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LOMO Astele 150mm Mak-Cass

Started by DuckView, 03/04/2006 11:24AM
Posted 03/04/2006 11:24AM | Edited 03/04/2006 12:26PM Opening Post
I got this scope from a dealer that was once one of the biggest LOMO dealers in the USA before LOMO got out of the amateur astronomy scope business. It took a long time to cool down and really perform, but once cooled down, man did it ever perform on Saturn on a night of mediocre seeing at best. Cassini Division and Crepe Ring very obvious with a 12.5mm Ultima for a mag of 171X. Seeing conditions would not support a higher mag, and also the preliminary star test looks good, but I need a better night before I can say for sure how good these optics really are. It probably meets the 1/8 wave specs. I used a Stellarvue 2" dielectric mirror diagonal and Mercury 2" back. These two items go together with about zero tolerance and there is some drag even with the thumbscrew backed completely off. I noticed no mirror shift whatsoever when focusing and the focus knob seems a bit tight, but I prefer it tight to loose as it should wear in to proper feel. Dew shield was used and optics were heated. There was some heat signature in the star test, so a dry night will be necessary to really let the optics do their thing. Cooldown period is longer than in my Meade SN8. The Astele 150 seems more affected by heat than the SN8, so not a grab-n-go type scope. The view in the Astele 150 kept improving for over 3 hours. The SN8 is better ventilated in back around the mirror, so I feel it has little to do with corrector thicknesses as generally assumed. Both scopes seem to support about the same mags, with the SN8 being considerably brighter as the 203mm aperture would suggest. The SN8 is definitely better on globulars and faint fuzzies (stayed up and viewed M13 and M92), but the Astele 150 MCT rules on moon and planets it seems. The moon is too low now and optics were not cooled down when viewing it to really tell how lunar observing goes, but it looks very promising. This is the only LOMO Astele 150 Mak-Cass I have viewed through so far.

This looks to be a great little scope and underappreciated during its production period. I view it as a collector's item now, since LOMO may never again enter the finished amateur astro scope market and instead concentrate their efforts totally toward lens and mirror manufacturing, and finished astro scopes for the pro markets. If I told somebody the scope came off a Russian tank, they would probably believe me. It has a very rugged and no-nonsense look. A rather lackluster dark gray textured finish. No knife edge baffling, but the dull black interior paint seems to suck light anyway. Much better than what comes in the Meade SN8. The contrast is almost refractor like. The 2" back and mirror adds to that look, and it supports my binoviewers extremely well. Absolutely no problems bringing any EP to focus even without an OCA. The 8x40 finder works better than I expected it to. It finds globulars as well as my 9x50 Stellarvue F50 finder scope on my SN8. The star prism diagonal instead of Amici prism diagonal probably has something to do with that. Star image orientations are the same in the finder scope and Astele 150, which also helps. I think the LOMO finder scope is a bit sharper. Really glad I bought this scope. It demands you use your best EP's to get the most out of it. It makes you want to keep looking, and that's a good sign.