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Help a Reflector guy get his first Refractor!

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#1 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 02:52 PM

Hello all!

I am looking to add a nice portable refractor to my telescope equipment list. I wanted to get your opinions on what a semi experienced guy like me should start out with. I have been snooping around and have an idea that a 4" size would be the best for me in terms of portability and light gathering potential. I am primarily interested in the Moon, Planetary and maybe some Deep Sky Objects (when the city skies allow).

I have 2 Dobson reflectors which are serving me well but really want a smaller scope for the quick views and set up times. (no real cool down and thermal issues to deal with)

I would also like to Binoview with the refractor, and I am fully aware of the potential focus issues some have. But again I am looking for your experience to help guide me into making a good solid decision.

The scope that has my eye is the Explore Scientific AR102 Air-Spaced Doublet Refractor with Twilight 1 Mount. It seems for $599 this has all that I need to get going. Although I would rather have a right angle finder, but I can always upgrade that later.

http://store.explore...rwithtwiligh...

I like this scope because of its price and the mount seems pretty good, and I do want slow motion nobs to assist at moving the scope at high powers.

So what do you all think? Is this a good SOLID buy or do you have any other suggestions?

Thank you all in advance!

#2 PowellAstro

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 03:37 PM

I have the AR152 and it is a great scope. A lot of scope for the money and is built very good. I think you would really like it.

#3 *skyguy*

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 04:00 PM

If you want a refractor for mainly viewing the moon and planets ... a 4" f/6.5 achromat probably wouldn't be a good choice. Take a look at the recent posts on the "$59 102mm Celestron Binoviewer Friendly Mod" and "102mm achro for cheap " threads in this forum. Oceanside Telescope is closing-out the Celestron 4" f/9.8 achromatic refractor for the give-away price of $59 dollars. Owners ... including myself ... are consistently reporting it to have very good optics! Couple it with a good $200-$300 Alt/Az mount and you'll save hundreds of dollars over the ES scope ... enough for some nice accessories! :)

#4 Rainguy

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 04:05 PM

I have this exact setup, AR 102 and Twilight I mount. Had it out last night for several hours. Great scope with razor sharp optics, smooth and precise 2 speed focuser, bright dielectric diagonal, and the T-1 mount is rock solid. And I paid $200 more than it's going to cost you! I don't see how you are going to get even close to this combo for $600. A very versatile scope, too.

#5 PeterR280

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 04:11 PM

I agree. The $59 scope is a great deal if you want to add a 4" refractor. it is very light but longer than the ES if portability is an issue. moon and planets are better suited for the longer focal length.

#6 Daniel Guzas

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 04:22 PM

I agree. The $59 scope is a great deal if you want to add a 4" refractor. it is very light but longer than the ES if portability is an issue. moon and planets are better suited for the longer focal length.


Why would the longer focal length be better for planets? Is this because the shorter FL gives a wide field, thus not required for planetary viewing? And the shorter FL doesn’t give you as much magnification power?


Would this scope still be a good all around type even though it is a short FL?

All this input is what I am craving! please keep it coming!

#7 Rainguy

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 04:25 PM

I, too, picked up one of the super sale price Celestron 102 GTs, and it's a really good scope. I've had it out a couple of times and like it a lot, but I still prefer my AR 102 as an all-arounder and better for open clusters which are my favorite viewing objects. On the planets, the 102GT would likely have the edge. Also, the AR 102's shorter length make it a bit more portable. The Twilight I mount would work equally well for either.

Doug

#8 Mark Costello

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 04:30 PM

Hi Daniel. I used to have a F6.5 achro like that Explore Scientific 102mm job. It had a nice sharp lens that gave me good views of the moon, Jupiter and Saturn at 220X. I could see the false color but I ignored it as I drew the views I was getting. Heck, even my "worse false color" 5" F6.5 achro isn't so bad there. I'd only have one word of caution. I see you are aware of "focus issues." That's good. You'll want to talk with Explore Scientific or the dealer that you'll be buying from about your desires to bino-view. You'll want to make sure that the ES focuser will be able to handle it with your choice of eyepieces.

All success in getting a winner....

#9 neptun2

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 05:51 PM

Well i see that the price of skywatcher 100ED doublet APO is now around 750$ in US. I have the 120 ED and am very happy with it. Highly recommended as value/price ratio if you can afford it. Good luck with the choice. :)

#10 pdxmoon

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 06:01 PM

Hi Daniel:

The longer focal length cuts down the chromatic false color you may see on bright objects like the moon and planets.

I must echo the suggestion onOPT's Celestron $59 4" special. These are really decent scopes and a terrific price. This would be a really good way to start with a refractor. 4" for $59? Come on, you can't NOT buy one!

But the deal is over in a few days!
Good luck!

#11 kevint1

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 06:01 PM

Interesting... The link looks like it points to the 102 triplet and I was going to comment on that scope. But the web page shows the doublet. I would check out the Skywatcher 100 ED (which comes with a right angle finder) instead, very happy with the color correction of my 120ED.






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