StarMax 127 (5 inch) Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope
Right: StarMax 127 (5 inch) Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope with furnished Orion German Equatorial Mount (69,941 Bytes)
The Orion StarMax 127 is recommended by Company Seven to those who seek a multi-purpose, lightweight and compact telescope for astronomy and for nature watching on a relatively modest budget. The real surprise to Company Seven and to our customers has been how disproportionately better than its' price this telescope performs! One simply does not expect to find this good combination of performance, adequate mechanics, and professional appearance in any $500, rather complicated to make, Catadioptric compact telescope. Much less one that includes a really adequate German Equatorial mount too.
Introduced in the Fall 2001, the StarMax 127 is one of the most economical multipurpose portable telescopes we offer. With 5 inches of light gathering power providing an improvement of about 245X that of the human eye, and good overall optical quality, this is the smallest economical Catadioptric we recommend for astronomy. Being a Maksutov-Cassegrain design it is relatively lightweight, compact, rugged, and simple to maintain. The beautiful 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 1,540mm ultra telephoto lens.
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.
It was not until early 2001 that 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. When first delivered in August 2001, the StarMax became the first moderately priced Maksutov-Cassgrain telescope suitable for astronomy that Company Seven chose to offer.
It took the influence of one of the worlds most professional telescope specialty houses to convince Company Seven
to offer these telescopes, and our customers have not been disappointed.
WHAT DOES IT DO? The StarMax provides astonishing views (for its price) of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, clearly identifying each and revealing major changing features on several planets through out the observing seasons. In fact this may be least expensive telescope with a suitable equatorial mount that can clearly show the Cassini Division in Saturns rings. rugged telescope design is apochromatic (showing no false color), optimized for visual use with a comparatively small central obstruction and few optical surfaces. The contrast and apparent brightness will outperform most common 4 inch achromatic refractors (not that many outstanding ones remain in production), and it can surpass several other more expensive telescopes, and may appears similar to small (3 to 3.5") 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 3.5 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 such as the Orion 6" f8 or Orion 8" f6, this manageable telescope has such decent optics and good contrast that it can reveal a number deep sky objects nonetheless. With it's aperture one could even employ a Lumicon Oxygen III filter 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. The light gathering power will make hunting the deep sky objects rewarding, more so with optional light pollution rejection filters.
With an optional camera adapter it may be used as a 1,540mm f12.1 ultra-telephoto lens for photography with common 35mm SLR cameras, or for CCD imaging with a number of compatible cameras. The StarMax 127 telescope optical tube assembly may be quickly detached from the Equatorial Mount for use as a portable telephoto lens (some sort of support is suggested), or for use as a portable spotting telescope. and is available separately for those who do not need the German Mount.
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.
Left: front View Orion telescope in furnished bag; note Finder Bracket base (finder removed) 20,258 bytes).
Noteworthy features of the StarMax 127 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope:
- Silky focuser provides transiting Primary Mirror controlled by manual lead screw drive.
- Fine Annealed Pyrex Primary Mirror for better thermal stability.
- Fine Annealed Crown Corrector Lens.
- Fully Baffled.
- Rugged, permanently aligned optics provide complete freedom from concerns of collimation (however, the Primary Mirror is adjustable if ever needed)
- Durable aluminized mirror coatings.
- Optics very smoothly finished.
- Professional, metallic burgundy painted finish.
- Mounting Plate (secured by two M6-1 x 20 bolts) provided with two 1/4"-20 threaded holes to attach telescope to German mount, or onto optional photo tripod.
- Correct Image 6x 26mm Finder, in line view with Quick Release Bracket with two-screw X and Y axis alignment.
- 1.25" Mirror Diagonal, 90 Degree (image erect but reversed).
- Orion "Sirius" series, 25mm Plossl Eyepiece.
- Fully padded, water resistant nylon/polyester carrying case with zippered side pockets. Provides plenty of room for telescope with additional accessories. Carrying handle and shoulder strap included.
- Orion illustrated instruction manual (available in ".pdf" format from Company Seven Library).
