152 > First Light
Please excuse the quality of images on this page. They were taken using
a wobbly EQ3 mount using a hand held camera in poor weather conditions
and later I found the scope was out of collimation too!
After aligning the finder scope with the OTA the first object to try
was a cockerel weather vane on top of a church 1km/0.6mi away. The
image below was
taken through a Meade 40mm Super Plossl lens. The supplied 20mm lens
tried but it was
come to a sharp focus. The weather couldn't decide between sun or
the seeing was difficult but it may have been because it was too close.
worrying that Hioptic doesn't provide a wider eyepiece than 20mm with
this high zoom scope.
UPDATE: Having tested on a day with clearer conditions a full range
of eyepieces from 40mm-6.4mm have been now been used. With the 6.4mm
the beak of the bird filled the view in the eyepiece and was clear and
When it became dark, seeing was still poor, and clouds covered the
night sky. However, I'm lucky to have a TV mast that can be seen on top
of a hill about 8km/5miles away. Below the cloud
line, the mast lights
could still be
seen and were used for these dark tests.
The light gathering ability was impressive for a Maksutov with a 15
second exposure looking like it was taken in day conditions. The images
showed noticeable tripod wobble indicating the EQ3 would be difficult
use for even basic astro imaging.
Early in the evening the moon put in a brief appearance while darting
in and out of the clouds. The views through the scope were very sharp,
and where the craters cast a shadow, they were very rich in detail. It
didn't appear so bright that it would require a moon filter. Using a
Meade 40mm and 32mm eyepiece, the whole of the moon just about fits in
view. Using the supplied 20mm eyepiece however gets you deep into the
moon backing up my theory that Hioptic should supply something wider
with this scope. There were no signs of of blue and
red fringing around the edges using the eye but I did notice some in my
camera. Sadly the seeing
conditions were not good enough to try out the supplied 6.5mm eyepiece
and it would not come into focus.
Later that night Jupiter came up above the horizon and there was just
enough time between the clouds to catch a glimpse.
The view was too bright in both 40mm and 32mm eyepieces.
The eye could see a big white circle (Jupiter) and 4 bright dots (it's
moons). Colour fringing was obvious. I thought it might be because it
was too bright, low on the horizon and in bad air conditions, but I
suspect there may be a problem with the collimation.
reviewer would reduce the brightness by using more
a closer lenses but these were unable to get focus due to the poor
seeing conditions. It was clear that Jupiter on these wider lenses
would benefit from a planet or moon filter. It was so bright any
details were being
washed out. The manufacturers
specification suggested including
sun and moon filters but none was supplied with this kit.
The image below was a single frame captured on a Casio QV-2900UX
digital camera. Even on the camera the image was
too bright so the cameras zoom and high shutter
speed were used to reduce the glare.
The four moons in the image above may be hard to see if the reader
is viewing in a bright room.
A few days later conditions cleared enough to do a star test on
Capella. Capella is the 6th brightest star in the night sky and through
this scope it was very bright indeed. It showed obvious colour finging
which I later put down to collimation issues. Other less bright stars
nearby just exhibited the pin sharp white dots you would expect from a
Despite the poor conditions the views from this telescope looked very
promising. It provided typical sharp Maksutov optical views on rich
dark backgrounds despite the reviewers light polluted sky. There seems
to be a bit of colour fringing on bright objects. I'm put this down to
objects being low on the horizon and suffering air de-fraction, but I
later found the scope arrived with bad collimation.
It's been a funny year with very few opportunities to get outside under
clear skys. Some might say global warming but being an astronomer I'll
but it down to the Sun being in a quiet stage with no activity.
On a slightly clearer night a better shot of a nearly full moon was
taken. There was a little colour fringing with a small amount of blue
the top and red on the bottom. The moon was still low on the horizon so
we can't rule out this being the result of air de-fraction yet but
starting to suspect collimation issues.
A few days later the moon was
higher in the sky and no signs of colour fringing after collimation.
FIXED THE CROSS EYES!
Eventually figured out how to fix
the bad collimation and it's like a new scope!