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Takahashi TSA-120 or TOA-130

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#26 aa6ww

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 02:57 AM

The G11 Equatorial head is about 31 pounds, and is a very awkward weight to lift because it twists and turns unless you lock down the clutches first. I'd make sure you get the matching stepper motors covers in aluminum, if they are still available, since they protect the motors and make for some extra places to hold as your transporting the mount. I had an extra D-plate lying around years ago and attached a metal handle on it from a hardware store. I keep it bolted to my G11 and use it as a carrying handle to carry my equatorial head around now, which works very nice.
I would also recomend getting the Losmandy G11 Clutch Knob set, so you can loosen or tighten the clutches on your G11 even in the cold with gloves on.


The weight of any telescope in question shouldn't be an issue for you. If you can lift your G11 Equatorial head on your tripod yoke, you wont have any issues lifting any scope in question on your mount.

...Ralph





I'm about to purchase a G11, so that I can equatorially mount my 10" f6 newt.  So whatever APO I get will go on that for the foreseeable future ($$$).  
I tried to contact TEC about the TEC-140, but there is problem accessing their website & they're not responding to emails (there's a separate thread on this).
Based on everyone's feedback, I'm swaying toward the TSA-120. Was out last night with a pair of binoculars re-acquainting myself with the sky & milky way... re-enforced my desire for RFT capability in whatever I buy.



#27 aa6ww

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 05:01 AM

That 35 pound weight I mentioned is the entire scope ready to use. I've since taken off that rear weighted tube ring, which is a ridiculous attachment, and replaced it with a much lighter Celestron C6R tube ring I painted Fusion HoneyDew green to match (almost match) the color of the Takahashi green they use. I still use the same finder scope as in my article, and opposite the finder on the other side of the ring, I have a green laser attached now. I’ve also attached a handle to the top of the clamshell so I can carry the scope like a suitcase with one hand.

I keep my scope in the clamshell with the dovetail bracket attached to the scope at all times even when installing it on the G11 saddle. The lifting weight for me is probably about 26 pounds, then I slip on the tube ring with the finder and laser and attached the diagonal, eyepiece and telerad. I’ve changed the saddle on my G11 to by Robin Cassidy years ago, 14" in length, because it allows me to just place the dovetail on the saddle, then tighten down two knobs, as opposed as sliding the dovetail in a grove on the stock saddle, which to me, is a poor design, and dangerous for larger heavy scopes like my C14.

It’s still a relatively light weight comfortable scope to set up. People I know who have heavy refractors minimize their lifting weight by attaching their tube rings first on their mount, then swing open the tube rings once the rings are secure to the mount and the counter weights are in place, then just lift the bare OTA onto the rings and lock everything down.

Most 6" scopes and larger are more awkward to set up, not so much because of their weight, but because they are just longer and awkward to hold into, so mounting the tube rings first then placing the OTA in the rings seems to be more common.

I had a friend that had a TMB 152 triplet. It was a beautiful refractor, and though I hated seeing him sell it, it was a very heavy OTA.


...Ralph in Sac





The choice between these two scopes in practical terms comes down to the same one as: 4" vs 5" refractor as far as weight/ mount and portability goes. Ralph pointed out that a TOA is 22 lb but he noted in his review of the TOA130 that his scope weighed in at 35lb loaded with rings/ diagonal/eyepiece/ finder etc.  a load that will require a fairly heavy duty mount. The TSA should be about 20-22 lb  dressed out the same.
Its a given that the 130 will have a little more reach and light gathering, the question "is it worth the extra weight and effort?" is up to th buyer.
Rex
PS As for mounts, the 35lb of the TOA suggests a Losmandy G11 class mount, the 22 lb of the TSA can do well on a Losmandy GM8 class mount.



#28 thomqos

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 08:15 AM

Thanks Ralph

It's actually your review (http://www.astromart...?article_id=563) which is a key reason why I'm keen on the TOA...but I'm still flip-flopping back & forth with the TSA-120!!

