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Dear Stargazers, I have been searching for a new visual back for my 180 SkyMax Mak-Cass, especially with micro-focusing ability. My 180 Mak has a standard 2" SC thread on the back so the obvious choice would be a Crayford style aftermarket focuser with 1:10 micro-focusing. However I did not like the idea to add about 750 g of focusing equipment to my telescope when my heaviest "payload" is 522g, thats visual with a 1.25" diagonal, an ADC and the Hyerflex zoom EP. So I was thinking a bit and came up with the following setup, both for visual as well as planetary photography. Here is the shopping list: 2" SC to T2 rotatable adapter (there is a Baader one, I went for the TS TSSC-T2S adapter) 2x T2 - Baader 1.25" focusing EP holder (T-2 part #08A or #2458125) a 40 mm T2 extension or an ADC with T2 treads (I have both) a micro-focusing diagonal (I converted my TS 1.25" diagonal with one of the two Baader #08A EP holders and this TS ZS1D-T2 adapter) Now first some images of the 1.25" diagonal conversion: off goes the standard EP holder and mount the T2 adapter: and on goes the Baader #08A EP focusing holders well that was straightforward, but it's nice to focus the EP directly on the diagonal. Onward with the new configuration. I removed the standard visual back and the 2" to 1.25" adapter I used to use: and mounted the SC to T2, the 40mm T2 extension and the Baader #08A EP holder. This setup is about 100g lighter than the original VB. It places a camera at FL = 2477 mm and one can directly micro-focus the camera. Another setup is with an ADC: where this setup is about 70g lighter than the original VB and places the camera at FL = 2400 mm. Again micro-focusing is achieved with the Baader #08A EP holder. Now when it comes to observing planets, an ADC is quite crucial in the next few years to come so I mounted it as seen above. You can level the ADC with the SC to T2 adapter, which is rotatable, but you can also easily lock it in place by tightening the outer ring with the grooves. Add the now focusing diagonal and your favourite EP and: You are ready to observe at an FL = 2730 mm (almost stock FL). The advantage is that you can easily rotate the diagonal with the first Baader #08A EP holder (before the diagonal in the light path) and then focus your EP with the second Baader #08A at the diagonal. I like this setup, both because it is very lightweight and also versatile. Downside is that you can not add a motor focuser, which I don't mind. I will test this setup extensively now during October (Mars!!) and report back on how it performs when using it out at night. Let me know what you think about the setup. Hope its useful to anyone. Clear Skies, Alex
Hi All, I thought I report on an issue I recently faced with my Celestron AVX mount that features the new dual saddle plate. The plate takes two standards of dovetails, the narrow CG-5 dovetails and wider CGE. Most people know the CG-5 as a "Vixen Style" dovetail and the CGE is Celestron's version of a 3" (but not compatible with a Losmandy) dovetail. Now the issue. I own a 7" Mak (Skymax 180 from SW) which has a classical Vixen-Style dovetail. When you try to clamp the 7" Mak to the AVX, the saddle plate clamp does not really fit. Interestingly the 7" Mak has too large of a diameter to fit the AVX saddle, which comes to a surprise, given that a C8 or a C9.25 are popular choices for that mount. As you can see on image, on the left side, the clamp rests on the OTA and the dovetail does not touch the clamp on the bottom. When you tighten the fixing screws, tension is built up between the clamp and the OTA and not between the clamp and the dovetail. In addition this makes it quite harder to balance the OTA on the mount (the clamp-tube jams). In the end the OTA will get a dent at that location, I guess. Luckily I caught this right a way and my OTA is not yet damaged. Anyhow for some this might not be an issue, but I changed the AVX clamp and now use an aftermarket clamp from ADM. Thought I share this with the community as this might be interesting for some. Clear skies Alex
Greetings everyone. I recently scored a great deal on facebook marketplace and bought Skywatcher Skymax 180 mm Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope (f/15) with EQ6R-pro mount. I understand that long focal length telescopes are more suitable for planetary imaging. However, as I am tight on budget, I would like to use the same scope for deep-sky astrophotography. I have Canon Rebel T5 DSLR camera that I am using for taking images. Without autoguiding and a decent polar alignment, I can get ~30 seconds long shots without any star trailing, but that's not sufficient for imaging objects like M51. I would like to be able to integrate longer, say few minutes, thus would like to purchase an autoguider. Here are some specific questions I have. 1). The telescope comes with an 8 x 50 straight-through finder. If I were to use it as a guidescope, what type of image integration time can I expect? Has anyone done autoguiding for f/15 scope with an 8x50 or other finderscopes? 2). If the integration time will be an issue with the 8x50 finder scope, I am open to purchasing an off-axis-guider. However, considering the narrow field-of-view of Mak-180 telescope, I am concerned about not having enough photons from guidestar for autoguiding. For instance, with my DSLR camera, I need to integrate 20-30 seconds to see the nearby stars in M51. What type of OAG and camera would I need to autoguide with my scope? Are there affordable cameras (~$200) that would do the job for me? Would ASI120MM Mini Monochrome (~$150) do the job? What about OAG? I plan to use phd2 software for autoguiding rather than relying on the build-in guide port on the mount. Instead of integrating for hours, I am planning to do DSS stacking of few mintues long multiple shots, hopefully this will put less strict requirements on the autoguider. In case this information is relevant: with my current setup, I have no issue pointing my scope to a desired deep-sky object, track the object within the field-of-view of my DSLR camera for hours using the mechnical tracking of the EQ6 mount. For instance following is a single raw image of Ring nebula taken with 30 seconds shot. But it is not enough for generating high-quality images. Thank you in advance for your help. Regards, Jay
I was checking on astrobuysell website last night and I seen a Mak 180 for sale close to me so I decided that it will be my xmas present and went to pick it up tonight! I didnt expect it to be so big! I already have a mak 127 and loved it so its exciting to see what the 180 will be like. Does anyone have any pictures of the planets that theyve imaged? Im excited to see what the views are like but I probably wont have a chance to take it outside any time soon because of this weather! thanks in advance!