I have an unmarked 6-inch vintage OTA (reflector). Through some diligence I figured out that it is a vixen/celestron R150S.
I apologize for babbling about this telescope but I really can’t wrap my brain around what I saw last night .
I bought the telescope sometime around 2001. I got aperture fever and sold it in 2002. While I owned it, on one particular night I took it to a star party and a seasoned veteran took a look at the cigar shaped galaxy. I remember vividly that it look pretty amazing. I remember him turning to me after looking at it, pausing a moment, then saying in an ominous tone “Mark my words, Don’t ever sell this telescope”.
Idiot that I was, I did sell it, but that warning stuck with me. Realizing my mistake over time I tracked it down 12 years later and purchased it in 2014. Since that time it’s been collecting dust. I didn’t have a mount for it, as I sold that too.
A couple of weeks ago I took my vintage orange tube, comet catcher to the local dark sky site. Conditions were as good as they get down here in North Florida and I took a look at the Andromeda galaxy. It looked pretty good and I could barely make out the edges of the galaxy, half with my imagination, half using years of experience and knowing what to look for. As many of you know it has a 500mm focal length and 140mm in aperture. I used some nice (but not top of the line) eyepieces to look at it, including a 17mm Hyperion
Here’s where it gets strange, After that session I was motivated to get my 6 inch vixen/Celestron mounted to my alt-az mount. I worked up a counter weight, and adjusted the mirrors by eye. Don’t laugh, I’m pretty good at that.
Last night, conditions were really good. I went back out to the dark sky site. I could see the Milky Way again like a few weeks ago.
This is where it gets strange. When I looked at the Andromeda galaxy...the only galaxy I looked at last night...the outer edges of the galaxy were bold. The view honestly rivaled what I’ve seen in my 10 inch sky watcher collapsible dob. My eyepiece was a simple 32 mm plossl.
I guess my question is, “why“? This wasn’t an experience thing, because I viewed the Andromeda galaxy on my comet catcher a couple of weeks ago in very similar conditions. My comet catcher has a great mirror. It has afforded me some great views. My 10 inch scope also has a great mirror. This view was much bolder than the comet catcher.
I am wondering if a person had a mirror figured in the top 10% versus a mirror figured in the top 1%, would the difference be that pronounced on a threshold deep sky object for a given aperture? (i.e., 6 inches is when the outer portion of Andromeda starts to show) If you compare a mirror that is figured near perfectly, to one in the top 10%, how much difference are you going to notice? Assuming of course that the rest of your components are of good quality and adjusted properly?
While I was out at the dark sky site I showed my view of Andromeda to another seasoned amateur and he too was impressed by it.
Was it perhaps that just telescope was an F5 and I was using a simple plossl so maybe one less lens? Did the longer focal length help? Could the extra 10 mm of aperture make that big of a difference?
Edited by stevereecy, 10 October 2021 - 11:38 PM.