Cool down time & greater portability on the one hand (i.e. the best scope is the one you use the most), versus the most perfect image quality/contrast.

I get a real kick from seeing images of real beauty through the eyepiece.... not necessarily bright, but beautiful.  The sentiments in your review struck a chord with me.

 

Some background is perhaps useful here... In 1997 I had paid several thousand $$$ deposit on a 155 Starfire EDFS; Then I got engaged & after a while thought (rightly so) that the money would be better spent on a hours deposit.  I built my 10" f6 (which I love) on the rebound from that affair.    So step forward to 2014.... I'm in my mid forties now thinking that this is my 1 chance to get a scope in the league of the Starfire...

Almost unbelievably, my wife is understanding!!

 

But then I did say I wanted portability too?  Can't have your cake & eat it too!!

 

Actually one key question Ralph on the TOA: I heard about a). slow cool down  & b). front heavy tube....... Can I ask your perspective on these difficulties please?

 

Russ



#29 thomqos

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 08:21 AM

To be clearer Ralph - were you using this tube ring to balance out the scope's front-heaviness?  Do you need tube counterweights to get it to balance properly on the mount?

 

"I've since taken off that rear weighted tube ring, which is a ridiculous attachment, and replaced it with a much lighter Celestron C6R tube ring"



#30 Allan Wade

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 08:38 AM

I am curious, and this would help Russ out also I believe, but wouldn't a TEC140 be a much better option for visual use than a TOA130. Cheaper, lighter, more aperture, quicker cool down.



#31 JimP

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:39 AM

When it comes to optical quality both of these scopes are winners. I have owned both of them. The TOA 130 is heavy, not unmanageable, but, for me, heavy for its aperture. The TOA 150 with ring weight... Ugh!! The TSA 120 is a superb quality absolutely exquisite telescope. A friend of mine who really is a star testing addict used on for a while and called me on the phone and said that he thought you just could not improve on the apo design given AP and the rest, but that the optics on this scope were as good or better than anything he had ever seen.  Maybe it was just the one scope I don't know. To me the question would boil down to if the extra weight and trouble with setup was worth the 10mm extra aperture of the TOA 130 . Both have exquisite optics. 



#32 thomqos

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 10:16 AM

I think I am mostly sold on the TSA-120 now... given it's extra portability & from what I can tell, better cool down times than the TOA-130.

One thing though.. One of my key requirements is wide-field; With a 41mm Panoptic in the TSA-120, I will get 22x and a 3 degree FOV, which is great; But will I get any vignetting in the TSA-120?



#33 Scott99

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:10 AM

I think I am mostly sold on the TSA-120 now... given it's extra portability & from what I can tell, better cool down times than the TOA-130.

One thing though.. One of my key requirements is wide-field; With a 41mm Panoptic in the TSA-120, I will get 22x and a 3 degree FOV, which is great; But will I get any vignetting in the TSA-120?

 

No, it should light up any 2-inch eyepiece all the way to the edges, the wide-field views will be amazing at 22x



#34 NHRob

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:20 AM

Thom,

  For a visual apo I would pick the TEC-140 over the TOA-130 ... more aperture, lighter weight, less expensive.

They both have awesome optics.  For the purists, the TEC-140 will have a tad of CA at high mag on the brightest targets.

I've never seen it myself.  I've owned a few TEC-140s, and also a TOA-130.  After using both, I would pick the TEC-140 myself.



#35 AustinAstronomer

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 01:11 PM

Thom,

  For a visual apo I would pick the TEC-140 over the TOA-130 ... more aperture, lighter weight, less expensive.

They both have awesome optics.  For the purists, the TEC-140 will have a tad of CA at high mag on the brightest targets.

I've never seen it myself.  I've owned a few TEC-140s, and also a TOA-130.  After using both, I would pick the TEC-140 myself.

 

What Rob said -- with the caveat that I prefer the mechanics on the TOA-130.

