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Equipment Discussions >> Refractors

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Pentax Syntax
member


Reged: 11/03/12

Loc: Maryland
How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor?
      #5550084 - 12/02/12 10:17 AM

I often use my SV80 ED deluxe refractor as a 'canary in the mine' to determine sky transparency and/or seeing for planets. Because of its rapid equilibration to ambient temperature its ideally suited for that. Then I decide which (if any) of the 'Big Guns' to drag out. Of course, on many nights, that little refractor does so well, I don't bother with the bigger scopes. Other ideas?

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dlapoint
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 08/18/03

Loc: Moncton NB Canada
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Pentax Syntax]
      #5550600 - 12/02/12 03:56 PM

As a perent of a child with special needs, observing time is often limited to 30min to and hour. So the little scope gets used alot.

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Kon Dealer
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/05/11

Loc: Cambridge UK
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: dlapoint]
      #5550617 - 12/02/12 04:12 PM

When I go in the car to a dark site/go on holiday.
The 'frac doesn't get bumped out of collimation, nor do I have to wait for it to cool.
In the back garden I mainly use my CATs


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Spyke
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Scotland
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: dlapoint]
      #5550623 - 12/02/12 04:16 PM

Reading through all the grab'n'go discussion recently, it occured to me that I don't really own a true "g'n'g" setup.

My most easy to handle scope is the Swift 60mm f13.5 mounted on an AZ-3 and kept in the shed. So, very easy to use in the garden - "grab'n'go for local use" but I'd have to demount it and transfer it to car for carrying around which would probably eliminate it from g'n'g really.

But, in the garden, I usually plop it out and insert an eyepiece and can be viewing literally in less than a minute. Unfortunately, the light pollution in the garden means that the ONLY targets available to me there are planets, the Moon and a handful of bright double/multiple stars. Even open clusters barely show up.

For those purposes, and with those limitations, the 48-year-old scope performs well for my quick looks, and for longer sessions when I don't want to set up a big scope for any reason.

Ant


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Pentax Syntax
member


Reged: 11/03/12

Loc: Maryland
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Kon Dealer]
      #5550817 - 12/02/12 06:43 PM

While the definition of grab-n-go is subject to debate, the small refractors are hard to beat. I think limited time, lack of need for alignment make a lot of sense. I started with a little 60mm TASCO 50 years ago and still remember how beautiful the stars looked in that scope. Perhaps that is part of the attraction of the little 80mm I now often use.

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Pentax Syntax]
      #5551441 - 12/03/12 02:56 AM

Quote:

I often use my SV80 ED deluxe refractor as a 'canary in the mine' to determine sky transparency and/or seeing for planets. Because of its rapid equilibration to ambient temperature its ideally suited for that. Then I decide which (if any) of the 'Big Guns' to drag out. Of course, on many nights, that little refractor does so well, I don't bother with the bigger scopes. Other ideas?




I have a few "grab and go" refractors but the ones I use the most are William Optics 80mm Megrez II FD and a TeleVue NP-101.

From my backyard, I use them as general purpose scopes, enjoying seeing what I can see, some double stars, a planet or two, various deep space objects.. They also double for bird watching.

From a dark sky location, I use them as companions to my larger Newtonians, mostly using them at relatively low magnifications and enjoying the widefield, richest field views they can provide. Sometimes I test my skills by hunting down fainter galaxies and the like that are easy a 12.5 inch or larger scope but are a real challenge in a 3 or 4 inch.

As far as using them to determine the seeing, I think this is counter-productive. If one is going to be using a larger scope that needs real time to cool down to perform it's best, (true of both Maks, SCTs and Newtonians), it is best to get it out there and cooling down before sunset.

Jon


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RussL
Music Maker
*****

Reged: 03/18/08

Loc: Cayce and Lancaster, SC
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5552786 - 12/03/12 08:40 PM

The Celestron Wide View 80, f5 achro (same as an ST80) came first. It made me wonder why I had wasted so many years not seeing a richfield view of the heavens, for heaven's sake. After nearly fifty years it was like discovering astronomy anew all over again. So, then I decided to go up a notch, but still stay within grab n go boundaries, and bought a 120ST, also an f5 achro. It's like the ST80 on steroids, so to speak. I put it on an eq2 to save weight. Spindly, yes, but don't laugh, it works. If I want detailed views of planets, the moon, or anything else I have an 8" SCT I can drag out, when I'm in the mood. The best news of all is that I'm using my f5 ahro refractors for just what they were designed to do best, so I am satisfied.

