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

All About Space - - Stargazer -

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

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