Subject: MN71 Intes Mak Newt Review
Date: Mon, 02 August 1999 05:22 PM EDT
From: Timocharis
Message-id: <>

Last month, Jae Park decided to buy a 7Ē Mak Newt from Joe Sunseri at Earth & Sky, who just happens to live down the road from me in Morgan Hill. He lists these units at $1875. (now $1975 and it's listed erroneously as an Intes-Micro instead of Intes )
Jae suggested heíd like it if I could pick up the scope and run it through its paces before Joe sent it to him, which seemed like such fun I couldnít resist.
When I went there to get it, Joe had a 12-inch Mak Newt that just came in. It was amazing to look at! They had an internal baffle system with air bypass next to the tube -- even Kevin Medlock was impressed with this refinement.

Timo aka David North

Subject: Some Basics
Date: Mon, 02 August 1999 05:32 PM EDT
From: Timocharis
Message-id: <>

Hereís the skinny on the seven inch:
Itís 48 inches long, 8 inches wide. Weight is probably about as reported, only about 21 lbs. Easily carried by anyone. The rings seem firm, and the hole spacing is such that they should not be a problem to mount. There is room between tube and ring plate for nuts, so any configuration is simple.
The finder is very nice. Good images, easy focus, sharp. Looks good with the same neutral gray as the scope.
The finder scope has a tapped hole for an illuminator, but none is included. However, the design seems to take this into account -- t's an incomplete X with both the outer edges and the center removed, but the reticle hairs are pretty thick. This is an excellent design for a nonillumnated planet/bright object finder. Since this is not a "faint fuzzy" scope, it will probably be fine as-is.
In all my tests, it was simple to use and the object could easily be centered using just the sky background to contrast with the crosshairs. In all but the darkest skies, this should be fine. Any illuminator used should have a very, very low setting due to the thickness of the crosshairs.
There are two mounting blocks with register slots.The ide is to keep the finder registered so you can move it easily from one side of the tube to the other when it would be more convenient due to the sky position youíre addressing. This feature works very well -- the finder stayed aligned to within at least .3 degree, probably much better.

There are no ďstopsĒ for the main tube rings, so you have to mark or memorize the balance point. This is something you can either add, or just deal with. Since I don't see this as a 'flit-around' scope, this should not be an issue. However, moving the scope around does mean adjusting the tube, and stops are easy to arrange, so Iíd probably do it. The cost of true rotating rings is very high, so I agree with Intesí decision in this regard.
Anti-reflection coatings are very blue; this means nothing in and of itself. Reminds me of the Meade coatings, which work fine.
The scope was temporarily fitted with an Intes Crayford, which worked pretty well. However, Joe is refitting these with some outstanding Astrosystems crayfords that should work even better. With that in mind, Iíll just say the normal configuration is fine but in all probability the Joe system will be better.
The only criticism at this point is the black finish on the dew shield -- this seems to make no sense to me. I would prefer white or some much lighter color, and probably would do the repaint myself. The idea would be to keep the dewshield slightly warmer than the surrounding scope or air... inhibiting dew somewhat. I have not found in other newtonian configurations that this would add any seeing problem or tube currents, and since the Mak Newt is
sealed, this should be even more true.
There is a plug or huge mark in the middle of the mirror where it was cored; and it's supported from the center like the Challenger primary at Fremont Peak. This is probably a good thing if done right, and the optical analysis indicates it was done right. I suspect they are probably using the same blanks they use on the Mak-Cassegrains -- there is a slight backslant to the blank that is typical of cass mirrors these days.
There are, by the way, no instructions of any sort with the scope. On the other hand, anyone who has any experience with a standard sorta newt will have no problem figuring anything out about this tube: very straightforward design.

