Levenhuk Strike 115 PLUS Telescope Review
Levenhuk Strike 115 PLUS is the most basic Newtonian reflector in the Levenhuk Strike PLUS series. It allows you to see the Moon, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter, and even bright star clusters. With this telescope you will be able to observe the lunar surface and study its features, confirm the existence of the famous rings of Saturn and moons of Jupiter, and much more. This telescope will be your first step into our mysterious universe. The compact (HxWxD: 10.8 x 38.8 x 16.7 in) and lightweight (36.6 lbs) box is very easy to carry, so transporting the telescope to the countryside should not be a problem.
The standard kit includes:
- Levenhuk Strike PLUS Telescope with a German equatorial mount
- Metal tripod
- Plastic 1.25" focuser
- KF 25, PL 10 mm eyepieces
- 7.5-22 mm zoom eyepiece
- 2x Barlow lens
- Red dot finderscope
- "See it all!" Astronomer's Handbook with descriptions of 280 celestial objects
- Set of space-themed posters (The Moon, The Sun and Other Stars; and The Solar System)
- Stellarium software CD to assist you during your astronomical observations
- Levenhuk Zongo 40 Telescope Case
- User manual and warranty
All these useful accessories and additional materials are included in the colorful box that contains the telescope itself.
Even though the telescope is extremely easy to assemble and use, it is still very powerful, which makes this instrument a perfect choice for any beginning stargazer.
The front end of the optical tube is covered with a plastic cap that protects mirrors from dust. This cap has to be removed before every observation, so that the tube may adapt to the outside temperature. Always replace the cap after observations and before you put the telescope away.
The primary mirror cell and the secondary mirror spider are die-cast. They, therefore, make the optical tube even more stable and rigid. Three adjustment screws that you see on the spider are used to collimate the secondary mirror in its cell. The rear side of the primary mirror cell is covered with another plastic cap to protect it from impact. This cap should only be removed during collimation of the primary mirror. If you remove the cap, you will see three pairs of screws that allow you to adjust the position of the primary mirror (one of the screws in each pair is an adjustment screw, the other is a locking screw). Collimation is always done at the factory, before shipping the instrument. However, during transportation and even during storage, accuracy may be lost, so you might have to collimate mirrors again.
The rack-and-pinion mechanism of the focuser provides for very smooth movement of the focuser tube. Large focus knobs make it very easy to focus on desired objects.
This telescope comes with a wonderful zoom eyepiece that allows you to change magnifications on the fly (the range is 40x-120x). With this eyepiece you will never have to stop observing the Moon and change eyepieces just to navigate to another crater - simply increase the focal length of the eyepiece, find the next feature to observe and decrease the focal length.
The red dot finder works just like a laser pointer, which makes navigating to specific objects in the night sky significantly easier. Such finderscopes may even be used by people wearing glasses. Optical elements of the finderscope are multi-coated, and the position of the finderscope itself guarantees maximum comfort during navigation. Before turning on this accessory, you have to remove the paper pad from the battery compartment. You might also have to align the red dot finder to the optical tube. This should be done during the day, before your stargazing session. Choose an object that is at least 300 yards away and calibrate the finderscope so that it points at exactly the same spot as the optical tube.
The optical tube is attached to the mount with two tube rings. Try not to overtighten the locking screws when setting the telescope up.
If you look through the optical tube from the front end, you will see the primary mirror. It is held in place by a mirror cell and three rubber pads. Make sure there's a tiny gap between these pads and the mirror itself, since the quality of produced images will drop significantly if the pads apply too much pressure to the mirror. To check if the optical system is perfectly collimated, look through the focuser (with no eyepiece attached). What you should see is the secondary mirror right in the center of your view. What you definitely should not see is the interior of the telescope tube. If that is the case, you will have to collimate the optical system before observations.
The optical tube is attached to the declination axis of an EQ-1 mount and held in place by two wing nuts. The equatorial mount is fitted with two slow-motion controls - attached to worm gear mechanisms - that allow you to slew the telescope along right ascension and declination axes.
The mount is also fitted with setting circles that simplify the process of navigation. If you know the coordinates of a certain object, you can easily use these setting circles to point the telescope directly at that object. Polar alignment of the mount may be achieved with two handles on the mount (there is another setting circle specifically for polar alignment). Do not tighten the declination locking screw until you have balanced the optical tube - try not to overtighten it.
The mount is then attached to a collapsible tripod and secured in place with a large locking knob. A practical accessory tray provides for additional stability and rigidity of the tripod.
With the addition of a motor drive to the EQ-1 mount, you can use your telescope for astrophotography to capture stunning landscape photos, just like this one:
One of the main advantages of Strike PLUS telescopes is their amazing standard kit that includes everything you'll ever need for observations. The kit even includes a telescope case that allows you to transport and store your equipment.
|Optical design||Newtonian reflector|
|Objective lens diameter (aperture), mm||114|
|Focal length, mm||900|
|Highest practical power||265x|
|Limiting stellar magnitude||12.4|
|Eyepieces||KF 25 mm, PL 10 mm, zoom 7.5–22 mm|
Levenhuk Strike 115 PLUS test
A QHY5 camera in direct focus was used for this test. At first, produced images of artificial stars contained significant astigmatic aberration. However, after I collimated the mirrors and loosened the primary mirror in its cell, out-of-focus images had a proper circular shape.
Levenhuk Strike 115 PLUS is a compact and lightweight instrument for visual observations of the Moon, planets and starfields. This is a wonderful choice for any amateur stargazer. Produced images of observed objects are sharp and full of contrast, largely due to the fact that optics produce no chromatic aberration.
The Strike PLUS series includes two Newtonian reflectors and a refractor. The optical elements of Levenhuk Strike 115 PLUS are made of high-quality glass, very close in quality and performance to the optics of high-end instruments. Lenses and mirrors are fully multi-coated, which provides for exceptionally sharp and saturated images of observed objects.