Travel scopes are hard to find, particularly for a first-time user. Getting a lunar or planetary telescope that combines all the right features like clarity, sufficient aperture, and lightweight can be more challenging than expected even with all the products available for choice. The Skywatcher Mak 127 S11520 is one of the top picks for a travel scope. Besides using it as a telescope for your astronomy applications, the lens can be used for photography, and it is perfect spotting scope for terrestrial daytime use. Whether you are a hobbyist looking for a high-powered scope, or a professional searching for a compact piece that doesn’t compromise on optical quality, this Maksutov-Cassegrain is worth the investment.
What is the Skywatcher Mak 127 S11520?
The Skywatcher 127 is a Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, which refers the category of scopes that incorporates lenses and mirrors into the design. This particular product is a Gregory Maksutov, meaning it has a corrector plate that improves the spherical aberration of the scope. The corrector plate in this Mak has a steep curve and multi-coating to enhance optics.
In the Skywatcher Mak 127, you get a 5″ lens that is excellent at gathering light, making it possible for the user to see faint objects in the clearest forms. Compared to the 102 mm, 4″ model, the 127 mm in this Mak-Cass allows it to collect more light (56%) than its predecessor, which is why it makes a sensible upgrade alternative. Even with its large lens, the Skywatcher 127 doesn’t present any troubles when moving around. You can easily carry it on a trip and set it up on the right mount for your astronomy activities. The short tube of the telescope contributes to its portability. It has an OTA of just 32 cm (with the visual back removed), and the tube width is 145mm.
Pros and Cons of Using the Skywatcher Mak 127 S11520 Telescope
- Simple set up
- Sharp contrast
- Clear views of the moon and some planets
- Heavier than it looks
- Long focal length means small field of view
- Not great on high magnification
- It takes time to cool
Where to find the Skywatcher Mak 127 S11520 Telescope
The average price for a new Skywatcher Mak 127 scope is around $435. However, prices range from $590 to $720. This model comes with an affordable price tag compared to other 127 mm refractors, so it’s worth it to get a new one.
Maksutov-Cassegrain scopes are famous for their excellent optics, which is one selling point of this particular model. The 127 mm aperture in the Skywatcher 127 allows you to view the planets and the moon with excellent resolution. Because it uses both mirrors and lenses to collect and focus light, you get refractor-like images. It gives very sharp contrasts and highlights every contour of the moon. Even though it doesn’t replicate its great performance in higher power, the 127 Mak makes an above average lunar scope. When viewing Mars, the telescope surpasses most models. It also gives perfect collimation when doing a star test. For astrophotography, the Skywatcher 127 performs adequately with no diffraction spike noon pictures. The design of the focuser provides you with an imaging function without the need for extenders.
As with other Maksutovs, the knob is on the back plate of the scope, and it controls the primary mirror. Some users don’t like this deign because it is said to cause a lot of image shifts. Customers have found the focusing to be smoother than anticipated with minimal image shift. The Vixen-pattern design of the mount allows you to use different types of mounts when setting up.
An EQ5 is one alternative that will provide more than sufficient stability. TeleVue’s Gibraltar 5, SkyWatcher’s Altaz4 mount and Vixen’s Porta alt-azimuth mount are other viable options. One thing that most customer reviews agree on is the ability of the Skywatcher Mak 127 to gather a lot of light. With the Skywatcher Mak 127, you must give it time to cool before you start viewing, especially during the cold season.
Dewing on optical surfaces is one a common issue most users have with their telescopes. You can prevent the corrector plate on your Mak from collecting dew with a glare shield and heater strip wrapped around the tube. After finishing up with the scope, dry the surfaces properly before capping it. Be careful not to wipe damp glass surfaces. Get the appropriate case for the scope for safe storage.
The Skywatcher Mak 127 comes with several accessories to complement its functioning. They include:
- 28 mm 2″ LET Eyepiece
- 6×30 Straight Thru Finder & Bracket to locate and center objects
- Vixen-Style Dovetail Plate that makes it possible to mount the scope on different equatorial or altazimuth mounts
- 2″ 90-degree Star Diagonal
- 127 mm Maksutov-Cassegrain OTA
Warranty and Guarantee Information
Check with the manufacturer to learn more about the warranty offered on the Skywatcher Mak 127. For instance, Skywatcher USA gives a two-year warranty on the product. When returning a product for replacement or repair, the buyer must provide proof of purchase and the manufacturer will conduct inspections to determine the validity of the service. Ask a seller to direct you to the manufacturer’s website to get all the conditions of the warranty before you buy the telescope.
When looking for a compact travel scope, the Skywatcher Mak 127 S11520 is a great alternative, considering the price tag. It offers well-detailed planetary views with superior clarity. You get high optical standards without too many complications when mounting it. High magnification may not be perfect on the Mak 127, but you get high-powered views when it’s set on medium. Amateurs will find this Skywatcher Mak easy enough to operate. Have you used the Skywatcher Mak 127 S11520 before? How can you rate its performance?