The Lightwave 66/400 ED refractor delivers very good colour correction. The ED doublet lens system features an ED element made from premium Japanese Ohara glass. The elements have been figured with excellent smoothness and very effective super-high transmission coating (STM Coating) on all air-to-glass surfaces for exceptional contrast.
In fact, the colour rendition is so good for the price, that telescopes previously employing this same lens have been described as apochromats or "APO" by both manufacturers and their customers.*
Versatility: The Lightwave 66 ED-R is a very versatile telescope, performing very well at both visual observing and astro-photography. Detail is visible on the larger planets such as Jupiter, with both the four principle moons and main cloud belts easily visible at high power. Saturn's rings are easily visible and if the atmosphere is stable the Cassini Division in Saturn's rings can be seen with a high power eyepiece The Moon will reveal hundreds of craters, volcanic plains and mountain ranges. Adding a high quality Kendrick solar filter or Daystar Quark Hydrogen Alpha solar viewing eyepiece would give you a very small portable solar observing system you can take anywhere. In fact the Lightwave 66 ED-R with it's F6 focal ratio and 400mm focal length is within the ideal performance range for the Daystar Quark, allowing you to capture the entire disc of the sun at low power, enabling viewing of solar prominences and their development over a few hours. Higher power brings the surface of the sun into sharp detail with structure easily visible in sunspots. Being well under 80mm aperture an additional IR Blocking filter is not required. White light solar observing is also very rewarding with plenty of structure and detail visible.
The dual speed "Linear Power" Rack and Pinion Geared focuser has eight adjustable internal roller bearings, so you get more "lifting power" and stability for large eyepieces or cameras. The focuser can be rotated to frame celestial objects the way you want them. The focuser has a 2" rear accessory port with brass compression ring and a 2"-1.25" adapter with brass compression ring and dust plug. The optional Lightwave 50mm RACI (Right angle Correct Image) finder-scope or the Lightwave RDF (Red Dot Finder) both have a quick release bracket which fits on either side of the focuser unit. Once the quick release bracket is installed, you can leave it on, so adding the finder takes seconds.
Grab 'n go portability: The Lightwave 66 ED-R comes in a tough hard skinned aluminium flight-case with a foam insert, and pre-cut removable inserts for an eyepiece, a diagonal and Red Dot Finder, making it the ideal "grab 'n go" portable telescope-kit for visual observing or astro-photography. The case will easily fit in an aeroplane overhead locker, so you can travel with your telescope along as cabin-luggage. The case measures 39x25x19cm and is lockable with 2x keys included.
Mounting the Lightwave 66 ED-R on a camera tripod: Attaching the telescope to a photo or video tripod mount takes mere seconds by means of the 1/4" photo thread on the dovetail-base. A photo-tripod is perfect for grab and go visual astronomy, digi-scoping and use as a terrestrial spotting scope with superior astro-eyepieces. Astro telescopes usually have higher quality optics than spotting scopes costing many times the price, which is necessary for higher power magnification demanded by astronomers. They do however display a reversed, upside down image, which is perfectly acceptable for night-time viewing. For daytime use, simple plug in the Lightwave 45 degree erect image prism diagonal, which produces an upright, correctly orientated image. It's also compatible with astro eyepieces, so you can take advantage of these lower priced yet higher quality optics).
Mounting the Lightwave 66 ED-R to an astro-mount: Most GOTO mounts which support "Vixen/Synta-format " dovetails such as the iOptron SkyGuider, Skytracker, Cube PRO, Minitower range, SmartEQ PRO, Skywatcher EQ5, and so-on will fit directly. The mounting base can be detached and re-mounted facing backwards to change the balance point for smaller loads. The mounting base is slightly wider than the 44.5mm Altair TMS Mini-Vixen-format clamp required for the Sabre mount, so a correct size dovetail bar is required to use this telescope with the Altair TMS Telescope Mounting System. Product codes: VDB-CL-180 or SW-MINI-VBAR-200 are both compatible. They are attached by means of the standard photo tripod threads in the mounting base. Longer dovetail bars can be used to gain more length for balancing with heavier accessories, such as cameras and filter wheels. Visual observers might choose longer dovetail bars for balancing with bino-viewers or heavy eyepieces. The mounting base can also be completely detached, allowing the Lightwave 66 ED-R optical tube to fit guide scope rings, such as the Altair TMS Lightweight Rings (code: GSR-100), or the Starwave 110mm guide scope rings (Code: SWGSR-110). Both systems have many options for mounting piggyback, or side-by-side.
