Skywatcher Heritage 114P Virtuoso(4.5" Dobson)

Motivation | Look | Basic Data | First Photo Attempts | Final Word | Links

Archive

On this page, I present some information about my "short-term"* telescope (Dobson), a Sky-Watcher Heritage 114P Virtuoso - 114/500mm Newtonian with Auto Tracking (ordered at the beginning of May, 2016, received on May 19 "thanks" to DPD). What makes this Dobsonian telescope special, is its automatic tracking provided by the Virtuoso mount. The Virtuoso mount might be extended with a Sky-Watcher SynScan hand box for having GoTo control.

*) Note: Probably because of a loose connection, the Virtuoso mount did not work properly after a few days. I returned the telescope for a refund (mid-June 2016). I was unsure whether I should buy another Virtuoso mount and telescope, and had some consulting in this respect. I was advised to buy a telescope mount that can support more weight, namely the Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo telescope mount (and the 114P is not that much better than the 100P, which I already own). And in the end, I decided for this mount (and one less telescope...). See Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo Mount Information for more information.

Therefore, this page is no longer continued. Since the information that is offered on this page may be useful for one or the other visitor, I still keep the page "as is." For an a little more extensive reasoning why I did not buy the Virtuoso mount once more, see the Final Word below.

 

Motivation

Why did I buy the Sky-Watcher Heritage 114P Virtuoso and for what purpose? This purchase was a relatively spontaneous decision and was made after watching the transit of Mercury through the sun with the Heritage 100P and having been in hospital before this event. So I wanted to de me something good after staying in hospital! I decided for buying a mount with automatic tracking, because I often wanted to show my wife sky objects in the telescope, but when she was finally ready, the object had already disappeared from the view. The same was, of course true, for the observation itself and had a the more of an impact, the higher the magnification was. From time to time, I also took longer observation breaks, after which I often had to laboriously recapture sky objects that were difficult to find. Often I had to change the eyepiece so that I could restart the search with a larger field of view, which typically involved refocusing. By the way, I had not even dreamed of purchasing a GoTo controller at that time!

The Virtuoso mount seemed to fulfill this task, it incuded a 4.5" tube, and I found a good price at a dealer in the Netherlands. The rest remainder was unfortunately a sad story that lasted several weeks, and at the end of which I returned the Virtuoso mount (see below). I briefly tried the 4.5" tube, and its performance was, as expected, between my Heritage 100P (4") and my Heritage P130 (5"). Compared to the 100P it looked much bigger and was better mounted on the P130 base than the 100P's. Actually, I wanted to give the Heritage 100P away after buying the Virtuoso mount, but it all turned out differently...

Since my problem was probably based on a loose contact, and the Virtuoso setup itself is considered "indestructible," I considered purchasing the Virtuoso mount with the corresponding telescope again. However, my dealer advised me to choose an AZ mount that could carry more weight, the Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo telescope mount. This was actually my entry into "GoTo astronomy" - more about this elsewhere - and shortly afterwards also into the world of deep sky objects!

 

Look

Unpacking and Assembling

Outer package

Ditto

Package Dimensions:
Outer Package: 58.5 cm x 35 cm x 34 cm
Package: 57 cm x 32.5 cm x 33 cm

Gross weight: 9 kg, net weight: 7 kg

Ditto

Package of the Heritage 114P

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Outer package and package of the Heritage 114P

Opened package

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Package content, still packed up

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Tube unpacked

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Smaller parts unpacked

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Telescope assembled

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Telescope seen more from the front

Telescope side view, ...

... rear view, ....

... and front view

Accessories: 10mm and 25mm eyepieces, red dot finder, and more

Telescope Details

Looking into the telescope...

The control unit

Battery compartment and batteries

Battery compartment without...

...and with batteries

Battery compartment closed

Ditto

The euro EMC sun filter 600-105 is usable on this telescope if you place the filter holders inside the tube

Telescope with euro EMC sum filter 600-105 in place

Accessories: 10mm and 25mm eyepieces, red dot finder, and more

Comparison with Heritage P130 and Heritage 100P

Changing the Base

Since all three telescopes tube have the same type of mount for the base, I exchanged tubes and bases where it seemed to make sense:

114P on base for 100P, 100P on Virtuoso base

100P on base for P130, P130 on Virtuoso base, 114P on 100P base

P130 on Virtuoso base, 114P on P130 base

114P tube on base for P130 (left) and base for 100P (right); the latter is not very stable and can easily tilt over...

P130 tube on Virtuoso base

Ditto

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The base for the Heritage 100P is suitable only for its own small tube. The Heritage 114P tube might fit in principle, but the whole thing tilts easily over, because the diameter of the 100P base is too small (see the photo in the middle row at the center). The tube of the Heritage 114P can, however, be mounted on the base of the P130 without problems, even though this base might perhaps look a little bit too big for the tube (see the photo in the middle row on the left).

