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Skywatcher's flagship Equinox model - and I'm enjoying mine!
Equinox 120ED Stat page.
The Equinox 120ED is the top of the range model in Skywatcher's revamped range of ED refractors. I haven't included this telescope in my Astronomy Bargains page, as to be fair, the price is not exactly pocket money. It does, however, represent extraordinary value for money, especially if you are lucky enough to get one on special offer, or during a 10% off weekend, or some other promotion.
I intend for this page to be a resource for as many things Equinox-120ED-ish as I can find!
Equinox 120ED Review - my review, on the Highlands Astronomical Society website.
Viewed the Moon from back garden, Equinox mounted on GP mount. Viewed the Moon at 94% illumination and spotted several Plato Craterlets at various magnifications. Full report and discussion on Stargazerslounge forum, but basically the view was superb, showing 'A', 'B' and 'C' as definite craters, and 'D' as being hinted at at 173x.
Another great night for the Equinox! Darkness didn't fall until 22:00 but between then and 00:30 the sky was clear and seeing very good.
Took the Equinox out and mounted it on my GP mount for a night of general viewing from dark sky site. Seeing was very good.
This shows the telescope to be completely capable of very high magnification for planetary viewing. Looking forward to Jupiter now!
Observing from local dark sky site. Sky very clear and seeing very good (8-9/10). I had a task to carry out - collimating my 127mm Maksutov, so I left that to cool while I observed with the Equinox. The rising waning Moon (approx 70% phase) flooded the sky with light, making DSOs a real challenge. Eventually I submitted and turned the Equinox to the Moon.
The terminator showed a wealth of detail, with inky black shadows contrasting with stark, bright peaks and cliffs. I was particularly impressed by a number of very fine hairline fissures that were close enough to the terminator to be shown in good contrast. These were identified later as Rimae Ariadaeus, Rimae Triesnecker and Rimae Hypatia among others. Plato also revealed one definite craterlet and one suspected, at 240x.
The views through the newly collimated Maksutov were excellent in their own right, but did not show the same level of sharpness or clarity as the Equinox, despite the extra 7mm aperture! This didn't surprise me - I know how good the Equinox is...
Apologies, gentle reader, but there has been no observing update since 07/11/09 simply because I have not been able to observe since then! For one reason or another (most of which involve weather) the opportunities simply haven't been there, apart from one night when I took it along to the Culloden JSL observatory to show it off, but that doesn't count as observing. Hopefully, now that the knee-deep snow and ice are disappearing, the situation will improve...
Took the Equinox to the Culloden observatory for a joint observing session with the newly-formed Caithness Astronomy Group and ourselves at HAS. Very good seeing but some haze/milkiness to the lower sky.
Mars showed little detail apart from the polar caps and hints of darker land areas at 134x. The Orion nebula was a target at various magnifications. Showed superbly with the 13mm Nagler (69x) with one experienced observer saying it was the best view of the nebula he'd ever seen, as it showed more detail than he could recall ever seeing before! Zooming in for 17x with the Pentax 5.2mm showed 6 strs in the Trapezium and still with a wealth of 3D effect in the swirling nebulosity around them. Stunning.
Sigma Orionis was beautifully resolved too, with all the main components easily and cleanly seen, the brighter ones having perfect little diffraction rings too!
Final view of the night was Saturn at 230x. For sveral members of CAG this was their first ever view of the ringed planet and there were plenty of "ooh"s and "aah"s to be heard! The rings are just beginning to open up again, and we could just make out the shadow of the rings on the globe and some hints of atmospheric markings. The planet was still fairly low at this point: 18 degrees or so above the horizon. Excellent view though with no false colour and plenty sharp.
Throughout the back end of 2010 I used the Equinox with my newly acquired Baader Herschel Wedge; a special prism that allows direct viewing of the Sun by rejecting a large percentage of the the energy in the view, and using additional Neutral Density filters to make the remaining energy (light) comofortable to view. The contrast in this setup has to be seen to be believed! With an additional Baader Solar Continuum filter in place the granulation and detail within Sunspots is incredible, and the system takes magnification well, so you can really zoom in to explore the umbra and penumbra of Spots easily. Faculae are routinely seen near the limb of the Sun and in other areas too.
On a few clear nights early 2011 I had the Equinox out at my dark sky site. The season has not been good, so observin time has been very limited. No new targets have been found, but it was nice to see the return of the Summer favourites in April, with M57, M13, Albireo and others being warmly welcomed through the comination of Equinox 120ED and Explore Scientific 9mm 100-degree eyepiece! This eyepiece gives 100x and a whole degree field of view in the 120, maiking it a real workhorse combination.
I write this in late May, when the night sky is too bright for observing (even if the gales and rain were to allow it) so the Equinox will be used for Solar when available...
The Equinox 120 is gone. Sold towards the end of 2011 to help with bills etc, it is missed. I hope perhaps to replace it one day with another or something similar. I hope when that day comes that the performance will be as good as on my first Equinox 120...