For budding astronomers, the first telescope needs to be simple to set up and affordable, while the chosen kit also needs to be rewarding to use. These are difficult qualities to balance, however, and Omegon’s MightyMak 60 Mini Dobsonian tries hard to deliver all three.
We were impressed to discover the MightyMak 60 comes with two mount options: a table-top tripod and a mini Dobsonian mount.
Despite this, the bag is surprisingly light and no bigger than your average wash bag. This telescope is certainly not going to clutter up the room it is stored in.
The overall look is smart, and the main elements appear well made. For example, the Dobsonian mount feels solid, while the tripod and all the mounting points on the tube are metal.
Each mount is reasonably stable considering their size. The accessories are plastic, which is to be expected at this level.
Setting up the MightyMak could not be easier: fix the tube to either mount via the Vixen dovetail, pop in the finder, diagonal and eyepiece and you’re ready to go.
If there’s any doubt, the instruction booklet provides clear instructions for beginners.
Of the two mounts, we felt the Dobsonian is better suited to stargazing as it’s more flexible for viewing overhead objects.
However, because the table-top tripod fits nicely into the bag it is a decent, compact option if walking to a dark-sky site.
We performed a basic star test and found the MightyMak arrived well collimated – which is good because collimating Maksutovs can be tricky. The telescope’s focus knob gave just the right amount of resistance required.
We swung over to the Moon and while adjusting the focus, it stayed firm and central in the field of view.
‘Image shift’ is a common issue with Maksutovs, so we were pleasantly surprised to see that this didn’t happen while focusing the MightyMak 60.
We felt the optics were reasonable for a starter telescope: there was no noticeable colour fringing while observing the half Moon, and the supplied 25mm Kellner eyepiece achieved a lovely crisp image of this object.
When we tested it, we found the MightyMak 60 reduces chromatic aberration – an effect usually seen as unwanted coloured rings around brighter objects – as expected.
We swung over to Sirius (Alpha (α) Canis Majoris) and Betelgeuse (Alpha (α) Orionis), noting some distortion of the stars at the edge of the field of view.
Being picky, we found that the overall image provided by the MightyMak 60 was quite dim. Despite decent seeing conditions, only the most distinct objects were bright.
We looked at the Orion Nebula, M42, and while we could find and view it, we were unable to resolve any detail.
This telescope performs best at viewing the Moon and planets, and would benefit from either a Barlow lens or a slightly more high-powered eyepiece added to the kit.
Without these accessories you’ll find that objects will appear small, which regrettably reduces the visual impact for beginners.
For example, the supplied 25mm eyepiece only offers 28x magnification and made us hungry for more power.
We did pop a 15mm and then a 9mm eyepiece in, and found the Moon stayed clear at 15mm, but at 9mm the focus was much less sharp.
The 77x magnification given by the 9mm eyepiece pushed the optics a little too far – falling short of the 118x magnification a telescope of this aperture is theoretically capable of.
The MightyMak 60 has extra strings to its bow, however, because it can also serve as a telephoto lens.
It is lightweight and comes with the necessary threads to attach a DSLR camera and fix it to a standard full-size photography tripod.
It would therefore make a good spotting scope if you decided to upgrade your astronomical telescope.
New astronomers need a scope that is easy to set up and reliable enough to encourage their curiosity.
And while the MightyMak 60 is an adaptable, good looking, ultra-portable setup that ticks plenty of boxes, its optics could leave more of an impression.
Exploring the Maksutov design
The fact that Omegon’s mini Dobsonian is a Maksutov-Cassegrain is a big plus; its compact optical system means that you get a longer focal length than a regular Newtonian tabletop telescope of the same aperture.
Indeed, the MightyMak 60 gives beginners access to a punchy 700mm focal length from an aluminium tube that’s only 200mm long. This focal length is a little less than other Maksutovs of similar aperture, but the fact that the scope, tripod and accessories can all fit into a carry bag no larger than a shoebox is impressive and exceeds the definition of portable.
Another bonus is that Maksutov collimation is designed to last; if collimated correctly you don’t need to perform the complex process of aligning optics often, unless the scope gets bumped around in transit.
The MightMak’s design is beautifully simple, from the ‘open and shut’ hinged dust cap down to the focus knob. The optical tube assembly (OTA) is sleek and uncomplicated but looks good, and it’s this simplicity that makes Omegon’s mini Dobsonian accessible for beginners of all ages.
Omegon MightyMak 60 Mini Dobsonian: outstanding features
The wooden altaz mount is the most suitable of the two mount options for astronomy. It is robust and has smooth motion, allowing for small adjustments while lining up a target. The altitude adjustment knob is large and easy to rotate, which is handy for dark, cold nights or gloved hands.
Red dot finder
The red dot finder is an ideal accessory for entry-level telescopes because it is easy to use and helps beginners to locate more obvious targets. This makes it a great aid for finding and viewing planets, which Maksutov telescopes are built for. The finder has a standard foot for easy attachment.
Threaded visual back
The Maksutov’s built-in T2 thread is an excellent feature for photographers; as this allows the direct attachment of a DSLR to the tube’s visual back, when the camera is fitted with a T-ring adaptor. A 1.25-inch extension is not required for the connection, which reduces the risk of the camera slipping and falling.
The MightyMak is fitted with a Vixen-style dovetail bar, which also has ¼-inch tripod threads built-in. This design allows it to be mounted to almost all photography and astronomy mounts; the tube can be used on a star tracker mount, for instance, for those wishing to upgrade their mount or to pursue astrophotography.
- Price £129
- Optics 60mm Maksutov– Cassegrain
- Focal length 700mm
- Focal ratio f/11.7
- Mount Dobsonian single-arm or table-top tripod
- Extras Red dot finder, 25mm 1.25-inch eyepiece, star diagonal, carry bag
- Weight 650g (with tripod) or 1.9kg (with Dobsonian mount)
- Supplier Rother Valley Optics
- Tel 01909 774521
This review originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine.