Maksutov-Newtonian Reflector Purchase Guide

ITE is delighted to offer world-class Maksutov-Newtonian Reflector telescopes from INTES and INTES-MICRO of Russia. The Maksutov-Newtonian optical technology was first developed in 1944 by Norbert J. Schell. Schell published his design for an 8-inch f/4 Mak-Newt in Scientific American. Several scopes were built by amateur astronomers using Schell’s design and their owners were enthralled with their outstanding performance. Here is one case in point: In 1946, three Australian amateur astronomers built a 6-inch version of Schell’s design. Here is what they said about the performance of the optic: “Remarkably small and sharp images of stars were obtained, free from coma and colour,” they reported. “The image of Jupiter as a sharp as if viewed through a first-grade refractor. Yet, the bluish halo visible around the disc with even the best glass was entirely absent.”

Newtonian Reflector History

This design became a “sleeper” until the early 1990s. In 1993, Peter Ceravolo in Canada started the commercial production of “Mak-Newts” with his near-perfect Maksutov-Newtonian systems called the HD 145 and the HD 216. This was followed more recently by an announcement by Astrophysics/USA of their intent to produce a new 9″ F/4.5 Maksutov-Newtonian (yet to hit the streets). Attendees at recent US and European Star Parties who have had the pleasure of observing the planets with the new Maksutov-Newtonians have been both surprised and pleased with the almost unbelievable results from these “combination” scopes. Cervalo’s HD 145 outperformed 130 mm APO Fluorites and the HD 216 outperformed 7″ APOs.

How are this possible, many amateur astronomers ask? The answer lies in the unique combination of high quality corrected optics and an unusually small central obstruction, combined with a closed tube system to prevent air turbulence. As far as the optics are concerned, it is not too difficult to produce a reflector telescope with 1/8 or even 1/10 wave p.t.v optics. But, on the other hand, it is extremely difficult to produce a similar optical quality in APO’s, because of inhomogeneities in the unique exotic glass materials that are used in their objective lenses.

Newtonian Reflector Purchase Guide

Maksutov-Newtonian Reflector

Meanwhile, on the “Russian optics front,” INTES, the same optical company that started the post-cold-war “Mak Revolution” in the USA with the MK65 (replaced by the MK67), started a new generation of telescopes with the recent introduction of their 6″ f/6 MN61 Maksutov-Newtonian. Not to be outdone, that forced their cross-town Moscow rival, INTES MICRO, to start immediately with the production of larger and smaller aperture Maksutov-Newtonians. Both of these new lines of Mak-Newts are now available to amateur astronomers worldwide from ITE.

With Maksutov-Newtonians, expect the same performance as the same aperture APO refractor at the same focal ratio, but at a fraction of the cost. Available apertures begin at 5″ and currently extend to the practical limit of the technology at 16.” The “optimum” aperture is an 8″ Maksutov-Newtonian, with the INTES MICRO MN86 currently filling that slot. ITE now offers the Russian-made optical sets in a carbon fiber tube to keep tube weights down to respectable levels.

In summary, aperture for aperture, you simply cannot beat the Maksutov-Newtonian optical technology for superb performance and reasonable cost.

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