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SkyView Pro 150mm (6 inch) Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope
Right: SkyView Pro 150mm (6 inch) f/12 Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope with furnished SkyView Pro Orion German Equatorial Mount. Optical tube available separately. (28,532 Bytes)
Introduced in the Fall of 2005, the Orion SkyView Pro 150mm is recommended by Company Seven to those who seek a high resolution, multi-purpose, lightweight and compact telescope for astronomy. The SkyView Pro 150mm is an arrangement similar to its smaller, highly successful cousin the StarMax 127 5 inch Maksutov-Cassegain telescope that was introduced in the Fall 2001. With a 30 per cent increase in light gathering power and a 1.2X increase in resolution over the StarMax 127, the 150mm brings one into the realm of much more serious astronomical capabilities. And with the more rigid provided SkyView Pro German Equatorial Mount this 150mm system is very well suited for those with a more than casual interest in astronomy and who seek memorable views of the brighter objects (planets, moon, Sun, and brighter deep sky objects.
The SkyView Pro 150mm is truly more reliable and well supported by the provided motorized SkyView Pro German Equatorial mount and tripod. The German mount is a somewhat bulky and initially awkward platform for the novice, but this one is a reliable and stable platform that adds only moderate cost with great capability to the package. This system, when mated to any of a number of optional economical CCD imaging cameras which we offer can provide images of planets and deep sky objects that one would be proud to frame and hang on the wall. Of course, it is possible to buy the 150mm telescope optical tube assembly without mount if you wish to employ it onto another platform. The 150mm optical tube assembly (OTA) at 17 inches in length and 7-3/8 inches wide is so compact that it can be carried about and employed in the field for long distance terrestrial uses of nature watching and photography.
All of this is provided for a relatively modest cost since the complete SkyView Pro 150mm system is notably less costly and yet more capable than any of the ubiquitous and comparatively less reliable tabletop compact "go to" telescopes on the market today. In fact we at Company Seven have periodically evaluated a number of the popular "go to" Mak-Cass telescopes available in apertures up to 5 inch, but none have been consistently good and reliable by our standards. And after you've been frustrated by poorly working, less reliable "go to" telescopes that get in the way of your observing experience then maybe you'll discover the rewarding simplicity and high value of this telescope.
The Orion 150mm Mak-Cassegrain proves to be a capable performer, well suited for uses on objects that can be seen from suburban skies. However, for customers whose interests lean more towards deep sky observing, particularly from darker sky sites, then Company Seven continues to recommend our Orion SkyQuest and Intelliscope series Dobsonian style "light buckets".
What we mentioned in our review about the StarMax 127 also applies to this 150mm:
The SkyView Pro 150mm is among the few economical multipurpose portable telescopes that we enthusiastically offer. With 6 inches of light gathering power providing an improvement of about 330X that of the human eye, and good overall optical quality this is a capable high resolution telescope for astronomy. Being a closed Maksutov-Cassegrain design it is relatively lightweight, compact, rugged, and simple to maintain. The nice fit and finish, and feel of the focuser are uncommon in a telescope so moderately priced too! Included is a 25mm Plossl eyepiece (62X 0.73 Degree Field of View), lightweight carrying bag, and to permit the easy tracking of celestial objects across the sky - an easy to use German Equatorial Mount (clock drive optional). This telescope is a particularly good choice for those in suburban settings who want to glimpse changing features on the brighter astronomical objects, or for nature watching, etc. The telescope can be easily dismounted for use as a spotting telescope or as a 1,800mm ultra telephoto lens. And there is nothing to stop one from swapping out one telescope for another on the SkyView Pro mount since it relies on quick release hardware to attach telescopes onto the mount head.
History of the Mak-Cassegrain: The component that defines the Maksutov telescope is the relatively thick deeply curved "Meniscas" corrector lens which reduces spherical aberration, a spherical Primary Mirror (usually about f2), and a convex Secondary Mirror (usually an aluminized spot on the Corrector Lens) which imparts magnifications of about 5X. The "Meniscas" corrector was the brainchild of two men, working independently and separated by a War. In 1941 A. Bouwers of Amsterdam, Holland and Dimitry Maksutov in Moscow, Russia were each trying to develop an alternative to the more difficult to fabricate thin Schmidt-Corrector. The Schmidt Corrector is a thin aspheric lens developed by Bernhard Schmidt in the 1920's for use in the astrographic "Schmidt Cameras" made by Carl Zeiss company in Germany. Both men arrived at about the same conclusion but since by 1944 Maksutov had published the design, history associates the lens with his name. This new lens was used to produce a compact and rugged Catadioptric (mirror and lens system) telescope. The Cassegrain aspect describes the perforated primary mirror permitting the focal plane to reach the rear of the telescope. The Meniscas Corrector and Cassegrain configuration would become known as the Maksutov-Cassegrain.
The Maksutov-Cassegrain was first popularized in the early 1950's in Lawrence Braymer's Questar 3-1/2 and later 7 inch telescopes. When properly made, these provide views very similar in detail and clarity to the finest similar aperture apochromatic refractors, yet about 1/3 or less the physical length of the typical refracting telescope. Having f ratios of f/14 or longer the Maksutov-Cassegrain lacks the versatility of the Apo refractor since the field of view and photographic possibilities are comparatively limited.
