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Omni XLT102 first light..kind of ..

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#1 newtoskies

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

Well it's not the first light I wanted due to time. I will be out for the evening but figured I have to test the new scope out...even if it was only 15 minutes. Since I had gotten used to my dob I thought I would get familiar with the 102, especially in the altaz mode. I also wanted to see if I could use the finder and not have to buy the RACI.....guess what, I will be oerdering the RACI asap. Kneeling on the cold concrete made my mind up.
I also check to see how far I need to extend the legs for comfortable seated viewing. Another thing was to get to know the focuser and my two new ep's.

Once I had that all behind me I sat and picked the brightest and easiest star in the sky, Jupiter. All I can say is WOW. Using the 9mm planetary easily showed the planet and four moons along with other stars. The 25mm celestron also gave similar views. With both ep's I was able to see three bands on Jupiter....and this with a street light and the back door light on. I was also NOT dark adapted as I had just brought the two ep's outside and plopped them in. My 32mm showed even more stars and I could make out two bands. There was no ca that I noticed while looking at Jupiter.

Next and last object, M45. This was a big double WOOOOW. Again all three ep's performed great. All stars were crisp clear and well focused in fov. I actually saw more stars than in my dob, a couple dozen at least.

Other than freezing my fingers it was a great 15 - 20 minutes using the new scope....finally. I will be going to see my friend who lives at a dark site on Sunday and will bring the 102 along. If I get a chance late tonight I will bundle up and try to get a better first view, and this time of clusters and hopefully Saturn.
Stay tuned for more..

#2 lamplight

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:14 PM

Excellent. You don't like kneeling on the cold ground either huh ? ;)

I used mine most of the night.. I did notice CA on Jupiter and even some bright stars.. This with my new zoom so not sure if that aggravated it. But yes I also saw 3 bands easily and the moons were in a nice balanced layout.

Congratulations on finally getting out!

#3 GOLGO13

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 11:56 PM

Sounds really good so far. Your quick observations are a great sign that your optics are performing well. One thing which is important this time of year is good observing clothes. I have a full setup which keeps me pretty warm. Otherwise it's hard to stay outside too long.

Refractors are awesome but can get expensive and hard to handle as they get large. But quite frankly a 4 inch refractor in light polluted skies (and dark skies also) can show you a ton of stuff. The moon, planets, double stars, brighter star clusters, and some brighter DSOs are certainly reachable in LP.

For me I would probably only go as big as a 6 inch (more likely a 5 inch) refractor. So if I really want to see DSOs in dark skies, that's where reflectors come in for me. My friend's premium 16 inch dob is pretty amazing. And the 30 inch dob I used to look through (even with a poor coated mirror) was really outstanding. I think I am happy with my 10 inch at this point. I really need to concentrate on getting a bigger house over more stuff at this point.

Glad to hear the scope is working well. Now we just need some warmer (but clear) weather.

#4 newtoskies

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:30 AM

Thanks fellas. Yeah I wasn't really dressed for observing as I only wanted to get familiar with the new scope due to lack of time. I am setting my alarm for 4am and will try to get a glimpse of Saturn. Right now it's clear skies but I just left Prov. RI and there were some thick clouds in that area.
Will be putting out my cold weather gear in case I do wake up at 4am and it's clear out. I will try my Barlow on Saturn to see how it fairs.
I can say that the 102 showed better images of Jupiter in the light LP than my dob. And this with a street and outside flood light on. I usually turn off all outside and the living room lights when I am on the patio viewing, but again it was just a quick peak....couldn't pass up a few minutes of clear skies after waiting a week. This weekend I'll have more time, if we have clear skies.
So I will order a new Barlow and use the one I have on my dob so as not to damage the diagonal in the dark, and also order the 9x50 RACI tomorrow.

#5 Mike4242

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:17 AM

The curse has ended! :yay:

Glad you finally got a chance to use the new scope. Look at the GSO 8x50 RACI at Agena -- it's basically the same as the Orion RACI and it's a little cheaper. You can also get it in white to match your scope. This is the finder I have on my 6" achro.

