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The Skylight AR101/15: Optics by Televue...

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#1 ukcanuck

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Posted 10 January 2013 - 03:48 PM

Any refractor lover will agree that the heart of any Achromat or Apochromat is the lens. With this in mind, I did not wish to build the new Skylight F15 refractor around just any lens, I wanted something with pedigree. Late last year, the pieces began to fall into place, and I am delighted to announce that the objective lens for the next Skylight F15 Achromat (The Skylight AR101/15) will be designed & supplied by TeleVue of New York, USA. :ubetcha:

Each objective will be individually inspected by TeleVue in New York. Once approved, they will be shipped to me in London where I will fabricate and assemble the OTA’s.
I can reveal that the new Skylight AR101/15 will be available in 3 models and 3 price points:

  • Version 1. This lowest price version will be supplied without finder and with holes pre-drilled to accept the superb Televue Starbeam at a later date (if desired)
  • Version 2. The mid-priced version will be similar to my original F15 and will be supplied with my own bespoke finder brackets & 40mm brass finderscope
  • Version 3. This no-holds barred version will feature luxurious options, such as the Starlight Instruments Feathertouch focuser & wooden storage box

As with my previous Skylight designs, the OTA’s will be handmade by me in Wimbledon, Southwest London. Ultimately, final prices will depend on chosen options and more details will be confirmed in the coming weeks. My goal is to begin customer deliveries in April/May of 2013.

The first orders are now in place and if you wish to secure your own Skylight AR101/15, I urge you to contact me without delay to discuss options & pricing.

More details to come in the weeks ahead and the first examples will be on display at AstroFest in London in February.

I have personally tested the lens and will have a first light report shortly. :jump:

Thanks for reading.

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#2 DaveTinning

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:32 AM

Richard,

This is very exciting news and I am sure we all wish you every success with this venture.

I hope that one day I might be in a position to own one of these wonderful refractors.

Please do share with us more of this new scope, pictures etc asap!

best wishes

Dave

#3 ukcanuck

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:33 PM

Please do share with us more of this new scope, pictures etc asap!

best wishes
Dave


Hi Dave, thanks for your kind words, I will do just that.

Against all forecasts, we had clear sky in London on Wednesday and I was able to attach the lens to a tube and evaluate it…here are my thoughts:

Sadly…no moon, so that one will have to wait.

First impressions are excellent…the lens was invisible in the cell and the coatings soaked up the flash beautifully when I took a photo of it. *see picture below.

The prototype tube is not ready yet, so I installed the optic into a temporary tube to take advantage of the clear break in the midst of what has been a very poor run of weather. As this tube is not properly blackened, I was prepared to take this into consideration. However, even with the temporary tube, the lens clearly showed just how impressive the TeleVue optics will be in this refractor.

Interestingly (& luckily), seeing was superb on Wednesday night and Jupiter was at superbly placed at the zenith. The Televue objective began to flex its’ muscles here; Contrast is superb. Many belts were visible showing well-defined detail at 160x. I saw no stray colour on this bright object at this magnification.

The optic showed excellent colour control when tested on the brightest stars in the sky (no moon available remember), although I will re-visit this punishing test when the objective is in its’ proper home.

I consider long achromats to be pretty much ideal for double star observation, so these are important to me as a test object:
Considering the makeshift tube, the lens split everything I tried it on with relative ease as I would have hoped/expected, including some tight pairs and some with extreme brightness differences. Rigel, Theta Auriga, Eta Orionis…I even tried low-in-the-south/over-the-neighbours-fence Sirius just for kicks, but still couldn’t do it. The ‘Pup’ continues to elude me...and I feel my neighbours houses are the cause. Perhaps if I ask nicely, they'll all move?

The overall star test was excellent; a nice tidy airy disc, minimal energy in the rings and good symmetry in the intra & extra focal diffraction rings. The best view of the night was of Castor. Not a difficult split by any stretch, but both stars showed simply beautiful, matching star images.

Jaw dropping moment: The exclusive Televue AR101/15 objective and the 8mm TeleVue Delos...Wow. :shocked: 6 stars in the Trapezium Wow. :bugeyes:

I’ve found the original 100mm/F15 to be a hard act to follow. So, I have pulled out all the stops to make the Skylight AR101/15 a luxurious visual instrument & the finest 4” achromat available.

TeleVue have done their part and for that, I thank them.