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Mr Onions
Two Time International Photographical Competition Winner
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Reged: 04/14/07

Loc: Newcastle upon Tyne.
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: RussL]
      #5553437 - 12/04/12 07:08 AM

I walk one mile to my outreach site with either the 76 or 80mm refractors.
That's my G&G.
Now here's the strange part, it's an IDENTICAL distance on the way back,coincidence or what.

Edited by Mr Onions (12/04/12 07:09 AM)


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galexand
sage
*****

Reged: 07/10/12

Loc: Bloomington Indiana
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Pentax Syntax]
      #5553897 - 12/04/12 12:36 PM

Last week I got a 60mm f15 on an EQ mount for use as a grab-n-go (what can I say, it was very inexpensive). I thought I would use it on the odd clear nights when I'm too impatient for newt cool down. I thought maybe sometimes I'd shove it in my backpack and bike to a darkish site.

So far in the real world, I've dragged it outside, did wild-guess alignment on polaris (clouds to the north), fished out an eyepiece, lined it up on jupiter or luna. Then I have a conversation in my mind like, "my, 60mm is awfully limiting, if even jupiter is dim. ... Man how come jupiter doesn't have any bands? What happened to aldebaran? You can't see the hyades in this toy, what junk. ... Oh look it's cloudy to the east as well." Then I re-cap the EP, fold up the scope, and carry it all in.

On the bright side, with the refractor I really can carry the whole setup (scope on tripod, laptop, extra sweater, EP box) in one trip, which was exactly the dream.

Hope someone finds this user story inspiring.

(Dear God, I know I must be punished for buying a new telescope, but that was the best night I've seen in a month)


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Scott BeithAdministrator
SRF
*****

Reged: 11/26/03

Loc: Frederick, MD
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: galexand]
      #5554226 - 12/04/12 04:17 PM

My SV80ED on a SV M1 serves as my G&G. Besides G&G duty it also handles Solar and travel assignments.

I don't use it for a test to see if I want to drag out a bigger scope. I just grab what I want to use on a given night.


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desertlens
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 12/06/10

Loc: 36N 105W
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: galexand]
      #5554227 - 12/04/12 04:19 PM

For those nights when the clouds dissipate late or I'm just feeling lazy, it's hard to beat my little 70mm and a small box of volcano tops. Sometimes a short wide field session can be very rewarding.

Edited by desertlens (12/04/12 04:27 PM)


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tomchris
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/22/10

Loc: Connecticut, U.S.A.
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: desertlens]
      #5554415 - 12/04/12 06:38 PM

My Tele Vue 85 is my most used scope..usually from my back deck as a G & G. However, my newly bought Ranger has become my easy travel scope which will be in my car on trips-so simple to set up and use.

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Lt 26
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 02/19/09

Loc: Northwest Illinois
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: tomchris]
      #5554827 - 12/04/12 11:11 PM

SV70 on the M1 with the extension column and handle. Assembled it can easily be moved down stairs, through halls and doorways.

At night I us a 32mm plossl and an 11T6 with a barlow for backup. No balance issues here.

During the day I use a lightweight 1.25" 45* and a 15mm Titan. This gives me a fixed 28x and is the only lightweight combo I have found that does not mess up the balance. During the day this is important due to the amount the focuser gets racked in and out. Even the T6s were too heavy.

Dereck


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tigerroach
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 08/13/08

Loc: Houston, TX USA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Lt 26]
      #5555329 - 12/05/12 09:18 AM

I bought my TV-76 as a travel scope. I keep coming up with other excuses to use it though; for example, in August for Perseids night I didn't want to fuss with the big reflector since we were supposed to be watching for meteors. So we brought the 76 along and had a great time using it for little peeks here and there to spice up the meteor watch. It is so simple to set up and use that it was never a distraction from the main event.

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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: tigerroach]
      #5555579 - 12/05/12 12:22 PM

Gotta love that TV76; I use mine off my back porch for quick sessions looking at the moon, planets, bright DSO's, or just cruising the Milky Way. It's overmounted on a Gibraltar, but still a grab-n-go.

Bill


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: la200o]
      #5555714 - 12/05/12 01:49 PM

Quote:

Gotta love that TV76; I use mine off my back porch for quick sessions looking at the moon, planets, bright DSO's, or just cruising the Milky Way. It's overmounted on a Gibraltar, but still a grab-n-go.

