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Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo: Pictures!!

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#1 Castor

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 04:41 AM

Hi,

I am an urban observer doing mainly visual deep-sky observing with small telescopes. I also like doing lunar and planetary observing when the sky conditions are ideal for high power viewing.

Due to weather restrictions (cloudy skies) I prefer using telescopes that allow impromptu observing sessions: One of the many reasons I prefer using refractors. But due to some back problems, I have restrictions on the weight of the equipment that I can handle. That's the main reason that many years ago I picked a 5-inch apo as my largest refractor (a TeleVue NP127is), and it's been my favorite telescope ever since. However, sometimes looking at the planets in excellent seeing conditions, I have wished I had a larger refractor.

However, my budget would never allow me to afford a premium 6-inch refractor. So given the few options on this niche market (relatively affordable 6-inch apos), and after weighting their pros and cons, I placed my order for the one that best suited my search criteria with the clear prospect in my mind that the images would fall in between that of a 6-inch achro and that of a 6-inch quality apo. So it would be a compromise from the start, but an acceptable one for me given my specific circumstances: Mainly the ability to order it from a major U.S. vendor from stock using my limited payment options -No Paypal, so no used telescope market.

I recently received my new Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo Triplet Refractor [model ED152CF] and I wanted to share a few impressions with you. The brief moments that I have looked through the telescope (due to poor weather) have been consistent with my expectations. I have looked at Saturn, the Moon, a few double stars and some deep-sky objects in humid conditions (haze) and the views have been pleasant. When comparing the views of Saturn through the ED152CF with the views through the NP127is, I have experienced either better color saturation at the same magnification or similar color saturation using higher magnification on the ED152CF. The Cassini Division was clearly seen on both telescopes, with a bit more resolution showing on the 6-inch scope. I am a simple observer with poor command of the English language (not my native language) and no technical background, so I would not be interested in doing a review of the telescope, I leave that to more knowledgeable CN'ers.

When I was researching for this telescope I found some comments and very few pictures from owners of the ED152CF. So I thought I could contribute in this department, even if the quality of my pictures leave much to be desired since they were taken with a tiny lens camera. But I can assure you they are much better than my drawings... I hope that you like them!


Posted Image
Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo Triplet Refractor OTA with user supplied Losmandy
D-series Saddle Plate [DUP] below and V-series Universal Saddle Plate [VUP] on top.
Optical Tube Outer Diameter: 7", Lenth of Optical Tube Assembly (incl. Dew Shield): 52".


Posted Image
Removable Dew Shield. Outer Diameter:9". Lens Cap can be attached or removed with
the Dew Shield On.


Posted Image
Dual Split Mounting Rings attached to an old user-suplied Losmandy Universal "D" Mounting
Plate [DUP] 14" long. On top of the Mounting Rings a user supplied Losmandy "V" type
Dovetail Plate [VUP] 14" long was attached for added rigidity. The original telescope handle
and TeleVue Starbeam Finder was installed on the top plate.


Posted Image
Included with the telescope is a 3" Feather Touch Focuser (Model 3035) with extension and
Explore Scientific 2" Dielectric Star Diagonal. A user supplied Stellarvue illuminated 9x50mm
right-angle Finderscope was installed on the included finder bracket.


Posted Image
Side view of the included 3" Feather Touch Focuser with extension
and fine focus knob, Explore Scientific 2" Dielectric Star Diagonal.


Posted Image
Original Explore Scientific 7.5" (short) "D" Type Mounting Dovetail Plate (below) was upgraded
to an old user suplied Losmandy Universal Mounting Plate (DUP) 14" (above). Each ring was
attached via one user-supplied central metric type Mounting Bolt, plus two included metric
type Screws at each side (the "shiny" holes for the side screws were drilled by the user).
Each ring has three factory drilled holes for metric type bolts/screws. In my view, the
original mounting plate was too short to safely and stably holding a telescope of this size.


Posted Image
Included Explore Scientific 8x50mm right-angle Finderscope (below) with illuminated Polar
Alignment Reticle. User supplied Stellarvue F50 illuminated 9x50mm right-angle Finderscope
(above) was prefered because for visual observing there is no need for Polar Alignment Reticle.
The included Explore Scientific finder bracked was used but the original white nylon screws
were replaced for black nylon screws for aesthetics. At right, the included Explore Scientific
Mounting "D" type Mounting Plate (length 7.5") w/o any provision for safety bolts was user
replaced with a longer Losmandy Dovetail Plate (a safety knob included for illustration).


