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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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John Huntley
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 07/16/06

Loc: South West England
Astro Physics Star 12 ED
      #5937026 - 06/23/13 07:54 PM

There is an AP Star 12 ED for sale on this side of the pond, which is a rarity.

While I'd love to own something with the pedigree of the AP, I currently have a Skywatcher ED120 Pro with a Moonlite focuser which, while nowhere near the same league as the AP in terms of build quality and class, for want of a better word, is a fine scope optically, or so it seems to me.

To purchase the AP Star 120 ED would cost me around 3x as much as the ED120 cost and I'd eventually need to sell the ED120 to offset some of the cost of the Star 12 ED.

I'm tempted by the prospect of owning something with the prestige of the AP but, from what I've read, it seems likely that the performance of the two scopes (the Star 120 ED and the Skywatcher ED120) could be fairly similar.

Is that a realistic assessment or have I missed something ?

I'm a visual astronomer and don't image with my scopes so the performance I'm referring to would be visual.

I'd be grateful for any feedback on the AP Star ED, especially from someone who also has tried a Skywatcher ED120

Thanks.

Edited by John Huntley (06/23/13 07:56 PM)


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stevew
Now I've done it


Reged: 03/03/06

Loc: British Columbia Canada
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: John Huntley]
      #5937223 - 06/23/13 10:12 PM

Quote:

it seems likely that the performance of the two scopes (the Star 120 ED and the Skywatcher ED120) could be fairly similar.

Is that a realistic assessment or have I missed something ?


Thanks.



I believe your assessment is correct. While the AP may have a better figure, it is most likely not made with the modern glass and coatings that has the color free properties of the FPL53 that is in your Skywatcher.
If your just looking for a scope with prestige then buy the AP, if you are more interested in what is seen in the eyepiece then stick with the 120 you have.
Check out the thread below.

Link
Steve

Edited by KWB (06/24/13 12:13 PM)


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: stevew]
      #5937245 - 06/23/13 10:35 PM

Quote:

Quote:

it seems likely that the performance of the two scopes (the Star 120 ED and the Skywatcher ED120) could be fairly similar.

Is that a realistic assessment or have I missed something ?


Thanks.



I believe your assessment is correct. While the AP may have a better figure, it is most likely not made with the modern glass and coatings that has the color free properties of the FPL53 that is in your Skywatcher.
If your just looking for a scope with prestige then buy the AP, if you are more interested in what is seen in the eyepiece then stick with the 120 you have.
Check out the thread below.

Link







Wait just a minute here - "modern glass"? Newer yes, better no.

Roland Christen commented on this years ago. The glass used in the Star12 (KzF2) went out of production due to "environmental concerns". More often than not, "eco-friendly" products represent a step backwards in performance (otherwise, they would have been used from the start). RC found modern replacements rather wanting - apparently KzF2 could hold a better figure. See his Yahoo Refractor Group post dated October 9, 2007 for more details.

Edited by KWB (06/24/13 12:09 PM)


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stevew
Now I've done it


Reged: 03/03/06

Loc: British Columbia Canada
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5937262 - 06/23/13 10:54 PM

As Jeff is an actual owner of an AP Star12 I defer to his expertise...

Although at 3 times the price I'm not sure you will see 3 times better images.


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BarrySimon615
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Reged: 03/01/04

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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: stevew]
      #5937300 - 06/23/13 11:30 PM Attachment (59 downloads)

See this -
link

It is my head to head under the stars test comparing the Star 12ED to a new Orion EON 120.

In a nutshell, both scopes were excellent, the AP seemed to have just a tic better resolution, yet the EON 120 seemed to have more moments of fleeting observation of the 6th member of the Trapezium. Maybe this was attributable to coatings, but it could have also been because the objective on the EON 120 was new and very clean while the Star 12ED could have used a cleaning. I don't know for sure, but it is a possibility. Since this comparison, I have upgraded the focuser on the Star 12ED to the AP/FeatherTouch 2.7" model, a big improvement over the original single speed focuser.