 

The only problem with the TEC-140 is that, if you want to buy a new one, you have to wait about a year.  That is why I chose the TOA-130NS, which TNR had in stock.  It is the most beautiful telescope that I have ever owned or seen, and although it is heavy-ish, I have no regrets about the purchase.  At 23 pounds (The TOA-130NF is about 25 pounds), I can handle it without difficulty.  The white paint on the tube is unbelievably smooth and beautiful and flawless, and the green paint is both flawless and quintessentially Japanese.  And I love the micro-focuser.  The TOA-130NS is a majestic telescope.

 

I considered the TSA-120 but decided that I would eventually regret not getting the greater aperture.  Plus, I think the TOA-130NS, with its two FPL-53 lenses, is a classic that, once discontinued, will never be repeated.

 

I once owned an FS-128 and FS-152, which are now discontinued and considered by many to be classics.  I deeply regret selling them (I did so due only to finances at the time).

 

AA


Edited by AustinAstronomer, 21 August 2014 - 01:18 PM.


#36 NHRob

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 01:22 PM

Hi Bill,

  I didn't know you had a TOA-130.  That's a keeper.   I loved my TOA-130 and the Tak fit and finish.

The reason I'd take the TEC-140 over the TOA is mostly weight and the extra aperture.



#37 AustinAstronomer

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 02:06 PM

Hi Bill,

  I didn't know you had a TOA-130.  That's a keeper.   I loved my TOA-130 and the Tak fit and finish.

The reason I'd take the TEC-140 over the TOA is mostly weight and the extra aperture.

 

Hi, Rob,

 

Congratulations on your acquisition of a TSA-120!  I very nearly got one myself.  Each time I visit TNR in Houston, I gawk at the one in the display case.  So beautiful.

 

The TEC-140, TOA-130, and TSA-120 each has its virtues.  I love them all, and if I could afford it, I would have them all.


Edited by AustinAstronomer, 21 August 2014 - 02:09 PM.


#38 NHRob

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 02:12 PM

So far I love the look and feel of the TSA-120.  Just hope the optics are up to snuff.

I'm not too worried.

 

Only nit I can pick is .. I don't like the black colored fine-focus knob.  I would rather have the fine focus knob be

metallic like the coarse focus knob.

Life is rough ... .Huh?

: )



#39 aa6ww

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 03:01 PM

The ring has no value "to me" except to bolt accssories to it. I dont notice a balancing issue with it on or removed. Thats why I took it off. It should be an option with the 2.7" focuser model since those are made more for visual use than the 4" focusers for AP use.

 

...Ralph

 

 

 

To be clearer Ralph - were you using this tube ring to balance out the scope's front-heaviness?  Do you need tube counterweights to get it to balance properly on the mount?

 

"I've since taken off that rear weighted tube ring, which is a ridiculous attachment, and replaced it with a much lighter Celestron C6R tube ring"

 


Edited by aa6ww, 21 August 2014 - 03:13 PM.


#40 aa6ww

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 03:09 PM

With a 2" diagonal and 2" eyepiece and a 50mm finder scope on the TOA, the tak clamshell sits directly in the center of the OTA for balancing. From the Photography group, they tell me the tube ring is used to mount on the front of the OTA when using a heavy camera, to off set the weight of the camera, and for visual use, remove the tube ring.

 

That seems to make perfect sence to me now.

 

 As far as cool downs, by the time my entire system is set up, which usually takes about half an hr, including up setting up my laptop, the scope seems to equalize fine with the outside temperatures. I'm in calif, so the weather is very mild so I'm really a bad source to talk about settling time. Im taking my scope out this weekend, the low this weekend is about 60 degs. so settling time doesn't really apply much over here.

 

... Ralph

 

Thanks Ralph

It's actually your review (http://www.astromart...?article_id=563) which is a key reason why I'm keen on the TOA...but I'm still flip-flopping back & forth with the TSA-120!!