Posted Image
Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo Triplet Refractor on a Losmandy
G-11 Mount with 12" Tripod Extension. Two Casady Stainless Steel
Counterweights were required to balance the scope: 15 lbs. + 7.7 lbs.


Posted Image
Close-up view. Also pictured, TeleVue 2" Everbrite Star Diagonal, TeleVue 35mm Panoptic
Eyepiece, Stellarvue 9x50 Finderscope and TeleVue Starbeam Finder.


Posted Image
Rear wiew of the telescope on the mount looking up.


http://www.cloudynig...3_1221A-med.jpg
Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo Triplet Refractor on a Losmandy
G-11 Mount with 12" Tripod Extension and TeleVue NP127is Apo
Refractor on a Losmandy GM8 Mount. Drum Stools included for scale.


http://www.cloudynig...3_1221B-med.jpg
Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo Triplet Refractor on Losmandy G-11 Mount with 12"
Tripod Extension and TeleVue NP127is Apo Refractor on Losmandy GM8 Mount: Close-up View.


http://www.cloudynig...3_1221C-med.jpg
Close-up view of the telescope on the mount with the Losmandy 12" Tripod Extension.
The original telescope handle and TeleVue Starbeam Finder were installed on top of a
Losmandy 14" VUP Dovetail Plate. Stellarvue 9x50 Finderscope on the included ES backet.


http://www.cloudynig...13_1312-med.jpg
Both telescopes on their respective mount looking straight up.
Drum Stools included for height reference.


http://www.cloudynig...13_1338-med.jpg
Side view of both telescopes on their respective mount looking straight
up. Drum Stools at same height included for reference. Looking straight
up through the ED152CF is comfortable, while looking straight up through
the NP127is is not. In my opinion, the NP127is would benefit much if the
GM8 LW Tripod was replaced with a G-11 HD Tripod. To be fair with the
NP127is, before the arrival of the new 6-inch telescope, the NP127is was
used on either mount depending on the requirements of each observing
session. But soon after deciding on purchasing the ED152CF a 12" Tripod
Extension was ordered to add the necessary height for satisfactory use
of the long Explore Scientific 6" Apo Refractor on the G-11 Mount.

You can find better resolution pictures at My CN Gallery - Explore Scientific ED152CF


I hope this long post can be beneficial for someone trying to decide if this telescope is for him/her or not. Even if this telescope is lightweight for a 6-inch refractor (with the carbon fiber tube), it is still a long tube, so there could be mounting concerns. That is why I decided to include pictures of the Explore Scientific ED152CF together with the TeleVue NP127is, which is a well known 5-inch refractor.

If you were expecting a thorough review, I am sorry to disappoint you, but my post never pretended to be one. Just a collection of pictures with captions...

Regards!

#2 CounterWeight

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 06:44 AM

Castor,
Thank you for the long post -with images- on the scope! Great work considering the language difference, I don't notice it. :) Would be nice to see a 'glass shot' of the lens / cell if you have one. Congratulations on getting a nice big glass triplet, look forward to reading more of your impressions.

#3 Illinois

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 07:25 AM

WOW! NICE! I would love to own your super scope! Thanks for the pictures! Nice!

#4 David Pavlich

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 09:53 AM

Carbon fibre is good. Congratulations! Looking forward to numerous reports on its performance!

David

#5 SteveC

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 03:08 PM

Great pictures.

I have a TEC140 mounted on a G11, so I'm amazed how your ES152 makes the mount look so small.

Good luck with your new scope.

#6 niteskystargazer

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 04:47 PM

Castor,

Congrads on your New Scope :).

CS,KLU,

:thanx:,

Tom

#7 Scott Beith

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 07:45 PM

That is a really nice looking setup!

#8 DeanS

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 08:26 PM

Sweet!

#9 Castor

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 11:31 PM

Castor,
Thank you for the long post -with images- on the scope! Great work considering the language difference, I don't notice it. :) Would be nice to see a 'glass shot' of the lens / cell if you have one. Congratulations on getting a nice big glass triplet, look forward to reading more of your impressions.

Hi Jim,

Thank you for your kind words! I'm happy to oblige with your request for the 'glass shot'. The branding on the lens cell is a little blurred because of the fixed focus of the 'camera', but here you have it:

Posted Image
Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo Triplet Refractor: Lens photographed outdoor in full
sunlight with reflections of the sky and backyard grid. It's possible to see a glimpse of the
interior, including a tube baffle.