These scopes are close in performance. Having either, I would not opt for the other unless the most unbelievable deal of the century is staring you in the face. Keep what you have unless your heart is set on obtaining an AstroPhysics.

Barry Simon

Edited by BarrySimon615 (06/24/13 09:41 AM)


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Mark9473
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED *DELETED* *DELETED* new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5937440 - 06/24/13 03:06 AM

Post deleted by Mark9473

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KWB
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Reged: 09/30/06

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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED *DELETED* new [Re: Mark9473]
      #5937467 - 06/24/13 03:46 AM

How to shorten a link

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: KWB]
      #5937642 - 06/24/13 09:14 AM

Just reading between the lines.....hey, please someone let me know how to shorten the link and I will comply. I have never had to shorten a link so let me know how. I will gladly edit my post so a whole line can fit within the margins here.

Regards,

Barry Simon


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Cotts
Just Wondering
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Reged: 10/10/05

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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5937671 - 06/24/13 09:37 AM

Here ya go, Barry.

1. Copy the link's URL
2. Open a new post (if you're starting a thread) or a 'reply' if you're in a thread already.
3. See the "Instant UBB Code" box immediately below the window where you type. Click on "URL". Paste the URL in that box. Then click Return.
4. A second dialog box appears. Type a short, suitable phrase or word here (such as 'here', or 'this' or....). This word/phrase will appear in your post in underlined green and will be the link eveyone clicks on. click return.

Dave


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BarrySimon615
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Cotts]
      #5937685 - 06/24/13 09:50 AM

Thanks Dave!

I had already figured it out before I read your post as instructions are found in the 1st post in the Refractors Forums. I did my part, now it is up to the other guys with long links to shorten theirs so that the whole thread has shortened lines.

Barry Simon


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Starhawk
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Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5937753 - 06/24/13 10:40 AM

Just a point in the favor of the Star12: AP recognizes their old gear and will support it, and it will be compatible with heavy duty upgrades for the duration.

-Rich


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The Ardent
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5937997 - 06/24/13 01:02 PM

Barry
What finder bracket and guide scope holder are you using in the pic?


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SteveG
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Reged: 09/27/06

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: The Ardent]
      #5938012 - 06/24/13 01:13 PM

Star 12 ED - Beautiful scope! I wanted it sooooo bad back in the 80's.

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BarrySimon615
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: The Ardent]
      #5938149 - 06/24/13 02:32 PM Attachment (41 downloads)

Quote:

Barry
What finder bracket and guide scope holder are you using in the pic?




Before I answer your question let me first echo another reply to the original poster and say "ditto". Ditto to the fact that AstroPhysics can still support what they sell 20 years down the line. When I decided to upgrade the focuser it was an easy thing to do, plus there was none of the typical AstroPhysics wait time! A new two speed focuser was in my hands about a week after I ordered it and screwed on to the end of the tube interface within minutes. Makes focus more accurate and makes the whole process of using the scope more enjoyable.

Now to the question(s) in quotes - the finder bracket is an Antares. This is a two part bracket. This allows you to change out the bracket shown for the larger bracket (91 mm diameter)in a matter of moments. Note - the current larger bracket has a 91 mm I.D., the larger one that I have has a 94 mm I.D

One thing that I did to the mounting part of the bracket (the part that mounts to the interface between the tube and focuser) was to grind the curve in the bracket to match the curve in the interface, making for a more professional look. Takes some time, but it is worth it. I also cut a little bit off of the front end of the bracket to even better match the top surface of the telescope interface part. I painted the cut end with Krylon Semi-Flat Black which is a good match.

The top bracket holding the 60 mm guide scope pictured is a standard Losmandy set (90 mm rings on standard dovetail bases). You will note on the first picture that the 90 mm rings are mounted in the standard position in the middle of each base. Problem with this is that the lower adjusting screw on the starboard side does interfer with the locking screw on the dovetail base. To "fix" this I did redrill holes in the two dovetail bases to move the ring sets to close to the outside edges of the two bases. This spreads the rings (which is good) and eliminates the interferance between the adjusting screw and the locking screw on the base. I also fastened an aluminum plate between the dovetail bases using the original holes that the rings were in. This makes the whole ring and dovetail base(s) a one piece assembly that lets you take mounting brackets with guidescope and dovetail off the main scope as a unit without each individual base with ring set twisting on you and possibly damaging the finish on the guidescope. This allows for a much faster, cleaner and accident free method of removing or exchanging accessory payloads.