This is a telescope that is ready to go out of the box. However, owners will want to accessorize it better to make it more versatile. And in time may choose to upgrade the small finder to a red dot sight, and possibly uprgade the mirror diagonal. But for the introduced price of $539, most people have come to agree the optical tube alone is worth that!
Left: StarMax 127 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope with finder, eyepiece and EQ-3 German Equatorial Mount and Tripod (17,538 bytes).
The StarMax 127 telescope is furnished with the Orion Model EQ-3 German Equatorial Mount:
- Geared controls to facilitate quick and accurate polar alignment
- Fine geared manual slow motion control.
- Setting circles in Declination and Right Ascension.
- Adjustable height two-section, aluminum field tripod.
- Pole alignment finder telescope installed into the R.A. Axis Shaft housing.
- Two counterweights, adequate for telescope and common optional accessories.
- Wrench provided to tighten tripod bolts.
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).
Click on image to view enlargement (85,180 bytes).
- To read more about the StarMax 127 download the Orion illustrated catalog description page from Company Seven's Library. Tthe download size is 570,055 bytes (in Acrobat Reader ".pdf" format).
- To learn more about the Orion StarMax 127 EQ telescope and it's EQ-3 German equatorial mount download the 16 page Orion illustrated instruction manual from Company Seven's Library. Publication content by Orion Telescopes and Binoculars, all rights reserved. The download size is 751,593 bytes (in Acrobat Reader ".pdf" format).
- To read about the 127 telescope when provided with the Orion SkyView Pro German equatorial mount download "Orion SkyView Pro 127 EQ Telescope Instruction Manual". This is the complete 16 page illustrated instruction manual as furnished with our Orion SkyView Pro 127 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope. Includes unpacking instructions, parts list, instructions for the use, maintenance, and typical accessories. Publication content by Orion Telescopes and Binoculars, all rights reserved. From Company Seven's Archives. 670,421 bytes (in Acrobat Reader ".pdf" format).
* Specifications are subject to change without notice.
||127.0mm (5.0 inches)
|Effective Focal length:
||1,540mm (60.6 inches)
||10.16mm (0.4 inch)
||Borosilicate Crown (BK-7)
||Glass, fine annealed
|Corrector Lens AR Coatings:
|P&S Mirror Reflective Coatings:
||0.91 arc seconds
||0.43 arc seconds
||39x to about 300x
|Prime Focus Photographic Field of View (35mm)
||1.3 x 0.9 degrees
|Tube assembly construction:
||Seamless Aluminum tube painted finish with aluminum front and rear cells
||Transiting Primary Mirror design. Rubber covered Aluminum hand knob.
||About 15m (50 feet)
|Weight of OTA with Finder:
||3.9 kg (8.6 lbs.)
|Weight of OTA with EQ-3 Mount:
||16.8 kg (37 lbs.)
Upon arrival, each telescope is assembled and star tested by Company Seven's experienced staff prior to delivery. 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. 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.
These are optional accessories that are not included with the telescopes that we highly recommend for your viewing pleasure and long term success:
- Dew Shield/Lens Shade
- Guide book: "Backyard Astronomers Guide" or "Nightwatch" by Terrence Dickinson, or "Starware" by Phil Harrington. For the novice from age 8 to 15 or so up to adult. Good introductions to astronomy, the use of telescopes, and their accessories. Easy introductions to finding ones way around the night sky.
- Telrad illuminated sight: to aid one in finding and centering objects in the main telescope, and learn the sky by "star hopping" from one object to another
David H. Levy Guide to the Stars Planisphere If you are not familiar with the night sky then Company Seven recommends you buy a good simple Planisphere which makes it very easy for one to find out what constellations and major deep sky objects are overhead at any given time of the day or night.
The night sky is mapped with the Constellations being those patterns recognizable to man since time immemorial. Constellations can be thought of as countries or states on a world map, where if you seek the Grand Canyon then you know to find Arizona. While in the night sky when one seeks the Great Nebula then one looks toward the Constellation Orion. The Planisphere is a two piece assembly consisting of one disc with a chart of the entire night sky, and an attached overlay disc with a transparent window and surrounding mask to simulate the horizons. The overlay is dialed to line up its local time indicator marks with the Month and Day printed around the edge of the chart disc, and so when properly set this will reveal what parts of the sky may be seen at any time of the year. The print is easy to read under day or red light.
