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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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ahlberto
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/06/08

Loc: lisbon-portugal
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: astroneil]
      #4329282 - 01/21/11 08:52 AM

Quote:

Hello again,

OK, my big Mak arrived yesterday. After a long road trip, it presented in good nick. I did a quick daylight test and everything seemed grand. And guess what; the forecast was for clear and frigid skies! So I let the beast cool in my garden shed for a couple of hours and then, after work, set it up out in the cold night air and went observing with my 3" scope.
About an hour in, the Mak had acclimated and I was able to do some preliminary star testing on second magnitude Polaris, in what turned out to be rather good seeing conditions (-6C)
Collimation was spot on - which was nice - despite its long road trip south. The star test looked very good too; essentially identical patterns of evenly spaced diffraction rings inside and outside focus and with no signs of surface roughness. This is one well polished piece of glass!
Then I had a go seeing how well it did on some doubles; Castor was simply blinding in this big scope and it resolved its two main components so easily, you could have driven a truck through the pair. Contrast was very good indeed. Better than I had expected frankly.
On to Theta Aurigae; a decidely more difficult target and yet again, the tiny seventh magnitude spark was cleanly resolved at 216x. Impressive!
Finally, on to elusive Propus (Eta Geminorum); 216x showed a painfully beautiful blue dot clearly separated from its bright orange primary by a sliver of dark sky. My smaller refractors showed the companion as greenish but now I really know it's blue!
I tried to divine more magic from this instrument tonight but sadly, the seeing was *BLEEP*. What a difference a night makes.
So, my first impressions of the 180mm F/15 Maksutov are very good indeed. This scope definitely appears to have the potential to do what I purposefully acquired it for; to resolve some trickier double stars on the finer nights that frequently evade my smaller scopes. More testing to do, but I'll keep you all posted. I attach some pics.
Cheers,

Neil.



Hi.CoNgrats for that wonderfull scope...is indeed one of my dream scopes and isnt even expensive but im broke
Currently ive a C8 and a newt 8" f5 and with that mak 180 and a 66mm equinox from skywatcher ans a wide field eyepieçe like a pan 35mm my dream team would be more than complete
One of the best buys available today without any simgle shadow of doubt
One more time...CONGRATULATIONS!


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astroneil
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/28/09

Loc: res publica caledoniae
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: ahlberto]
      #4329961 - 01/21/11 02:33 PM Attachment (213 downloads)

Hi folks; right a few more pics.

That's one big chunk of glass up front:


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astroneil
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/28/09

Loc: res publica caledoniae
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: astroneil]
      #4329981 - 01/21/11 02:40 PM Attachment (175 downloads)

Here's the beast set up on my beat up old LXD 55 mount. Barely adequate I know, but it's the only driven mount I own at the minute

Rich: I had a look at Jupiter this evening and I'm away out later to do more tests. I'll do a quick write up of my thoughts when I'm done, dusted and defrosted.

Cheers,

Neil.

Edited by astroneil (01/21/11 02:44 PM)


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ahlberto
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/06/08

Loc: lisbon-portugal
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: astroneil]
      #4330523 - 01/21/11 07:07 PM

tHATS must one of the most beautifull scopes around(for meat least of course)...I even like the golden paint job.it looks great,great,great

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astroneil
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/28/09

Loc: res publica caledoniae
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: ahlberto]
      #4330716 - 01/21/11 08:57 PM Attachment (147 downloads)