Timo aka David North
Subject: Re: MN71 Intes Mak Newt Review -- First Mount
Date: Mon, 02 August 1999 05:33 PM EDT
From: Timocharis
Message-id: <>

Due to various considerations of stuff I have lying around, I have to use it on the Losmandy the first night. I wanted to put it on my EM10 mount, but couldnít find a way to adapt it to the Tak screws, which is Not Something Iím Going To Do. But it was certainly stable on the G11.
Anyway, several washers and bolts later (had to use through bolts, which is fine for the Losmandy and will hopefully be merciful on the ring plate heads) I have the Losmandy Universal Plate attached to the ring plate.
This sounds like a big thing, but it's not. Obviously the solution will be to do some drilling on this plate; in the end I'd probably just put a set of holes in a different position if I were going to use the Losmandy, or perhaps just drill out the threads in the current setup so I could use the Tak.
The clearance between the I.D. of the rings and the top of the plate is just fine. With the standard Losmandy legs, the whole setup is too high and I have to stand up to look through the eyepiece. Since I donít have the shorter legs, Iím going to have to work on it.
No sky at all, so it was just a setup experiment.

Timo aka David North

Subject: Re: MN71 Intes Mak Newt Review -- First Light
Date: Mon, 02 August 1999 05:34 PM EDT
From: Timocharis
Message-id: <>

First actual opportunity to use the scope. Of course, the weather that looked fine at sunset has clouded up immediately after dark.
Did manage to get it mounted. The rings are adequate to the task, but seem to be made of aluminum potmetal, so the threads feel a little like you should be careful with them to avoid stripping. They should be fine, though.
The supplied finder is more than adequate. It's a 7x50 (I think) with thick crosshairs that don't meet in the middle. It's set up for an illuminator, but does not have one. This is probably okay most of the time because of the substantial crosshairs.
It looks and feels fine. I like it.
It's a typical six-screw adjustment, but it works fine. The nylon screws have a very good feel to them. Easy to adjust and set compared to most.
There is a carrying handle attached to the rings. On the Losmandy, I generally prefer to put the rings on first, then the scope. But the utility of the handle was irresistable, and instead I left it in the rings and took the whole unit out of the dovetail.
This was very easy, and makes transporatation a breeze. The scope is only a few pounds heavier than my FS128, so it's not a problem. With the handle, it's more or less a joy to carry.

There was a lowish early moon, so of course that was first light. Very nice. I also took the opportunity to check the optics on Vega. Seeing was reasonably steady, as it often is with thin clouds.
Extrafocal images were remarkably similar, boding well for the performance in better skies. I could detect maybe a hint of overcorrection, maybe not. The figure was close enough to perfect to be hard to analyze.
Also checked the double double. Looked very pretty, extremely clean and wide split at about 200x. So far, I like it.
My first impression is: Jae will be happy with this scope.

Timo aka David North
Subject: Re: MN71 Intes Mak Newt Review -- Some Real Light
Date: Mon, 02 August 1999 05:34 PM EDT
From: Timocharis
Message-id: <>