The opportunity to mount the Heritage P130 tube on the Virtuoso base looked interesting to me, because, this way, I would have a larger telescope with tracking at my disposal. This is possible in principle, but the P130 tube seems a bit too heavy for the Virtuoso mount, which can carry a maximum of 4 kg. The "naked" P130 tube weighs already about 3.25 kg (P130-base = 3.1 kg P130 tube = 3.25 kg, according to my scales), and you have to add the weight of the eyepiece and, perhaps, a camera to this.

 

Basic Data for Sky-Watcher Dobson Telescope Heritage 114P Virtuoso (in Comparison)

Telescope
Meade
Sky-Watcher Skymax/Heritage/Explorer
GSO Omegon
10" ETX 90EC 102 127 76 100P 114P P130 150PDS GSD 680 PS 72/432
Optical Design Newton
(Parabolic)
Maksutov-Cassegrain Maksutov-Cassegrain Maksutov-Cassegrain Newton (Spherical) Newton (Parabolic) Newton
(Parabolic)
Newton (Parabolic) Newton (Parabolic) Newton (Parabolic) Refractor
Primary Mirror Diameter 254 mm 96 mm (90 mm) 102 mm 127 mm 76 mm (3") 100 mm (4") 114 mm (4.5") 130 mm (5") 150 mm (6") 200 mm (8") 72 mm
Focal Length, Focal Ratio 1270 mm
f/5
1250 mm
f/13.8
1300 mm
f/12.7
1500 mm
f/11.8
300 mm
f/3.95
400 mm
f/4
500 mm
f/4.38
650 mm
f/5
750 mm
f/5
1200 mm
f/6
432 mm
f/6
Resolving Power (arc secs) 0.45" 1.3" 1.15" 0.91" 1.51" 1.15" 1.01" 0.9" 0.77" 0.58" 1,61" **
Limiting Visual Stellar Magnitude ca. 14.5 mag 11.7 mag 12.7 mag 13.2 mag 11.2 mag 11.8 mag 12.1 mag 13.3 mag 12.7 mag 14.5 mag 11,1 mag **
Light Gathering Power 1316.7 165.3 212.3 329.2 117.9 204.1 265.2 344.9 459.2 816.3 105,8 **
Maximum Practical Visual Power ca. 600 x 325 x 204 x 254 x ca. 100 x (152 x) 150 x (200 x) 170 x (228 x) ca. 195/220 x (260 x) ca. 225 x (300 x) ca. 300 x (400 x) 144 x
Optical Tube Dimensions (diam. x length) 35 cm x 119 cm 10.4 cm x 27.9 cm 11.6 cm x 27 cm 14.4 x 33 cm n.a. 11.5 cm x 37 cm* n.a. Tube collapsed < 37 cm
(14.5") long
18.2 cm x 69 cm
18 cm x 68 cm*
23 cm x 115 cm L: 39.5 cm with extended dew cap
Net Weight Basis 12.2 kg n.a. --- --- n.a. 1.3 kg* 1.6 kg 3.1 kg* -- 11.2 kg n.a.
Net Weight Optical Tube 17.2 kg n.a. 1.9 kg 3.4 kg n.a. 1.2 kg* 3.7 kg 3.25 kg* 5.0/6.0 kg
5.5 kg*
9.5 kg n.a.
Net Weight Complete 3.5 kg 1.75 kg 2.5*/2.8 kg 5.3 kg < 6.5 kg or 14 lbs. appr. 21 kg 2.06 kg

Dark Blue: Telescopes that I still own; italic and dark red: telescopes that I owned; black: for comparison; *) own measurement; corrected values

 

First Photo Attempts

With Sun Filter

Photos taken with Leica X Vario using the 1:50 method

       

32 mm eyepice (more magnified)

 

16 mm eyepiece

 

6 mm eyepiece

 

Final Word

Probably because of a loose connection, the Virtuoso mount did not work properly after a few days. Actually, the mount seems to be very robust, as another dealer told me on the phone, but I seem to have gotten a "lemon"... I returned the telescope for a refund (experty, mid-June 2016) with no fuss. All in all, this was a sad and somewhat nerve-straining affair for me, in which the dealer supported me well and friendly. I do not feel obliged to write something negative about the mount and the telescope after this experience. I simply had no luck with my sample of the Virtuoso mount!

I therefore asked myself, whether I should buy another Virtuoso mount with a telescope (or a comparable Merlin mount without a scope), and asked for some consulting in this respect. I was advised to buy a telescope mount that can support more weight, namely the Sky-Watcher Star Discovery AZ GoTo telescope mount. If you look into European information sources, you will find that the Virtuoso mount can carry up to 4 kg, but American sources warn you not to exceed 2 kg, which would be too little for my purposes. With the Star Discovery mount, I would give up the 114P telescope - but I already owned the 100P, which had become somewhat "redundant" with the 114P (the 114P does not gather that much more light than the 100P...) - and would gain a GoTo control, which might be useful at times... In the end, I decided for the Star Discovery mount (and one less telescope tube...).

Therefore, this page is no longer continued. Since the information that is offered on this page may be useful for one or the other visitor, I still keep the page "as is."

 

Links

 

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31.03.2019