Cool down time & greater portability on the one hand (i.e. the best scope is the one you use the most), versus the most perfect image quality/contrast.

I get a real kick from seeing images of real beauty through the eyepiece.... not necessarily bright, but beautiful.  The sentiments in your review struck a chord with me.

 

Some background is perhaps useful here... In 1997 I had paid several thousand $$$ deposit on a 155 Starfire EDFS; Then I got engaged & after a while thought (rightly so) that the money would be better spent on a hours deposit.  I built my 10" f6 (which I love) on the rebound from that affair.    So step forward to 2014.... I'm in my mid forties now thinking that this is my 1 chance to get a scope in the league of the Starfire...

Almost unbelievably, my wife is understanding!!

 

But then I did say I wanted portability too?  Can't have your cake & eat it too!!

 

Actually one key question Ralph on the TOA: I heard about a). slow cool down  & B). front heavy tube....... Can I ask your perspective on these difficulties please?

 

Russ


Edited by aa6ww, 21 August 2014 - 03:12 PM.


#41 gnowellsct

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 03:43 PM

There's a third Tak option, too. My FS128 was a terrific visual telescope. Faster cooling than either triplet design, less front-heavy than either triplet design. Still that great Tak quality.

 

 

Yes the FS128 is wonderful.  I would suggest that or a used or new TEC 140.  I think the TEC 140 is more cost effective and just as good as a TOA 130, if not better.   And certainly *lighter.*  GN



#42 NHRob

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 05:45 PM

TEC-140s pop up for sale fairly often.

#43 thomqos

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 06:49 PM

 

 As far as cool downs, by the time my entire system is set up, which usually takes about half an hr, including up setting up my laptop, the scope seems to equalize fine with the outside temperatures. I'm in calif, so the weather is very mild so I'm really a bad source to talk about settling time. Im taking my scope out this weekend, the low this weekend is about 60 degs. so settling time doesn't really apply much over here.

 

... Ralph

 

 

Main tihng steering me away from TOA is cooldown time I think.

 

I'm in Melbourne, Australia .... climate is similar to california... maybe a bit cooler that calif. during the night?  It gets down to maybe 2-3 celsius overnight in mid winter, though this is rare.... normally 5-9 celcius overnight.... so maybe cooling not that big an issue with the TOA in my case?  I also have a large roofed patio.... so i can quickly put my scope out there to cool as soon as i get home from work.... by time I eat dinner, have a shower & put kids to bed, easily  1-2 hours go by.

 

Russ



#44 AustinAstronomer

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 07:31 PM

My TOA-130NS optical tube weighs 23 pounds (10.5 kg), which is only four pounds heavier than a TEC-140 (8.6 kg).  And, the TEC-140 is every bit as big as a TOA-130NS.

 

Thank you.

 

AA 



#45 dr.who

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 08:07 PM

In my mind you really have three good choices to pick from:

 

1. TSA-120

2. Televue NP127

3. TEC 140

 

The TOA is quite heavy and for the price you are in the TEC range which gives you 20mm over the TSA. In refractors the move from 80mm to 102mm is noticiable as is the move from 102mm to 127mm but the move from 127mm to 152mm is not as large a wow factor. The TEC will give you 140mm (5.5") at a weight that is more managable than the TOA and for visual use keeps you in that 5-6" 127-152mm range which tends to be the sweet spot visually for APO refractors. Remember the TOA's balance point will be much closer to the front of the scope so you will need to extend the G11's legs quite a bit or else you will be laying on the ground to view which means a much higher lift on that 16kg (35lbs) G11 head. As an alternative you might want to think about a nice DM4 or 6 and Argo Navis to make it much easier to set up and view with than the large G11. More time under the stars because you will use it more.

 

I put the Televue in the mix because it's the third option of four in the high end refractor category. The 4th being AP. It gives you the 127mm (5") size and pretzvel design at a low f/stop which means a very wide TFOV. I was viewing through a friends NP101 with 31 Nagler last week and I could see the entire Veil Nebula in it to give you an idea of the FOV you will be getting with it.