Bill




Bill:

My first really good refractor was a TeleVue Pronto and I have since moved on. I would like to have a TV-76, essentially the same scope as the Pronto but it's a true apo with a somewhat larger aperture. It would be hard to justify when I have a very good 80mm William Optics Megrez II FD. I often use the 80mm FD on a Bogen 3040/3047 mounted sidesaddle, good for astro, good for terrestrial.

Jon



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roscoe
curmudgeon
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Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5556212 - 12/05/12 07:02 PM

I have been keeping my 60mm ATM/Carton at my workshop, which is a few miles from home, so if I'm there in the evening, I can grab it and go outside for a look-around. As I built it there, I think it feels at home there ......
Russ


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Pentax Syntax
member


Reged: 11/03/12

Loc: Maryland
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5556414 - 12/05/12 09:02 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Gotta love that TV76; I use mine off my back porch for quick sessions looking at the moon, planets, bright DSO's, or just cruising the Milky Way. It's overmounted on a Gibraltar, but still a grab-n-go.

Bill




Bill:

My first really good refractor was a TeleVue Pronto and I have since moved on. I would like to have a TV-76, essentially the same scope as the Pronto but it's a true apo with a somewhat larger aperture. It would be hard to justify when I have a very good 80mm William Optics Megrez II FD. I often use the 80mm FD on a Bogen 3040/3047 mounted sidesaddle, good for astro, good for terrestrial.

Jon







Hi Jon. Beautiful view and nice scope. That vista is really something.


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Pentax Syntax
member


Reged: 11/03/12

Loc: Maryland
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5556424 - 12/05/12 09:07 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I often use my SV80 ED deluxe refractor as a 'canary in the mine' to determine sky transparency and/or seeing for planets. Because of its rapid equilibration to ambient temperature its ideally suited for that. Then I decide which (if any) of the 'Big Guns' to drag out. Of course, on many nights, that little refractor does so well, I don't bother with the bigger scopes. Other ideas?




I have a few "grab and go" refractors but the ones I use the most are William Optics 80mm Megrez II FD and a TeleVue NP-101.

From my backyard, I use them as general purpose scopes, enjoying seeing what I can see, some double stars, a planet or two, various deep space objects.. They also double for bird watching.

From a dark sky location, I use them as companions to my larger Newtonians, mostly using them at relatively low magnifications and enjoying the widefield, richest field views they can provide. Sometimes I test my skills by hunting down fainter galaxies and the like that are easy a 12.5 inch or larger scope but are a real challenge in a 3 or 4 inch.

As far as using them to determine the seeing, I think this is counter-productive. If one is going to be using a larger scope that needs real time to cool down to perform it's best, (true of both Maks, SCTs and Newtonians), it is best to get it out there and cooling down before sunset.

Jon





Fair enough Jon about the cool down issue. The main reason I take the little refractor out is to check seeing for the 120mm F11 achromatic refractor I have. Its great on planets but a bear to set up and usually not worth except when seeing is excellent.

John


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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5556441 - 12/05/12 09:16 PM

Wow, what a picture. And look at that (almost) clear sky.

Bill

Edited by la200o (12/05/12 09:16 PM)


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terraclarke
Post Laureate
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Reged: 05/29/12

Loc: Just South of the Mason-Dixon ...
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: la200o]
      #5561029 - 12/08/12 03:06 PM

On the deck it's been a toss up between the SV80/9D on a Televue panoramic mount and my AT72ED on a Vixen Portamount. However my "new" Unitron model 114 60mm altaz with Unihex is a game changer. It's out the door and observing within a couple of minutes with either of these.

Edited by terraclarke (12/08/12 03:13 PM)


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KWB
Postmaster
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Reged: 09/30/06

Loc: Westminster,Co Elev.5400 feet
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Pentax Syntax]
      #5561051 - 12/08/12 03:19 PM

Quote:

Of course, on many nights, that little refractor does so well, I don't bother with the bigger scopes. Other ideas?



Hello and welcome,John

That's a pretty good idea from my standpoint,being an observer that does most of it from my suburban backyard. I enjoy using this type telescope for it's ease of use and focus on what it is capable of showing,as opposed to what it can't.

Enjoy!


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tomharri
sage
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: USA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: KWB]
      #5562069 - 12/09/12 09:39 AM Attachment (44 downloads)

I don't. Have come to the conclusion- If you don't have 8", you are wasteing your time. This f/5 is easy to rollout, remove caps, and in 15-20 minutes the mirrors have reached thermal equilibrium, and you are ready to go! More light grasp and resolution than a 4" refractor at any price.