Lightwave 66 ED-R Specifications:
- Optical tube with air-spaced 66mm F6 Dual ED lens (400mm focal length)
- Ohara ED (SD) glass in a precision CNC machined lens cell.
- Super-high transmission coating (STM Coating) on all air to glass surfaces.
- Resolving Power (Dawes’ Limit) 1.75 arc seconds
- Visual Limiting Magnitude 11.6 maximum
- Light Grasp (human eye = 1x) 89x
- Field Stops 3x glare-reducing baffles inside optical tube
- Weight approx. 2kg, OTA length with dewshield retracted, 30cm.
- Precision CNC machined components and tube made from light, tough aluminium alloy with matte powder-coat. Retractable lens shade / dew shield.
- 2" "Rack 'n Pinion" Geared Linear Power dual speed focuser with 1:10 micro-focuser and 360 degree rotation. R" Stands for "Rack 'n Pinion gear".
- 2" to 1.25" reducer with brass compression rings included.
- Special mounting base with dovetail profile to fit most telescope mounts and 1/4"-20 Photo tripod threads for use with photo or video tripods.
- Tough alu flight case included, measuring 39x25x19cm. Lockable with 2x keys included.
*Staff comments: Chromatic aberration (or false colour) is almost invisible in-focus. Most users, and vendors describe the performance of this popular lens system as "APO" or Apochromatic. Because it's a doublet lens, it fits our subjective definition as a "semi-APO" or "almost APO" rather than a true APO. This really is splitting hairs though and most would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Click here to assess the imaging performance of this 66/400 ED doublet optic for yourself as used in other telescope tubes. This product addresses the only known issue of previous versions (namely focuser slippage) by the inclusion of a "Rack and Pinion" geared focuser with eight externally adjustable bearings contacting the tube, and a knurled locking knob on the underside. There is only one version of this 66/400mm optical system available to our knowledge, and this is it. Why buy it? 1) Great optics in an incredibly small package. 2) Geared focuser with higher capacity than Crayford. 3) Tough lockable high quality flight case included.
Why should I choose the the 66mm Lightwave refractor? For an ULTRA portable light weight scope with high performance, for the traveller who wants to mix visual astronomy with spotting during the daytime, and also wide field astro-photography, we'd suggest the 66mm because it's very compact and light. It will fit the iOptron Skytracker or SkyGuider with a DSLR and remain within specified weight limits. It's easily carried by the iOptron Smart EQ PRO and SkyGuider too.
What magnifications will the Lightwave 66 ED-R produce?
Lowest Usable Power 10x (with 40mm eyepiece)
Highest Terrestrial Power 67x (with 6mm eyepiece)
Highest Practical Power 100x (with 4mm eyepiece)
Theoretical Maximum 133x (with 3mm eyepiece)
What's the ultimate travel setup with this scope? For visual use, as a spotting scope, a Lightwave 66 ED-R, and a decent quality video or photo tripod would be more than sufficient to get you exploring the night sky. When you're ready for an ultra-portable GOTO mount for solar and general astro-observing consider upgrading to the iOptron Cube PRO GOTO mount. A Lightwave RDF finder, a Lightwave 45 degree erecting prism, a Lightwave dielectric diagonal, and a couple of Lightwave eyepieces or, if space is at a premium, even just one Lightwave Zoom Eyepiece will perform admirably. This telescope is ideal for an airline portable package for visual observing and wide-field astro phtotgraphy images day or night. You can take it anywhere in the world.
What's the recommended GOTO mount for portable visual observing and/or imaging? If you're a visual observer or enjoy solar viewing, then the ideal GOTO mount for the Lightwave 66 ED-R is the iOptron Cube PRO with metal worm gear and GPS, which you really can take anywhere. If you want to enjoy imaging and visual observing, then the iOptron Smart-EQ PRO add an equatorial tracking feature (for long exposures free from star-trailing) and autoguiding (for even longer exposures). If you're an astro-imaging purist, then the iOptron SkyGuider would be the next logical step up, offering a very stable tripod, with smoothest tracking, an autoguiding option with Altair Micro-Guider, and the best tracking performance overall.
How do I piggyback the Lightwave 66 ED-R on my existing scope? Many owners of larger scopes want to use their Lightwave ED-R for autoguiding solar-observing, or taking wide-field images whilst imaging with their main scope. It can even be used as a "super-finder", it's nice to have a wide field eyepiece in this optical tube for colour aberration-free views of the sky at low powers. You can mount your 66mm ED-R in guidescope rings using the Starwave inverted Losmandy-compatible or Vixen-compatible clamps, depending on the type of mounting system used on top of your main scope. Contact us for advice.