 

As an aside my TSA is 19 lbs with rings, Ethos 17mm EP, diagonal, rail on top of rings for attaching things to it, and 60mm Stellarvue finder. It rides quite well on the AVX for visual as well thus it will do quite fine on your G11.



#46 aa6ww

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 08:09 PM

  You do realize that even if the OTA is 20 degs warmer than the outside temperatures, it’s still going to be an incredible experience and give you impressive views.  Remember these forums make everything sound like its the end of the world till everything is pristine, then they attack the pristine views. Think about it for a second seriously. If these people out here complain about lifting a 20 pound scope on a mount, what do you think their vision is going to be like?  Not to put anyone down, but let’s be realistic here.

 If someone is so old that they can’t even lift a 20 pound scope, do you really think their vision is good enough to honestly criticize a scope optics as its acclimating?

 Everyone is superman in a forum and has laser vision until it’s time to actually go out and use their gear, then they tend to come down to real life and just enjoy whatever they have available to them.

 A TOA's lens, probably even a TSA-120 lens, doesn't act like a mirror when it’s cooling down. Your stars don’t look like comets, brighter stars just get a bit tighter once the temperatures are balanced. That’s basically the difference. If your stars look like comets, you have much larger issues than acclimation issues.

Just set up your scope and use it, even 10 minutes after you take it outside. Galaxies and nebulas will look the same, and only on the planets will you see some very slight heat waves and softening of the surface details. Brighter stars may take on a slightly larger look, but just slightly, but it’s not like the stars are going to look like an F/6 achromat at 200x, even if the scope was on fire and you were viewing it in the snow they wouldn’t look like that.

Acclimation issues for astrophotographers to worry about, the visual astronomer just gets out and uses his gear.


 Remember seriously, these forums tend to over blow "EVERYTHING" out of proportion. This whole issue of cool down to a sweet triplet refractor is completely ridiculous, at any level. Anyone that tells you otherwise is just bored and needs to go out and use their gear instead of talk about it out here.

..Ralph
 

 

 

 

 

 As far as cool downs, by the time my entire system is set up, which usually takes about half an hr, including up setting up my laptop, the scope seems to equalize fine with the outside temperatures. I'm in calif, so the weather is very mild so I'm really a bad source to talk about settling time. Im taking my scope out this weekend, the low this weekend is about 60 degs. so settling time doesn't really apply much over here.

 

... Ralph

 

 

Main tihng steering me away from TOA is cooldown time I think.

 

I'm in Melbourne, Australia .... climate is similar to california... maybe a bit cooler that calif. during the night?  It gets down to maybe 2-3 celsius overnight in mid winter, though this is rare.... normally 5-9 celcius overnight.... so maybe cooling not that big an issue with the TOA in my case?  I also have a large roofed patio.... so i can quickly put my scope out there to cool as soon as i get home from work.... by time I eat dinner, have a shower & put kids to bed, easily  1-2 hours go by.

 

Russ

 


Edited by aa6ww, 21 August 2014 - 08:14 PM.

  • dvb, roadi, RAKing and 1 other like this

#47 samovu

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:01 PM

 

 

 As far as cool downs, by the time my entire system is set up, which usually takes about half an hr, including up setting up my laptop, the scope seems to equalize fine with the outside temperatures. I'm in calif, so the weather is very mild so I'm really a bad source to talk about settling time. Im taking my scope out this weekend, the low this weekend is about 60 degs. so settling time doesn't really apply much over here.

 

... Ralph

 

 

Main tihng steering me away from TOA is cooldown time I think.

 

I'm in Melbourne, Australia .... climate is similar to california... maybe a bit cooler that calif. during the night?  It gets down to maybe 2-3 celsius overnight in mid winter, though this is rare.... normally 5-9 celcius overnight.... so maybe cooling not that big an issue with the TOA in my case?  I also have a large roofed patio.... so i can quickly put my scope out there to cool as soon as i get home from work.... by time I eat dinner, have a shower & put kids to bed, easily  1-2 hours go by.

