The 6-inch Ritchey-Chretien from Astro-Tech lacks some of the features of the 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien from the same company. Recognized for its low price and feature-packed design, Astro-Tech’s 6-inch Ritchey-Chretien compares well to other astrophotography beginner telescopes.
The Ritchey-Chretien design is so great for astrophotography. Even at this relatively low price point, the design itself is going to overcome a major problem in this hobby – namely coma. Astro-Tech pioneered the idea of a low cost Ritchey-Chretien and it shows in the quality of this very compact but very excellent telescope. Its hyperbolic mirrors are made of BK-7 optical glass. This scope’s primary mirror is fixed in order to stop image shifting and focus changes that occur in some designs. The secondary mirror is also fixed. There is no need to focus with a motor like some telescopes require. A Crayford focuser will allow you to make superfine adjustments to get the image you want. You can easily change the position of the focuser with two included extension tubes and there are 2 and 1.25-inch accessory holders that are designed not to damage the tube. A Vixen-style dovetail mounting bar can be used or removed based on your preferences. There is also a Vixen-style finderscope bracket base. It can also be removed or used with Vixen-style finderscope brackets and red dot-type finders.
The most important influence on the viewing experience with this telescope is the basic optical design. Using the same design as the Hubble Space Telescope you will be able to capture coma-free images of the Universe and beyond. The eight internal knife-edge baffles will act to stop glare and enhance contrast. Optical coatings are aluminum with a quartz layer, offering reflectivity of up to 96 percent.
This is not the lightest in our astrophotography beginner telescopes list but it is still pretty portable. An included carry case would be nice but that is the least of your worries when the optics are so good and the price so low.
Astro-Tech offers a two-year warranty on all their products for any flaws that are due to the manufacturing process. That is always a comforting demonstration of confidence in a company’s products. If you find any flaws in materials or workmanship, you can expect Astro-Tech to take care of it. The help and support is fairly limited. There is a contact e-mail address and a mailing address on Astro-Tech’s website but no phone number that we could find. That’s likely to be pretty frustrating, especially for someone who is new to astrophotography. Patrons should be able to expect some support from the manufacturer.
Astro-Tech’s 6-inch Ritchey-Chretien is most importantly a Ritchey-Chretien. That alone is going to lead you to great astrophotography experiences. It also features some great optics for the price. It does not have the flash of the 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien but if you can live without a carbon fiber-reinforced optical tube, you’ll be just fine.