First light Takahashi TSA-120 & Televue Ethos
Posted 21 April 2013 - 12:32 AM
That said a deal came up on a TAK TSA-120 that I couldn't pass up. Sadly a part of that deal involved me trading my ES 102mm and 127mm CF. I do miss those two scopes. Especially the 102 since it was where I had so many firsts including M57 the Ring Nebula. But this isn't about them...
This is about my first light with my new TSA-120 and the Televue Ethos 13mm and 17mm I have on loan from my local shoppe pending my friend returning with the same EP's he's picking up for me at the NEAF price.
I decided to pull the trigger on the Tak because it would allow me to consolidate my 102mm and 127mm into one OTA. With the TOA-130 focal reducer the Tak goes from a 900mm f/7.5 to a 672mm f/5.6 so I would have a loss of about 7mm (1/4") in scope size for visual but gain almost a full f-stop for AP with a slightly deeper penetration due to focal length. Plus it was much lighter and more importantly shorter than the 127mm which means that even at f/7.5 I could image with it on my AVX which was an important consideration. All in all not a bad trade in my mind.
Seeing was average to good with a 1/4 moon and LP at about Red Zone level with transparency average. The moon was high up with Jupiter just setting and Saturn just coming up. The transparency didn't really lend itself to using the 13mm so I spent most of the time just using the 17mm.
A side note on the TV's. They are 100* EP's and I had been thinking about an upgrade to the ES 100*'s for a while now. The pricing on the TV's for NEAF did make them much more attractive so since I had just picked up an insanely silly priced OTA I figured I might as well pick up some insanely priced EP's to go with it. I tried the Naglers first and didn't like the eye relief then I tried the Delos and had massive Kidney beaning. Finally I tried the Ethos. And while they will kidney bean if I don't have my eye just right they did provide the best eye relief of all of them and such wonderfully wide views. So much so that I have aligned my 8" SCT and the Tak using the 17mm instead of my usual 40mm stock Celestron EP.
First target after alignment... The moon. Just had to be done. I was almost floored (as in fell on my arse) looking through the 17mm Ethos. The level of detail was frightening even at 17mm. And when I say frightening I mean that I was seeing detail that I had never seen before. As a test I popped my 8.8 ES EP in and while the view was magnified it wasn't as detailed as the 17mm. It was just better in the 17mm. And I spent quite a bit more time than I planned to just looking at the moon. The shadows were incredible and I saw what I call the Question Mark since the mountain range looks like a ?. Never saw that before.
There was quite a bit of CA on the fringe of the EP but I didn't buy these EP's for looking at the moon. I have my ES 8.8-4.7 for that. Even so as I said the sharpness and level of clarity was stunning.
Off to Jupiter. A real disappointment. Just too much darn water in the air and hot air currents. Looked like Jupiter was under water. Moving on to...
...Orion. Very close to the view I got with my ES 127mm using the ES 18mm 82* with three critical differences. Even at 17mm I could clearly see 4 stars in the trapezium instead of 3 plus one that would fade in and out and the number of background stars. The, for lack of better term because it wasn't so much contrast as it was something else, crispness of the surrounding space was much different. Different in that it was multiple shades of grey instead of flat black plus it just looked... well... more crisp. Lastly I was seeing stars, even in the 17mm, that were not visible before. To the point where the quote from 2001 A Space Odyssey jumped into my head... "My God! It's full of stars!"
Next up was M13 and M5. Both very tiny puff balls but that wasn't unexpected because of the aperture. Again though "My God! It's full of stars!" Not the clusters themselves which were very faint but the surrounding space.
Finally Saturn was high enough to take a go at but same problem with Jupiter. Just too much water and hot air. So I ended up gazing at the moon for a good hour or so coupled with quite a bit of contented sighing.
I am not sure how much of that increase in stars and crispness of view was due to the glass in the Tak and how much was due to the Televue EP's. I didn't get a chance to use the Televue's in my ES scopes. Since both of my ES scopes went to friends of mine as a part of the trade in I plan to give it a try in them at the next star party.
I think overall I am happy with my decision and this scope combined with my 8" Edge SCT give me the views I really enjoy.
Finally the scope pr0n...
Posted 21 April 2013 - 12:43 AM
Posted 21 April 2013 - 02:03 AM
The focuser worked fine for me. Once I adjusted the tension correctly. Enjoy your new scope I think you will be pleasantly surprised by it. It will make a good counter to your 16" Zambuto.
Posted 21 April 2013 - 06:18 AM
Posted 21 April 2013 - 07:41 AM
Posted 21 April 2013 - 03:54 PM
The Takahashi TSA120 is a scope that will be a 'classic' for future generations to collect. So much performance in a relatively light weight package.
Mine is currently for visual only, sitting on a T-Rex mount with Vixen's beautiful lanthanum LVW eyepieces.
Look forward to seeing more of your reports.
Posted 21 April 2013 - 04:05 PM
90x on the Tak
203x on the Edge
69x (rounded) on the Tak
156x on the Edge
53x (rounded) on the Tak
120x (rounded) on the Edge
This way I can go wide or doubles with the Tak and deep with the Edge. For example the Pleiades and double cluster just fits in the 17mm on the Tak but I would need to go up to a 30+ for the Edge. And the Ghost of Jupiter is a small dot with the Tak but takes on a good size in the Edge. A real compliment to each other.
And with those purchases my wallet is now flat so it's going to be a while before I can afford the FR I want for the Tak... Sigh.
Posted 22 April 2013 - 01:32 AM
Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:11 AM
Posted 22 April 2013 - 11:38 AM
First, Enjoy Your New scope.
As you traded your ES 127 CF for the TSA I have a question for you.
How do you compare the views through the 127 to the views through the TSA 120 ?
(I mean at Similar magnifications using high quality Eyepieces).
Is your impression that the Tak is optically sharper and provides extra contrast as compared to the 127 ?
As an owner of the 127ED ( Aluminum tube) I really like the scope optically (I know it cannot be compared to a Tak Mechanically, but I am more interested in comparing the optics and final image quality ). I was simply wondering if the downsizing in aperture is optically compensated for by the lense having better figuring or color correction ?
Posted 22 April 2013 - 12:38 PM
The short answer is yes it is better optically than the 127 with premium EP's. I saw more and fainter stars in the FOV than I did with the ES and the color of the sky was more shades of grey than flat black. The loss of 7mm did not impact the view substantially enough to justify a move to a larger OTA to compensate.
But the more important question is the one where one asks if it is worth the $2,500-$4,000 price differential? The answer is, in my opinion, yes but only with the upper end EP's to go along with it and it is not a multiple order of magnitude differential. At most it's an order of magnitude.
 $2,500 assumes a price of $2,000 for the ES and $4,500 for the Tak. $4,000 assumes the purchase of Televue or similar EP's in the Ethos line in the 10mm 13mm 17mm and 21mm range.
Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:07 AM
That makes sense to me.
If I ever sell my ES 127 - it would be to finance another high end 130-140 mm refractor ( TMB 130, TSA 130 and TEC 140 come to mind here), AP Starfire 130 or Grand Tourismo also comes to mind - but I will probably need to rob a bank first
Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:32 PM
Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:05 PM
I meant a used one. I am too old to put my name on the famous waiting list
Posted 26 April 2013 - 05:21 PM
Posted 26 April 2013 - 09:21 PM
Sean, aye wasn't that just bloody amazing. Met the TV rep today at my local shoppe when I was picking up the 10mm and we had a long talk in which he confessed regarding TV's use of Unicorns, virgin sacrifice, and black magic deals with the devil to make them...