Started just after sunset with only one target in mind: the moon, of course. Comparison scope (control unit) for the night was FS128 Takahashi apo refractor.
Neither scope was given any significant cooldown time, and both were used long enough to seem to have reached equilibrium. The lack of cooldown time did not seem to be much of a problem for the Mak Newt. In fact, this was true every evening. I donít know how they did it, but this scope really doesnít need long at all -- probably not as much as my C8, which runs about 45 minutes most evenings. Iíd guess about half an hour. Of course, if you just
put it outside at sunset, youíll be fine by the time thereís anything to see at high power.
Seeing was not great, but fairly good with a 'slow roller' effect but not much high frequency "detail-killer."
Initial impressions using the end of Rima Ariadaeus: slightly better resolution in the Mak Newt, with somewhat more pronounced tonal differences in the refractor. To make a long story short, that's pretty much how it ended up as well.
As it got darker, it was easier and easier to see the eastern end of Hyginus rille sticking out from the terminator. This was first noticed in the refractor, but soon equally easy to see in the Mak. The section of rille between Hyginus and Ariadaeus was initailly easier in the Mak, though after a while it was simply easy in both scopes.
The next target was Rima Plinius, first spotted in the refractor. Since it was off the terminator, it was basically a bright line rather than the usual shadow. As it got darker, the Mak started to catch up to the refractor's performance, but for quite some time it was more distinct in the Tak.
We also looked at a darkish slash across part of Serenitatis that seemed like a good "tonal" feature for comparison. It probably was, but there really wasn't any difference between the two scopes.
On the other end of the 'tone' scale, we also looked at some dendritic 'split ends' of the Serpentine Ridge. And no, I don't mean dorsa smirnov.
Here, the refractor seemed to have a fairly strong edge. It's not that both scopes didn't show the detail -- it's more that the Tak gave it a dimensionality and depth that was just not there in the Mak. This was a theme throughout: the 'overall depth' of the tone was richer in the refractor.
Finally, Ak spotted some of the secondaries to Aristotle in the Mak. They were not at all apparent to me while I was looking through the refractor, so we traded eyepieces and (using her directions) I was able to spot them fairly easily.
They could also be detected (note the word 'detected') in the refractor, but not as many of them, and not hardly as easily.
This is not to say they were easy in the Mak -- they were pretty much near the ragged edge of its ability to resolve. They absolutely were on the edge for the refractor, and there we could see the advantage of the two inches of aperture beyond a doubt.
If you want to see what we saw in the refractor, check Rukl page 5 and look at the secondaries to the east of Aristotle. To see the Mak Newt view, check the same location in the Times Atlas, then add a few dots (the Mak was outshooting the Times Atlas by a hair...)
So, the first comparitive night yeilds a completely expected result: better resolution from the seven-inch scope, better tones from the refractor.
But a statement like that doesn't really get the overall impression, which is that the scopes were very, very comparable in most respects. Perhaps the image seemed a bit more steady in the smaller scope, and a bit more bright in the larger scope. But the similarities between them were much greater than the contrasts.
Of course, for that to be true, the optics in the Mak have to be pretty darn good. Quick repeat of star test yeilds same results -- both scopes are figured very well.

Timo aka David North

Subject: Next Night, Moon Again
Date: Mon, 02 August 1999 05:35 PM EDT
From: Timocharis
Message-id: <>

In order to do a wider comparison, I have remounted the MacNewt on my GP. Itís a strain for the poor little thing (we had to cast all over the place to get enough weight to balance the 21 lbs, but it seems to track fine).
In ho hum seeing, the Mak kicked butt on the C8, while looking kind of flat by comparison (tone-wise) to the FS128 -- but not in the middle of the view! If you look right in the center, they are fairly close in quality.
The tonal thing puzzles me, but I suspect it's an edge effect due to the f/6 light cone messing with the eyepieces. But the edge influences your overall impression. This may have bad implications for widefield viewing (not confirmed, really. There wasnít any horrible vignette with wider field eyepiece, and the views were quite nice).
Main target was Triesnecker. Though I could barely see about as much in the C8, the Mak was clearly stronger on the hair-fine detail. It was obvious.
I dearly wish I had a planet to use, but I don't. We've been clouding up after midnight, so even getting up didn't help. Clouds clouds clouds.
Some more general impressions:
Eyepiece position is nice... and the shorter, lighter mounting configuration is a real boon: it was not at all hard to focus on the GP, where the FS128 was a monster by comparison the one time I tried it. I would guess a G8 or equivalent would be just fine for this scope.