See photo.

Barry Simon


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orlyandico
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Loc: Singapore
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5938223 - 06/24/13 03:25 PM

how much is the AP?

AP refractors tend to appreciate over time, while a 120ED is all downhill from the time you buy it.


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John Huntley
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 07/16/06

Loc: South West England
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5938672 - 06/24/13 08:31 PM

Thanks very much for all the feedback on my question folks. It's much appreciated

The AP Star 12 ED in question would cost me around 3x as much as I paid for my ED120 (which was pre-owned).

Much to think about !


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orlyandico
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: John Huntley]
      #5938809 - 06/24/13 10:14 PM

hmmm.. mechanical watches are far less accurate than quartz. and they depreciate! (except Rolex, I guess) but people still buy them.

considering the only marginally better performance of the AP, I'd class it similarly - if you're the type who buys mechanical watches, the AP is for you it is actually a better deal as the AP won't depreciate, it will probably even appreciate.


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t.r.
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: SteveG]
      #5939349 - 06/25/13 09:14 AM

Quote:

Star 12 ED - Beautiful scope! I wanted it sooooo bad back in the 80's.




Me too...but just when I was about to purchase, TV came out with a great deal on the Genesis paired with a 16Nagler to clear the shelves before release of the SDF...I caved! Still, I wish I had bought the AP120...I'd probably still have it as my main refractor.


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R Botero
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/02/09

Loc: Kent, England
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: John Huntley]
      #5939847 - 06/25/13 01:59 PM

John

I say, go for it! I came to own a 1992 AP152mm f/7.5 recently which was the first Starfire EDF made and according to some forums one of the only two models made with these specs.
The 6" AP refractor is by far the best telescope I have ever looked through and even on the nights of average to poor seeing we get in England, it is a joy to use.
AP was happy to support its 20+ year product on the phone and by mail whilst I restored it and even had spare parts for the model! It's an exclusive club and you won't be treated by any other company like it - with, perhaps, the exception of Questar.

Good luck!

Roberto


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JonM
super member


Reged: 07/25/08

Loc: Colorado
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: orlyandico]
      #5940602 - 06/25/13 10:36 PM

If you buy an EON used, you will get your money back and maybe make a hundered. I bought mine for $1100 and sold it for $1300 2.5 years later.

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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: t.r.]
      #5959974 - 07/08/13 02:46 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Star 12 ED - Beautiful scope! I wanted it sooooo bad back in the 80's.




Me too...but just when I was about to purchase, TV came out with a great deal on the Genesis paired with a 16Nagler to clear the shelves before release of the SDF...I caved! Still, I wish I had bought the AP120...I'd probably still have it as my main refractor.




Well, your chance may have arrived - one just popped up on Astromart (and no, it's not mine ).


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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5960183 - 07/08/13 09:00 AM

Quote:

Well, your chance may have arrived - one just popped up on Astromart (and no, it's not mine ).




It's priced way above the market, though.


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SteveG
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Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5962862 - 07/09/13 07:49 PM

Yep - Way too high in my opinion. Besides, I'm extremely happy with my ED120 by William Optics.

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John Huntley
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 07/16/06

Loc: South West England
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: SteveG]
      #5964032 - 07/10/13 01:04 PM

Thanks for all the replies folks

Quote:

.....I'm extremely happy with my ED120 by William Optics.




Thats what I've decided as well. My Skywatcher ED120 is a fine scope so it's hardly a chore to stick with it

Edited by John Huntley (07/10/13 01:06 PM)


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5969793 - 07/13/13 11:34 PM

Quote:

It's priced way above the market, though.




Don't look now, but Sale Pending.

