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MightMak 60 - small and cheap maksutov telescope

Small and cheap telescopes aren't something providing much value. There are small achromatic refractors that have their own problems with chromatic aberration and cheap plastic finish. But what about a 60mm Maksutov telescope? Lets take a loot at Omegon MightyMak 60.

MightyMak 60

MightyMak 60

The telescope is sold by AstroShop for around 77 EUR. With MightyMak 80 and 90 it looks like Synta/SkyWatcher rebranded hardware so you could find same telescope locally under a different name.

Front of MightyMak 60
MightyMak 60

MightyMak 60

The telescope has a focal length of 670mm with f/ratio of 11,2. The OTA weights only 620g. We also get a Vixen dovetail, finderscope mount point (but no finderscope in the cheaper option), 90 degrees 1,25" diagonal and 25 mm 1,25" Kellner eyepiece for 26,8x magnification (with theoretical max of 120x for 60 mm aperture). The telescope can be mounted on a small, table-top tripod included in the box.

MightyMak 60 with a finderscope costs around 100 EUR with no discount, 80mm version jumps to 140 EUR and 90 mm is priced around 180 EUR. First 127 mm Maksutov (sweet spot for this telescope design) starts around 350 EUR. This places 60 mm Mak at a very low price compared to bigger and more proven telescopes which may incentivize less experienced people to buy this as a first telescope.

Visual performance

With the provided Kellner eyepiece the Moon fits in the field of view nicely and the image can be made sharp. The focuser works just like in other Maks and likely due to small size there is very little to no wobble. However the image isn't large, it may be missing the wow factor. I also used a 12 mm Erfle type eyepiece as well as 7-21 mm common zoom eyepiece. The magnification increases but the image gets darker and much less clear.

Compared to 150/750 SkyWatcher Newtonian - a popular and relatively cheap for a telescope set there is way much less wow effect to the image in the eyepiece. If you want to start with astronomy I would recommend checking options like this Newtonian. If you want something really mobile mostly for daily use then maybe this 60mm or bit bigger Mak would be a good pick.

On the other hand you can use this telescope almost like a hand-held, picking it on a walk and having a quick look on the Moon or planets not to mention daytime spotting. So the value here is solely if it matches your usage cases.

Optics test

I've put the OTA on an EQ mount and did some star tests with ASI178MM camera. As with my initial visual findings the telescope wasn't perfectly collimated. I started adjusting the collimation screws on the back to get somewhat symmetrical defocused star image but it turned out to be quite hard to achieve. Either the telescope isn't built perfectly or some more tuning to the collimation is actually needed. The collimation problem could be seen on the lunar images that did lack full clarity (as well as likely on the visual image on higher magnifications).

Initial star image

Initial star image

Star image after some collimation attempts

Star image after some collimation attempts

Test Moon image
Test Moon image

Test Moon images

Summary

Even though Maksutov won't have chromatic aberration the small aperture and low price does give a lot of compromises. For one the magnification is small and lunar/planetary views could be disappointing. Collimation problems (or requirement out of the box) can be a to complex task for non experienced users.

On the other hand we get a really compact and lightweight tube that can be used as a spotting telescope or even finder/guide scope of bigger telescopes assuming the primary mirror will be stable.

If you want a full set I would also recommend picking a finderscope and maybe another eyepiece for higher magnification. Stable and bigger tripod would also add to the cost. At such point for astronomical usages you can check if there are second hand or even new discounted kits of telescope like the 150/750, 130/650 Newtonians on EQ3-2 mounts. At a much higher price you could get 127mm Mak or 150 and 200 mm SCT compact telescopes, but that’s a different story.

In short such small and cheap telescope is worth it if you have correct expectations and usages for it. If you expect for it to provide full blown astronomical viewing or imaging you will be disappointed.

RkBlog

Astronomy and Astrophotography, 9 February 2020, Piotr Maliński

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