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Thanks to FLO for my new ED150 DS Pro received on Wednesday. I was aware @John was down to test one so I delayed posting for a bit plus the delivery brought the clouds. I will post my initial findings and thoughts and top up as I go. I own or have owned an ED80 and an ED 120 but I no longer have the latter to do an objective comparison. The first feedback applies to the outer packaging. As discovered by others it is inadequate for the item. In my case the outer packaging was ruptured at the pressure points under the narrow white plastic wrap bands. I imagine the bands are used along the supply chain to manoeuvre the package. The gross weight is 26kg so it’s difficult to manhandle for an individual. Fortunately, the flight case was in perfect condition and hopefully has protected the contents. SW could learn from Lunt and double box their items. The flight case itself is typical SW and has considerable strength and weight. There is a lot of unused space though, with cut outs ready for a significant number of accessories which I can only assume is for another market. My version has the OTA, an M48 Canon EOS adapter (why?) and a threaded adaptor to allow connection to the draw tube. that’s it, no diagonal, EP, finder etc like other Pro offerings. The OTA weighs just over 9kg which is the same as my SCT 9.25 but unlike the latter is much easier to handle as it’s a lot narrower. So attaching it to my AZ EQ 6 is a doddle. I have to be sure to carry it level because like every other SW I have owned the objective end cap is loose so tilt the OTA and it falls off. I usually add a bit more felt to solve the issue. i was lucky to have about an hour of clear dark sky last night so was keen to do a star test for obvious reasons if you have read @John ‘s thread. The eagle eyed among you will have seen that the focuser is essentially fixed and has no provision for easy rotation during a session so one needs to rely on rotating the diagonal. My Moonlite which can be switched between the 80 and 120 does not fit the 150 so I eagerly await the adaptor ?. I used my ES 82’ 4.7mm EP on Altair to run an initial star test. The CA profile has been well covered by @John and my experience is almost identical including the slight hexagonal appearance in some situations. In my case the in focus and in and out focus transitions revealed absolutely perfect collimation. A big sigh of relief there. Interestingly I had placed the scope outside for about an hour at roughly 21 degrees but the initial star test was too unsteady but 20 minutes later it was very steady. Using in addition to the 4.7 my ES 14 and 20mm eps i moved on to look quickly at some targets such As Iota Cass which was clearly defined as a triple with distinctive colour ranges, M27 which had a typical grainy appearance very similar to the view in the SCT and M81 and M82. Considering it was not astronomical darkness the dark centre of M82 was very well defined. The best view though was of M57. The detail in the ring was dramatic and high mag was easily tolerated. I must have stared at it for 15 minutes. I tried the Blinking PN in Cygnus and although a small target even with the 4.7 the brightness was remarkable and the structures defined. By now I was tired but tonight and tomorrow look good so I will try and post more findings from a visual perspective. Just to say that the mount had no trouble at all in swinging this beast around and I didn’t even need to do a new alignment from the last session with all targets centred in the EP when using the Synscan database. i must say I’m quite chuffed and a big thanks to FLO for excellent communication on this item.