I understand your sentiment though. Brandon eyepieces have whetted my appetite for premium minimum-glass eyepieces. It seems to me that all of the recent ads on the Classifieds are about $100 too high so I hesitate or pass - and turn around to see the eyepiece sold.

From what I understand Roland Christen is closer to his 70th birthday than his 60th. The time is coming when he leaves the optical shop for the last time (hopefully to enjoy many years of imaging). Then I suspect that even the early 4" scopes will fetch mid 3's.


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jrcrillyAdministrator
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5969828 - 07/14/13 12:22 AM

Quote:

Quote:

It's priced way above the market, though.




Don't look now, but Sale Pending.

I understand your sentiment though.




I guess the value as a collectible is whatever it is. For a telescope to be actually used, that price would yield an excellent FS-128, a much better choice.


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BarrySimon615
Pa Bear
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Reged: 03/01/04

Loc: New Orleans, LA
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5970430 - 07/14/13 01:56 PM

Quote:

For a telescope to be actually used, that price would yield an excellent FS-128, a much better choice.




The above comment needs explanation. I can see it justified if for the same price you would get the FS-128 for a price much closer to or even below the original price of the FS-128 (if the Star 12 ED is selling for higher/much higher that the original cost).

If we are talking about optics alone and leaving cost out of the equation, the only real advantage that the FS-128 would have would be slightly less than 1/3 inch additional aperture or 8 mm. (This equates to approximately an additional .14 magnitude reach with the FS 128 assuming both have equivalent light thru-put efficiency for their respective apertures. Personally if it were me and an FS-128 and a Star 12 ED both became available at the same time for the same price, it would likely boil down to which one of the two was in the best condition.

Barry Simon


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The Ardent
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: BarrySimon615]
      #5970574 - 07/14/13 03:37 PM

Easy to explain: Sour Grapes!

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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Reged: 04/30/03

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: The Ardent]
      #5971128 - 07/14/13 08:10 PM

Sour grapes? What's to be jealous of? When I felt like paying that kind of money for a 5" near-apo I chose the FS-128. When I felt like paying quite a bit more for a very high-end 5" apo I chose a TOA-130. A Star 12ED would have cost hundreds or thousands of dollars less (much less than the advertised price mentioned in this thread). I didn't "settle" for the others because the 12ED was out of reach; I chose them because I willing to pay more for better. Those very early low-index ED doublets aren't nearly in the performance class of the Fluorite doublets or dual-Fluoro ED triplets. That's why the usual selling price is so much less than an FS-128.

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Jeff Morgan
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Reged: 09/28/03

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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5971485 - 07/14/13 11:53 PM

The Taks are quite nice, I used to own a FS102. An outstanding performer but they are a bit heavy for their respective apertures. I don't know the specs, but it would not surprise me if the Star12 weighed the same or even somewhat less than the 102.

I doubt a 128 would perform well on my GM-8. The Star12 does.

But the 128's are much more common and a bit easier to get.


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Scott99
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/10/07

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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5972494 - 07/15/13 03:11 PM

Quote:

The Taks are quite nice, I used to own a FS102. An outstanding performer but they are a bit heavy for their respective apertures. I don't know the specs, but it would not surprise me if the Star12 weighed the same or even somewhat less than the 102.




yes, an FS128 would out-perform the Star 12 being larger, but the Star 12 OTAs are remarkably lightweight - only 11 pounds. So it's a little easier to mount & transport. Only one pound heavier than a FS102.

I'm hoping the new Tak 100mm doublet could be a sign of things to come - maybe we'll get to see another 5 or 6 inch FL doublet from them, that would be awesome. Not everyone wants to image, these lighter scopes are my favorite (as a visual observer)


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George N
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Reged: 05/19/06

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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Scott99]
      #5978266 - 07/18/13 04:34 PM

About 7 or so years ago a guy had at Stellafane a big binocular made from two of these AP 120's mounted side-by-side. I did not look thru it a night, but the bino did provide a great view of the towers on top of Mt. Ascutney about 10 miles to the north.

