10″ Newtonian arrives

Orion Atlas-10 10″ Newtonian Reflector (OTA – Optical Tube Assembly).

Click this image for a larger viewWe ordered the Atlas 10″ a week ago as OTA – optical tube assembly only, no mount, no tripod. The idea was to get into 10″ in time for Mars and for under $500. It arrived August 13th.

Ummmm: there’s no way this monster is going to fit on the Orion EQ-3 mount and tripod that came with our 5″ Maksutov!

You can click the image to the left to get a larger side-by-side of the 5″ StarMax 127mm “Mak” next to the new Atlas-10 tube assembly. Can you tell which is which?

We have the mounting rings and dovetail plate. We ‘re going to mount both the 9×50 correct-image finder scope, and the EZ Finder II red-dot finder.

The problem of what to mount this on turned out to be an education, as well as an exercise in patience. Thanks to our good friend Al M. for steering us in so many right directions!

Orion markets their beefy new Atlas mount and tripod, which adds $800 their 10″ reflector combo. It is no doubt built to the same standards as other fine Orion equipment, and handles a payload of up to 40 pounds. But, shipping weight is about 113 pounds (with counterweights), too beefy for us, and the OTA/Atlas mount combo is no bargain at $1299.

Ideally, the Meade 10″ LXD55 Schmidt-Newtonian, with tripod and go-to equatorial mount for $999 would give us the platform we would like with the AutoStar 497 we’re already used to in Phoenix. But, Alex wanted to try the simpler Newtonian optical path, and Meade doesn’t sell these stands separately. A shame. There’s a lively market for them in AstroMart, but we prefer buying from dealers.

Celestron is selling their stands separately, and the new CG-5GT GoTo will probably be shipping in late August or early September. It handles a 35# payload (the 10″ OTA is 27#) and the Celestron computerized control will be similar to what we are used to with the Meade 497 AutoStar.

We phoned our pre-order in to OPT today. There should still be some fine shots of Mars for most of September. And the winter skies are coming!

The 5″ Mak is cute and ideally suited to apartment living, but Mars in the city is clearly pushing the envelope. Gosh, to live in Sierra City!

The 10″ Newtonian is not well suited to apartment living (it will be stored vertically, close to where it is in the photo now). But it will lend itself to pulling in and photographing deep objects in ways the little Maksutov won’t. We hope to get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

1,001 total views, 1 views today