The perfect refractor?

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Erik
Post subject: The perfect refractor?
Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:53 pm
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I recently reviewed the Celestron Skyscout scope 90 for ATT, and I've gotten to use it quite a bit. The optics on this particular sample have been so impressive that it's got me thinking about buying a nice refractor at some point down the road. I currently own a 60mm f/12 and my homemade 80mm f/5. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.

The Celestron 90mm f/7 is a nice balance between aperture, f/ratio, chromatic aberration, and portability. But is there something that's even better all-around? More aperture is of course, always desirable, but with that comes a faster f/ratio and more CA (if portability is maintained). I owned a 120mm f/5, and I did enjoy it, but I prefer the 90mm f/7 in most ways.

What do you think the "perfect" refractor is, in terms of doing everything well as a second scope. Something I could use as a grab and go, as a terrestrial scope, and with enough oomph to get some detail in showpiece objects under pristine skies. All that, and an OTA under $1K (I could never justify more than that for a scope that won't get much use). I know, a pretty tall order, but what do you think? :)

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
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Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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deefrey
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Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:57 pm
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I think that under 1K you can get the 100ED scope from Orion. People seem to like that scope pretty well. I'm not sure if it is what you would consider it grab and go.


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Erik
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Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:34 pm
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That is a good suggestion, Dee!

BTW, welcome to the forum- glad to have you here! :)

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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Tom
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Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:13 pm
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Well, I really love my little Vixen A80SSWT. It is a crisp achro that is f/5 mounted on a very small Hercules mini with a Bogen 3033 tripod. Pick it up with one hand, solid as a rock and a real pleasure to use.

Did I mention I love it! It is small and compact.

Astronomics Link

The OTA can be had on Astromart for $200-250, which is the route I took since I knew what kind of mount I wanted.


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Erik
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Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:16 pm
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That's an interesting scope, Tom, and a real beauty!

As much allure as there is with a fast refractor, I think I want something a bit slower. But the wide field would be nice for terrestrial observing too. Maybe getting an all purpose scope isn't feasible- I might need two. :?

I'm curious, Tom, why did you choose the Vixen over something like the Orion ED80? Was it cost, build quality, portability- all of the above?

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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snorkler
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Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:25 pm
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I've never used one, but the Celestron 80ED strikes me as an excellent astronomical/terrestrial scope. Its Orion clone uses a larger 100 mm. tube, making it unnecessarily bulky.

600 mm./5 is a good focal length for terrestrial work, where you can't use more than about 60X before heat wave and atmospheric distortion affect your views. Eyepieces to achieve 20X to 60X range from 30 mm. to 10 mm. Put in an 8 mm. Barlowed, and you reach the scope's 50X/inch limitation of 150X .

OTOH, if you consider the Orion 100ED for terrestrial use, its 900 mm./9 focal length can't reach 20X unless you can find a 45 mm. eyepiece, and a 15 mm. eyepiece gives you 60X for maximum 60X terrestrial use. This scope has a 200X limitation for maximum power, achievable with a 9 mm. eyepiece Barlowed. Its aperture and slightly higher magnification capabilities are nice for astronomical use, but its size and lack of low power terrestrial capabilities work against it.

The advantAstronomical


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Erik
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Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 7:55 pm
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I like the Celestron and Orion Ed80's as well. You make a good point about the larger diameter tube that the Orion has, which makes it less portable. Also, the Celestron comes with a clamshell ring, which is useful. The only downside is that the Celestron comes with an R&P focuser, while the Orion comes with a Crayford.

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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snorkler
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Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:43 pm
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I hope you wouldn't turn down an AstroPhysics or Takahashi refractor because of its R&P focuser 8)


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Tom
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Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:19 am
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My TV102 has a R&P focuser that is very nice and I wouldn't dream of changing it out.

Erik, to answer your question as to why the Vixen...size and quality. This is a very small 80mm scope and is lightweight so it sits perfectly on my mount that I chose for it. It was either that or a 66mm and 66 is just too small.