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Gastronaut
member


Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: Hershey, PA
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: George N]
      #5981929 - 07/20/13 08:10 PM Attachment (40 downloads)

To All,

I am the "new" (seventh) owner of this beautiful refractor. The previous owner had very good reasons for parting with it. I had had the opportunity to observe with this 'scope at the NEAF 2011 Solar Star Party and was impressed enough to post some photos of this beauty! See: http://www.chesmontastro.org/node/6787
http://www.chesmontastro.org/node/6788

The condition was near perfect and it has a brand new 2.7" AP greaseless two-speed Feathertouch and other accessories that helped sweeten the deal. I sent John this message after the purchase, "I had a chance to star test the Star 12 ED and observe some DSOs as well as the Moon and Saturn. The 'scope meets all expectations. The collimation is perfect. Star test inside and outside focus was near identical. Despite the moisture in the air in Central PA, the contrast and detail on Saturn was awesome."

I have attached some photos of the 'scope on my new Nova Hitch AltAz mount.

Robert in Hershey


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ggalilei
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 09/01/11

Loc: Kentucky
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Gastronaut]
      #5981973 - 07/20/13 08:35 PM

Magnificent combination. Congratulations!

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mgwhittle
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Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Chattanooga, TN
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: ggalilei]
      #5982052 - 07/20/13 09:23 PM

Beautiful, looks like a perfect combination. Congrats!

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Kunama
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/22/12

Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Gastronaut]
      #5982268 - 07/21/13 12:47 AM

Magnificent looking setup Robert, congratulations

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t.r.
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Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Kunama]
      #5982578 - 07/21/13 08:52 AM

Congrats Robert. Looks like a fine performer!

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Scott99
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/10/07

Loc: New England
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: t.r.]
      #5982725 - 07/21/13 10:42 AM

nice picture, thanks for posting. Looks like the other 6 owners took good care of it, the tube and dewshield look great.

So how does it work on the Nova Hitch? I've used this scope on a Teegul for many years and it's definitely under-mounted. I've been thinking that this new Nova Hitch would be a nice upgrade. But I've already got an EQ mount that weighs about the same, so it's a tough call.

I do have a fondness for using alt-az mounts with no DSC, no battery, no finderscope, etc., the minimalism and fast set-up is so appealing. You can put a big eyepiece in this scope for 2.7 degree FOV and go into RFT mode with no finder. I find that I can sight most objects right into the 2.7 degree FOV just by pointing it.


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Gastronaut
member


Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: Hershey, PA
Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Scott99]
      #5983169 - 07/21/13 03:07 PM

The OTA has one well touched-up paint "ding", and a few age-related scratches in the paint that cleaned up and " vanished" with a good polishing with Mothers carnuba hard paste wax. The anodizing on the objective cell shows its age, but otherwise the fit and finish are very good to excellent. I removed the fixed Dew Shield to get a close look at the objective. Looks like it is untouched but could use gentle cleaning. I am considering contacting D&G in Manheim to see if they will clean it for me ( they are just "down the road" from Hershey. )


As to the Nova Hitch it carries the Star 12 ED, my "GranTurismo" as well as my APM f/6 180mm Deluxe Achromat with lightness and grace. I will post a separate report about the Nova Hitch later. You can find a video I submitted to Charles Riddel on the HalfHitchTelescope site of the ballet-like motions of my (+) 35lb APM Deluxe Achromat on the Nova Hitch.


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Jeff Morgan
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Re: Astro Physics Star 12 ED new [Re: Gastronaut]
      #5984011 - 07/22/13 03:31 AM

Quote:

I sent John this message after the purchase, "I had a chance to star test the Star 12 ED and observe some DSOs as well as the Moon and Saturn. The 'scope meets all expectations. The collimation is perfect. Star test inside and outside focus was near identical. Despite the moisture in the air in Central PA, the contrast and detail on Saturn was awesome."




Congratulations Robert!

The Star 12 has been such an incredible performer for me. If I may be so bold as to suggest a target ... one of my favorites in the Star12 has been Xi Scorpii. Push the power up beyond 300x. The lens will just be hitting stride there

Clear Skies,

Jeff


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