors in terms of performance, but more from their size and ergonomics.

It is the same with SCTs. Per inch of aperture, they have to be bigger to match the performance of a refractor, but they can make a big aperture in a small package.

My EdgeHD 8" is mounted on a CG5 and goes out the door in two trips.

My 6" APO does a bit better on planets, but the counterweight I need weighs more than my EdgeHD8"!

And the total weight of the 6" APO, Counterweights, and mount is 150 lbs! This is almost three times the weight of the EdgeHD 8" and mount.

SCTs and MCTs are highly biased towards packaging and price, and it has worked well. Tens of thousands of C8s have been sold over the decades, vs maybe small fraction of the number of 6" APOs.

Its all about packaing.

#5 pogobbler


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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:41 AM

Of course, the much narrower field of view was the biggest obstacle to overcome, so I decided to stick with the moon, the planets and some double stars.

They are wonderfully portable for a 5" scope, aren't they? But just because the field of view is relatively narrow, don't give up on deep sky objects with it just yet. Yes, it's not at all ideal for the Andromeda galaxy or the Pleiades, but there are still a lot lot lot of deep sky objects that will fit in the fov just fine. Though I've scopes with both a wider fov and scopes with larger apertures, I still use my Meade 125 PE Mak on all sorts of objects, both near and deep sky and find it does very well within it's fov.

#6 Rick Woods

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 12:29 PM

Unless things have changed, you ought to be able to screw an f/6.3 focal reducer on the back of it and get a wider field. I used one on a C90 for a while.

#7 Mary


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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:12 PM

Interesting suggestion Rick, thank you!


#8 Slow Astronomer

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

Mary & pogobbler, I'm within days of deforking my ETX-125EC that has been collecting dust and running it on a manual mount and my Ioptron Mini Tower. I like the OTA - as you both point out, a 125 Mak is not a world beater but it's not half bad either. By putting it on my Mini Tower the alignment & tracking will be far superior to the Meade fork mount & I suspect my enjoyment factor will rise. Clear skies,

Dave :jump:

#9 Ed Holland

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 04:51 PM

I'm quite a fan of the 127 Mak, but will admit it's limitations. However, with the right frame of mind, this can present a fun challenge. There are still plenty of objects to view even if one is limited to a narrow field - I should admit that I'm mostly a planetary observer, but this scope can make a decent stab at much of the Messier Catalogue if one's location is sympathetic to small apertures.

I've also found a well tuned, cooled and collimated 127 to make mincemeat of close doubles e.g. E-Lyrae, Castor, Porrima etc.

Since it's easy to pack, I'm thinking of taking mine up to the mountains this weekend, as we're headed to the Sierras for a Cub Scout "camp". It would be a shame to miss a rare chance of dark skies.


#10 Mary


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Posted 10 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

I've actually managed to snag M81/82 with my mak. They are not in the same FOV of course, but it was fun to nab them all the same. Same with M1. A 32mm plossl can fit the Double Cluster in the whole FOV. Orion's doubles have been fun also. Lately I've been trying to catch the Pup!


#11 GeneT


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Posted 10 January 2013 - 10:59 PM

While the image of Jupiter is softer than that of my refractors

I get great planetary views through my 12.5 inch, F5 Dob. However, I have always been tempted to get a good refractor. Maybe some day. . . .

#12 Cepheus Elf

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:15 PM

I'd say my 127 Mak is my most used scope....it is does nearly everything you can ask of a 5" scope in a very compact package. Ok, It doesn't provide wide-field images, but there aren't that many deep sky objects I can't enjoy with it. I wouldn't be without mine!!


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