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IOPTRON SOLAR 60 - AstroShop

 Model IO8506

SOLAR 60 GOTO REFRACTOR

In my opinion, this excellent value for money package from iOptron comes complete with GOTO "The CUBE" mount, GotoNova hand control, 60 x 350mm refractor, star diagonal, 25mm plössl eyepiece, aluminium tripod, full aperture glass "thread-on" solar safety filter and even a strong canvas carry bag! Can operate using 8 AA batteries that fit into a compartment in the side of the cube however I used a 12VDC (centre positive) mains power supply instead.

Set up is easy and quick. Straight out of the shipping box then carry bag, I had this little GOTO scope mounted on the the aluminium tripod within minutes. Following the basic set-up instructions (set scope in park position pointing upward (zenith) and the cube pointing south, I entered in my location information and only had to update the time as the correct date was already in there ticking away. I did a select and slew for the Sun and after the safety warning message, the Solar 60 was on its way. Given the accuracy of the GOTO system is only as good as the parked position set up by the user at the time the mount initialises at power up, (I did it rough) the scope came very close to the sun which was slightly just outside the field of view. Easily centred using the arrow keys the mount automatically tracks the object.

 

Seen above the iOptron Solar 60 is fitted with a quality glass solar safety aperture filter (just like the renowned Thousand Oaks Optical Type 2+ range) only it has the added safety of actually threading into the dew shield. At the eyepiece the view is a pleasant orange hue and several sunspots visible.

At first impression I thought... hmm lots of plastic here as in the optical tube and focuser and star diagonal but hey, what is more important was how sharp the optics would be and if there was any dramatic image shift when focusing. I was pleasantly surprised how good in fact the optics are in this little refractor.
Later removing the thread-on solar filter (when safely pointed away from the Sun) then targeting a tree in the distance, very little purple hue surrounded edges of the leaves set against the background sky.

In fact one can use this neat little refractor separately as a handy light-weight guide scope!

Using the scope at night (without the solar aperture filter) it is easy enough doing a planet, one or two star alignment despite it does not come with a finderscope. With a focal length of only 350mm and the supplied 25mm eyepiece yielding an effective magnification of only 14X it is just like a big finderscope itself so line sighting stars along the optical tube is easy enough. But viewing Saturn's rings with any basic pleasure requires a 9mm eyepiece.

If I have one criticism it is fitting eyepieces and even the nosepiece of the supplied CMOS camera into the plastic star diagonal which proved to be an overly tight fit requiring a little gentle turning as you push them into place. 

  

As shown above, the package comes with a little CMOS camera and short USB cable that can be placed into the diagonal replacing the eyepiece. On the Windows 7 - 64 bit laptop seen here, it installed without needing a CD with drivers. Images can be viewed using any number of video display programs including GSTAR-CAPTURE 4. Using it as a solar scope, below is an image taken with supplied camera through some thin cloud using the entire package however, a picture can never really impart the great live view one sees in the eyepiece. Naturally you could use a barlow (tele-negative) lens like the classic affordable ProStar 2X to take closer images of sunspots, lunar craters and the planets.

 

So when you think about what you're getting for under $600 the value really stacks up! You get a nice little fast and light-weight refractor that could double as a guide scope, a portable goto alt-azimuth mount with aluminium tripod and accessory tray that can be used with other small scopes, a full aperture glass solar safety filter, a 25mm plössl eyepiece and USB camera (you could use with another scope too! Can also be used to land viewing and custom targets can be programmed into the GotoNova hand control for recall.

It's a perfect little family scope with enough aperture to taking some of the brighter deep sky target, explore the Sun and Moon, see the rings of Saturn plus belts and moons of Jupiter. Strapped to your back in the very nice carry bag the whole package weighs around 5 kg - SM

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and ensure full protected authorised distributor warranty & support.

Note: AstroShop reviews are only intended to provide prospective purchasers our own first hand impressions of performance and build as has been our long time policy.

 

Copyright 2012:  AstroShop - Binary Systems P/L

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