Sky-Watcher Evostar 80ED Pro
The Sky-Watcher Evostar 80ED Pro’s tube is painted, glossy diamond-black – that’s black with sparkles in case you were wondering. The interior of the tube is black, matt this time, and bears a close resemblance to the Vixen in terms of the unbranded objective cell – that’s the assembly that holds the telescope’s main lens – the number of baffles and their spacing. Ultimately, the only physical differences we could find between both scopes were the external paint job, the focuser and the mount adaptor plate.
The Sky-Watcher mounting plate is in the form of a rail, which lets you slightly shift the position of the scope along its length – useful if you need to adjust the position of the scope to maintain balance after you’ve fitted a camera. The Evostar’s tube rings have a male tripod screw and tightening ring on top, allowing you to piggy-back a DSLR camera on the top of the telescope.
The Sky-Watcher’s focuser is excellent, offering dual-speed focusing, and tension adjustment and drawtube locking in the same screw. The fine-focus speed is geared at 11:1 and really allows you to approach accurate focus with precision. The scope’s eyepiece barrel is, like all of the scopes tested, a 2-inch fitting, and there’s a 2-inch to 1.25-inch adaptor supplied too. You also get a solidly built 2-inch right-angle diagonal and a 28mm 2-inch eyepiece with the scope. This means that as well as providing a good platform for astrophotography, you can use the Sky-Watcher ED80 straight out of the box for visual astronomy too.
Pointing the telescope at the heavens, our first test target was the crescent Moon. Here we did a number of deliberate over-exposures to try and catch the portion of the Moon that was dimly lit by reflected light from the Earth, known as earthshine (see above). There was no evidence of false colour anywhere in the shot. Re-adjusting the exposure gave us an excellent shot of the Moon, which was crisp and detailed despite its small size, with excellent contrast at the terminator.
Deep-sky performance was also impressive, with the Evostar’s 600mm focal length, f/7.5 objective lens delivering some excellent images. Our comparative test shot of Orion’s Sword showed lots of great detail in the Orion Nebula, M42, (above, right) as well as fainter objects in the Sword too. A relatively short exposure of 60s revealed the faint continuous loop that runs to the south and west of the main nebula. The dark dust lanes between M42 and the comma-shaped M43 also stood out well, as did the faint bluish wisps of the
Running Man Nebula. This is good news if you have a basic tracking mount and have to keep your exposure times short. The Sky-Watcher comes with some excellent accessories included in the package. It’s a great scope capable of some really impressive results.
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This review appeared in the April 2011 issue of Sky at Night Magazine