In early 2001 Company Seven chose to ally ourselves with Orion Telescopes and Binoculars in order to provide to our customers an increased measure of proven reliable supply, customer service, and another notch of influence on quality control. In August 2001, the StarMax 127 became the first moderately priced Maksutov-Cassgrain telescope suitable for astronomy that Company Seven chose to offer.
to offer these telescopes, and our customers have not been disappointed.
WHAT DOES IT DO? The SkyView Pro 150mm provides astonishing views of many objects. The moon appears as though you are orbiting it. While Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are clearly identified each revealing their major changing features through out the observing seasons. In fact this among our least expensive telescopes with an equatorial mount that can clearly show the Cassini Division in Saturns rings. The rugged optical design is apochromatic (showing no false color), optimized for visual use. The contrast and apparent brightness will outperform most common 4 inch aperture achromatic refractors (not that many outstanding ones remain in production), and it can surpass several other more expensive telescopes, and the views of some objects may appear similar to small (3.5 to 4") Apo refractors! Viewing the moon you may imagine you are seeing details as if you were in orbit even though the smallest object you could see with this telescope will actually be about 3 kilometers in diameter. With an optional solar filter you may observe sun spot activity, or an eclipse. While for viewing deep sky objects (galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, etc.) we generally prefer telescopes with more light gathering power and 2 inch eyepiece capability such as the Orion 8" f6 or its larger cousins, this manageable telescope has such decent optics and good contrast that it can reveal a number deep sky objects nonetheless. The light gathering power and contrast will make hunting the deep sky objects rewarding. And with its increased light gathering power over its smaller cousins, the 150mm shows real benefits when equipped with optional light pollution rejection filters; one could even employ an optional Oxygen III filter with the 150mm and go after many nebulae including the Dumbell and the Ring. Star clusters will appear three dimensional with stars floating as salt particles against a black background. The "Double Double" is clearly resolved.
With an optional camera adapter this 150mm Mak may be used as a 1,800mm f/12.1 ultra-telephoto lens for photography with common 35mm SLR film and digital cameras, or for CCD imaging with a number of compatible cameras.
Those telescopes passed by our quality control testing reveal a thick, durable Corrector Lens that is beautifully multi-coated on both front and rear surfaces with spotlessly clean primary and secondary mirrors. Those who like to play "telescope testing" are likely to be pleasantly surprised at the Airy disk and diffraction ring patterns appearing distinct and nearly symmetrical in and out of focus, with no signs of zones or roughness - tell tale signs of patient and professional mirror making.
Noteworthy features of the SkyView Pro 150mm Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope:
This is a telescope that is ready to go out of the box, and for the price most people have come to agree the optical tube alone is worth that or more! However, owners are likely to accessorize it a bit better to make it more versatile or better able to keep their interest in a variety of applications. For example:
We also suggest a suitable carrying bag or padded case; one is not yet offered by Orion. Most of our customers will benefit from an optional Lens Shade/Dew Shield and possibly even a regulated electronic dew and frost prevention accessory such as those by Kendrick which we stock.
Right: Click image if you wish to take a 360 degree tour of the SkyView Pro 8 telescope which includes the SkyView Pro mount.
SkyView Pro Equatorial Mount Highlights
SkyView Pro Equatorial Mount Drive Systems (customer's choice of Dual or Single Axis)
Receive a FREE Starry Night Special Edition software suite. Both the highly acclaimed planetarium software by Imaginova "Starry Night Special Edition" with a bonus "SkyTheatre" DVD are included FREE with purchase of any Orion-brand astronomical telescope from Company Seven.
"Starry Night Special Edition" is a basic version of the more capable "Starry Night" version 5.0 astronomy software series; this software will help you learn the night sky, see what is up day or night, now or in past millennia, plan your observing sessions, and print out charts and information about the celestial wonders. The set also includes "SkyTheatre", a DVD by Imaginova so your television or PC becomes a spaceship on a voyage through our Solar System. The set is compatible with both Macintosh computers running OSX version 10.3 or later, and with Windows XP for PC. Your personal planetarium and guide to the night sky!
Left: CD-ROM "Starry Night Special Edition" with bonus "SkyTheatre" DVD suite (43,322 bytes).
To read about the Orion SkyView Pro German Equatorial Mount download "Orion SkyView Pro 8 EQ Telescope Instruction Manual". Complete 20 page illustrated instruction manual as furnished with our Orion SkyView Pro 8 EQ Equatorial Reflecting telescope. Publication content by Orion Telescopes and Binoculars, all rights reserved. From Company Seven's Archives. 2,061,695 bytes (in Acrobat Reader ".pdf" format).
* Specifications are subject to change without notice. Shipping dimensions do not include Drive Systems, or other added accessories.
Upon arrival, each telescope is assembled, inspected, and star tested by Company Seven's experienced staff prior to acceptance. The telescope is usually delivered to our customers in it's cardboard packaging since assembly is a fairly simple matter. While delivery is available and the telescope is fairly well protected by the double boxing, there is always some risk of damage in transport and so we suggest pickup in our showroom when practical. You may later choose to attend our complimentary course of instruction. And of course the Orion One Year Limited Warranty is complimented by Company Seven's own guarantees and service facilities. With proper use and maintenance, there is very little that can go wrong with a telescope such as this - if there is a problem then it is likely we will have found it for you and so with the exception of mirror coatings, Company Seven backs our telescopes for life.
SUGGESTED ACCESSORIESThese are optional accessories that are not included with the telescopes that we highly recommend for your viewing pleasure and long term success: