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SkyWatcher Skymax Pro 180 opinions.


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Hi Folks,

I've been thinking of adding a large Mak to my stable and wondered what you thought of the big 180mm Maksutov Cassegrain from SkyWatcher.

I would be very keen to hear your thoughts/experiences of this instrument, warts and all.

Thank you and Season's Greetings,

Neil.

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Hi Neil, i think there is already an intensive thread running on this scope. I think it was entitled skymax 180 vs 10" newt, or something like it.

How you keeping? We haven't had a chat for a while now.

And Season's Greetings .........

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I've had a 180mm Skymax for a couple of years now and havn't really got a bad thing to say about it.

It comfortably outperforms my ED120 on the planets. I guess the two obvious questions with this scope would be on mirror movement when focusing (there is none on my model) and cool down (I keep mine in a shed and 1 hour always seems sufficient to cool the scope down).

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Hi guys,

Thanks for your posts. It sounds like this scope offers exceptional bang for buck. The thing is I've never gone beyond an 5" Mak (ETX 125) and I never really had much in the way of cool down issues with it, as I recall. The optics were excellent too.

1. Did you have any issues with cooldown

2. How did these units star test?

3. Any memorable views of planets and Luna with this instrument come to mind?

Love to hear your tales under the stars.

Kind regards,

Neil.

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Did you read my review, Neil? has | Skymax 180 Pro

Add to that a couple of excellent nights observing Jupiter at powers round the 216x mark. Cooldown not an issue for me so far, but then I store mine outside too. Collimation on mine is perfect and I'm truly thankful for that as I really don't look forward to having to mess with it!

It's quite heavy but short and stubby. My Vixen GP takes it with two counterweights, and I suspect it's near the limit for the mount, but then I do like my views to be "absolutely" vibration-free so my opinion on that my be a bit biased!

Ant

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Hi Anthony,

I did indeed. Nice review. I had a feeling you had a bit more to say about it though... kind of like a work in progress..... My new(old style) mount should handle it OK I reckon. I hope to store it an uncooled outhouse to minimise thermal issues.

Sky Watcher QC seems to be very good too, some might well cross the rubicon on this one.

Cheers,

Neil.:)

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2. How did these units star test?

Star tested only one, and it was OK. Not stellar, but nothing bad either. I think the largish central obstruction hinders in practice it more than the quality of the mirror and the corrector, but it has enough aperture not to be bothered too much by it.

Didn't star test as well as a Tal 200K can, though (I've seen one with very, very good star test).

It's a bit of a bear to collimate (to adjust the primary each step requires you to adjust the six screws), but collimation is extremely stable.

Cooling is another matter, though, especially on nights in which temperatures keep dropping like a brick.

But given I know people who have fixed that issue nicely with a Lymax cooler on much larger SCTs, I think that's not an unfixable problem (TS sells a Geoptik Lymax cooler clone for €160).

One thing, though: as you like long focus refractors, you won't like the mirror moving focusing one bit. My guess is that you'll end up either with a helical focusing adapter or even a Crayford focuser at the back before long, so that you can focus at the slow effective f/ratio of the entire system rather than by moving the fast primary.

3. Any memorable views of planets and Luna with this instrument come to mind?

Oh yes. A Jupiter view with one satellite entering the disk and a shadow transit at the other side, with the GRS in the middle and some fine storm (three small knots) in the NEB, at 300x.

It wasn't a very cold night and the seeing was very good.

To be fair it was still slightly beaten by someone else's OO 300mm Dob on a platform (none of the two scopes were mine; I was being a parasite while rebuilding my own Dob), but the Mak was a lot more comfortable to look through.

Edited by sixela
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi folks,

OK, I've managed to secure an older one of these (Gold tube) at a good price and am really looking forward to giving it the once over. I'll post a review of it here once I've clocked up a few observing hours with it.

I'm hoping to get those fond Mak views I used to get with smaller instruments I used years ago.

Cheers,

Neil.

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