Officina Stellare 500 RiFAst Astrograph
Officina Stellare is one of today's leaders in the production of high-quality astronomy equipment for the discerning professional or advanced amateur. Their products can be found in observatories around the world, and their high-speed tracking lens systems are a relied upon component in the industries of aerospace and defense.
One of the reasons Officina Stellare is so popular today is because they listen to their customers. In fact, the RiFAst series of astrographs was created because customers asked for a fast telescope with a very wide, corrected field of view. They wanted something that didn't weigh a ton, but that would accept all of the images, rotators, focusers, guides, and other equipment that makes up the imaging train used by today's astronomer.
Once Officina Stellare decided they would make this dream telescope a reality, they put Italian optical designer, Massimo Riccardi, on the job. Riccardi wanted to create a telescope that had the following characteristics:
- It had to be a fast system.
- The design needed to be compact and lightweight for its aperture.
- It would have the least number of surfaces possible while still producing a large corrected field.
These features were made a reality and then some with the creation of the Officina Stellare RiLA and RiFAst series. The design, which is a modification of the Harmer-Wynne, has an aspherical primary and a spherical secondary. A special corrector is placed just before focus.
The Officina Stellare 500 RiFAst has a 20" aperture and a focal ratio of f/3.8. The optics are housed in a carbon fiber/aluminum open truss tube, and there are Losmandy style dovetails mounted on the truss for mounting versatility. Three ventilation fans are part of the design, which helps the telescope reach ambient temperature as quickly as possible. The mirrors can be heated to keep dew at bay, and depending on the package or accessories you choose, most everything can be electronically controlled via the TC-1.