Sky-Watcher USA has a number of new products launching for 2020 including new mounts, accessories and several brand-new telescopes. The Sky-Watcher USA New Telescopes and more were given a sneak peak into its new lineup during a recent a presentation of its “What’s Up?” Webcast, which is a new weekly show that talks about what’s happening in the world of telescope technology.
“What’s Up?” is a live webcast held every Friday from 10am to 11am Pacific on the Sky-Watcher USA YouTube channel. Each week they take a dive into a new astronomical topic including gear, visual & imaging techniques, interviews and more.
Among the new products announced during the webcast were the Sky-Watcher EQ8-R and EQ8-RH Mounts; Sky-Watcher Evolux ED Telescope Series; an updated version of the Sky-Watcher EQ6R that now includes built in USB-B functionality; the Sky-Watcher SolarQuest solar tracking mount; the introduction of the Sky-Watcher AZEQ6 to North America and more.
You can watch the full broadcast which provides an overview of all of the new offerings at the end of this article.
Maybe the biggest news is the new Sky-Watcher EQ8-R Pro equatorial mount which offers professional level performance at a significantly lower price than other mounts offering the same weight capacity and build quality. The equatorial mount is built for serious imaging and precision visual work offering a full 110 pounds of payload capacity and is available with or without a tripod.
The EQ8-R Pro equatorial mount offers an all-metal internal construction, belt drives on the RA and DEC axis, built-in USB 3.0 hub and plenty of power and serial ports, an integrated cable management system, SynScan computerized GoTo system, and more.
Built for the largest OTA’s on the market, this heavy-duty mount offers lots of capacity for all your imaging equipment. The EQ8-R Pro comes with two 22-pound counterweights and more are available for purchase if needed.
The dual belt drives provide minimal backlash and significantly reduced periodic error, which mean smoother and more accurate tracking. With belt drives on both the RA and DEC axis, the mount offers precision tracking and guiding while also seeing a significant reduction in periodic error when compared to more conventional drive systems.
The integrated cable management system helps eliminate the cable drag and reduces the chance of a cable snag. There are four built-in USB 3.0 ports, three (3) 2.1mm power out ports and three (3) AUX serial ports.
The Sky-Watcher EQ8-R Pro equatorial mount comes with a 0.9-degree hybrid stepper motor and offers a multitude of slew speeds providing the ability to go horizon to horizon. Slew speeds are available from 1000x down to 1x.
Alignment & computerized GoTo on the EQ8-R is managed by a flash upgradeable SynScan hand controller. It offers one, two, or three-star alignment procedures as well as a database of 42,900 objects that include the complete Messier, NGC, IC and SAO catalogs and can store 25 user-defined objects. The EQ8-R also has an available optional polar scope available, making polar alignment quick and easy.
For those wanting extremely high precision in guiding and tracking as well as almost zero periodic error, the Rh version of the EQ8 offers a Renishaw 11.8 million tick incremental encoder mounted on the RA axis for incredibly precise results during astrophotography sessions.