Intes Micro MN76 7Inch Maksutov Newtonian and MN66 6Inch f6 Maksutov Newtonian OTAs

The Intes Micro 7-inch MN76, which, like the company's MCTs, is imported and sold by the U.S. dealers ITE and Teton, is a big, impressive CAT with a 42-inch long, 30 pound tube. It is an f/6, and that and the good edge-of-field performance MNTs, like SNTs, boast make it a powerful instrument for deep sky observing as well as planetary work—within the limits of its aperture. The 32-mm diameter secondary mirror gives the MN76 an amazing obstruction value of 20%, and it shows. When coupled with the telescope's way-above-average 1/8 wave peak-to-valley mirror figure, this scope can make its user forget it is only a 7-incher. It and its 6-inch sister feature tube interiors equipped with knife-edge baffles that help reduce scattered light and further improve the scope's already outstanding contrast characteristics.

At a price of approximately $2,350, the MN76 is not overly expensive. Of course, that is only for the OTA. A big GEM will be required to handle this puppy. Not only is it fairly heavy, but the long tube acts as a lever arm, giving CG5 class mounts a terminal case of the shakes. Do not consider anything less than the Orion Atlas for this mount, and the Losmandy G11 or Celestron CGE may be even more suitable (and more expensive).

Is the MN76 too much of a good thing? If so, look at a scope that many MNT enthusiasts have turned to, the MN66. The 6-inch optics are every bit as good as those on big sister, but come in a somewhat more manageable package. The 66 OTA is 35-inches long and 16 pounds. What will the MN66 stand mountwise? A Losmandy GM8 or a Synta HEQ5/Sirius is strongly recommended here. When the scope is properly mounted, expect great things contrast- and sharpnesswise; the MN66's central obstruction is a remarkable 19%. The asking price of $1,400 sounds a bit expensive for a 6-inch aperture CAT, but considering the fact that this 6-inch will do very well against an APO refractor of the same aperture costing eight times as much, it may actually be a bargain.

Both telescopes are sparingly equipped with accessories: a 2-inch focuser (a low-profile Crayford for the 66 and a helical unit for the 76), a set of tube rings for attaching the scope to the mount, and a 50-mm finder. The 6-inch includes a carrying case.

Is there anything to recommend against MNTs? Not really If it is understood up front that these are really visual-only instruments. If so, it makes sense to purchase one of these telescopes, which are among the most elegant members of the CAT tribe. Note also that if these two are too big or too small, Intes Micro also offers 5-and 8-inch apertures. Actually, although they apparently have not been offered for sale in the United States, Intes Micro can supply MNTs in apertures up to 14-inches. As might be expected, these are very heavy and very expensive CATs.

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