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Review of AWB Onesky

by helicon

I have heard of these scopes for a few years and even had the opportunity to view the Ring Nebula through one at a star party a couple of years back. So I decided to buy one recently to add to my stable of scopes. At $199 you can't really go wrong.

First of all, the scope is sold as a fundraising activity for the Astronomy Without Borders foundation founded by the tech entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari, which is dedicated to bringing astronomy around the world to disadvantaged folks, so it is for a good cause.

The objective is 5.1 inches, f/5 and is very compact. The mount is made of pressed particle board and is an alt/az style. As it is configured out of the box, the scope must be set down on a table or a stand on something like a milk carton. My intention is to use it as a travel scope when I can't take either of my dobs with me, or for just casual use at home when I am feeling lazy.

25mm and 10mm eyepieces are included providing 26x and 65x, as well a cheshire for collimation. I spent part of the afternoon collimating the scope and stopped when I was satisfied.

Last night it was clear so I decided to go for a first light experience. Seeing Scorpius to the south I thought I'd take a look at M4, the unconcentrated globular near the bright red star Antares. I had aligned the red dot finder earlier in the evening, so I aimed the scope at the position of M4 and quickly swept it up. The globular was a fuzzy blob with some stragglers resolved at the edges at 65x. I noticed no coma, which was nice.

Now to M13. Much brighter than the faintish M4 and again, a few stars resolved at the edges. I'm willing at this point to give the scope's optics the benefit of the doubt as far as being as good as other commercially available telescopes in its class, particularly those manufactured by Synta, who makes the Onesky.

The short mount was a bit problematic as I had set the scope on a medium high table which vibrated a bit. The good news is that the OTA includes a vixen-type dovetail which can easily be mounted on a variety of tripods to get to a more appropriate height. I have not mounted it on my Twilight II yet but I probably will.

All in all it's a nice little scope as a grab-n-go with enough aperture to show some things well in the night sky. And, the funds expended on the scope are for a good cause.

So my recommendation is that the scope can serve both beginners and experienced amateurs who need something a little lighter. Overall, I was quite pleased by the performance.

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