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Erik
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Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:55 pm
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Cool, Tom- sounds like a really nice scope. :)

As luck would have it, I'm receiving a nice little 80mm scope today to review. I still have another small 90mm refractor that I just finished reviewing, so it should give me a good idea where I should draw the "aperture line" in my future purchase. :)

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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Erik
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Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:57 pm
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snorkler wrote:
I hope you wouldn't turn down an AstroPhysics or Takahashi refractor because of its R&P focuser 8)


I suspect that the focusers you mention are a bit smoother than the standard Synta fare. :wink:

Actually, though- Synta's R&P's have improved quite a bit recently. I was really just being nitpicky. If all things are equal though, I'd rather have a crayford. :)

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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deefrey
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Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:11 pm
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if you could get a 94 Brandon with good optics that might be the "perfect" scope:

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=730

Clive says you can watch bugs crawl around on flowers.


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Tom
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Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:50 pm
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I was thinking perhaps the Tak Sky90 II... :whistle:


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Erik
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Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:50 pm
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A TAK? Geez, Tom- I ain't made of money, ya know! :lol:

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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Tom
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Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:00 pm
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:lol: Neither am I...did you see that used one on S&S for $1500+. Man!


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bierbelly
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Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:55 am
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The perfect refractor has a spherical mirror and a meniscus corrector lens up front, with a newtonian focus. :lol:

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llanitedave
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Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:27 pm
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Meniscus? I thought it was supposed to be transparent! :lol:


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Erik
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Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:28 pm
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You're talkin' about one of those f/15 things, huh bierbelly? :lol:

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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snorkler
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Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008 8:54 pm
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Bierbelly redefines a refractor for us 8). Most of those Maks have overly long focal lengths for terrestrial use.


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bierbelly
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:50 am
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Not the MakNewt, but then again, since the view is inverted, your birds would be falling out of their trees. :D

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ANDY
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:00 am
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:lol:

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deefrey
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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:39 am
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Erik, I think that some places have the celestron version of the 100ED on sale but you'd have to deal with a pretty bad focuser.


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BarryFernelius
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Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:56 am
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The perfect refractor? How about a Tele Vue NP-101?

Yes, it's expensive, but consider the following attributes:

- Relatively small and light (10 pounds)
- Optically excellent with a flat field
- Suitable for both visual use and imaging
- Outstanding fit and finish
- Five year warranty (just in case something goes wrong)
- Available right now (yes APs are great, but the waiting list sucks)

Perfection has its price...

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Erik
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Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:03 pm
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Hi Barry- nice to see you here! :)

Oh yes, I'd love the TV NP 101. A bit too pricey right now though- but maybe down the road a bit. :)

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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Relativist
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Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:59 am
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I'm looking for the same type of thing for my upcoming trip to Europe. For me at least, compatibility with binoviewers without the need for an OCS is important. How about yourself?



.......Curtis


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Erik
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Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:56 pm
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I haven't really gotten into binoviewers...yet! I'd like to at some point, but the expense is stopping me right now. So I've been trying not to look through binoviewers, so I can convince myself I don't need them. I've given in a couple of times though- most notably, when we viewed M51 through a 32" dob at Mount Pinos last year... :shock:

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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Relativist
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Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:36 pm
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Yea, binoviewers are one of those things. I got hooked when I looked through some in an 8" Dob. They were some burgess BV's. So now I have WO Binoviewers I'm very happy with. It only makes sense in my case to have a Binoviewer ready scope.

........Curtis


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Erik
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Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:36 pm
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The binoviewers themselves are easy- it's the idea of buying all those duplicate eyepieces that scares me! :lol:

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-Erik Wilcox
Homebuilt 16" Truss Dob
8" Antares f/5 Newt
SV 80mm ED Nighthawk NG on M1 ALT/AZ
Nikon Prostaff 65mm spotter on Trekpod
Konusvue 20x80 binos/Peterson PipeMount


"Newt Gingrich is what stupid people think smart people sound like."
-The Great Paul Krugman

Evolution is both fact and theory. Creationism is neither. -Anonymous


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Relativist
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Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:28 pm
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Oh, I see. Yes, I'm stuck with one set of eyepieces, but I have a multimag OCA. So I'm able to use the 3 different magnifications, plus some more if I use a barlow. I still haven't tried an eyepatch.


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helpwanted
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Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 5:30 pm
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Erik,

you mention the perfect balance of apature... i am still looking for that balance!
i bought a WO66apo... way to small for me! i was very disappointed.

nice forum!!

David


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