GSO 8x50 Finder

You should be warned -- now that you have your hands on a good refractor, you'll be hooked. Next thing you know you'll be looking to buy a 5" apo or a 6" achro. :smirk:

#6 Jammer53

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:26 AM

After clicking on Mike's link, I now know what RACI is. ;o).

Looks like it makes using the finder scope much more user friendly.

#7 Mike4242

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:38 AM

Looks like it makes using the finder scope much more user friendly.


It's definitely easier on the neck. Also, keeps you off the off the ground for objects higher up.

One thing I forgot to mention -- if you do get a RACI, you will probably want to pick up a Rigel QuickFinder as well. It can be difficult to tell exactly where you're looking with a RACI. I use my QuickFinder to ensure I'm on the the correct star before starting my star hop with the RACI.

Rigel QuickFinder

A Telrad would work as well, but it's a little large for the Omni 102.

#8 Eric63

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 10:07 AM

I was about to say the same thing.

I use a Telrad on my 127Mak to get me close, and then a 9X50 RACI to scan around (since the mak has a small FOV). I find the combo works great.

Now, my F5 Achro only has a red dot finder since that wide field scope is a finder in itself :grin:

Eric

#9 newtoskies

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:42 PM

Thanks fellas, I check both those out. Will get a RACI for sure.
Well I was up at 4am after only three hours sleep, and guess what ? The clear sky turned into solid clouds...so back to bed..lol I was hoping to finally get a view of Saturn with the new scope. Oh well, will try again tonight.

#10 newtoskies

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:54 PM

I just checked the GSO 8x50 finder. Looks good. Compared the Orion and the GSO and the Orion is a 9x50 and GSO is 8x50. There is only a $2 price difference in them. This being that the GSO has free shipping and Orion $10. So I may stick to the 9x50 Orion and pay the $2 more and get a 9x50.

I am searching and comparing the Rigel next, but I will hold off on this item as I do want to buy a new Barlow.

#11 lamplight

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:44 PM

There's plenty of room n the scope though.. Don't see how you could go wrong with telrad or Rigel. If I was feeling a little more industrious I'd get up and stick my Rigel somehow .. Debating ona few locations..

#12 lamplight

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:48 PM

Got a few nice hours in last night. Pretty clear. Wasn't quite sure if I could see 7 of the M45 stars naked eye or just 6.

#13 newtoskies

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 02:13 PM

Glad to hear you got a couple of hours in Matt. The Rigel comes with two bases which is cool because I could have one on each scope. Not too worried about room on the 102 for both the RACI and Rigel, just a matter of funds for both. I've spent much more than I had planned on, the past couple of weeks. Got the new scope, ordered two ep's and will order the RACI and maybe a Barlow. I'm a slow digger...lol

#14 Mike4242

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 03:48 PM

The Rigel comes with two bases which is cool because I could have one on each scope.


Definitely nice that it comes with two bases. I have a base on both my Omni 102 and AR152. I like to mount it down toward the dew shield end of the tube so I don't have to strain to look through it when viewing objects near zenith.

Here is were it's mounted on the AR152 (It's pretty much in the same place on the 102):

Posted Image

#15 newtoskies

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:36 PM

I never thought about mounting it that far forward. Makes sense in a way. Thanks for the pic.

Well it's clear skies right now, and I just got home. Will start getting stuff ready for viewing later...unless the missus has other plans.

#16 Gary Riley

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 05:59 PM

Glad you're enjoying the scope! It is a very decent scope for the price IMO.

#17 newtoskies

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:20 PM

I've just spent about an hour with the new scope. This time it's set up in the yard for better all round viewing and not with ne leg on a shacky wood deck.
I used several ep's on M42 and have the 9mm TMB in the scope. WOW what great views. Like Matt I can see four stars in the center, and very sharp. In fact all my ep's that I used so far show aall stars in fov to be points of light and well focused. No comma present.
Now Jupiter. All I can say is that I am very impressed with the scope and 9mm TMB. I made out the two dark central bands and in the 102 they very clear and defined. They were usually hazy in my dob. First I thought I saw a double star, but it was just two of the moons very close to each other. I then switched to the celestron 25mm alone and with the barlow. I had to let the focuser out pretty far..extended, in order to use the barlow. Again, great clear views of the bands and moons.
Next came M36,37 and 38. LOTS of pin point stars in all three clusters, too many stars to count.

