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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.
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:
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:
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).
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.
SUGGESTED ACCESSORIESThese are optional accessories that are not included with the telescopes that we highly recommend for your viewing pleasure and long term success: