SharpStar is a Chinese telescope manufacturer known for producing high-quality astrophotography refractor telescopes. They offer a range of refractor telescopes for astronomy enthusiasts ranging from deep-sky observers or imagers to planetary observers, all the way to wide-field imagers.
Sharpstar produces a number of high-quality refractors under the Askar label. the Askar V is notable in that it is designed as a modular unit that can be assembled in a variety of ways to produce an equally varied range of apertures and focal lengths. Focal reducers and field-flatteners complete the options available to view or photograph various size astronomical objects. If you add up the various configurations, you actually are getting 8 telescopes in one! Check out my review of the Askar FRA500 telescope, which is an excellent choice if you are locked into a particular focal length or aperture.
The basic concept with this telescope is to have 2 interchangeable objective lenses, one 60mm aperture and the other an 80mm aperture. In addition to these modules, the telescope comes with 3 accessories: a field flattener for photography, an extender (increases the focal length) and a focal reducer (decreases the focal length). The V60 lens has a native focal length of 360mm at f/6. The V80 lens has a focal length of 500mm at f/6.25. As you can see from the table below, the mix-and-match design of the telescope and accessories allows for a variety of apertures, focal lengths ranging from 270mm to 600mm and focal ratios of f/4.5 to f/7.5.
This opens up a wide range of targets for visual and photographic uses. Additional spacers or adapters may be needed to achieve the correct back-focus for photography.
The Askar V is a triplet lens apochromatic telescope. The integrated 360-degree rotator allows for perfect photographic framing without changing the focus. Several astrophotography software programs allow you to frame your subject before an imaging session and turn the rotator to match the desired angle. Check out my review of a wildly popular, excellent program called N.I.N.A for planning your imaging session. It also comes with a 1.25” and 2.5” adapter for a variety of eyepieces and cameras. Astrophotographers will appreciate the support for full-frame sensors. Many of the common astrophotography cameras now come with a full frame or larger sensor. Attached to the Askar V is an integrated dovetail bar handle, a Vixen-style base for easy attachment to the mount (not included), and an attached dew shield on the 80mm lens (the 60mm lensis designed to not need a dew shield). Additional features include a finder scope dovetail and a dual-speed focuser.
Askar V specs
|Focal Length Native:
|Focal Length with Reducer
|Focal Length with Flattener
|Focal Length with Extender
|Focal Ratio Native:
|Focal Ratio with Reducer
|Focal Ratio with Flattener
|Focal Ratio with Extender
|Distance from 2” adapter to Focal Plane:
|411mm retracted/479mm extended
Sharpstar comes through again with the Askar V, a novel approach to creating a modular telescope that can serve as both a visual and a photographic instrument. What you get is multiple telescope apertures, focal lengths, and focal ratios without having to buy multiple telescopes. If don’t have a quality refractor in your possession, why not get an 8-in-one package?!