Sunday, February 11, 2007

 

Well, Then, What the Heck Can You Do With a 66mm Telescope?!

I had to ask “what can you do with a 90mm telescope” a while back, but the question “what can you do with a 66mm scope” seems even more pressing given the incredible popularity of the little 66mm Chinese apochromats now making their presence felt in the U.S. astro-market. For the complete answer, you’ll have to wait for my comprehensive review of the William Optics 66 SD “Patriot Edition” in the forthcoming issue of the new Astronomy Technology Today Magazine. For now? Here’s a short list of my general impressions.

--I’m amazed they can sell a scope with this build quality for less than 400 dollars (with a significant portion of that money going to the American Red Cross). Hell, you can get the not-as-pretty standard 66 for less than three hundred pieces o’ eight. This “build quality” includes an excellent-quality two-speed focuser, a genuinely heavy-duty baffled tube, a retractable dew shield, and a real case. Oh, and in the case of the Patriot, that snazzy paintjob, of course.

--I’m amazed the optics are as good as they are at this price. This is what we all hoped the much-loved Short Tube 80 would be but wasn’t. No, 66mm is not a whole lot of aperture, but this little scope can still show you as much or more than the ST80, which was the grab and go scope of choice for many amateurs for years. And you won’t have to deal with THE COLOR PURPLE, either.

--I’m amazed at its utility as a guide scope. I’ve used a similar 66 to successfully guide a 14-inch SCT—no Barlow required.

--I’m amazed at the little thing’s ability to take wide-field pictures. If you are mainly interested in imaging the bigger stuff, this may be all you need, and the 66 SD will certainly not stress your mount. Heck, if you are even a little better at CCD imaging than your Silly Old Uncle, you will be able to amaze your friends. As for the above Rosette Nebula image, the details are: SBIG ST2000, 10-minute auto-guided exposure, Celestron CG5 mount (click for a larger version).

So…that’s it? No…like I done told you, get the full story in Astronomy Technology Today, which looks to be a very interesting magazine in its own right, and one that will not stress your budget since the publisher is CURRENTLY GIVING AWAY FREE INTRODCTORY SUBSCRIPTIONS:

Go get you one, Kats ‘n Kittens!

Comments:
I just got a WO 66mm SD for my birthday. I already have a C9.25 so I also have the WO 2" SCT diagonal that fits the WO 66mm. I used a 26mm Nagler (15X, 5.5 degree FOV)and Nagler 17mm (23X, 3.6 degree FOV) to sweep the sky. You can make out the Rosette Nebula with an OIII filter in the Nagler 26 and 17. The best view of the Orion Nebula was thru my 12 mm Radian (32X, 1.9 degree FOV). The trapizium was easily observed and could make out some nebula cloud structure. I also had some impressive views of Saturn using my 5mm radian and a 2x barlow (156X, 0.38 degree FOV). Could make out the Cassini Division and just see cloud one cloud band. This scope makes a nice compliment to my C9.25 for wide field views and is ultra portable for Airplane trips out west.
 
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