Friday, September 01, 2006

The XT6 Gets It

Okay, I caved. Despite some good advice from a family member, I went ahead and bought the XT6. My reasoning is that I wanted something with at least 6" of aperture, that was very easy to setup out on the front yard on a moment's notice (whenever the mood took me, basically). The XT6 appealed to me in this regard, so I got it.

Setup was a snap. Took me about 15 minutes to build the Dobsonian base. The tube assembly was sleek and black, and the finder was a breeze to put on and align as well. The scope came with two Sirius Plossl eyepieces, but I have already sold those and now have more money in my astrofund!

I took it out tonight and ran it through the mill. A bvasic star test showed almost 100% perfect collimation. For an out-of-the-box experience, that is superb. I was worried as I thought I knocked the primary mirror with my hand as I set the scope up last night, but the optics were in great shape. I then looked at the moon and it was gorgeous. Granted, I was using my Orion Stratus eyepieces but the scope behaved admirably with them all (21mm, 13mm & 8mm). The moon was just delightful. I then went on to Jupiter. Easily, I saw the two main cloud bands and the four major moons. Okay, so all scopes can pretty much do that. I pushed the envelope a little and put in the 8mm, pushing the power up to about 150X. I could see quite a few cloud bands despite the hazy atmospheric conditions of the early evening, and it was very impressive. Using the scope is simple, and the navigation knob is a handy little feature. I will ultimately replace the 6*30 straight-through finder with either a right angle finder or Telrad, as there's a bit of neck strain using a stright through with the Dob.

All-in-all, I'm very happy with this purchase. Oh, I have a 4 year old daughter and in no time she was swinging the scope around and looking at stuff. So it's a good idea for getting the ankle-biters into the hobby too! Highly recommend this scope for beginners or folks who want a nice "grab and go".

BTW, I also took a very nice moon shot through this scope tonight, but will publish more about that seperately!