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The FOA-60 - A First Look

  • Posted on
  • By Ryan Hannahoe
  • 0
The FOA-60 - A First Look

Takahashi ambassador Ryan Hannahoe used a FOA-60 telescope to observe and image the night sky using a high speed and high resolution CMOS camera. His work demonstrates what can be done with a high-quality telescope of small aperture.

Introduction

The FOA-60 is a 60 mm ortho apochromatic refractor composed of a fluorite/crown doublet lens set made by Takahashi. The FOA has a focal length of 530 mm (f/8.8) and a Strehl ratio exceeding 0.96. The telescope is compact in design and weighs just 1.8 kg, making it a perfect grab-and-go telescope for photographic or visual purposes.

 

Performance under the sky

I commonly image the Sun and the Moon as my observatory is located within the city. For performance features, I used the FOA-60 visually and also with a high resolution CMOS camera to photograph the Moon.

 

Through the eyepiece, I experienced jaw-dropping views similar to the TOA-130NFB (Both scopes have a similar optical design for the correction of spherical aberrations). The Moon appeared razor sharp and with high contrast from edge-to-edge. Compared to more traditional telescopes, the Mare regions appear fuller and darker, the lunar highlands create a feeling of depth, and the crater rays show bright crisp details. The optimal magnification limit of the FOA-60 is 73x, however I was able to see features for which I would normally need a larger aperture telescope.

FOA-60 on the TOA-130NFB

 

Swapping out the eyepiece for the camera let me capture what I was seeing visually, except that it revealed much greater detail and contrast. Stars appeared pinpoint, and the sky appeared jet black. The FOA-60 offers a 44 mm image circle, making it optimal for large format cameras. I would recommend adding the field flattener to get pinpoint stars from edge-to-edge.

A view of the moon through the FOA-60

 

A view of the moon through the FOA-60 after processing

 

Versatility

Like other Takahashi configurations, this telescope is extremely versatile to fit your needs. When coupling this telescope with 1.7x extender the Strehl ratio is in excess of 0.99 with a focal length of 900mm (f/15). To go in the other direction, you can install a 0.93x field flattener to reduce the focal length to 495 mm (f/8.2).

 

The FOA-60 is the perfect grab-and-go telescope for anyone wanting a small refractor for observation or photography. The optical tube assembly and all other accessories can fit easily as carry-on luggage for airline travel. A Pelican-type case is highly recommended.

 

I would also recommend the use of a dual-rate focuser as the supplied single speed focuser makes it challenging to achieve pinpoint stars easily. This is especially true if you are trying to image with this telescope.

 

Conclusion

The build quality and versatility of this Takahashi holds true to the brand’s reputation.  As with all of their instruments, the optics are exquisite, and for the price range, this is an excellent value to start you off in the Takahashi line.  The FOA-60 makes the perfect travel companion, and one that will certainly last you a lifetime.

 

About the Author

Ryan Hannahoe is an astrophotographer who has been imaging the night sky for over half of his life. Ryan’s work has been featured by NASA and the Smithsonian. He is the executive director of the Montana Learning Center (MLC) at Canyon Ferry Lake, a learning institute geared toward igniting a life-long passion in kids and teachers to pursue the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). Ryan is passionate about science and sharing it with others. Before working at the MLC, Ryan was a telescope technician for New Mexico Skies Observatories.

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