GSO 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope - Carbon Fiber OTA # RC8-CF

Our Price: $1,395.00
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Our Product ID: T-GS-RC8-CF
Manufacturer SKU: RC8-CF
Item Can Ship: To US Only
GSO 8" f/8 Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope - Carbon Fiber OTA # RC8-CF

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Quick Overview

  • Ritchey-Chretien OTA with 200mm f/8 primary mirror for astronomical imaging with DSLRs or dedicated CMOS or CCD astronomy cameras
  • Fully and rigorously tested on site for cosmetics, mechanical operation, and optical performance by a master optician to ensure excellent overall telescope operation and customer satisfaction (an Agena exclusive service) 
  • Carbon fiber optical tube with high strength and low thermal expansion, with numerous interior baffles to reduce stray light and improve image contrast
  • Quartz mirror for superior thermal stability coated to 95% reflectivity and overcoated with protective quartz layer
  • Linear bearing 10:1 Crayford focuser with 50mm focus travel and tension and locking knobs to hold heavy loads; includes 1.25” adapter and two 1” and one 2” extension rings to enable focus with a wide range of cameras and accessories 
  • Includes full length Losmandy and Vixen rails and Vixen-style mounting bracket for optional finder scope or guide scope

Product Details

1. Overview

Widely used in professional telescopes around the world, the Ritchey-Chretien (RC) design offers many advantages for serious astronomical imagers. RC scopes use primary and secondary mirrors ground to precise hyperbolic figures, which means they suffer little of the aberration and coma that plague Newtonian telescopes. They have flat fields that provide pinpoint star images right to the edge of the field of view. They do not require a corrector lens, so they have no chromatic aberration like refractors or Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. And they have open optical tubes, which can make it easier to come to thermal equilibrium with their surroundings.

The difficulty of figuring the optics of an RC meant that these telescopes have, in the past, been prohibitively expensive for amateur astronomers. But modern materials, design, and manufacturing techniques have enabled the production of high-quality RC scopes that are remarkably affordable.

The RC Ritchey-Chretien assemblies produced by Guan Sheng Optical (GSO) offer superb value to intermediate and advanced astronomical imagers who are looking for a longer focal length scope to use with cropped sensor and full-frame DSLR cameras, as well as nearly all dedicated astronomy cameras, including video cameras for electronically-assisted astronomy (EAA). These scopes come with precisely figured optics, baffled tubes for superior image contrast, and rugged and precise dual-speed focusers to securely hold your camera and accessories.

(NOTE: This telescope is equipped to accept 1.25” and 2” eyepieces for visual use, and it does produce acceptable visual images. However, it is primarily intended for imaging applications. Observers looking for a compact and longer focal-length OTA for visual observing should consider a Schmidt-Cassegrain or Newtonian telescope.)

2. Full Optical and Mechanical Testing and Quality Control - An Agena Exclusive!

GSO telescopes are available from several suppliers, but Agena does much more than simply move the telescope boxes from GSO to you. Each GSO imaging Ritchey-Chretien telescope at Agena undergoes a thorough cosmetic, mechanical, and optical evaluation at our shop upon arrival - all at no extra cost to you.

Every GSO telescope is inspected to ensure good cosmetics, collimation, smooth focuser operation, and to make sure all parts are included by the manufacturer. Most importantly, we also check each telescope using a rigorous three-point on-site optical evaluation consisting of the following optical bench tests to ensure that your telescope delivers excellent optical performance:

  • Foucault Test: This knife-edge test is performed at the center of curvature of the primary mirror to evaluate the quality of the mirror's conic shape.
  • Ronchi Test: We then perform a Ronchi grating test at the center of curvature at inside focus, at focus, and outside focus. This is a qualitative method to evaluate primary mirror smoothness and figure.
  • Star test: Finally, we collimate the complete telescope and perform an autocollimation test with an artificial star to examine the overall system's image performance at the focus point.

This testing is performed and certified by a master optician to make sure each GSO instrument sold by Agena has excellent optical performance before it ships. Each telescope should be ready to go out of the box when you receive it.

