Having caught the upgrade bug, I decided that I wanted to get a larger scope to replace my Astrotech 8″ astrograph. But what I wanted was also a faster scope. Having looked at the different telescopes available, it looked like the Orion VX12 12″ F4 Newtonian would best fit the bill.
As the scope I wanted was a custom-made one with upgraded primary mirror to 1/10 PV, there is normally a 5-6 weeks waiting time. As I wanted to get this for my birthday, I contacted Orion through email. They responded and promised that the scope would get to me in time for my birthday. And they kept their word as it arrived on the day of my birthday. I was well chuffed.
It came in two boxes, as the mirror was packed separately in the seconde box. First thoughts were that this was definitely a big scope – much bigger than my 8″ Ritchey Chretien scope. Although it is considered very light for the size of scope it is due to the aluminium tube construction, it is still a heavy scope weighing at 14.5kg including the tube rings.
I do like the looks of this telescope – even the model markings ‘VX12’ just looks simple but stylish. I really like it.
The instructions included were clear and I was able to mount the mirror fairly easily. I was a bit worried about installing the mirror myself, as I have never owned a Newtonian, but the mounting process was pretty straight forward and went uneventfully.
I have to say that that focuser looks and feels solid. The adjustment of the focuser felt smooth and should be capable of fine accurate adjustments in focusing.
It has been over 10 days since I took delivery of the telescope. Unfortunately I did not have the correct mounting bar for the tube rings – which I had to order from Orion Optics separately. Once this arrived, then I could mount the scope on the CGEM to see if it would balance. Unfortunately the scope was too heavy for the two counterweights I had. So on Saturday, I made a trip to Tring Astro to pick up a Celestron AVX counterweight. While there, I also bought a Baader T2 12-16mm extension for my guider camera, so I could fix the focus to coincide with that for my imaging camera.
Now I can safely mount my telescope to the CGEM, as it is now balanced properly. But with the scope mounted on top of the equatorial mount, it does look very tall indeed. Fortunately I will be using the scope for imaging, as I would require a step ladder to do any visual work with this telescope.
This is the Baader T2 12-16mm extension kit, which will make my guider camera focus point match that for my imaging camera. As I would be using the Baader MPCC III to correct fot the coma, I do need to maintain the right distance between this and the sensor – the other main reason for getting this kit.
I am very pleased with the telescope and can’t wait for the first light with this telescope. That will depend on having the time and the right weather to use it. As you can see in the images above, that the skies are very cloudy, and the forecast is for cloudy weather over the next week.