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New member of the family!


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Hey ladies and gents. After some careful consideration about my next scope , I’ve found a  Skywatcher Skymax 127 AZ5 in my living room. I appreciate the recommendations on my previous thread “SCT, Mak or frac?”, but personal finances are a very limiting factor this year due to holidays only! Most of my pay will be taken up this year paying for holidays, saving for holiday money, not to mention bills going through the roof. It takes me to around January payday where I’d have some disposable income. I really wanted a decent Lunar/Planetary scope, and figured it was “now or never”. Choosing now, I had a few hundred to spend, putting me outside of the ED/APO refractor area. With this in mind, either the SCT or Mak could fill the role nicely. This lovely little package came in a shade above my budget, but also with a nice 9mm Celestron XCel-LX, so to me it was worth it.

 

After the purchase of the 200P, I quickly realised it wasn’t quite as portable as I’d imagined. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s not being taken further afield when there is a clear sky forecast for a whole night, but for the odds and sods of an hour here and there that we get in between, with questionable atmospheric conditions, it’s not worth the hassle of dismantling, protecting/padding, loading into van, unloading, assembling, cooling, by which time there’s half an hour of gaps in the clouds! The idea is that the 127 on the AZ5 deluxe mount is grab-and-go, and all I need to do is take off the OTA by loosening a single bolt, and the rest of the mount comes along in one piece. Reverse the process at the other end and I’m away. Small and simple enough to place in the cab, and timely enough to make going to an observing site for an hour between the clouds worth it.

 

Not having quite the aperture of the 200P, and being a Mak, viewable DSOs are few in numbers, but I’m fully aware these types of target are not the Mak’s strong point. I like the challenge of splitting double stars, of getting up close and personal with the moon, and teasing out some solid detail from our heavenly neighbours and think this will tick a lot of boxes for me, and i'm very excited to start learning about this different optical arrangement, it's characteristics and get the best out of it.

 

I did manage to get some clear skies for a couple hours last night, so a first light report will follow this. Guess I've got that new-scope-fever so just wanted to share. I love the black diamond finish! 

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Edited by OK Apricot
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Looks lovely. I have a Mak just like this one and I've used it extensively in the past, for a year it was my only scope. Lunar, planetary and double stars are its forte of course, but with a low power EP it will show many DSOs. Enjoy the scope!

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Congratulations! Great scope - I love mine and grab&go with it frequently.  Get it somewhere nice and dark and it will do better on DSOs than you might expect too.  
P.S. You’ll be needing a dew shield ;) 

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That's a decent complimentary array of kit. I had a Skymax 102 for eighteen months, sold it on and realised I missed the gap in my kit. Now I have the 127 and just one thirty minute session convinced me I'd made the correct choice. Superb instruments for the money, especially if you get a good one used.

Get the Skymax and binoculars to a dark site and you will be surprised how much you can observe. The binoculars are great for extended nebulae and open clusters.

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Thanks all, looking forward to more clear stuff. I will definitely consider the 2" visual back - let's see how my eyepiece collection builds. 

Mrs has been talking to me about it and I've expressed interest in the AZ GTi for go-to capabilities... Looks like she wants to buy me one 😁 that would be a very welcome addition. I don't like to look a gift horse in the mouth, but maybe I should ask for a dew shield "while we're at it" 🤔

Yes, I really need to get more out of my bins - since the scopes arrived they've been shivering in the corner. I can't shake the feeling they're not that well collimated though, I think subconsciously it puts me off taking them? Not to mention the flimsy plastic tripod bracket, that definitely needs some metal. 

Edited by OK Apricot
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1 minute ago, OK Apricot said:

Thanks all, looking forward to more clear stuff. I will definitely consider the 2" visual back - let's see how my eyepiece collection builds. 

Mrs has been talking to me about it and I've expressed interest in the AZ GTi for go-to capabilities... Looks like she wants to buy me one 😁 that would be a very welcome addition. I don't like to look a gift horse in the mouth, but maybe I should ask for a dew shield "while we're at it" 🤔

The dew shield is pretty much essential and the AZGTI would carry the Skymax 127 easily. They're useful little mounts, if you get a good one. If personal experience and the forums are anything to go by, manufacturer quality control is a bit hit and miss...

 

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I'll try to sort a shield in that case. I did notice after bringing it in, the meniscus was dewy and stayed that way for a good couple hours! 

It's definitely the portability that's appealing with the GTi... With issues in mind, what other mounts would be similar? 

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37 minutes ago, OK Apricot said:

I'll try to sort a shield in that case. I did notice after bringing it in, the meniscus was dewy and stayed that way for a good couple hours! 

It's definitely the portability that's appealing with the GTi... With issues in mind, what other mounts would be similar? 

As a temporary measure you can take the scissors to a camping mat and secure it with gaffer tape - not pretty but works perfectly well. 
+1 here for the AZGTi Mak 127 combo - very capable mount.  
Really interested in the recommendation to go for a 2inch back on an SW127  - my understanding was that the limiting factor on FoV was the focus tube so going for a 2 inch back didn’t make any difference. Would love to be proved wrong on that. 
That said at just over 1 degree most objects are fine - just about squeezes both sides of the Double Cluster in. 

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1 hour ago, OK Apricot said:

I'll try to sort a shield in that case. I did notice after bringing it in, the meniscus was dewy and stayed that way for a good couple hours! 

It's definitely the portability that's appealing with the GTi... With issues in mind, what other mounts would be similar? 

At the price point, there's nothing else as compact and versatile. They do have a 12 month warranty and the common faults show up quickly. Also, there are plenty of guides should you run into a problem out of warranty. Up from the AZGTI in price would be equatorial goto mounts like the EQ3 and EQ5. However I'd suggest you don't rush into buying another mount just yet. See how you get on with what you have.

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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Nice one OKA, that'll definitely complement your dob! I may well copy you some time in the distant future when my wallet has recovered from the shock of the SL 8"!

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Definitely, a bit of click and go with the Mak and a bit of swing and go with the dob, sounds great! Keep your eyes on the second hand market, it's where I got mine from at a very reasonable price 👍

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2 hours ago, OK Apricot said:

The idea of the GTi would be the go-to, obviously - I think it'd help me get a lot more out of the Mak. I think I'll try to use the AZ5 in some way for my binoculars. 

If you're really interested in the AZGTi check out the owner's thread:

 

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On 20/02/2022 at 14:23, OK Apricot said:

I'll try to sort a shield in that case. I did notice after bringing it in, the meniscus was dewy and stayed that way for a good couple hours!

Not sure if it goes by the same name in the UK, but I bought a sheet of black rubber craft foam, rolled it into a cylinder that I secured with duck tape, and use that for a dew shield on my 90mm - very inexpensive, well under $5 US. 

I tried a SkyWatcher L-bracket to use my binos on my AZ5, but the barrels were too large for a less-than-clumsy fit.  YMMV.

Edited by jjohnson3803
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