The TeleVue 60, a 60 mm f/6 apochromatic refractor, is the smallest telescope in the company’s lineup, and – at least by TeleVue standards – relatively cheap at $879 for the optical tube assembly. The telescope comes with a drawstring bag, but no other accessories are provided. Buyers of high-end refractors tend to be picky about how they outfit their telescopes, so TeleVue reasons (correctly, I believe) they are not going to try and second guess you by throwing in stuff you don’t want. But if you get the scope, I highly recommend TeleVue’s dedicated soft-sided carrying case ($90), which has die-cut foam inserts for the scope and various accessories.
The TeleVue 60 is mechanically different from their other models. Instead of the usual cylindrical tube, it has a tapered tube like a spotting scope. The telescope comes with an integrated sliding bar for balance, and is drilled for ¼” x 20 tripod screws at the bottom. The outer holes mate up with any of TeleVue’s cradles, including the Panoramic, Gibraltar, Upswing, and Tele-Pod. Instead of a rack-and-pinion focuser, the scope uses a sliding drawtube for rough focus. Fine focus is accomplished via a helical focuser. Astronomers with long memories will remember the sliding bar and helical focuser from the company’s 1990’s era Ranger model. The scope is tiny, measuring only about ten inches long and weighing only around three pounds.
I used the TeleVue 60 on my Tele-Pod mated to a Bogen 3001 tripod. I outfitted the telescope with a 1.25” TeleVue Everbrite diagonal and a 13mm Type 6 Nagler eyepiece (28x). I also used a TeleVue 7mm Nagler (51x). One big advantage of this telescope is its quick grab-and-go capability. This entire rig weighs less than 12 lbs and can be carried outside with one hand (with a telescope this expensive though, think about using both hands!). Once outside, I was observing in less than a minute.
Tests showed the TeleVue 60 has superb optics with no spherical or chromatic aberration visible at 51x using a TeleVue 7mm Nagler. Jupiter was sinking toward the west, and even at a relatively low 51x power its four moons could easily be seen. In the winter, as I write this, there’s no shortage of showpiece objects up in the sky. The Pleiades were sharp blue pinpoints against a black sky, and a slight green tint could be seen in the Orion Nebula. The Andromeda Galaxy extended to the edges of the frame. I looked at open clusters M35, M37, M36, and M38. Pushing the limits of the scope, I found galaxy pair M81 and M82 in Ursa Major looking like whiskers hanging out in space. On one good night of seeing, I just barely detected the difficult galaxy M33 in Triangulum as a hazy smudge in the eyepiece. There was no detail, but detecting this notoriously difficult object in such a small scope was an accomplishment in itself.
I also ran some tests on a tracking equatorial mount. After bolting on a Vixen-compatible plate, I slid the rig into my Celestron AVX mount, which gave me full tracking and goto capability. Over the course of seven nights, I assembled this montage of moon phases.
Drawbacks? First, a 60mm telescope does not gather much light. The TeleVue 60 should not be your first or only telescope. Beginners need aperture; the more, the better. The usual advice is to start with something in the 6” or 8” range. However, the TeleVue 60 makes an excellent second telescope. Also, some may miss having a provision for a traditional finder. The argument can be made that the scope operates at such low power that it acts as its own finder. I am mostly OK with this, but sometimes I like having a finder installed. I wound up using a Rigel Quik Finder on an elastic band wrapped around the optical tube. I have seen others mount a TeleVue Quik-Point (their red dot reflex sight) on the dew shield with double-sided tape. At only 360mm in focal length, it can be hard to achieve high magnifications without resorting to the use of Barlow lenses. Finally, while admittedly of high quality, the scope is expensive, especially when you add the required diagonal, eyepiece(s) and the all-important mount.
As a high-quality second telescope, a travel scope, a telescope to keep in the car for quick peeks, or as a luxury finder, the TeleVue 60 will find a place in many astronomers’ homes.
For more on the TeleVue 60, see Ed’s video review at: https://youtu.be/SdIu4CaxeMQ