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Mr Onions
Two Time International Photographical Competition Winner
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Reged: 04/14/07

Loc: Newcastle upon Tyne.
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: tomharri]
      #5562233 - 12/09/12 11:21 AM

So someone with 7" astro-physics or APM is wasting their time?
My friend Antony from Scotland recently observed 8 bands on Jupiter with a 60mm Swift refractor.
Was he wasting his time?


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tomharri
sage
*****

Reged: 09/19/08

Loc: USA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Mr Onions]
      #5562314 - 12/09/12 11:58 AM

For grab and go, large refractors are not, and 60mm's, well what can you say.....that is why we bought other scopes.

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Tamiji Homma
Post Laureate
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Reged: 02/24/07

Loc: California, USA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Pentax Syntax]
      #5562392 - 12/09/12 12:39 PM

Here is my grab-n-go setup (82mm f/5.5 twin refractors on Half Hitch mount/carbon fiber tripod) to backyard.

I take a whole thing (27lb), walk out to backyard and a few more eyepieces in my pocket. It is 30 seconds or less to start observing.



It has been foggy, visibility 100 meters

Tammy


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prestonrich
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/01/07

Loc: Washington DC Mayland suburbs
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Tamiji Homma]
      #5562755 - 12/09/12 04:41 PM

C5 on a half-hitch mount and BIPH. Pretty much does it all.

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: tomharri]
      #5563549 - 12/10/12 04:19 AM

Quote:

I don't. Have come to the conclusion- If you don't have 8", you are wasteing your time. This f/5 is easy to rollout, remove caps, and in 15-20 minutes the mirrors have reached thermal equilibrium, and you are ready to go! More light grasp and resolution than a 4" refractor at any price.




Humm... mirrors reach thermal equilibrium in 15-20 minutes... An 8 inch scope supports 400x when the seeing is stable, even more on double stars. Even with a fan running, I have never experienced an 8 inch Newtonian that would provide a clean star test at 400x after 20 minutes of cooling down.

One can always make the argument that a larger scope is still "grab and go" and that the greater aperture provides more light grasp and more resolution... I can have my 16 inch F/4.42 up and running is less time than my 8 inch F/5 and it clearly has more light grasp and potentially more resolution... But..

This idea that one is "wasting one's time", what is it exactly we are doing? This is a hobby, if one is enjoying the night sky, that is what is counts. You might be "wasting your time with an 8 inch", I am not "wasting my time" with any scope, I am doing exactly what I want to be doing.

Jon


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droid
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5563708 - 12/10/12 08:20 AM

My grab and go is my 60x700 Widger scope. Living in a light polluted sky on most of the hurry up and view nights limits me to brighter objects anyways.
That said the 60x700 on nights of good seeing shows me galaxys, star clusters , the ring nebula, and nebula.
Planets when available, the sun with the filter on, and the moon is awesome.
Granted the 16 inch will blow the 60 out of the water on trips to dark sky sites.
But grab and go for me is seeing whats available after work, or on those times when driving to a dark sky site isnt possible.


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Garfield
sage
*****

Reged: 02/02/04

Loc: South-Western ON Canada
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: droid]
      #5564189 - 12/10/12 01:24 PM

I'm just in the process of swapping my grab'n go setup (which is my only scope BTW) from an Orion 102ED to a new-to-me SV90TBV (flourite version expected by the end of the week). It will be used only in binoviewer mode (Baader Maxbright w/o corrector) mounted on Tak-teegul alt-az and Gitzo tripod that is permanently set up in my study, ready to be quickly trotted out the door for those 20 minute sessions when the skies are clear enough. I tried this earlier with an SW 120 Equinox but it was too long to get out the door easily, and was at the upper end of Teegul's capacity. I have to say the little Orion ED worked well, but I had a chance to pick up the Stellarvue for a good price and I liked the fact that it's just a tad shorter but at f7 still provides decent views of solar system objects (which is why I chose the SV over the TMB92). Anything that delivers on quality @100x is good enough for me.

For me, two-eyed viewing is a requirement.

BTW I really like Tammy's setup with the Kowa Highlander, but wish it had 90-degree oculars -- due to light pollution I'm always observing near zenith. APM is also working on a new high-power binoscope which will be interesting to see when it arrives.


