Review of the Apertura AD10 10” Dobsonian
By Jamie Proffitt
I ordered the AD10 on Tuesday and it was delivered via FedEx two days later on Thursday, in two boxes: the OTA and accessories in one and the base and its components in the second. The OTA box was heavy and huge and the box containing the base wasn’t that big but was very heavy for its size.
Upon opening both boxes I found that both had been packaged well with extra attention paid to the OTA. It was encased in a Styrofoam sarcophagus. The accessories were in their individual boxes including the 8x50 finder scope which was in its own box with a foam cut-out with the scope resting in it and a foam blanket covering it, the laser collimator had its own box and despite what I’ve read on the internet about the questionable quality of this item, I found a rather well built laser collimator, again in its own box, included with a 2” sleeve adapter. The included 9mm Plossl was there in a small zip-lock bag and the 2” 30mm GSO Superview looked like it was the size of a 12oz soda can compared to the 9mm. The cooling fan battery pack and what looked like about six feet of cord was neatly packed inside a box. The soft-grip guide knob, secondary thumb screws and plastic secondary washers were in individual envelopes with their contents clearly marked on the outside. I inspected the contents of both boxes and everything was present and accounted for as far as hardware.
I took me around 40 minutes to assemble both the base and place the accessories on the OTA including drilling the hole for the guide knob and removing the secondary mirror to install the “milk jug” washers and to install the thumb screws. I added a Rigel Quickfinder and Green Laser with mount that I had ordered from ScopeStuff. Next was collimation. Using the included laser collimator and sleeve adapter I found it was out of collimation most likely due to my removing the secondary. The laser had it back in perfect alignment within minutes and I double checked it with a Cheshire Tool. It was dead on perfect. I took it outside while still daylight and aligned the finder scope on a cell tower about a mile and a half away. After dark, it was time to line up the Rigel and GLP in which I used Sirius as my target. I made two trips, one for the base and then the OTA. Don’t be under any false impressions when deciding on whether to order a 10” or not; this is a big scope! I let it set outside for about an hour with the fan running. It probably didn’t need this long due to the outside temperature only varying about 18 degrees from my 70 degree inside temperature but I took this opportunity to inspect the eyepieces and other accessories.
There was a half moon and it was at zenith and was in the exact position of Aldebaran when I started so I knew views of M1 were going to be difficult on this particular night. So I chose the obvious target as my first, M42 The Orion Nebula. I slipped in the 2” 30mm GSO and used the GLP to point at it, looked through my eyepiece and focused. By the way, this dual-speed focuser with the micro adjustment is fantastic. The nebula was almost breathtaking as it displayed a clearly visible greenish hue and was super clear. I then tried out the 9mm Plossl and could see the Trapezium with tack-sharp stars and the star color was so vivid and crisp! With the 9mm still in place I swung around to Jupiter and was amazed with how bright it was. So bright in fact that I pulled out my blue filter and with it I could easily see the cloud bands and four moons in sharp clarity. I next used my Celestron 32mm Omni and viewed the Eskimo Nebula. I could see the double stars and the nebulosity was easy to see even without adverted vision. It had been a very long day and I was tired so decided to call it quits for the night. I was more than pleased with the views the AD10 had provided me in a short observing session.
I did come away with one thought stuck in my head all night, and that is the eyepiece debate on a ten inch f/4.9 scope is way over-hyped. I had been concerned about coma in this scope and had read where owners paid hundreds of dollars each for eyepieces and a paracorr because of the fear of not having a crisp or clear view. Let me just say this, if you are an average star gazer/ amateur astronomer and have even a decent collection of Plossl eyepieces you are going to be very satisfied with the views of this scope as long as it is collimated.
Opticsmart has delivered the goods on this scope. From customer service, accessories and the price I paid for this set-up I can say with enthusiasm that I was not disappointed by the Apertura AD10 in any way.