After a couple of weeks of testing and visual play here is the very first image taken through my SW Evostar ED150. As you may imagine the visual experience is marvellous. The image was taken in the early hours of the 1st October along the terminator. The field of view ranges from the North polar area as far south as crater Eratosthenes. The second image is just me doing a crop because I prefer the framing of Mare Imbrium and crater Plato in the North. I need to experiment with the camera settings somewhat but I am very happy with the performance of both scope and camera. Thanks to @FLO for the M56 Baader Click-Lock to test. Camera: ASI290MM at f/8. Captured with OAcapture by @JamesF Crop:
Rather than add this test to my original thread regarding the scope findings I started a new thread here to describe my findings and measurements using a Baader M56 Click-Lock. Unlike other SW ED Pro offerings, the focuser unit that is supplied with the new SW ED 150 has no provision for rotation during use. In addition, I noticed that despite there being a total of 142mm of travel in the draw tube, the majority of my EPs focus at the near end of travel and I was concerned there may be a lack of in-focus provision. I contacted @FLO and asked them for technical details of the Baader M56 Click-Lock particularly the loss of in-focus during use. (I have previously owned a similar device for use with a 9.25" SCT which adds ease of use, a rotation facility and superb security to all attachments). FLO very kindly reciprocated and provided one for testing. Here I present some results of that test. https://www.firstlightoptics.com/adapters/baader-click-lock-2956256-m56-celestron-skywatcher.html Essentially, use of the Click-Lock with EPs (+/- a TV Powermate) results in a loss of 12.5mm of in-focus. For the EPs tested here that was not an issue. The stock SW focuser comes with a 2"adapter with two grip screws and a locking ring. Please note that removal of the locking ring when using the Click-Lock does not assist with reducing loss of in-focus since the Click-Lock internal flange sets before reaching the locking ring. You can see that my ES 14mm EP inserted into the 2X Powermate was the only combination that did not reach focus (it almost did but not quite). The 2X is a 2" Powermate and I had to use the 1.25" insert which adds about 8mm of depth. the Powermate also does not seat fully in my WO diagonal. I also tested two planetary cameras (+/- 2" TV Powermate) which focused well within the full range of the draw tube extension maximum which is 142mm. Use of the Click-Lock provides a very secure and flexible adaptation to the standard SW focuser adapter and most importantly allows easy rotation of diagonal and camera. For me, this is a must have accessory for this scope. Its easy to use with gloves too! Standard SW set up: Click-Lock set up: Addition of a 2.5X Powermate: Planetary camera and 2x Powermate set up: In addition I used the locking screw whilst observing the live star image of Alpheratz on screen through the Bhatinov mask. There was absolutely no change in the focus position as I tightened/loosened the locking screw. This last set up I also tested at near vertical (Deneb) and there was no slip at all in the focuser control. Action was firm and smooth throughout the length of the draw tube. For the original scope test go here:
Wrapping up in double layer goose feathers I braved the obsy last night. I planned a tour of Auriga with a view to chucking in some favourites. I set up the ED150 on the AZ EQ 6 and fitted the WO quartz diagonal accompanied by my ES 20mm 82'. I stuffed my Astronomik 1.25" UHC (bargain price thanks @FLO) in my pocket too. This set up required the retro children's playroom chair with the legs sawn down due to the position of Auriga. I spent about half an hour checking the plethora of open clusters sprinkled in or near the Milky Way. The sky was one of the best this season so it was a jewelled spectacle and the ED150 reveals such sharp colours enabling me to distinguish the cooler stars in some of the clusters particularly the occasional red giant. As Monoceros reached the meridian I moved to the open cluster associated with the Rosette. Now, for all my efforts over the years, the emission nebulosity has eluded my eyes but tonight with this newish 6" frac I was somewhat taken aback to see a doughnut appear in the view. Switching to a view with the UHC filter was nothing short of astonishing! It wasn't just there; I was falling into its centre. Texture, depth and dark globules were easily discernible. The extent was slightly larger than the FOV with the 20mm so I slewed slowly around and the perimeters and varying consistency of the Ha emission were easily picked out. I spent a long and happy time soaking this up; it was truly outstanding. Thoroughly recommended. I retired happily to the warm kitchen and toast.
The new SW Evostar ED150 is really getting some use here after my initial tests. We are having a good run of clear skies. This morning I got up at 3:30 am to do a lunar imaging run (see elsewhere). After that I quickly set up on M42 as it was near the local meridian. Using my ES 4.7mm 82' EP (255x) I concentrated on the Trapezium first. I was staggered by the view not only because of the detail under the Moon but because all 6 stars (A to F) were clearly visible immediately and pin sharp sitting in a greenish mist. Here is my really quite poor chalk sketch of the approximate view hastily drawn on my obsy blackboard wall (ignore the screws in the ply): Checking with the detailed Whitepeak Observatory graphic the stars I believe in clockwise order are from the top right: B, D, F, C, A, E. I have often tried to view the 6 stars before with my SCT 9.25" but this scope revealed them with ease. Star C (Theta-1 C Orionis) is described in the same graphic as an Extreme star: 40 Solar Masses; Surface temp 40,000K, the hottest known <6mag star; 210,000x sun's luminosity and an O6 spectral type. I then swapped to my 2" 24mm ES 82' EP to view M42 but that view was swamped somewhat by moonlight so I will have to wait a while to try that.