Prices for this very special refractor will start from £1360. See here for more details.

Do you have the vision to recognize this opportunity? The first deposits are now in, contact me now to secure yours.

Thanks for reading. :cool:

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#4 Sasa

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:35 PM

Six stars in Trapez with 100mm lens is really good sign. At least in the conditions we have here in the middle of Europe. I guess London will not be much better. For me, the component F is always very dificult in ED100. I managed to glimpse it only twice so far.

Achromat from TeleVue sounds interesting, their apochromats are of very good quality. Do you know any details about the lens? Is this Fraunhofer design with traditional BK7+F2 like glasses or something else?

#5 ukcanuck

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

I picked the first Skylight AR101/15 tube up from the Powder Coaters this afternoon. :love:

I will begin assembling work tomorrow. More information and pictures of the first example will come in the next week as it debuts at AstroFest in London next Friday. :cool:

#6 GoodAsh

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:15 AM

Woohoo! Just finished repairing my pier. I also replaced all the stainless steel hardware with zinc coated ss which has a brass like patina!

Al Carcich

#7 GoodAsh

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:16 AM

Repainting, not repairing!

#8 ukcanuck

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:38 PM

The Prototype AR101/15 is now complete. :jump:

I have designed this scope in the same way that a car company might do a concept car for a car show: Put my all into it, and see what discussion (or orders :smirk:) comes out of it.

However, in cutting it so fine, I haven't had time to photograph it properly. I am setting up the scope for the first time at London's AstroFest tomorrow where I will photograph it in situ. Once the show is open I will post the photo's here.

If you're expecting something special...I do believe you're right. :love:

#9 7331Peg

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Posted 07 February 2013 - 12:04 AM

I don't know if I can control my drooling until then, Richard, but I'll do my best. :grin:


John :refractor:

#10 ukcanuck

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:45 PM

Home now from AstroFest 2013 in London...and utterly exhausted. I will get some close up pictures online later today, but here's the first look of the Skylight AR101/15 Prototype:

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#11 Mark9473

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:09 PM

That's a wonderful pier. I wouldn't trust myself around it, but it sure looks nice. Makes the scope look tiny.

#12 rboe

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:13 PM

Ya, that pier is the bee's knee's to look at. Would not want to actually use it though.

#13 Astrojensen

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:49 PM

I can see we have moved to the old continent for inspiration now! ;)


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#14 ukcanuck

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:55 PM

I can see we have moved to the old continent for inspiration now! ;)


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


Well spotted Mr. Fraunhofer... :grin:

#15 ianatcn

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:56 PM

I have posted my impression of the 'scope over on the refractor forum. As they say - any similarity to mountings by franhofer is purely coincidental. :grin:

#16 ukcanuck

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

Ok, not the most practical pier, I will agree...but it's not very dark in the show. :cool:

Here's a few close ups:

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#17 ukcanuck

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

Another...

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#18 Astrojensen

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:18 PM

Beautiful, just beautiful. I like this a lot.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#19 moynihan

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

:bow:

#20 zjc26138

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:15 PM

Simply gorgeous!

#21 ukcanuck

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:50 PM

...and a few more:

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#22 ukcanuck

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

These are in situ shots, with less than ideal lighting. When I have some better examples, I will post them here. In the meantime, I wanted to get this scope out there. :cool:

Keep in mind this is a 'concept scope' and as you see it here is a version of the top end model AR101/15. The brass focuser is a one-off (and is legitimately old) and will be replaced by the Starlight Instruments Feathertouch focuser on production models.

One more picture for now:

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#23 7331Peg

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 01:23 AM

Wow, I had no idea it was going to be red. What an absolute beauty.

You outdid yourself on this one, Richard! Congrats!


John :refractor:

#24 BillP

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:09 PM

Richard,

OMG!!! That color scheme is simply astoundingly beautiful!! What a distinctive scope. Have not seen something so elegant since the old Unitron days. Congratulations for bringing elegance of design back to telescopes! :waytogo:

#25 ianatcn

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 07:53 AM

I have to say that I was sceptical when I first got news of the red tube. But... It is just a perfect colour to go with the black and brass. I will be ordering mine in red. The photos really do not do the depth of colour justice. The red top coat has a metallic undercoat that gives a lovely depth to the colour. When mine arrives, Richard reckons May, I will post pictures over on the refractor forum. Just need to find a nice classic equatorial for it now.






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