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Planetary/Lunar Scope


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I've been enjoying some lunar and planetary visual and imaging recently.  I've used the 123 refractor and my 125 ETX Mak, but think some extra aperture might help.  It needs to be manageable for me as I'd want to set up on the patio while my DSO imaging goes on in the Obs (so something smaller than my C11!).  The obvious candidates seem to be the SKyMax Maks, but there is also a Intes Micro MN on ABS which has got me wondering.... So what do people recommend?  

Thanks

Helen

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I would honesty say the skymax 150, this scope is often overlooked due to the 127 being small and good and the 180 being the monster mak, i have the 150 now and its great as i can put it on my HEQ5 for high res, or on the AZ 4 for vis and A-focal

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Helen - that avatar makes me jump !  :smiley:

Back on topic, I know that Mark (at Beaufort) has been getting some great lunar and planetary views from his newly acquired 180mm Skywatcher Mak-Cassegrain so that would certainly be worth considering I think.

My 12" F/5.3 Orion Optics dob delivers stunning lunar and planetary performance but it's a large solution to the task.

I've owned one of the Russian 6" Mak-Newtonians and they are excellent lunar and planetary scopes getting close to apochomat refractor levels of performance for a lot less cost. They are quite quirky to own though, as are most Russian scopes.

There is a nice Takahashi FS 152 for sale on UK Astro Buy & Sell if you feel flush. That will deliver stunning performance I'm sure :smiley:  

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I can't compare it to other options but I really like my Edge 8 inch for lunar imaging and observing, to get in closer than with my 120mm refractor.

It feels so much smaller and lighter than my C11. I can also dabble with planets with it (I'm more into lunar at the moment), though I suppose a 9.25 would outdo it under good conditions.

It works excellently with binoviewers, which I love for the moon, with lots of inward focus travel.

I think it would also make an excellent compact travel scope that packs a punch, it's light enough to be used on a giro mount.

I guess the edge optics don't do too much when you are zoomed in but the moon is superb when it fills the eyepiece. It works for me!

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Is there a huge difference between SCT's and Maks visually? I have no idea what the moon is like through a C8, but a friend has a Skymax 180 Pro and it is great on the moon and Jupiter. I am not fond of the little 127 that my Son now uses but have been seriously considering either a 180 or 150.

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Is there a huge difference between SCT's and Maks visually? I have no idea what the moon is like through a C8, but a friend has a Skymax 180 Pro and it is great on the moon and Jupiter. I am not fond of the little 127 that my Son now uses but have been seriously considering either a 180 or 150.

Rik, the mak/sct debate has come up a couple of times, seems the Maks give a slightly sharper contrast, i know when i had the 180, i had chance to look through a meade lx 16" and felt it lacked a little some thing on sharpness

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Rik, the mak/sct debate has come up a couple of times, seems the Maks give a slightly sharper contrast, i know when i had the 180, i had chance to look through a meade lx 16" and felt it lacked a little some thing on sharpness

How does the 150 compare to the 180 Jules?

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Thanks everyone :-)

John, I've changed the avatar  :grin:   What were the quirks? and did the views make up for them??

Can I just check? do the Skymax have fixed collimation (would be serious bonus for me that!)

Thanks

Helen

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A skymax is collimated at the factory and should keep its collimation due to it's construction. However, if it's needed you can adjust the collimation. I haven't had to worry about the collimation on mine.

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Jules why did you change from the 180 to the 150? Was it just for portability reasons?

As much as I loved using my old 4" Lyra for lunar and Jupiter I definately want something which will show more so I've been saving for the 180/heq5.

How do the views from your 150 compare to your old Tal100rs?

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John, I've changed the avatar  :grin:   What were the quirks? and did the views make up for them??

Thats just a bit less scary  :smiley:

The Mak-Newt I had was an Intes. The views were great - fully matched the ED120 on the moon and planets and beat it on deep sky objects. The main quirk was that the primary mirror had a central hole, like a mak-cassegrain would have, despite the fact that it was a newtonian type design. This had no impact on the quality of the views but it did make collimation more tricky as there was no central spot to the primary and you could not use a laser collimator. I found star testing and then adjusting then testing again the best way to collimate the scope although, to be fair, once collimated it held the alignment pretty well. It's cool down time was greater than a refractor or newtonian but not as much as a schmidt-cassegrain or mak-cassegrain of similar aperture. The design is prone to dewing as it has a glass corrector at the top end so good dew prevention gear is needed. 

The plus points of the mak-newt design are a very small secondary and no secondary supports so high contrast refractor type views with no CA and coma is around 30% of a newtonian of similar focal ratio. 

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Hi Helen,

I have just purchased a Mak 180 Pro and its fantastic.  As I'm in the army I have been a busy chap lately but I did have it out for a quick look at Jupiter.  The view was out of this world (excuse the pun!).

It was sound on my HEQ5 though I couldn't imagine placing too many attachments on it.  Not a problem as I got it purely for visual delight and it certainly produces the goods.  Another bonus is the fact that its much cheaper than a C9'25 or similar.  The 150 Mak cheaper still which leaves the extra for dew shields/quality EP's etc.

Rick

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How's the cool down time for the 180 when it's kept in a garage? Anyone?

Usually cool down time isn't a problem (you can always use a fan), but temperature drift - will it be able to cool as fast as air around it. Mak 180 will have bigger problems with that than C8. In terms of weigh and cooling performance maks end at 127. At 150 it's hard to say if it's better than C6, but at ~8" SCT gets better (weight, cooling)... but for example C11 can easily have temperature lag.

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Thanks everyone  :smiley:

For me the major plus point of the Skymax would be no collimation  :grin:   I know that on SCTs it should be simple as there is only one mirror to adjust, but I've found it a frustrating process which has taken up precious sky time.  (If only someone would invent a SCT collimator that is as simple and intuitive to use as a laser is on a Newt!!)  My images have always seemed softer than with the little Mak.  

Soooo.... off to post a wanted ad  :grin:   My preference is I think for the 180, but I'll see what's available

Helen

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That's a shame Helen...I did find this one (you might have seen it yourself?)...got to be honest, I don't know anything about these scopes, but Altair Astro stuff is usually good, going by things I've bought myself from them..

Hope this helps.
Dave

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