Sky-Watcher has released a new series of “GOTO” telescopes – the AZ-Go2 range.
The Sky-Watcher 114/450 AZ-Go2 Reflector telescope
The AZ-Go2 mount
There are several models in this new range, and they all feature the AZ-Go2 mount. This is an Alt-Azimuth or ALT-AZ mount. This mean that that mount allows the telescope to go up and down and not the Equatorial or EQ kind. (Have a chat with BINTEL for more details on the difference if you’re unsure.)
All AZ-Go2 telescopes also include a solid tripod.
The mount is controlled over Wi-Fi by any Android or Apple iOS including both iPhones and iPads. You can download the Sky-Watcher SynScan app from your favourite app store to try it out. You connect to the Wi-Fi network with your device and then run the app. It controls the setup of the telescope and its movement, as well as a database of Solar System and deep-sky objects that you select. Your AZ-Go2 telescope will then automatically move to that astro object and continue to track so you can observe it for an extended period.
While the Synscan app is an ideal way to get started, there’s several more advanced apps such as SkySafari that work with in conjunction with the Syscan app to add more features.
You do not need a mobile phone signal to use the AZ-Go2 mount. The mount produces its own Wi-Fi and all information about the objects in the app’s database is downloaded when you install the app. This means that you can take your Sky-Watcher AZ-Go2 telescope for a trip away from city and suburban lights for a night’s observing in the bush and not worry about finding a location with a phone signal.
Aligning the AZ-Go2 mount
To get started the AZ-Go2 mount needs to be aligned with the night sky above it. It uses a “Bright Star” alignment routine. You simply need to point the AZ-Go2 telescope at several bright stars. It can then figure out from its own knowledge of where stars are located exactly where the telescope is positioned and from then you can star selecting what you’d like to observe.
Please note that as the AZ-Go2 mount is an AZ mount, it does not require polar alignment.
Which Sky-Watcher AZ-Go2 telescope is best for you?
It might seem a little confusing at first, but the Sky-Watcher AZ-Go2 range breaks down into three different groups.
All of these models are refractor type telescopes. They use a main lens at one end and the eyepiece is at the other. The 70mm – due in November 2023 – is the most affordable. The 80mm – due in January 2024 – collects around 30% more light than the 70mm version. It’s a handy upgrade and means more detailed views and being able to spot fainter objects. Both of these models will give you great views of the Moon, while Saturn and Jupiter will appear as planets and there’s a surprising number of deep-sky objects that you mightn’t even know about that are contained in the AZ-Go2 mount’s database.
The 102mm refractor is even larger but has a shorter focal length. This makes it an ideal telescope for observing more expansive astro objects, exploring the star cloud of the Milky Way and our nearby satellite galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds.
All AZ-Go2 refractors can be used for land viewing as well. With the supplied diagonal, images will be the correct way up.
Both of these are Newtonian reflecting telescopes. They use a mirror positioned at the bottom of the telescope which reflects light up to a smaller mirror that reflects the image out the side of the tube for viewing.
The main difference between the two models is the size of the main mirror. The larger 130mm version again collecting around 30% more light than its smaller 114mm cousin. There is a very little difference in the size or weight of the two telescope tubes themselves and we’d suggest that if it’s in within your budget, the 130mm will deliver better views and worth considering.
Reflector telescopes are in some ways better value for money compared to refractors. As they only have one more optical surface to make – the front of the main mirror – compared to the complex lenses in refractors, you can produce a larger reflector for the same cost. There’s a small amount of maintenance that needs to be carried on reflectors called collimation, but we can assist you with this.
While reflectors are larger, the images they produce will be upside down. This is not a problem for astronomical observing, they’re not suited for daylight viewing. (Unless you’re ok with whales swimming around off the coast floating around on their head…)
The Maksutov-Cassegrains (aka “The Maks”)
These two AZ-Go2 telescopes might look like short, stubby refractors with their glass lenses at the front, but they in fact reflectors. Light bounces off a mirror at the rear of the tube and then directed back down and then out the back through a hole in the primary mirror. The “lens” at the front of the tube corrects for distortions caused by the very short focal length main mirror. The entire package results in a short tube but long focal length. Views by Maks are renowned for their crispness and clarity.
They’re ideal for viewing planets, globular clusters, galaxies, planetary nebula and more.
Images are the correct way up, so these “Maks” make great day time viewing companions. If you’d like to view whales while overlooking the water, either model would offer high power views.
Handy upgrades to the Sky-Watcher AZ-Go2 range include:
- Eyepieces for higher magnifications and better-quality views
- Solar Filters for safe viewing of the Sun
- 240v and rechargeable power suppliers
- Carry bags
- Moon and planetary viewing filters
Plus more! We’re more than happy to assist with these and other options that will extend the usefulness of your Sky-Watcher AZ-Go2 telescope.
Astrophotography with the Sky-Watcher AZ-Go2 telescopes.
All AZ-Go2 telescopes are bunded with a smart phone adaptor. You’d be surprised what can be achieved with phone cameras. You’ll definitely be able to produce some very pleasing Lunar and possibly deep-sky images.
BINTEL stocks a range of t-rings and adaptors for DSLR cameras as well as dedicated astronomy cameras from ZWO and QHY. We can suggest which camera options would work best with various AZ-Go2 telescopes.
With its AZ mount and telescope tubes fitted to the range, we’re inclined to think of the Sky-Watcher AZ-Go2 as a series of telescopes that are ideal, computerised visual observing systems which might produce some surprising astro image. If you’re after a dedicated astro imaging system, there other solutions that might be a better choice.
The new Sky-Watcher AZ-Go2 telescopes are excellent value for money. They have lowered the cost of full GOTO telescopes and offer wide range of telescope options. We recommend them for serious beginners.
19th October 2023