I broke my observing program today into two parts: early evening and late night. Again, I set the big 7.1” Maksutov out in the mid-afternoon, took off the diagonal and let the air circulate through the tube. I have, as yet, no fan for this scope. The temperature maxed out about +2C and fell slowly to -5C over a period of a few hours after midnight. For these tests, I compared the 180mm F/15 Maksutov with my pride and joy; a 4” F/15 neoclassical Fraunhofer refractor.
First target was Jupiter, now well past opposition and rapidly sinking into the southwestern sky. Beginning about 5.30pm local time, both scopes were well acclimated and pointed at the giant planet. I charged the Mak with a power of 150x with my 18mm ortho. I used a 12.5mm ortho yielding 120 x with the 4” glass.
Carefully focussing, I knew instantly that I had indeed reached the limit that the seeing conditions would allow at my location. Despite its low altitude, both instruments served up razor sharp views of Jovian atmosphere. Contrast was better in the refractor, but not by much. As for detail, well, there was no comparison; the Maksutov blew the smaller refractor out of the water. I could see FAR MORE detail in the big Mak than the smaller scope. No surprises there I guess. And though the image was more shimmery and more prone to atmospheric degradation in the Mak, it was still the unequivocal winner in showing detail. It was quite simply a stunning difference. The South Equatorial Belt (SEB) is well on its way back I can tell you!
Later, I compared the two scopes on a waning Gibbous Luna rising in the eastern sky, with broadly the same result; the big Mak hammered the smaller refractor. Far more detail could be seen despite the larger scope’s greater sensitivity to seeing.
Observing Pollux at powers of 216x in the Mak, the seeing disk remained essentially undistorted right the way across the FOV. Further star testing in the Mak confirmed excellent collimation and well corrected optics. Defocusing the stellar image served up remarkably similar diffraction rings inside and outside focus. If anything, they were a shade better defined outside focus than inside. Comparing the sharply focussed views in both scopes, the first diffraction ring was easier to see in the Mak than in the refractor – a consequence no doubt of the former’s 30% central obstruction. There was however, a noticeable difference in the calmness of the image in both scopes. The 4” F/15 was unquestionably more tranquil than the bigger Mak.
So, aperture triumphed, but there’s one final twist to this story that needs telling. Just before midnight, the seeing deteriorated to perhaps Pickering 6, making difficult doubles like Eta Orionis and Propus more challenging to resolve in any scope. Under these conditions, I decided to try Theta Aurigae which had just passed culmination in my sky. On paper, Theta Aurigae looks pretty easy; a whitish primary of magnitude +2.7 separated from its magnitude +7.2 companion by 3.8” of dark sky. Scrutinising the system at 214x in the 4” and 216x in the big Mak, I was reminded of the prowess of the smaller scope under less than ideal conditions. My beloved Fraunhofer clearly showed the secondary as a tiny spark northwest of the primary. The Mak struggled miserably with only a suggestion to the eye that a secondary might exist. The smaller refractor stole part of the show!
In summary: I paid the princely sum of £275 for this lightly used 7.1” Mak and though I cannot vouch for the consistency of the quality control with this product, I must say that it appears to be an incredible value, delivering performance broadly equivalent to a larger Apo refractor at a fraction of the price. Provided you know how to rub this animal up the right way, she’ll certainly deliver. As a lunar and planetary scope, it’s a steal!

Cheers,

Neil.


Edited by astroneil (01/21/11 09:34 PM)


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AWATS
sage
*****

Reged: 10/12/10

Loc: Foresthill, CA
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: astroneil]
      #4357249 - 02/02/11 01:28 AM

Quote:

Hi folks; right a few more pics.

That's one big chunk of glass up front:




Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I want one!

I need to stop researching and accept my destiny.


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RichD
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/08/07

Loc: Derbyshire, UK
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: AWATS]
      #4357352 - 02/02/11 04:20 AM

That's a beautiful scope. I have the 5" version and they are solid instruments and great value.

Looking forward to more observing reports from you, I've found mine very good on planetaries - I'd bet yours would throw up some super views of the eskimo, cats eye nebula etc.


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
*****

Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: AWATS]
      #4357539 - 02/02/11 08:33 AM

Quote:

I need to stop researching and accept my destiny.




Never fight destiny, you cannot win.


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RobertED
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/11/03

Loc: Smithfield, RI
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: Asbytec]
      #4357682 - 02/02/11 09:57 AM

....sounds like a plan!, gentlemen!!!!

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astroneil
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/28/09

Loc: res publica caledoniae
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: Asbytec]
      #4357694 - 02/02/11 10:03 AM

Hi folks,

I continue to be impressed with the capabilities of this instrument, having had a chance to use it a few more times since my last post. Having done some more star testing, I'd estimate its P-V figure to be about 1/6th wave, certainly better than 1/4 wave diffraction limited standard. There are no signs of significant zones and it appears to be polished very well. I consider that very good for such a large optic.

I also feel that rumours of its poor cooling characteristics are somewhat exagerrated. You just have to store it in a cool outhouse for a few hours prior to observing.

For lunar and planetary work it easily bested a fine 4" refractor and I have a hunch it will also trounce a 5" refractor too. To that end, I have made arrangements to acquire a nice 5" F/9 Apo on loan and to perform a shoot out. Should be fun, whatever the outcome.

Cheers,

Neil.


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dscarpa
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/15/08

Loc: San Diego Ca.
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: ahlberto]
      #4358015 - 02/02/11 12:31 PM

I have a IM715D and it's a excellent lunar-planetary and double star scope. I also have a C9.25 and WO ZS110 and untill recently used them for almost all my DSO viewing. I decided to start using the mak more for DSOs and I'm glad I did! The images aren't as bright as the C9.25 of course but the razor sharp quality of the view through the mak is a revelation. With a 31 Hyperion Aspheric I get .8 degree with only a little soft vignetting at the edge of the FOV. My 22 Nagler T4 is used the most in the mak for DSOs, I get good magnification and can frame most DSOs. A 16 WO UWAN , ES 14 82, and 13 Ethos provide the higher powers, all of them are very good performers in the mak. David

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SilentLight
super member
*****

Reged: 11/29/08

Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: dscarpa]
      #4358690 - 02/02/11 05:00 PM

Astroneil,

I noticed you are using the stock visual back. You can get a SCT-Mak adapter for it and put a SCT mirror on the scope. Will make it easier to hold the heaveier eyepieces.

