Omegon Advanced X N 203/1200 dobsonian
A telescope that is an all-rounder when it comes to observing the Solar System and deep-sky targets, this reflector is suitable for all levels of astronomer on a tight budget
Dobsonian telescopes are considered the ultimate all-rounder instruments for beginners, however, on trying out the Omegon Advanced X N 203/1200, we soon realised that this instrument’s simplicity not only lends itself to anyone starting out in the hobby of astronomy, it’s also a great telescope for the veteran of the night sky.
The reflector arrived in parts, which meant that some construction was required – a process that took roughly 30 minutes. While most of the tools were supplied in assembly, such as the screws and allen keys, you’ll need to supply a Philips screwdriver in order to tighten some of the fastenings. Building a dobsonian is something that may put off someone who is new to observing, but we’d argue that once it has been constructed, no further assembly is needed. The 8-inch telescope slots snuggly into a wooden rocker box, which also features a four-slot eyepiece holder that’s able to take a couple of 1.25-inch eyepieces as well as two 2-inch eyepieces. Meanwhile an inbuilt clutch system allows enough tension if you find that your eyepieces are heavy enough to tilt the telescope’s rocker box.
The focuser doesn’t come attached to the telescope tube, something that will come immediately apparent on unboxing the instrument. You’ll need to attached this separately – that was a bit of an issue with the supplied allen keys. In the end, we had to use our own set in order to fit this piece of the set up securely. The dobsonian is supplied with two 1.25-inch eyepieces – a 25mm and a 10mm – an extension tube for the focuser as well as a useful zero magnification red-dot finder.
We put the Advanced X N to the test under a late summer sky where Altair, the brightest star in the constellation of Aquila, was our primary focus. Using the 0.77-magnitude star, we were able to test the clarity of the field of view, which remained sharp for up to 80 per cent of it through the 25mm eyepiece before the star became distorted close to the edges. However, this wasn’t a deal-breaker since the same eyepiece provided superb views of a selection of night sky objects; detailed sights of Messier 27, also known as the Dumbbell Nebula, were had, whilst slewing over to Hercules gave us very good views of globular cluster Messier 13. Switching to the 10mm showed us a gathering of densely-packed stars and the Ring Nebula (Messier 57) in Lyra was certainly an impressive sight in the field of view.
Heading over to
Andromeda, its famous resident galaxy Messier
31 could almost fit into the field of view using the 10mm eyepiece. The
25mm gave us a much more zoomed-in sight, with only half of our neighbouring spiral visible. Taking a further tour of the night sky, we enjoyed splendid views of NGC 6207, a magnitude +11.6 galaxy close to Messier 13, before spotting galaxy NGC 7331 as a smudge in Pegasus.
Having a decent aperture, we were keen on seeing how the Advanced X N fared during observations of open clusters. Luckily for us, the Wild Duck Cluster (Messier 11) was well placed for observation in the constellation of Scutum – both clusters were framed beautifully by both eyepieces, where the member stars sparkled impressively and with clarity. The Advanced X N also made short work of splitting double stars, cleanly separating Albireo in Cygnus into gold and blue components and Iota Cassiopeia into its three member stars.
Looking quite a few light years closer to Earth, Solar System targets Mars and Jupiter were impressive in the field of view, especially with the help of filters to enhance them for contrast. Jupiter’s bands and largest moons, Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede were clear to see as points of light either side of the gas giant’s limbs. A familiar sight for veterans of the night sky, but nethertheless a breathtaking sight for all levels of astronomer. The Moon, which at the time, took pride of place in the night sky in the small hours as a waxing gibbous phase, was beautiful in the field of view; craters and lava fields on the lunar surface appeared pin-sharp along the terminator.
There’s no doubt about it, this dobsonian – despite its cumbersome size – achieves a sterling performance. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned astronomer, the sights it sports are a mustsee and, provided you accessorise the instrument, is a perfect companion for many years to come. You won't need for you to upgrade your kit for years to come - if ever!
The Omegon Advanced employs a Crayfordfocuser
The Omegon SkyQuest XT8 is useful for beginner and more seasoned astronomers The telescope makes use of a red-dot finder