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Introduction and an Apology

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#1 KarlL


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Posted 24 January 2013 - 09:53 AM

I should have introduced myself yesterday when I posted about the AstroTelescope AT102F11. I'm in the market for a new scope. I've been out of astronomy for many years and have decided to seriously devote some time to it. This time it will be either a refractor or 5" MCT. I'm leaning toward the AstroTelescope.

I really enjoy Cloudy Nights.



#2 csrlice12



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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:19 AM

What are you interested in viewing (planets, nebulas, DSO's). It would also help to know your age, general health, budget, and general location (i.e. state or at least country). It appears you are referring to visual and not AP (which makes choosing a LOT easier and more affordable). The norm in the last few years has been "8" Dob", and these are great scopes; but they are not for everyone. Please let us know a little about yourself, as it's hard to say anything without a little info to work from.

#3 EdTheEdge


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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:40 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

#4 mmalik


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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

If you'll be getting into imaging, this... is a good one; pricey though. Thx

#5 BillP


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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

If the size of the scope is not an issue, then I would take the 102 refractor over the 127mm MCT any day. The refractor will provide a brighter image (my 102 APO is brighter than the 127 Orion Mak I used to have) and the refractor also thermally stabilizes more quickly, so ready to view at high power faster.

If you do go with a 127 Mak, then definitely also get a reducer as well otherwise you will not have much of a wide TFOV.

If you get the 102 f/11, realize that the price is for the OTA only...so you will need to buy a mount for it as well which will make the total package a little pricey. IMO the Celestron 120 XLT at f/8.3 is a better deal as for less than the price of the 102 f/11 is also include the equatorial mount. And if you mask the objective down to 102mm then it is almost f/10 and close to the Astrotelescope in terms of focal length. Plus unmasked will give better DSO performance thant the Astrotelescope. Food for thought.

#6 Adam Taylor

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 11:27 AM

Welcome Karl. I really like CN too. It's an invaluable resource documented by some very knowledgeable and accomplished people.

I can relate to your interest in this telescope. It appears to be an excellent value considering its low cost. I once planned on purchasing one myself. But after reading opinions and experiences on this forum, I decided on the Sky-Watcher 100ED f/9 instead. For a 4" class refractor at the same pricepoint, the SW100ED will have less spurious color, will be easier to handle and mount due to its lighter weight, and (for $150 more) is even a better value considering the included accessories.

Below are some threads about the AstroTelescopes 102 f/11. Do yourself a favor, and learn how to use the search function to find threads about comparable refractors as well.











#7 Eddgie



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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:35 PM

Hello Karl,
The scope you are looking at looks like a lovely telescope.

Still, my advice would be to look for a used 100mm f/9 ED telescope.

While f/11 in an achromat can produce an image with very low chromatic abberation, an f/9 ED scope will be ligher, easier to mount, offer a more accessible eyepeice position when viewing, offer a slightly wider true field of view for great wide field viewing, and will will be almost totally free of chromatic abberation.

Even new and at a little more cost, I would still recommend the 100ED f/9 as being a great choice in 4" refractors.

I had the Vixen version of this scope and I felt that it was on par with the best 4" telescopes I have owned.

And if buying used, don't be afraid to buy a scope with a single speed focuser. Even at f/9 you won't find hitting best focus difficult with a single speed Crayford. These scopes really snap to focus.

ED scopes are good these days that there really is not much in the achromats favor. I think much of the praise they receive is nostalgic or something. not that they are bad at all, but every ED scope I have owned has performed better than just about any achromat I have owned. A classic f/10 or f/11 achomat will come close. Very close in fact.

But better is better. Go for an f/9 ED scope, even if you have to wait to find a nice used one. These often sell for in the $400-$450 range depending on single or two speed focuser.

#8 Don Taylor

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:22 PM


I recently bought the at102f11 and really like it. There are all kinds of trade-offs, and opinions, and preferences and there are lots of great scopes available now at good prices. I considered the sw100ed and the omni 120 and they are both great values. Ultimately I chose the at102 maybe for some odd reasons.

But I'm an experienced observer with a range of scopes, and a lot of eyepieces and accessories, so a package deal was not so important to me. I'd rather mix and match to get what i really want, even if i could have bought something functionally similar for less. Does anyone really NEED a Stellarview finder instead of a Synta or GSO?

And maybe as much as anything, I've just wanted a nice 4" achromat for such a long time that I just finally had to have one. Not very logical perhaps.

I had read the reviews and an article on Neil English's website and the lack of Ed glass was not too much of a concern to me as I do not image. The slightly longer focal length and better quality mechanicals did appeal to me, and the size was not a problem either as I was planning on buying several optical tubes to fit on a shared mount, changing them as I need.

Overall I am very pleased with the outcome and the scope has excellent image quality. The mechanical aspects are very nice too.

I've posted a few pics of the completed scope near the bottom of page 48 of the latest refractor picture thread.


Whatever you get, use it and enjoy - a lot!!

#9 KarlL


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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:24 AM

I've had a number of scopes over the years, including a 10" Dob and a 7" Maksutov-Newtonian. The former was a Coulter Odessey Compact disaster, built in '85 or '86. Horribly built. It was bought out of a fit of "aperture fever." 15 years later, I purchased the Maksutov. It was a Lomo or Intes-Micro. Optically it was very good, but I was not expecting the long cool-down time. The fit-and-finish weren't quite "there", either. There were quite a few metal shavings between the corrector and lip or baffle. I sold it about a year later due to financial need.

The bug has bitten again. This time, I am much more serious about what I want to observe, which are mostly the Moon and planets. I am also interested in imaging sometime down the road.

I live in a surprisingly dark townhouse development with a suitably dark backyard. I'm located in Northern Illinois.

The weight and size of the AstroTelescope should be no issue. I would probably use an alt/az mount before trying imaging. Storing the scope in a case would save more space than storing a relector.

I know the whole debate regarding CO gets drawn out, but I am attracted to the idea of an unobstructed aperture.



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