3. Optics and Tube

This RC OTA comes with a 200mm (7.9)” mirror with a 1600mm focal length, giving it a relatively fast focal ratio of f/8 in a compact carbon-fiber tube that’s only 18” long.  

The precisely figured hyperbolic primary mirror is made from quartz for enhanced thermal stability. Quartz is superior in thermal characteristics to BK7 glass or soda lime float glass - the glasses used in consumer products like cookware - that's used in many reflectors in this price range. The mirror is coated with enhanced aluminum to a nominal reflectivity of 95% and coated with a protective layer of SiO2 (quartz) for durability.

The primary mirror is mounted in a fixed cell that’s heavily baffled to prevent stray light from reducing contrast. While Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes come to focus by moving the position of the primary mirror, RCs scopes have a fixed primary mirror and an external focuser. This avoids image shift while focusing, a big benefit for astrophotgraphers. The secondary mirror is also held in a baffled cell that’s fixed to the outer tube with a 4-vane spider. The secondary cell has adjustable screws to aid in collimating the optics.

The high-strength carbon fiber tube exhibits minimal thermal expansion to help retain image focus during long exposure runs when the temperature is changing. The interior of the OTA includes several internal knife-edge baffles to keep stray light to a minimum so that image contrast is maximized.

4. Focuser and Accessories

The solid 10:1 dual-speed 2" Crayford-style linear bearing focuser handles DSLR cameras, webcams, astronomy video cams, and large sensor CCD and CMOS cameras for astrophotography. It also has a tension knob and a locking knob to allow you to secure heavier loads. The ridged focus knobs give you a good feel and grip, even with gloved hands in cold weather, and the 10:1 fine focus knob lets you snap your image into perfect focus. The drawtube of the focuser is engineered to have minimal wear and very little flexure with most cameras. It offers 50mm of focus travel and includes a focusing scale on the top of the drawtube to make it easy to return to the correct focus position during each observing session.

The telescope includes two 1” and one 2” extension rings for situations when you need further backfocus, or when you want to reduce the extension of the focuser’s drawtube to minimize its deflection under heavier loads. It also comes with a 1.25"-2” adapter with compression ring so you can use cameras with 1.25" nose pieces.

To enable you to solidly and securely mount the telescope, a 15.5” long Losmandy D-plate is included along the length of the bottom of the telescope tube. A full-length Vixen-style rail along the top of the tube enables you to attach accessories such as guide scopes. There’s also a Vixen-style finder base for mounting mini guide scopes or red-dot or magnifying finders. A front dust cover is included with the telescope.

With all accessories, the total weight of the tube is 16lbs-8oz. For astronomical imaging applications, this RC scope should be paired with an equatorial mount with at least 40lbs capacity for best results.

5. What’s in the Box

  • Ritchey-Chretien carbon fiber optical tube assembly with 200mm f/8 primary mirror
  • Dual speed 2" Crayford-style linear bearing focuser with 1.25" eyepiece adapter
  • Full length (15.5") Losmandy D-plate and Vixen-style dovetail rail
  • 1x2" and 2x1” extension rings
  • Vixen-style finder base (finder not included)
  • Front dust cover
  • No instruction manual is included at this time (coming soon)

6. Specifications

  • Optical design: Ritchey-Chretien reflector
  • Aperture: 200mm (7.87”)
  • Focal ratio: f/8
  • Focal length: 1600mm
  • Primary mirror: Hyperbolic primary mirror with enhanced Al coating to 95% reflectivity, with protective quartz layer
  • Secondary mirror: Hyperbolic with enhanced Al coating to 95% reflectivity; protective quartz layer; O.D. of secondary cell is 3.82”
  • Secondary mirror holder: 4-vane all metal spider
  • Tube outside diameter = 9”
  • Tube length = 18”
  • Tube weight (with included accessories): 16lbs-8oz
  • Shipped size / weight = 28"x14"x14" / 23lbs-8oz
  • Warranty: 2 years