Monday, 27 April 2015 | Richard
Just to put a bit more meat on the bones!
I had a good run out with the MAK and had a bit of visual on Lunar, Jupiter, Doubles as well as a few DSO's - M3 M13 M64. Performance as follows;
LUNAR (24mm Hyperion and 7 - 21mm SW Zoom EP);
The moon was a fabulous target with plenty of shadow all along the terminator. Using the 24mm the views were superb with nice crisp detail on the lunar surface. Almost too bright for the eye but the detail observed within the craters more than made up for the "snow blindness". The detail on some obscure southern craters was immense - Newton A, D and G as well as the more defined Moretus was breathtakingly stunning.
When looking at Aristillus the view was so sharp you could easily make out the well defined shadow from the eastern crater rim cast onto the crater basin. This gave an excellent 3D effect and really brought home how beautifully rugged the lunar surface is.
Pushing the mag up to around 150 - 180x produced fantastic views of the Apennine Mts around Mare Imbrium. The sharpness was truly stunning and I can only imagine it was like being in orbit looking down.
As I brought the mag up to 200x I started to loose the image definition and I think this (in UK skies) is most probably the realistic limit for visual. However, I would imagine that Webcam imaging could handle the higher mag.
JUPITER (same EP's);
Nice and clear up to about 100x mag but started to lose definition beyond that. I think the seeing was good and I have read a lot about the MAK's being planet killers. Certainly I would expect to be able to bring it comfortably beyond 150x. I think the main issue is the production focuser. Mirror shift although annoying is easy to live with, but getting the focus to hold at the correct focal point is a mare (excuse the punt!). This was also noticeable when viewing the moon at over 150x. Thus you cant quite hold the image in precise focus.
M3, 13 and 64;
Although the moon was pretty bright the views on the 2 clusters were very good. Bringing the mag up to 180 - 200x really split the cluster cores and brought home exactly what sort of DSO you were looking at. A real pleasure to revisit these with the MAK. LP and the moon made the use of averted vision a necessity now and again but then, I have looked at theses DSO's through the MAK at Brecon Beacons. I know what it is capable of with globular's.
M64 couldn't be defined properly although at 120x I could make out the Black Eye and would imagine on a moonless night, this DSO and a few more would make good targets
I would say that image brightness and pin sharpness on the MAK wont be as good as with an APO. The central obstruction will always be a factor. However, I believe its a close second.
A comfortable splitting of this target. Nice yellow hue from polaris and a faint companion that gave of a subtle hint of turquoise hew. A first for me!
An easy one really. Mizar's companion as well as the main star had a stunning whiteness to them. Really beautiful and bright.
The MAK definatly has more to offer a user than just planets etc. It really does perform on a lot of DSO's, excelling on Globular Clusters. On doubles, its ease of use under high mag make it very useful. Lunar observing is out of this world.
Portability - bang for buck the MAK is a great grab and go. Packing plenty of punch, quality optics and its compact.
Cost - currently on sale for £424 it is the steal of the century. You simply wont get this much quality optical performance for this price in any other instrument.
Collimation - no adjustment require unless it has a major trauma. Almost Frac like in this respect
Power - holds high magnification well
Focuser - an SCT is required in order to allow the MAK's full potential. Especially on visual with planets. This isn't a nice to have, it is essential
Central Obstruction - as with SCT's and other scopes with this optical feature, you have to be realistic. It is not going to give you that pin sharp crisp detail on individual stars etc that you will find with a Frac (APO etc). As you increase mag you increase what I call image smear.
Wide Field - forget it!!!!!!!!
For the price and what I wanted it for (a grab and go) its hit the mark and I'm very pleased. I will add an SCT soon and will get another report posted when I get another look at a few planets