Posted Image
Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo Triplet Refractor: Lens mounted
on a Collimatable Lens Cell with two sets of Push/Pull Collimation
Screws clearly visible. Black lines on the lens are just reflections of
a metal grid on the backyard. Photo taken outdoor in full daylight.

As stated previously, you can find better resolution pictures at My CN Gallery - Explore Scientific ED152CF


#10 Castor

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 12:13 AM

Illinois,

Thank you! I see you have a brand-new Explore Scientific 127mm ED Apo Triplet Refractor among other scopes, plenty to keep you busy for a while!


David Pavlich,

Yes, Carbon Fiber is good, specially for your back. Many years ago, my first "large" refractor was a Meade AR-6 achromatic refractor that I used to mount on an Atlas EQ Mount. Every time that I used that scope/mount combo I had a sore back for about a week. I sold that telescope soon after I acquired the NP127is apo and just the memory of the back pain has kept me away from 6-inch apos for a long time.

The lightweight carbon fiber tube of the Explore Scientific 152mm ED has made the difference: After quite a few iterations of setting the telescope on the G-11 mount and disassembling, I have yet to experience any back pain. Maybe carbon fiber is not the best material for refractor optical tubes, but at least it is healthy for their owner's back.


SteveC,

Thank you! The ED152CF is indeed a large telescope for it's aperture, but is also relatively light. When mounted on the G-11 it is stable and I can focus the telescope at high power without any problem. I used it momentarily on the GM8 for some indoor testing and had to go back to the G-11 immediately: Terrible vibrations!

Thank you Tom -Niteskygazer, Scott_Beith and DeanS for your compliments!

#11 Illinois

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:23 AM

Illinois,

Thank you! I see you have a brand-new Explore Scientific 127mm ED Apo Triplet Refractor among other scopes, plenty to keep you busy for a while!


Last night, I looked at Saturn....WOW! Sharp and clearly! Cassini's Division and grey bands is clearly! M4 and M80 is easily to see and pinpoint stars. I test double-double stars in Lyra...see all 4 stars is easy, sharp and pinpoint! I am happy! :jump:

I want to hear from your report on your new telescope! Enjoy! :waytogo:

#12 Bill Cowles

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 05:53 PM

:waytogo:

Bill

#13 ji4m

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 08:30 PM

Wow, yeah, that looks nice, nice, nice. Congrats!

#14 Castor

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 10:17 PM

Illinois,

Thank you! I see you have a brand-new Explore Scientific 127mm ED Apo Triplet Refractor among other scopes, plenty to keep you busy for a while!


Last night, I looked at Saturn....WOW! Sharp and clearly! Cassini's Division and grey bands is clearly! M4 and M80 is easily to see and pinpoint stars. I test double-double stars in Lyra...see all 4 stars is easy, sharp and pinpoint! I am happy! :jump:

I want to hear from your report on your new telescope! Enjoy! :waytogo:


Illinois,

Congrats on your new scope, I'm glad you are happy with it and thank you for sharing your views!

As I stated on my initial post, writing a report was never in my plans. Not enough technical knowledge, the always present language barrier and the constant local bad weather conspire against it. As an example, due to cloudy skies I haven't been able to use the telescope since the day I made the first observations.

Clear skies to you!

#15 Castor

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 10:37 PM

Thank you Bill and ji4m!

I enjoyed doing the pics and I'm glad you liked them!

Regards,

#16 Paul G

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 05:11 AM

Congrats on the scope! And your command of the language is better than some native speakers.

#17 Illinois

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 06:55 AM

I am not good English no matter how hard I try! I am deaf and English is difficult for me! Math that you can understand but not English! Hearing told me some is depends on sounds or that's the way it is!

I am deaf but nothing stop me what I like to do...astronomy, fossil hunting and metal detector with vibration!

#18 Castor

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 04:52 PM

Hi Illinois,

Thank you for encouraging me to write. You have overcome huge obstacles to pursuit your goals and keep going at it. You have my admiration!


Hello Paul G,

Thank you for your kind words! When writing in English, it helps that I can use Google to check for the spelling of a word when I'm in doubt. But I still have a hard time thinking how I am going to phrase the ideas that I want to communicate. For that matter, I have a hard time doing it in my own language... But I'll try to follow Illinois' example!

#19 jrbarnett

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 06:54 PM

Day-amn!

