Skywatcher 80/600mm

(minimum resolution: 800 x 600 - best resolution: 1024 x 768)

When I discovered that after 10 years of reliable performance mirror shift in my C8 was causing some troubles with mount alignment and long exposure piggyback guiding I decided to get myself an SCT with mirror lock. After having realized that the Meade piggyback adaptor was much too shaky for my longer telephotolenses I was looking for alternatives.

This was just a couple of months before my journey to the total eclipse of the sun in Turkey 2006. So what I went for was a solution to both questions, how to guide my telephotolenses reliably and capture the solar eclipse with a light-weight travel scope.

I heard about the new inexpensive ED-Refractors with good reviews on the web. So after 24 years in amateur astronomy I bought my first refractor telescope, the Skywatcher 80/600. And goodness - now I know why the refractor community is so heavily into this stuff! The instrument's first light was tested at the moon, Saturn and one or two moderately bright stars in a night with mediocre seeing.

Pinpoint stars with clean diffraction rings, not a bit of false colour at the edge of the moon and high contrast planetary images, this was a first light's promise holding true ever since I used this instrument. In addition, it showed a very good performance at the solar eclipse in March 2006 and did a great job as a guiding scope for my telephoto lenses. Have a look at the various setups shown below.

Click at the images to enlarge.

Sun observing setup #1:
SLR attached to the Skywatcher

This is the Skywatcher 80/600 mounted on my Vixen GP-DX.

This picture shows the telescope with a Canon EOS 5 attached to the T-mount and with the piggybacked Sony videocamera.

Sun observing setup #2:
Totality setup

This was the setup for observing totality at the 2006 solar eclipse.

Sun observing setup #3:
Partial phase setup

This is the Skywatcher 80/600 equiped with a Baader solar filter ND 5.0.

This was the setup for observing the partial phase at the 2006 solar eclipse.

Guiding setup #1:
The Skywatcher as a guiding scope

This is the Skywatcher 80/600 on a 1/2"-aluminum mount plate customized for my Vixen GP-DX.

This picture shows the telescope with my Sigma 400/5.6 telephoto lens.

Guiding setup #2:
The Microguide Eyepiece

This is the Microguide reticle eyepiece used for guiding long-term exposures.

Imaging setup: The Skywatcher
used as a telephoto lens

This is the Skywatcher with a Wiliams reducer used as an imaging scope at f=480mm. It is guided with a 66/388mm guide scope (red) and the ST4 aufoguider (bottom right).

Lunar and planetary imaging setup:
The Skywatcher with webcam

This is the Skywatcher 80/600 equiped with a Philips ToU Cam II through a Meade Barlow lens 2x.

Most of my lunar imaging was done with this setup.

Link to the manufacturer's product information.

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