Above left is the business end of the scope where you can see the the focal length is 3048mm resulting in an F/10 instrument. The center image shows the cooling fans and on the right you can see the internal flocking. I have had an opportunity to test the scope out over the past three nights, and without hesitation I can say that it is the best SCT I have owned. Both my original 8 inch and the 9.25 inch that I have been using were fine performers, yet this scope is in another league. Certainly the aperture increase is significant, however, planetary images in this scope are sharper than either of my previous SCT's. In addition, contrast is excellent and the fine detail that I have been able to observe from my backyard has been rewarding. While splitting double stars is the realm of my TEC 140 refractor, this big blue monster has impressed me.
So far I have sketched two objects observing through this instrument. For my first light sketch (to the right) I decided to attempt M27, the Dumbbell Nebula. This was the first planetary nebula discovered by Messier and is one of the showpiece objects of the summer sky. This nebula is approximately 20,000 years old, a baby in astronomical time. I observed this nebula with and without my Baader UHC-S filter to bring out some of the nebular extensions. The magnitude 13.9 central star illuminating the nebula was easily visible as were about 10 other stars within the nebulosity.
Planetary nebula are fuzzy objects, and typically hold up well to higher levels of magnification than other targets. I was observing NGC 6818, the "Little Gem" nebula in Sagittarius and decided to pump up the magnification and see if what was a small, circular, light blue fuzz-ball at 234x may reveal structure at 609x! Typically one would not use magnification that high, but decent seeing combined with excellent optics transformed the nebula from a featureless disc into a nebula reminiscent of M57, the Ring nebula. To the left is an image of this nebula, while below are my sketches of this "Little Gem" at 234x and at 609x. For reference in the high power sketch, the stars to the NW and SW of the nebula are magnitude 12.5, while the star to the east of the nebula is magnitude 13.5.