Squeebles Reply to on 18 August 2018
|Firstly, apologies for the weather, it always seems to turn cloudy or wet when I even so much as look at a telescope.
Gskyer is a German company that sells a range of inexpensive refractor and reflector telescopes (and binoculars), all at low prices and ideal for someone with a new interest in astronomy.
This came delivered in a large, sturdy cardboard box, with the brand details on the side. As I wasn't home, the courier had helpfully left the parcel by my garage and it got soaked. Luckily the box is made of such thick cardboard that none of the inside was wet or even damp when I opened it up.
Inside the main box are five smaller boxes containing the refractor telescope itself, the tripod (and , a box of eye pieces and the tripod arm. The final box was empty and was just there to stop everything moving around. There's also a resealable plastic bag containing simple illustrations of how to assemble the scope and a lens cloth. There's text in English on one side of the instructions and Chinese on the other.
While every thing fits together nicely, it's obvious that there's some rough edges on metal parts and the paint doesn't cover everything neatly and there's few chips and scratches here and there, but this is merely cosmetic. On the alt-azimuth mount (a simple two-axis mount) there are no slow-motion knobs for getting precisely zeroed in on a star, cluster or planet, or to keep tracking motion smooth if you want to take long exposure photograph of an object. It's more just point the spotting scope and line it up as best you can. For most of the time, that's enough.
As for other bits in the box, you get a 25mm, 10mm and 5mm eyepieces as well as a 3x Barlow (that goes between the scope and the eyepiece and it triples the magnification of any eyepiece). Note, this scope will use any 1.25" eyepiece you could want to buy. Thay was you can upgrade the supplied eyepieces or even pick ones for specific tasks, ie for planet hunting or deep sky / nebulae. It would be interesting to see if better eyepieces improve the quality of skywatching.
So everything's assembled in about 10 minutes and it's obvious this is light enough to move easily about without putting your back out. Also, it doesn't need a counterweight to keep the main scope balanced so that's a help. Gskyer say this can also be used for daytime viewing, like for birdwatching and wildlife (but never the neighbours). The fact the telescope slides onto the tripod and then is locked in place, makes it a simple job to get up and running quickly, that's a good thing. The tripod triangular tray locks neatly into place and provides more stability but you'll probably need to unclip it to fold the tripod up to get it through a door. It does look pretty cool all assembled. They tray's good for keeping your eyepieces safely in one place while you're out in the dark.
The tripod is rather on the short side and the 48° BAK7 prism zenith mirror could do with being more like 90° as if the scope is pointed any where near vertically you need to bend over (or get a chair) to see through the eyepiece and using the 5mm or 10mm eyepiece is difficult.
Again, pretty much total sky cover this evening, even the moon was too hazy to look at. I will update this review with more information, but at the moment I'm hard pressed to consider another telescope that gives this much for your money.
Only thing to add to this telescope is this book:
Turn Left at Orion: A Hundred Night Sky Objects to See in a Small Telescope - and How to Find Them
though you'll probably find that Sky Map app for Android or Star Walk 2 - Night Sky Map for iOS to be more useful out in the field on a starry night.
First night with some breaks in the clouds. The spottting scope was the hardest to get aligned with the main telescope, took me about 15 minutes of moving and affixing to get the cross hairs aligned with the centre of the main lens..
Was able to find and focus on the half moon easily enough, though the moon was so bright it was difficult to see much detail apart from at the terminator (the "dividing line" between the lit and dark parts of the moon) I've borrowed a Vixen eyepiece filter set containing six coloured filter. There's a black filter that should cut down on the light from the moon and make contrast better. I was impressed the filters fitted to the Gskyer eyepieces (screwed onto the rear thread). Mars was also visible low in the sky (towards the south), but at best couldn't see much more than a reddish blob. More soon.
Partially cloudy night again. The focussing mechanism is stepped, so I found critical focussing difficult, as was using the 10mm & 5mm eyepieces (the 10mm eyepiece rattled and needed tightening up).
Clear skies! What a difference that makes. Found Jupiter, wasn't able to resolve enough to see the Great Spot, but did see three moons shining (two upper right and one bottom left). Swivelling around to Saturn, you could *just about* make out the rings, again the limitations of the stepped focuser made it difficult to acquire perfect focus. The moon, moving towards full, was gloriously bright, so the Vixen filters helped cut the brightness down so you could marvel at the craters (Copernicus and Tycho were easy to recognise).
Anoither clear night, though low horizon cloud hid Jupiter. Borrowed an old Canon EOS 30D and a telescope adaptor and shot the moon. It's a 12 year old DSLR, so no live view and resolution isn't that great, but I like the photo. Saturn was just sadly a small pixelly blob.