- Red LED Flashlight such as the Rigel Skylite to help one set up and use a telescope, and to read charts or a planishpere without adversely impacting the observers night vision.
- Neutral Density and Color Filters to reduce the brightness of the Moon and Planets, and highlight subtle features.
- Solar Filter: Orion fitted glass model, or Baader Astro-Solar polymer to observe sunspots, and solar eclipses.
- Sky Light Pollution Rejection Filter to reduce the greenish or golden background glow from city lights and darken the sky background - aid seeing faint Nebulae.
- Eyepieces: The eyepiece is the lens which is put into a focuser to magnify the image provided by the telescope. Proper choice of eyepieces can make or break a telescope. Typically astronomers will wish to initially set up the telescope with at least two or three eyepieces. The goals will be to address:
- Low magnification: for views of the faint deep sky objects: 32mm to 40mm focal length eyepiece.
- Middle Magnification eyepiece - usually between 80 to 120X, for views of
the full Moon, Star Clusters, etc.
- High magnification: 200X or more for views of the planets.
Note: For undistracted observing at above 200X, or for simple astrophotography we suggest the optional EQ-3M Clock Drive. This is a battery powered motor that will permit the pole aligned EQ-3 mount to track objects across the sky automatically. Available in Single Axis or Dual Axis configuration.
Relatively simple eyepiece designs such as the Plossl, Orthoscopic, traditional Erfle and some other wide angle eyepieces can show sharp clear images across the field of view with telescopes such as this. These can be quite acceptable and provide reasonably wide field of views and good eye relief down to focal lengths of about 10mm or so. Company Seven also offers the Orion Ultrascopic Plossls which provide excellent image quality, and good eye relief at relatively modest cost.
If you require even more eye relief, then Company Seven recommends more advanced designs such as those pioneered by Al Nagler, founder of the TeleVue company. TeleVue's designs include the "Radian" which provide excellent 19 to 20mm eye relief and 60 degree wide angle fields of view. And for those who seek images of the best possibly quality we add the TeleVue "Nagler" (82 degree!) or "Panoptic" (68 degree) series eyepieces. These oculars will provide the widest clear, and flat field images bringing out the most in your telescope (and many other) telescopes.
Please refer to the brochure and the test report/data from Company Seven enclosed with our telescopes for detailed characterizations of suggested eyepieces:
||Actual field of view
|25mm Plossl (included)
- Barlow or TeleVue "Powermate" Lens: you may consider any of a number of 1.25 inch diameter Barlow lenses that we offer to about double magnification, thereby increasing the versatility of a limited two or three eyepiece collection. A Barlow lens can also be used to project an image farther from the focuser to attain focus with some optional accessories such as binocular viewers, etc. However, this telescope has so much focal length that persons who are less concerned about budgetary considerations will find it more convenient to simply round out their eyepiece selection. We suggest you contact Company Seven for suggestions on how to to best meet your goals.
- Orion or TeleVue Image Erecting Prism Diagonal: provides an image that is right side up, and correct left and right. The high magnification performance is more limited by the prism than the Mirror Diagonal furnished with the telescope however, this may not be too critical a concern since daytime seeing conditions commonly limit a telescope to 100X or less. This 45 degree inclined, correct-image prism often makes reaching the eyepiece more comfortable during terrestrial applications.
- Telescopes such as this often put the eyepiece at position that is only about 3 or 4 feet (0.9 or 1.2 meters) from the ground. Since most of our customers are taller than that, they will find it uncomfortable to stand bent over to observe for extended periods. For a much more enjoyable and comfortable observing experience, Company Seven recommends the Observing Chair; this is our most comfortable, flat folding, adjustable height seat. It is not inexpensive, but is so practical and can be used for camping or other times when a comfortable portable seat is desired.