- Review of the Hubble Optics 14 inch, f/4.6 Premium Ultra Light Dobsonian Tele...
- My experience with the Starizona Landing Pad
- A quick Review of the MIGHTY MAX 12V 100AH BATTERY
- Nexus II Review
- New Moon Telescopes 20”F/3.3 Review
- FIELD TEST OF THE BAADER MAXBRIGHT® II BINOVIEWER
- My Experience using SkyWatch for the Alphea All Sky Camera from Alcor Systems
- Astroart 7 - A Review and "How To" (Part 1)
- My experience using two 80-millimeter long-focus refractors
- GSO 8-inch TRUE CASSEGRAIN
- Celestron Regal 65ED M2
- Review: The Vixen FL55ss
- PrimaLuceLab Eagle Review
- interstellarum Deep Sky Guide Desk Edition
- Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy: A History of Visual Observing from...
CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.
REVIEW OF SUMERIAN OPTICS ALKAID 16” TRAVEL SCOPE
Discuss this article in our forums
REVIEW OF SUMERIAN OPTICS ALKAID 16” TRAVEL SCOPE
You may not know it, but you, like me, are a minimalist. It seems like an absurd statement in a hobby like ours where you could probably bury yourself in a mound of gadgets, but deep down, you, like me, desperately love the simplistic nature of astronomy. For a long while I tried various telescopes (scopes) looking for my perfect match, and finally I think I’ve found one. I am a busy professional, and I don’t get much observing time in, but when I do, I like to be “wow’d”. I needed a portable medium to large aperture scope that is rock solid but very compact. The Sumerian Optics Alkaid is one slick animal, and ticked many of my requirement boxes. I own a 8” Nexstar and an 18” Obsession UC. Both are beautiful scopes, but I found the 18” was not getting much use due to its weight and size.
The company itself is run by one man from what I know, and he was quick to answer most of my questions. After selecting several options, the scope arrived 3 months later in a well packed box. Everything was well packaged and protected. I got a nice follow up email from Sumerian checking all was in order. I like this kind of customer service.
The design and finish was top class. It really looked like a premium product. The scope and all its components except the truss poles fit into a box that’s 45 cm x 45 cm x 20cm. Amazing! When not in use it can really just slide under the bed or fit in a cupboard. It is surprisingly light as well, and the box can be lifted by just one person and carried about. For a 16” scope this is unheard of. The truss poles are split into two, and are covered in an insulating rubber – clever as with my obsession 18” UC, I found the poles got very cold and uncomfortable to hold and I suspect had slight changes in size due to this.
All Set up and ready to go!
Ok so you’re ready to go: All I take is my eyepiece case, the Carry Box, and truss pole case. Its’ really that easy! Setting is a quick process: First the truss poles are threaded together, I suppose you could leave them connected but I live in a small flat so it’s just neater to keep separated. Next the box is unpacked with quick release clips, and out pops the primary mirror, upper tube ring and other bits, to which you attach the two altitude arcs. The poles are put into the primary base, and once the upper ring is connected and secondary attached, you are ready to collimate and observe. The whole process requires no tools and uses quick releases. Setup time is total 10 minutes, maybe less!
Using the Scope and travel:
The base has small threaded adjustments to level the base if the ground is not level. Collimation is made very easy by having the screws facing the upper cage. The movements of the scope are very smooth, and the tension strings are perfect for even very heavy eyepiece/barlow combos. The base of the scope has ingenious grids which make the scope very sturdy. Collimation holds very well, and I find I only need to check it every few hours. The Upper Ring has a feathertouch focuser which has a 4 point connection which eliminates any flex which sometimes gets ultra-light dobs in trouble. I also had a DSC and sky commander kit on the scope for added convenience. At zenith the eyepiece is at about 172cm so no step needed – one less thing to worry about! The rocker has 3 small fans built in and a dew heater is connected to the secondary. Sumerian Optics really thought of everything!
I took the scope on a trip overseas very easily. The split truss poles fit into an 81cm Luggage case. I removed the 16” primary mirror and put it into a specially designed plastic case that fits into my hand luggage. The main box also fits into the 81cm main luggage. The only problem was the weight- the 81cm bag (Samsonite inova) was now 16Kg which left me with 4 Kg to spare (total bag weight restriction on the airline I was flying was 20Kg). So I ended up buying another checked bag for my clothes. It worked out perfectly, and the scope arrived on the other side in perfect condition, and I was able to enjoy some amazing dark skies in Africa with a large scope.
If you want a high quality scope that is also transportable then this is about as good as it gets. Honestly I have owned several high quality scopes and this is one of the most refined ones available. I use it more because it is so simple to use. I have been able to get it out to very dark skies that would have been impossible with my other scopes! If I was to find any weaknesses, I would say there should be a shroud that comes with the scope, I had to have one made for it. I also feel that more felt/velvet pads should be used to protect the wood from the metal surfaces. I ended up gluing a few extra on myself. Finally I would want the truss poles made out of carbon fibre to make it even lighter. I am overall very happy with this scope, and it is now my most used instrument.
- bgi, jrbarnett, Rollo and 30 others like this