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Should I upgrade 127mm to 150mm Mak

Maksutov equipment moon observing
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#1 Splodger

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 02:18 PM

I have recently got back into astronomy after some time. I purchased a Sky-watcher Skymax 127mm Mak for observing the moon and planets and it’s very good. The thing is the scope is still within its return period and a similar 150mm scope is only $150 more. Do you think it’s something I should be considering?

#2 Jeff Struve

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 02:25 PM

I'm not sure that this is an upgrade... one is just larger than the other.


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#3 Splodger

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 02:31 PM

I'm not sure that this is an upgrade... one is just larger than the other.

The two things that appeal to me about the bigger scope are resolving power and magnification. Both are eminently portable, which is important to me. Although most of my observation will be done from my back garden, I will occasionally be going out to two dark sites nearby me in Portland, OR.

#4 msl615

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 03:02 PM

I have both 127 and 150mm Maks (Russian INTES). The 150 can see "deeper", but is more sensitive to seeing conditions. With a higher native fl, higher powers require more stable air. The main difference? The 127 is smaller and easier to carry around.

I would suggest that you use and push the 127 to its limits for a year or so and then inventory what you feel has been limiting for you? Focal length too low? Want to see deeper? Size is ok? Would an apo refractor provide other options?

 

Enjoy, and keep us posted!

 

Mike


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#5 Eric63

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 03:54 PM

I agree with Mike. If you did not have the 127 I would have said get the 150, but since you already a 127Mak I don't think the 150 is much of an upgrade. I have a 127Mak and a 150 reflector and the difference on lunar and planetary is very subtle. Everything I can see in the reflector I can also see in the Mak. The extra aperture makes things a bit brighter but it is still visible in the 127. Keep using this one for now and perhaps down the road you will look for something larger to complement or replace your 127.

The advantage to the 127 is its size (it packs quite the punch for its size) and the fact the it cools faster. When a scope is easy to use we tend to observe more.

Eric

P.S. if your seeing conditions are like mine, then you will be limited to 200x or less most of the time. The 127Mak works great on planets in the 200x range and can easily do 300x on the moon.

Edited by Eric63, 14 May 2019 - 03:58 PM.

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#6 Splodger

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 04:19 PM

Thank you Eric and Mike for such sound advice. One thing that was moving me toward a larger aperture was (and I mean was, thank you) that the the ES 8.8mm 82° eyepiece that I purchased with the scope has never got anywhere near focus. Just a fuzzy mess really, and I’m still not convinced it’s not faulty. Is it possible that I could get crystal clear viewing with a 40mm EP, mediocre with an 18mm and like viewing through marmalade with an 8.8mm? Could that be put down to equipment temperature? I’ve primarily been observing the moon in short sessions of two hours or so, but the weather has been quite warm.

#7 JimFR

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 10:51 PM

I let my 127 bresser mak cool down for a couple of hours before I used it tonight.  It really makes a huge difference.  With the zoom ep set all the way to 8 I could pull out tiny ridges along Copernicus and fine detail on it’s central hills.  If I tried that without cooldown, it would be soup.


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#8 msl615

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 12:03 AM

These long fl MAKS (yours is about 1200mm?) are really sensitive to seeing conditions, which will seem to get worse as you drive the power higher. Atmospheric instability, jet stream etc will seem to get worse the smaller the viewing fov.  So, it possible that you have both thermal instability in the scope itself, plus bad air. However if this has happened over and over again, then this is less likely.

 

Sometimes, I just give up with the MAKS and switch to the lower fl refractors if the air is bad.

 

Do you have access to any other scope (friends, telescope store, etc) to try out the ES 8.8? How about a Barlow to drive down the 18mm to 9mm to compare?

 

 

Mike



#9 Cali

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 12:03 AM

I have a 127 Mak and the reason I haven't upgraded is because one weekend I took the scope to really dark skies. Dark as in I could see the Milky Way, like a river of stars above me when setting things up. With the 127 Mak I saw stuff I didn't know was possible with this instrument.

 

I try to plan one weekend a month where I can find dark skies 60-70 miles from my home ( 1 to 1.5 hour travel time) and find a cheap hotel near my destination. That should be easy peasy from Portland

 

The OP has a nice portable scope.

 

Push it.

 

- Cal 


Edited by Cali, 15 May 2019 - 12:08 AM.


