Sky-Watcher StarTravel 80 Refractor Telescope

It’s often said that every astronomer should own a “short tube 80” — an 80mm aperture, 400mm focal length (f/5) refractor. These are sold under a variety of brand names such as Orion, Helios and Celestron, but they are nearly all made in China by the Synta company. My example carries the Sky-Watcher name, and I bought it in April 2004 from Sherwoods Photo Ltd.

The short tube 80 is a great scope for tinkering with. An easy change is to replace the focuser with a 2″ one, not because this scope needs to use 2″ eyepieces but merely to reduce vignetting of widefield 1¼” ones. I also removed the lens elements and blackened their edges with a marker pen.

After I bought a binoviewer I wanted a small refractor that could be used with the binoviewer, without any Barlow or OCA lens that would increase magnification. Rather than cut down the tube of this scope I bought a William Optics ZenithStar 80 Short, and sold this scope in late 2005. Since then I’ve bought a Sky-Watcher 80ED and sold the ZenithStar. I like 80mm refractors, but can’t justify having more than one at a time!