That is a seriously good-looking scope.

It dwarfs that G11.

One of these days I will need to head-to-head the 127ED from ES against the 152mm achromat from Astrotelescopes. ES makes some seriously nice looking, well-equipped refractor packages with nice color correction, decent aperture and great prices.

- Jim

#20 Castor

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Posted 14 July 2013 - 09:02 PM

Thank you for your comments!

When I was exploring the options for buying a 6-inch apochromatic refractor for lunar and planetary observing that was within my reach, the strongest contenders were the Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo Triplet [model ED152CF] and the Skywatcher Quantum 150ED Apo Triplet [model S11150]. In good theory, the Skywatcher has better glass quality (FPL-53) than the Explore Scientific (Hoya FCD1, the Equivalent of FPL-51) and it also includes a thread-on field flattener. The Explore Scientific on the other hand includes a Starlight Instruments 3" Feather Touch Focuser [model 3035].

I also gave very serious consideration to ordering a TEC 140mm f/7 ED Apo Triplet. Regrettably, when I asked my dealer about availability, he told me that I would be looking at a 9-12 month wait. If I didn't already own a good 5-inch apo (the TeleVue NP127is), I'd probably have placed an order for the TEC140 without thinking twice -I have dreamed of owning one since I read the S&T test report on the December 2003 issue. But when I was reading the specs of the current model, I was sad to discover that it no longer comes equipped with the original 3.5" Feather Touch Focuser, so it would not be exactly the same telescope that I dreamed about all these years. I don't want to imply for a second that the new TEC focuser is not up to specs, I'm sure it is as great as the telescope, it's just that it is not a Feather Touch.

Obsessions sometimes cloud or minds and we can no longer think clearly about what is best for us, but I believe that's in our human nature. In the end, I believe the fact that the Explore Scientific ED152CF actually includes the Starlight Instruments 3" Feather Touch Focuser, tipped the scales in his favor and that's the model that I purchased. But I guess I would have been just as happy with the Skywatcher Quantum 150ED. If I were into Astrophotography, I probably would have chosen the Skywatcher for the included field flattener and the better glass. But I am exclusively a visual observer and don't intend to do AP, so paying $1000 more for the Skywatcher did not seem like a particularly attractive idea at the time, especially considering that I was already over budget with the Explore Scientific ED152CF. Only time will tell if I made the right choice!

And since we are on the subject, I thought it was opportune to include a picture of the focuser:

Posted Image
Explore Scientific 152mm f/8 ED Apo Triplet Refractor: Close-up of the included fully rotatable
3" Feather Touch Focuser (model 3035) with extension, Fine Focus Knob, and user supplied
TeleVue 2" Everbrite Diagonal.

#21 Illinois

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 07:18 AM

Good thing is that you don't buy TeleVue 127mm...expensive and length is short unless if you are serious astrophpotography. Your new toy is great and f8 is just right!

#22 Castor

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 08:52 AM

Hi Illinois,

I have owned the TeleVue NP127is from many years now and it's my favorite telescope. It's a very good all-purpose telescope and it's excellent for wide field deep-sky observing: My main interest.

The telescope that I didn't buy is the TEC140 because it is too close in aperture to the TeleVue NP127is that I have: 5 1/2 inches vs. 5 inches. And also because it was not in stock and it would take a long wait to get it.

Take good care!

#23 PhilCo126

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 09:30 AM

strange tube rings :thinking:

#24 Illinois

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 07:48 AM

Hi Illinois,

I have owned the TeleVue NP127is from many years now and it's my favorite telescope. It's a very good all-purpose telescope and it's excellent for wide field deep-sky observing: My main interest.

The telescope that I didn't buy is the TEC140 because it is too close in aperture to the TeleVue NP127is that I have: 5 1/2 inches vs. 5 inches. And also because it was not in stock and it would take a long wait to get it.

Take good care!


I see and only half inch so forget it! I am sure that your new 152mm would be last for a long time! I like DSO, too!


I have 3 telescopes for now and should be for rest of my life! ES127 for general and use most of the time. 180mm Mak-Cass for planets and Moon. Mars, Juipter and Saturn! 16 inch for my main DSO! Planets is also good, too!

#25 Castor

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 11:47 PM

Hi Illinois,

I belive the ES127 apo will serve you well as a general use scope, as the TV NP127is has done for me! You have a good spread of telescopes from 5 inches up to 16 inches. Wow!!

Regards,






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