#10 Spikey131

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 05:46 AM

Thank you Eric and Mike for such sound advice. One thing that was moving me toward a larger aperture was (and I mean was, thank you) that the the ES 8.8mm 82° eyepiece that I purchased with the scope has never got anywhere near focus. Just a fuzzy mess really, and I’m still not convinced it’s not faulty. Is it possible that I could get crystal clear viewing with a 40mm EP, mediocre with an 18mm and like viewing through marmalade with an 8.8mm? Could that be put down to equipment temperature? I’ve primarily been observing the moon in short sessions of two hours or so, but the weather has been quite warm.

You should be able to bring the ES 8.8 mm into focus.  Something is wrong.  The scope is probably OK and you just didn’t focus it right.  You should be able to get sharp views of the moon.  I suggest that you try again.


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#11 Procyon

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 07:31 AM

Go all out and get the Orion 180mm Mak.
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#12 Hesiod

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 12:22 PM

To keep the same sharpness at higher magnification you have to make sure that a)the seeing is good enough b)the scope is thermally stabel and properly collimated.

Look at a bright star and observe it through your eyepieces: if at that magnification the star looks like a dot, at this very same magnification the Moon will look sharp.

When the star starts to look like a swirling mess, you will not be able to get steady shapr views because of seeing.

When the properly  focused star starts to look like a sort of bull's eye, the diffraction will start to "soften" the view (as much as stronger are the rings than the central dot); if the rings are not concentric*, you have to adjust the collimation.

 

As to your first question, take note that going from 5" to 6" could mean to upgrade the mount as well

 

 

 

 

*be sure to have the star in the middle of the field to avoid biases; if have not a tracking mount, Polaris is coveniently "still" and bright to be used as a test


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#13 luxo II

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:58 PM

I’ll suggest you accept inevitability of your destiny ...

Sooner or later you will buy the largest mak readily available ie Skywatcher 180mm.

Might as well be sooner.
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#14 Splodger

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 06:15 PM

To keep the same sharpness at higher magnification you have to make sure that a)the seeing is good enough b)the scope is thermally stabel and properly collimated.

Look at a bright star and observe it through your eyepieces: if at that magnification the star looks like a dot, at this very same magnification the Moon will look sharp.

When the star starts to look like a swirling mess, you will not be able to get steady shapr views because of seeing.

When the properly  focused star starts to look like a sort of bull's eye, the diffraction will start to "soften" the view (as much as stronger are the rings than the central dot); if the rings are not concentric*, you have to adjust the collimation.

 

As to your first question, take note that going from 5" to 6" could mean to upgrade the mount as well

 

 

 

 

*be sure to have the star in the middle of the field to avoid biases; if have not a tracking mount, Polaris is coveniently "still" and bright to be used as a test

Thank you very much! I couldn't hope for a more clear and concise explanation. 



#15 Splodger

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 06:20 PM

I let my 127 bresser mak cool down for a couple of hours before I used it tonight.  It really makes a huge difference.  With the zoom ep set all the way to 8 I could pull out tiny ridges along Copernicus and fine detail on it’s central hills.  If I tried that without cooldown, it would be soup.

Once again, more good advice from a generous member of this forum. Thank you JimFR



#16 Jaimo!

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 10:23 PM

It also will come down to the mount, I have a 150mm Intes and a 127mm Celestron.  While the 127mm works fine on a CG-4 class GEM or Porta class Alt-Az, the 150mm Intes is better on a CG-5 class mount and is a bit too much for a Porta.

 

I do not know your mount, but upgrading a mount for the additional 25mm may have much more of an extended cost than $150.

 

Jaimo!


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#17 Splodger

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 02:39 PM

Go all out and get the Orion 180mm Mak.

 
 

I’ll suggest you accept inevitability of your destiny ...

Sooner or later you will buy the largest mak readily available ie Skywatcher 180mm.

Might as well be sooner.


Thank you for being so bold in your advice guys. I didn’t follow it to the letter, but I did use it in my final decision. I returned the 127mm Mak and ordered a 150mm Mak with an EQ Mount. Specifically the Meade LX85 150mm f/12 Maksutov-Cassegrain GoTo EQ. 150mm will suit me just fine, and the Mount will easily cope with an 8” OTA if I choose to go that way in the future.
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#18 JimFR

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 08:03 PM

It should be a great scope.  The long FL will knock your socks off for reach.  Do be sure to give it a good cool down before you use it, even when it feels warm out.


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#19 Splodger

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Posted 16 May 2019 - 08:17 PM

It should be a great scope. The long FL will knock your socks off for reach. Do be sure to give it a good cool down before you use it, even when it feels warm out.


Will do, and many thanks


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