 

Russ

 

 

Russ, you state that you are being steered away by the cool down time but you then describe what sounds like a solution. I sometimes go through similar arguments when I'm rationalizing why I need what I want.

 

Here's my suggestion FWIW. Buy a used TOA130 and if the cool down is an issue then buy the TSA and compare the two. Then keep what you like the most. Of course, you can start with the TSA but then you'll wonder how much better the TOA might be at one point I'm sure. Why not start with what appears to be the one you want? Both have their virtues and I'm only suggesting the TOA since it sounds like that's the one you really want. 

 

I'm fortunate that winters are not cold in the Los Angeles area so cool down is not an issue. And yes, Ralph's review article also helped me decide on the TOA-130. I bought the tube weight so that I could attach the Takahashi handle for a better grip as I lift the OTA onto my mount that's on a tall tripod. Then I discovered ScopeTotes. Nice product for the ones even heavier. 

 

An additional consideration you may want to  take into account is how many other scopes you may buy in the future. You've had the Starfire 155. Will you want a 3 or 4 inch APO in the future? Or a 6 inch or is this going to be "the one". 

 

Good luck and enjoy whatever you end up with!



#48 AustinAstronomer

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 11:26 PM

I'm not exactly a body builder, yet I can lift my TOA-130NS without difficulty.

 

There's nothing wrong with a TEC-140, but if you want a new one with a full guarantee, you'll have to wait a year.

 

And there's nothing wrong with a Tele Vue NP-127, but new ones are terribly expensive, though they do come with a nifty case.

 

AA


Edited by AustinAstronomer, 21 August 2014 - 11:27 PM.


#49 roadi

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 04:44 AM

 

Remember these forums make everything sound like its the end of the world till everything is pristine, then they attack the pristine views. Think about it for a second seriously. If these people out here complain about lifting a 20 pound scope on a mount, what do you think their vision is going to be like?  Not to put anyone down, but let’s be realistic here.

 If someone is so old that they can’t even lift a 20 pound scope, do you really think their vision is good enough to honestly criticize a scope optics as its acclimating?

 Everyone is superman in a forum and has laser vision until it’s time to actually go out and use their gear, then they tend to come down to real life and just enjoy whatever they have available to them.

 A TOA's lens, probably even a TSA-120 lens, doesn't act like a mirror when it’s cooling down. Your stars don’t look like comets, brighter stars just get a bit tighter once the temperatures are balanced. That’s basically the difference. If your stars look like comets, you have much larger issues than acclimation issues.

Just set up your scope and use it, even 10 minutes after you take it outside. Galaxies and nebulas will look the same, and only on the planets will you see some very slight heat waves and softening of the surface details. Brighter stars may take on a slightly larger look, but just slightly, but it’s not like the stars are going to look like an F/6 achromat at 200x, even if the scope was on fire and you were viewing it in the snow they wouldn’t look like that.

Acclimation issues for astrophotographers to worry about, the visual astronomer just gets out and uses his gear.


 Remember seriously, these forums tend to over blow "EVERYTHING" out of proportion. This whole issue of cool down to a sweet triplet refractor is completely ridiculous, at any level. Anyone that tells you otherwise is just bored and needs to go out and use their gear instead of talk about it out here.

..Ralph

 

 

 

 

  Have to agree!  :grin:   :waytogo:


Edited by roadi, 22 August 2014 - 05:01 AM.


#50 BillP

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 10:31 AM

I think I am mostly sold on the TSA-120 now... given it's extra portability & from what I can tell, better cool down times than the TOA-130.

 

 

Probably a wise choice, especially given the $2k+ price differential between the TSA and the TOA or NP for only 10mm more aperture.  You can get a very nice mount with that or other accessories.  Would recommend the Feathertouch upgrade.  As nice as the Tak single speed is, the Feathertouch is a world better.








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