Timo aka David North
Subject: Alas, More Moon, But A Telling Night
Date: Mon, 02 August 1999 05:35 PM EDT
From: Timocharis
Message-id: <>

Tonight we set up four telescopes for comparison: the FS128, a six inch Cave Astrola, the seven inch Mak Newt and my C8.
The first target section was areas of Hadley/Bradley rille, which seemed fine in all the scopes. Then Rima Birt, which was also pretty much equivalent. It was steadiest in the FS128, but darkest in the Mak Newt. Differences were very slight; in all the scopes these targets showed quite well.
After casting about for something that showed threshold value, we found the craterlets near the end of the Straight Wall. About seven, maybe eight were visible in the Cave, where both the C8 and Mak Newt showed eight for sure -- though they were easier in the Mak.
However, there were only four in the FS128 -- clearly an aperture threshold effect. It was weird to see, in fact. The four that it showed were as obvious as in any of the other scopes, but the other four simply disappeared. I've seen this before in comparing the C8 to a pair of AP 155s ... but it's just weird to see even though you know it can happen.
A series of other targets was checked out, with pretty much the same result.
The overall impressions for the night were more enlightening than quantified tests, maybe. One surprise was how closely the Cave held to the other scopes; those mirrors really were pretty good.
The C8 was a real fight. It was seeing some high-speed vibration in the air that was not apparent to the other scopes. I'm not clear on why this happened, but a fair amount of the time it completely obscured some fine details. When it stopped, the C8 was perhaps outresolving everything else there, but not by much.
This, hopefully, was also an aperture threshold effect -- I don't remember seeing anything like this on a regular basis before, and no change in mount or location within the yard made the effect disappear. We also tried turing off the motor drive, and shakenders. Nope. Then, the next night, I tried out a 10-inch newt and saw the same thing again. Weirdly, the maximum ďgoodĒ aperture during this seeing period was clearly seven inches! A few nights
later I tried a similar comparison with the 12.5-inch and got the same lesson, save that the vibration in the 12 was so great that details that could be seen in the smaller scopes could not be seen in the 12.5 at all.
Thatís a compelling argument for a range of apertures...

Timo aka David North
Subject: Re: MN71 Intes Mak Newt Review -- Wrapping Up
Date: Mon, 02 August 1999 05:36 PM EDT
From: Timocharis
Message-id: <>

Getting back to things at hand: The image in the FS128 was notably steadier than any of the other scopes, giving it an aesthetic that was unmatched. But there was also no denying that it simply didn't see as much as the larger scopes.
Still no shot at a planet.
Overall? The night goes again to the Mak Newt. It sucked out more detail, and did it more often and more easily.
The more I use this scope, the more respect I get for it.
The short version? Outresolves anything we had smaller than it, gave steadier images than anything larger, and got as much detail as anything we compared it to. Had no significant cooldown. Offers a good eyepiece position, is well built, and is easy to mount for its size. There were no dewing problems with any of the scopes, so I canít comment on that.
The big lack here is any useful planetary comparison, particularly Mars or Jupiter. But that is something Jae can tell us about later, and itís best I donít steal all his thunder ... it will be fun to see what he says.
On the deep sky itís a very good seven inch scope, comparable to the C8 and probably as good as most eight inchers as well simply due to the excellent optics. On double stars it shines, with extremely clean airy disks and good, contrasty separation. Here it gave up almost nothing to the Tak, and could resolve better.
Good star test. No obvious sensitivity to seeing, which is a sign of good optics.
The rumor was this scope might give an AP155 a run for its money in many regards, and from what Iíve seen this may well be true. I didnít have one to run a comparison with, so I canít comment usefully.
It outshot a Cave Astrola, which is nothing to sneer at.
Overall, Iíd say this is quite a remarkable scope, and if the Ďsoftí planets (Jae can soon tell us about Jupiter) keep up with the refractors, it might well be a solid buy for anyone who wants darn solid performance without necessarily the cachet.

A final note:
Orion is selling the same scopes as Joe (the Intes Mak Newt and Mak Cass designs) for a little more money, with a sillier color (black), an ugly Orion sticker, and not quite the same level of care that Joe puts into his work.
Should you be in the market for any of these scopes, go with Joe. Heíll give you a better scope, probably at a better price. And heís more fun to talk to.

Timo aka David North
Should you be in the market for any of these scopes, go with Joe. Heíll give you a better scope, probably at a better price. And heís more fun to talk to.

Timo aka David North