My 2 Maks (180mm & 102mm) and some other common items as scale:




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astroneil
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/28/09

Loc: res publica caledoniae
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: SilentLight]
      #4358878 - 02/02/11 06:25 PM

Hello SilentLight,

That's a good point you've made. I could use it with my big ole 40mm Erfle.

Come to think of it, I recall using the F/6.3 reducer- flattener on my old LX SCTs a good few years back and that seemed to improve the optics on the SCTs a bit actually.
I wonder if other folk have used focal reducers with this big Mak to good effect?

Now let's see: using my 40mm Erfle and an F/6.3 reducer in the beast would give me an iffy low power of 43X and ~ 1.5 degree TFOV. What do ya know: I could make a rich field scope out of this monster yet

In all seriousness though, I reckon these scopes were born to use 1.25" format eyepieces best. But I think UK AstroEngineering do a nice 0.6x reducer that would work well with say a Meade/Panoptic 24mm giving 68x and ~1 degree TFOV. Not bad, not bad at all.

Found this over on the other site;

http://www.astromart.com/articles/article.asp?article_id=661


Regards,

Neil.



Edited by astroneil (02/02/11 07:28 PM)


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astroneil
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/28/09

Loc: res publica caledoniae
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: dscarpa]
      #4359233 - 02/02/11 08:55 PM

Hi Dave,

How about a 36mm Baader Aspheric (72 AFOV) yielding 75x and a TFOV of ~ 1 degree and not a focal reducer in sight!

Cheers,

Neil.


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astroneil
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/28/09

Loc: res publica caledoniae
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: astroneil]
      #4359334 - 02/02/11 09:27 PM

Dave,

Are you sure about the 0.8 degrees you get with your 31mm Aspheric?

If you do the sum using the field stop formula you get a max TFOV of 0.68 degrees assuming a 32mm stop (which these eyepieces are supposed to have).

Is that the most you can coax out of these 7" F/15 Maks?

Cheers,

Neil.


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Carina1
member


Reged: 10/22/08

Loc: Australia.
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: astroneil]
      #4359547 - 02/02/11 11:02 PM Attachment (124 downloads)

Hi Neil,all,
Interesting post and I like your report Neil. I have the Black diamond version no different really except for the back of them and the paint.Here some pics first with the scope on CG5 mount. You can see the 2" visual diagonal and supplied 28mm eyepiece 2"


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Carina1
member


Reged: 10/22/08

Loc: Australia.
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: Carina1]
      #4359553 - 02/02/11 11:03 PM Attachment (102 downloads)

A photo of the back of the scope with attachment for the diagonal to go in.

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Carina1
member


Reged: 10/22/08

Loc: Australia.
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: Carina1]
      #4359569 - 02/02/11 11:08 PM Attachment (93 downloads)

So the size of the opening into the back of the ota is 30 mm then the threaded size is 66mm. scope stuff attachment wont fit this scope, I tried.
So how would the 30mm opening be with certain eyepieces actual field etc. I have a couple of 2" ones a old Tele Vue 32 mm and the supplied 28mm.
I have yet to really test this scope but its build quality is pretty good. It is heavy for its size!
Cheers,
Dave.


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Ed Holland
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/16/10

Loc: San Jose, CA and Oxford, UK
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: Carina1]
      #4359613 - 02/02/11 11:35 PM

Thanks for the great reports Neil. It sounds like you are happy which is good news indeed, that is a lovely bit of kit!

Cheers,

Ed

Edited by Ed Holland (02/02/11 11:36 PM)


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SilentLight
super member
*****

Reged: 11/29/08

Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Orion/Skywatcher 180mm F/15 Mak; Seeking Opinions new [Re: Carina1]
      #4361645 - 02/03/11 08:42 PM

Quote:

So the size of the opening into the back of the ota is 30 mm then the threaded size is 66mm. scope stuff attachment wont fit this scope, I tried......
Dave.




Neil's looks like a 1.25" visual back, which is similar to my Orion. I was able to fit the Mak-SCT convertor from scopestuff on it. Also ordered a SCT-2" converter with brass compression ring so I can use regular telescope accessories, although I think just a SCT 1.25" diagonal may work better (eyepiece closer to the scope = brighter image).


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