Flextube Auto Review

Some of Skywatcher’s best telescopes are their big Dobsonians. The Skyliner flextube is not only big -with a primary mirror of 12 inches- but it’s portable to. Making the Flextube not only ideal for back garden observation but also for packing up into the boot of even a small car and driving it to darker skies. It has a relatively long focal length of 1500mm (making it f5) but folds down to become truly portable.

It’s incredibly easy and quick to set up, going from a compact 95cm to 114cm when fully set up in only 1 minute. Simply loosen the metal screws on the bottom of the truss poles, slide the upper tube assembly into position and then re tighten to lock in place. Not only is this design simple but it’s effective to. The three truss poles when locked in are very strong and rigid, for a truss Dob this really does hold collimation well.

The focuser is a Crayford, meaning there is no gear slop and no backlash (play in the draw tube). The focuser travels very smoothly indeed. The finderscope is a 9×50 standard Skywatcher finder. From an averagely light polluted suburban back garden this enables you to locate stars down to around magnitude 8 or 9. There is even a little metal eyepiece holder which has enough spaces for 4 of your favourite eyepieces.

Optically the Skyliner is superb, the thin spider vanes (secondary mirror supports) make diffraction spikes less noticeable than on other similarly sized Dobsonians. The mirrors are top quality, views through the Skyliner are crisp, sharp and contrasty.

As if that wasn’t good enough, Skywatcher have now added automatic tracking to their flextube. Making it perfect not only for visual observing but well within the grasps of planetary and lunar imaging.

When tracking there are three speeds available, x1 will hold your object perfectly, x4 will jog to catch up with an object and x8 will sprint to follow an object. The scope can also be moved much more quickly automatically with a choice of 3slewing rates. x32, x 64 and x800 can all be used if you’re miles away from a target.

All tracking can be controlled via the palm sized black handset which is wired into the base. The handset is very intuitive and easy to use.

The Skywatcher Skyliner 300P FlexTube AUTO is a fantastic scope, especially good for getting big apertures to darker sites, now it is fitted with automatic tracking the Skyliner is not only useful to the visual observer but the astrophotographer as well.