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astrogaffer
journeyman


Reged: 11/21/12

Loc: Niagara Region, Ontario, Canad...
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Garfield]
      #5564759 - 12/10/12 07:35 PM

I like the Televue 76 mounted on a dwarfstar on a vanguard carbon fibre tripod. This make a very quick and light grab-n-go for those unplanned sessions involving the planets, star clusters, double stars and brighter galaxies and nebulae. This is my most used setup just due to the convenience. It matches well with most of the opportunities as they come up with the weather and moon phases, often on week nights when observing time is at a premium.

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StarStuff1
Post Laureate
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Reged: 04/01/07

Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: astrogaffer]
      #5565455 - 12/11/12 06:50 AM Attachment (30 downloads)

Ultimate refractor Grab 'n' Go. Combine with a Gen III image intensifier eyepiece (IIE) and let the fun begin!

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HandyAndy
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 01/11/08

Loc: West Midlands and around
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #5566387 - 12/11/12 06:10 PM

I now use the Opticstar AR80S as my travel grab and go scope as its too heavy for its intended use as a guide scope on a cut down Rank builders level.

I have a TSFlat2 and a SH 2" Diagonal with front filter threads it screws into.

The focal plane of a 24mm Hyperion in 2" mode with Skywatcher Sodium Filter on is just a few mm above the back of the diagonal. At the 109-112mm back focus on the TSFlat2. My friend turned a bit off the diagonal output end so the Hyperion could reach down far enough.

The combination works very well with colour free stars and its just eyepiece curvature degradation at the edge, easily focused out.

It seems to work with other eyepieces as well. With a 40mm TMB Paragon its got a wider field than the 7x50 RACI finder.

Also just got a SH WO 7.5-22.5 zoom for daylight birding.

All in the bag the 80mm came in. And I keep a cheap manual EQ5 mount, with fold out legs, in the car for it.

All a bit serendipitous.


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nirvanix
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: Saskatoon, SK
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: HandyAndy]
      #5566536 - 12/11/12 08:20 PM

Stuffed my Orion 100 f6 frac and a video tripod in my backpack and travelled through southeast Asia. What a hoot to show people who have never even seen a telescope (let alone look through one) the moon and Saturn. By the way in Thailand they call the Pleiades 'The Seven Chickens' - it's a very food-centric culture.

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walt99
super member
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Reged: 08/23/08

Loc: Kentucky
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #5567215 - 12/12/12 09:31 AM Attachment (21 downloads)

40 mm hydrogen alpha solarscope piggybacked on 80 mm f12 achromatic refractor with a white light solar filter . The sun was ringed with prominence yesterday , tho no sunspots were visible . It's cold . I can stay inside and watch . . .

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Red Shift
super member


Reged: 11/09/11

Loc: Bloomfield, New Jersey, USA
Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: tomharri]
      #5571313 - 12/14/12 06:42 PM

Quote:

I don't. Have come to the conclusion- If you don't have 8", you are wasteing your time. This f/5 is easy to rollout, remove caps, and in 15-20 minutes the mirrors have reached thermal equilibrium, and you are ready to go! More light grasp and resolution than a 4" refractor at any price.




Your KEYWORD is "Rollout".
Not everyone has a physical situation like yours.
Some of us have "CARRYOUT" - down stairs, etc

AND

Some of your fellow Astronomers ( amateur or professional )
are HANDICAPPED as well.

As the owner of an 8" F/6 DOB I agree with your assessment of light grasp. As a recent above-the-knee amputee that has to carry a scope down a set of stairs, I don't agree with your assessment regarding portability versus the pleasures of transporting & viewing thru a smaller instrument.


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FirstSightModerator
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Re: How do you use your Grab and Go Refractor? new [Re: Red Shift]
      #5572238 - 12/15/12 09:36 AM

My grab n'go is an NP101 I often keep set up in the garage, where I also keep my 12" dob reflector ready-to-go but for collimation and rolling out on a hand-cart. So the difference in set-up times is the extra 5 minutes to check and adjust collimation on the dob, plus sometimes I need to hook up the battery to the fan on the dob if the garage temp and outside ambient temps differ. OTOH with the NP101 there's the essential step of leveling the tripod since my driveway has a very gradual, variable slope to it, just enough to make it prudent to remove any risk the tripod might tip over if not leveled. With my OCD that takes two or three minutes to get that bubble on top *exactly* centered.

So for my particular circumstances, net the grab n'go differential is less than five minutes between the NP101 and the 12" reflector. Even so, for home driveway observing sessions, I'll pick the NP101 four out of five times.


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