It only took about 2-4 seconds for settling when using the slow motion knobs and focusing. I find it much easier to track with this scope than the dob, even in altaz mode.

I came in for another cup of ht coffee and to change into warmer, layered clothing as it's getting colder. Got my thermals on now, fleece jacket, scarf and gloves. Hoping for about 1-2 more hours of fun then will call it a night...but will be up at 4am to view Saturn. Now if seeing Saturn doesn't make me want to quit all my others hobbies and by more scope gear, then I don't know what will...lolol

#18 newtoskies

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

Sorry Gary, I missed your post. Yes it's a great scope and you can't beat the price. In fact, when I unpacked the scope I thought it was unbelievable what one gets for a small amount of money. Looking at the 102 I keep thinking this is a lot of scope and mount for what I paid. Just the tripod alone is built of heavy solid metal that one would expect to pay much more for. Yeah I am still amazed at this scope, and the hobby in general.

#19 GOLGO13

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 08:14 PM

you may have some collimation issues with the dob. it should be pretty sharp also. or it was seeing differences. not saying the refractor wont be better...but the dob should also be pretty sharp.

#20 BoriSpider

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:50 AM

The sharpness of this scope on Saturn is unreal when conditions are right.
Same with M42, the structure you see in the nebula itself is mind blowing. But I guess you can get that in your dob too.

#21 newtoskies

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:54 AM

you may have some collimation issues with the dob. it should be pretty sharp also. or it was seeing differences. not saying the refractor wont be better...but the dob should also be pretty sharp.



I think the dob shows great views, BUT I should have mentioned that I haven't used the two new ep's with the dob yet. I took the dob out to compare views but after coming in for a bite to eat, some hot coffee ..the clouds rolled in and I had to pack everything up and call it a night.

#22 csrlice12

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:00 AM

I ran into a lot of the same problems with the tripod being short and playing "Twister" (mine's still in EQ mode). Love the scope and mount though. Think I'm going to look into mounting a pier on the tripod to raise the scope......

#23 newtoskies

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:01 AM

The sharpness of this scope on Saturn is unreal when conditions are right.
Same with M42, the structure you see in the nebula itself is mind blowing. But I guess you can get that in your dob too.



I was up at 4am to go and get a view of Saturn but it the wind had picked up so I didn't bother. During my earlier session the wind picked up and my eyes started to water so that told me that if it was the same, or windier then it wasn't worth viewing.
As for M42, yes the dob show much better views of the nebulae and I can see more stars. I have yet to try it with the Celestron 25mm or TMB9mm.
I should be getting my 12 and 18mm Paradigim ep's on Tuesday. Tracking says it's on it's way per FedEx. I am still debating on which barlow to get. Has any 102 owner tried using the Barlow before the Diagonal ?? Just curious how that would work out.
Hoping for clear skies tonight as I will be visiting my buddy who lives in one of the darkest areas of RI not far from Charlston and Westerly were there is an Observatory. I will take the 102 with me....or the dob, not sure yet. :question:

#24 newtoskies

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:11 AM

I ran into a lot of the same problems with the tripod being short and playing "Twister" (mine's still in EQ mode). Love the scope and mount though. Think I'm going to look into mounting a pier on the tripod to raise the scope......



I had no problem with the legs extended. The only problem I have is the finder. I kept banging my head on the ep. I think if they would at least include an 8x40 RACI this would be a fantastic scope..
I did use my binos a lot instead of the finder and this made finding objects easier than the finder. Even through thin clouds I was able to get good views of M41 and M93. Tried for 46 but the clouds were to thick in that area. M93 was in a hole some what. Ursa Major was up but with the hazy clouds I wasn't able to find much and gave up for the niight.

#25 csrlice12

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

Ditto on banging the head thing, thought it was just me and my big head. Like you, I'm using the 9X50 RACI from my dob on the 102. Looking at it, I can probablly move it forward about another half inch or so by pushing the finderscope all the way forward in its mount (be careful to not scratch it). Also thinking of putting maybe a 1-foot pier on the tripod. This will raise the scope, keep it from banging into the mount at zeinith, and mostly allow me to use the tripod with the legs down for further stability.






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