SkyWatcher Evostar 150mm Refracting Telesope Review

Author: Robert Geake
Subject:SkyWatcher Evostar 150


Telescopes and Mounts:
Skywatcher Evostar 150
Konus MotorMax 90
Orion(UK) Europa 250
Skywatcher EQ-6
Meade DS2114
Orion(UK) OMC 140
Meade ETX-90EC
Skywatcher Startravel 80
Synta Skywatcher EQ-6 EQ6
TAL 100R Refractor
Film Astrophotography
Minolta SRT100X
Canon IXUS 330
Other Stuff:
Baader Fringe Killer
My Latest Astro Picture
Star Hopping Guide
Stacking images
Bits and bobs

Sky Watcher technical specification

Aperture = 150mm
Focal Length = 1200mm
Focal Ratio = f8
Tube Weight = 8kg
Finder = 9x50
Faintest Star = 13.6 Mag
Resolution = 0.8 Secs
Focus Mount = 50mm

Evostar 150 and EQ-6

My First Session

I have now owned some 6 telescopes in the last 3 years from the down right horrible to the best one can buy for your money and several in between. My favourite was the TAL 100R, a very good scope at a real budget price(i paid a smidge over 200 quid). This Evostar(i am hoping) will be a suitable replacement for the TAL but better, at 150mm thats a whole 2 inches bigger then the TAL and with it should come an increase in light grasp and there for detail.

My first impression of this scope(once out of the box and bolted on to the EQ-6) is its HUGE size, i mean this is a massive scope by refractor standards. The tube is mainly blue with what looks like a brown/black hammerite coating on any metal pieces of chasis. It feels much lighter than it looks(which is nice) and site proudly on the EQ-6. Setup is straight forward with the usual big brown box containg several white boxes in which we find the following:

One thing telescope manufacturers never give us is a manual, the only scope i have ever had a manual with was the Meade DS2114! Now fully assembled i carry the scope/mount combination outside, my front garden has a street lamp just on the boundary and the skies are scattered with clouds. Not really going to be able to make a good judge of this scope from here but i will have a look none the less. The first target(i must add this is always my first target for a new scope, dont know why? Thanks JC if you ever read this:) Alberio, the stunning double at the foot of the Cygnus Cross. A wonderfull site to behold in any scope! The colours look clear and crisp, the image is much darker than i am used to. An F4.8 really spoils me for contrast although, the higher ratio of the 150 makes for a much darker space between the stars making the stars more pronouced. Focus is acheived easily and quickly, i am using a 25mm Meade Super Plossyl so magnification is about 50x. I also target M26 in Scutum, i am viewing through cloud but i can make out a few stars, especially the brighter core stars. Another object i viewed in the first session was M57, again through cloud, i can make out the shape of the object but the weather is now completly against me and i am going to pack up...

Alas my first go with this new toy was not as long as i hoped but from what i have seen the scope is a good one!!! Check back for more info soon.

Update 2004-12-18

The scope has proved as expected for a tool of this price, after all the scope was a secondary cheap bonus way of buying a new EQ-6. Ive had a few more sessions with it now. It has suffered a couple of mechanical faults, the focusing axle ends are attached by a tapered shaft end and a screw. There is no key between shaft hand handle and the screws seem to constantly work loose. This was repaired by a quick application of thread lock. The second fault, if it can be called a fault, is at the end of the focusser tube. No matter how tight you screw it, all the twisting and fiddling caused by observing seems to work the thread loose. This i have not applied any thread lock to(just);)...

Optically the comparison to a TAL 100 is very similar but with a slightly brighter image. Viewing saturn brings out greater color and detail than most refrators i have used and of course, the main reason for my buying a refrator, clusters both open and globular. Using a refractor on these objects is a most satifing experience and should be seen by everyone at some point. I have yet to turn the scope to any GC's but i have viewd many of the looser clusters in our locality M44 is the most recent, colours and definition of point light sources are a great improvement over the Europa. The sword handle cluster in Perseus is a wonderous site to behold. One of the most colourfull views i have had with a telescope. Planetary observations are slightly discoloured with a definate blueing to lunar views, this is a small price to pay for the detail and stability of the image. Saturn's rings are clear and the gap is viewed with ease at 50x and becomes more defined at 100x. I must point out though that currently i have not had a chance to view Saturn when over head so all judgements i make are tainted with the views ive had with the Europa last year. I can say planetary views are a great improvement over the TAL 100 and the Konus 90mm Mak. But the 150mm apeture is bound to be an improvement.

Although not strictly a judge of quality i have observed steam plumes from an industrial area at a distance of some 20 miles. The view revealed massive detail and contrast in the plume, this was on a clear night with no moon. A very impressive display of motion and dynamic contrast changes from a somewhat pants(for want of a better word) object!! Altogether so far i can only hold the mechanical complaints against the scope. Optically i am impressed and would sudgest that if you are looking for a low budget 150mm refrator to look no further...

Update: 2005-02-13

Optics! Earlier this evening i was viewing Juptier and its moons from my ex-neighbours back garden with my europa. I enjoyed the views and although Jupiter was low the moments when the turbulence was at a minimum more than made up for the times of great atmospheric disturbance. I saw fine detail in the cloud belts and all 4 moons where just resolvable as tiny disks!!! The evostar 150 however is a different story ;( there was fine detail in the cloud belts but it was overcome by the horific blueing of the planet!!! I am most disapointed at this and i hope it is an atmospheric abboration as opposed to the normal behaviour of the scope. I tried 2 ep's but still the blue remained. I will be posting further info on this situation tomorrow after i have checked the collimation of the scope.

As usual this page will be updated as my experience with the scope grows, for now im going to add my camera bracket back on to the Europa!! Light buckets rule hands down.


Author:Robert Geake
Subject:SkyWatcher Evostar 150
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