New toy arrived..

It arrived..

It’s a Skywatcher Stargate 500p Dobsonian truss-type telescope. The primary mirror is a full half-metre wide, it has a 2 metre focal length. It’s an absolute light bucket. It comes with a computerised goto drive, and it takes me less than about 10 min to set it up and have it running.

It came in 4 large boxes, with a shipping weight of about 95 kg.

I updated my eyepiece collection to suit the f/3.94 focal ration, with a Paracorr, a few Ethos 100-degree eyepieces, and a widest-field Explore Scientific 25mm 100 degree eyepiece. I now understand exactly why people got for the green eyepieces when they can..

The views through this scope are, not surprisingly for a 20″ scope, absolutely spectacular. Theoretically from a dark sky this scope should get visually down to mag 16.2 or so. Trying my hand at some Electronically Assisted Astronomy with the ASI224MC I got a nice view of the core of M42, about 2 min of stacking of 1/8th second (!)¬†exposures and managing to capture some of the proplyds (nascent star solar systems):

Using the larger 4/3rds OSC CMOS camera that I also got recently (an ASI294MC-Pro) I stacked 2 second subs for ~4 min to get this M1 Crab nebula with lots of detail and down to mag 18 stars:

After a while the conditions overhead deteriorated poorly to the point where I could not make out the shape of Leo and the Plough asterism was becoming invisible. I persisted with taking subs of M51 to get this pic: 

Overall – I’m *really* impressed with how this scope is performing for me. It’s a little bit of a bother to disassemble and reassemble and the heavy bits are rather awkward to try and get through a door – but they fit through a door. I’ve also found that I can strap the scope to a handcart and maneuver around the garden with ease, which bodes well for outreach with Astrosoc.

I have not yet had an opportunity to check a Moon or either of the large planets in the morning sky yet, really looking forwards to that..

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