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Mars & Jupiter Through My Vixen A70LF f/12.9

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#1 Sarkikos

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 10:44 AM

Last night I had a nice view of Mars through my Vixen A70LF f/12.9. (4/21/14, 9:30-10:30 PM EDT.) The seeing was about a 4-4.5 out of 5. I was able to go to the 3mm setting on my NZ 3-6, for 300x. This is 109x per inch! But I was still getting a decent image. I'm not a big fan of high power for most objects - I hate it on the Moon, because of my eye floaters! - but Mars still has a small apparent diameter, so the high mags do help. My Baader Moon & Sky Glow filter helped enhance the contrast at this power.

I saw the NPC with dark collar. Along the following limb were Mare Acidalium, Chryse, and Argyre. Along the preceding limb were Syrtis Major, Sinus Sabaeus. In the middle were Moab and Arabia. Mars has the best names for surface features!

Both limbs might have shown some clouds at the edge. I often see these limb clouds in 70mm and larger scopes, but they're not always easy to distinquish from light surface features. A tell-tale sign is a slight bluish tinge to the clouds/haze.

I also took some time to look at Jupiter. Jupiter was sinking in the west, no higher than 25-30 degrees, so I didn't expect much. But the view wasn't too bad.

The 5mm setting on my NZ 3-6 seemed to give me the best contrast, at 180x, 65x per inch. The Baader M&SG was still in the light train. I was able to see the NEB and SEB, NTB and STB, and NPR and SPR. The NEB and SEB showed definite crenulated edges, and some mottling. One of the Galilean satellites was very close to the preceding limb.

Mike

#2 Alfonso

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 12:26 PM

Mike,
A pleasure to read your observations. I have the Vixen a80mf and it's fine scope. The most power I have used with it is 151x 6mm eyepiece.
Everytime for the past week I have had good seeing and in particular last Sunday evening 20 Apr and had a very nice view of Mars with my C102GT. The views were wonderful and I've seen detail that I have never seen when I lived in NYC. For a grab n go scope that 70mm looks to be a perfect fit; as is it's bigger bro the 80mm. Mine's on an ES twilight I mount and they fit so well together. I'm sure, if I may suggest, the next time you go observing do what I do: look at Ceres and Vesta, both in Virgo. True they are small points of light but to say to the world 'I saw Ceres and Vesta in my telescope' is an honor. lol. Give it a shot. The optics in my 80mm just as in yours are very good.

regards
Alfonso

#3 Sarkikos

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 01:06 PM

Hi Alfonso,

Congrats on bagging Ceres and Vesta. I don't think I've ever viewed asteroids. I'll have to do that.

I have the C102GT and the A70LF, but have never had an 80mm f/11. I do have an ST80, which is great for wide-field low-power deep sky. The A70LF is a nice grab-n-go scope for planet/lunar/doubles.

Last night I had the A70LF on a 501HDV head and photo tripod. Undoubtedly the C102GT on my AT Voyager alt-az or CG4 would have shown a bit more on Mars and Jupiter than the A70LF, but the 70mm is so much lighter and easier to carry!

Mike

#4 azure1961p

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 05:50 PM

I knew I should've looked last night ! Alas I was tired and under slept. Still, Im glad you had some fine views with your 70mm too. That you had a not-bad image at 300x is saying a lot for the optics and the sky conditions. Again Im sorry I missed out and now look -its raining outside.

A fine report Mike . I'm very happy to see experienced observers putting in time with the modest refractor apertures.

Pete

#5 Sarkikos

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 08:42 AM

I'm happy with this A70LF. I got it during the sale awhile back. From my own experience with this specimen and what I've heard from other observers, Vixen must do a decent job with QC when selecting the scopes they put their name on.

I wasn't trying to push the power beyond what was reasonible to get a good image maximizing contrast and detail. It was only later when I did the math that I realized I was hitting 109x per inch for Mars. Even Jupiter gave me 65x per inch. I wonder how well this scope will do under excellent seeing? :thinking:

:grin:
Mike

#6 Ed D

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 07:26 PM

I wonder how well this scope will do under excellent seeing? :thinking:

:grin:
Mike


Mike, just make sure you're sitting down the night everything clicks and you look through the eyepiece. I have used my A70LF many mornings before getting ready for work when conditions were 9-10/10 Pickering. It's not so much that I pushed the mags extremely high as it is the clarity and detail that this little gem is capable of. I really like Vixen NPL Plossls and a few mornings I could tell the 6mm wasn't the limit. I have used a barlow with my EPs for mags as high as x225 and still had good detailed views.

In the mornings I like setting up the A70LF on my Alt-Az mount because it's so light weight and easy to take out. But, now in the evenings I'll use it on my driven Polaris GEM. It's still easy enough to take outside and set up, and the tracking makes it so much sweeter.

Ed D

#7 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 10:49 AM

I think that on a night of excellent seeing, my eye floaters will limit the magnification before this little scope would.

Mike

#8 t.r.

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 05:51 AM

IME, little scopes can push the magnification a bit better than larger ones and I'm not so sure it is just because of exceptional optics. I have two Towa 60's, a Vixen 80 and an unknown China 70mm. I'm always tickled at how far I can run up the Towas, on Mars I was putting the exit pupil theories to shame running 182x to 227x profitably and of course a little less on Jove, 151x to 182x, but still respectable for an aperture limited scope. My Vixen made C80SS, being an achromat is limited to around 100x until I put on a filter, then I can run 130x+. Whether their smaller size punches through smaller seeing cells in the atmosphere or some other theory is the cause, so be it. They just seem to be able to handle the higher mags which helps the visibility of small details and levels the playing field slightly vs. larger scopes, allowing one to enjoy such tiny aperture...thank goodness! I've actually been pretty pleased with what I've seen of Mars in my 60!

#9 CarlosEH

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 02:59 PM

Mike,

I am glad that you had a good observing session of Mars using your excellent Vixen A70LF F/12.9 refractor. You were able to detect several albedo features, as you noted, using the small refractor. Thank you for sharing it with us all.

Regards,
Carlos






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