SkyWatcher Heritage 150P Review: Larger and Smaller
SkyWatcher Heritage Heritage 150P is a stellar choice with a compact form factor.
The Sky-Watcher Heritage 150P is one of the more unusual mass-market instruments out there, but performs wonderfully and provides some of the best value of any beginner telescope in its price range.
It’s also super portable, making it a solid option for an experienced astronomer looking for a smaller and more convenient instrument as well.
750mm Focal Length
f/5 Focal Ratio
At f/5, collimation is still fairly easy to do, performance is acceptable with cheap eyepieces like the ones supplied, and coma is only slightly noticeable at the edges of the field of view. The 150mm aperture is also enough to show you the brighter deep-sky objects as more than faint fuzzy smudges.
What can you see inside The Solar System?
Mercury ⧃ Phases.
Venus ⧃ Phases.
The Moon ⧃ Looks great (except of course when it’s near full and shows hardly any shadows or relief), and you can see details on it as small as a couple miles across.
Mars ⧃ Its polar ice cap is easily visible, and when it’s close to Earth you can just make out a few dark albedo features on its surface - along with, of course, any dust storms that encircle the planet.
Jupiter ⧃ Cloud belts and Great Red Spot are easy - and its 4 largest moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) are visible as tiny dots and silhouettes when they transit/eclipse the planet.
Saturn ⧃ Rings and the gap within them known as the Cassini Division look fantastic. With some effort you can also see Saturn’s cloud band structure and at least three of its moons; up to six are visible with good conditions and a well-trained eye.
Uranus and Neptune ⧃ Uranus and Neptune are nearly stellar dots. Neptune’s moon Triton can just be spotted on a good night with the 150P, while Uranus’ moons are just barely out of reach.
Deep Sky Viewing
The Heritage 150 is a great telescope for low-power deep-sky viewing. Its wide field of view and decent aperture make it great for viewing open clusters such as M35, M11, and the Pleiades, or perhaps the Sagittarius Star Cloud.
The brighter nebulae such as Orion, the Swan, and the Lagoon similarly look excellent. With a good UHC or oxygen-III filter you can spot the Veil Nebula. The Dumbbell Nebula looks great with or without a filter, while the Ring and a few other planetary nebulae are visible – albeit pretty small – with the 150P. And of course, the Blinking Planetary will do its trick for you.
6 inches of aperture is enough to barely resolve the bright globular clusters such as M3, M13, and M15 into grainy patches. It’s also enough to begin delving into the brighter Messier and NGC galaxies – some, such as M31, M64, and M51, will show dust lanes and hints of spiral arms under dark skies.
16 lbs(7.2 kg)
The Heritage 150P uses a single-arm “Dobsonian” mount which is pretty typical among tabletop telescopes. The altitude axis is a bolt with a plastic washer to act as a bearing, while the azimuth axis uses melamine on Nylon pads.
The mount can be dismantled to pack nearly flat.
With some effort and tools the mount can be dismantled to pack nearly flat if you need the scope to fit in a suitcase, though this is not a very intuitive process. The whole mount weighs about 7 pounds.
Collapsible Optical Tube
Uniquely among telescopes of this size and tabletop instruments (besides its sibling Heritage 130P), the Heritage 150P has a collapsible tube. This design works similarly to Sky-Watcher’s larger FlexTube/Collapsible Dobsonian.
The upper frame is not a tube so much as a ring.
But unlike the FlexTube scopes, the upper frame is not really a tube so much as a ring with the focuser/finder/secondary attached, which is more like an ultralight premium Dobsonian.
The 150P optical tube also sports a Vixen dovetail bar to easily attach it to not only the included tabletop mount but almost any astronomical telescope mount with a Vixen clamp/saddle, which means that you can put it on a full-sized equatorial or alt-azimuth mount/tripod if you desire an upgrade. At only 8 pounds, you have a lot of options for what you can put it on.
The Heritage optical tube can fit in a handbag.
When collapsed, the Heritage optical tube fits in some handbags, and with the base partially dismantled it’ll fit in a backpack.
You can’t really do this with a typical 150mm f/5 optical tube due to its length, or even a smaller 114mm or 130mm tabletop Dobsonian. This makes the 150P great for travel on airplanes, public transit, or in situations where space is otherwise limited.
10mm Plössl Eyepiece
25mm Plössl Eyepiece
Red Dot Finder
The Heritage comes with two eyepieces, 25mm and 10mm “Super” Plossl eyepieces that provide 30x and 75x magnification respectively. These are good starter eyepieces, though you might want something for higher magnification later. A 6mm “gold-line” (125x) and/or 4mm planetary eyepiece (188x) would be good choices. As previously mentioned, we don’t recommend using a Barlow lens with the 150P due to the strain it can put on the focuser drawtube and upper tube assembly.
Like most beginner telescopes, the Heritage 150P is also supplied with a simple battery-powered red dot finder to aim it at targets. Given the 150P’s wide field of view, the red dot is all you really need.
The focuser is a bit unusual. In order to make the scope as compact as possible, the Heritage features a lightweight 1.25” helical focuser. It has zero play in it – unlike the cheap 1.25” rack-and-pinion focusers supplied on many entry-level scopes – but fine adjustment is a bit difficult to achieve and focusing by twisting the eyepiece can be a bit unusual.
Needs a Sturdy Surface
Needs a Shroud
Helical Focuser Is Weaker
Not Compatible With Solar Filters
Using any heavy eyepieces or a Barlow lens on the 150P may cause the focuser to sag, affecting collimation and potentially damaging the scope over time.
Heritage 150P needs a sturdy surface for observations.
The collapsible design lets in stray light and moisture, which makes a shroud necessary.
Heritage 150P can’t be used with a solar filter.
Sky-Watcher Heritage 150P’s compact design is unique and provides portability that can rarely be found with a 6″(150mm) telescope.
It is strongly recommended for beginners and advanced astronomers, or just about anyone really.