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Vintage AP Scopes

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#176 Richard Whalen

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 01:44 PM

Can anyone tell me the optical design of the old 6" f8 scopes and if they were pretty much all the same?



#177 Starman81

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 02:44 PM

 

The 10" f/14 AP refractor on Byers Series III Mount! At the Sherzer Observatory (Eastern Michigan University). WOW! Biggest refractor I have ever seen and was shocked to hear it is an AP. 

Wow, this must be the one..maybe.

 

Back in the the mid 80's, Roland told me (yes, he would actually talk to his customers on the phone then) that he had made a 10" F12-ish scope for someone up in Michigan, a doctor as I recall but that could be wrong or maybe a PHD or maybe the scope was later donated.  But he said he'd never do that again as it was a brute, heavy and requiring great physical effort to polish it.

 

I've always been trying to track it down as I'm not too far away, an easy day trip.  I'm going to have to pay a visit!

 

Thanks!!

 

Jeff

 

EMU's Observatory Director did mention that Roland nearly disavows the 10 inch'ers because they were so hard to make and that he was never going to make them again!

 

About visitation... On clear Mon/Tue/Weds in the winter months they have public observing nights and then something like twice a month during the summer months. So, if you plan accordingly you could not just look at the scope but through it as well. I only observed daytime (solar), but I will plan on it on a clear night of above average seeing for some night time observing, hopefully Jupiter and Saturn and some close doubles.

 

 

That 10" f/14 AP refractor is a BIG telescope.

 

The tube alone is at least 11.6ft long .. you need a BIG dome

 

Certainly an observatory class instrument. waytogo.gif

 

I would say maybe 13-14 (?) feet with the dew shield included. Using the length of the AP 102 you could probably get an even closer estimate. 



#178 Dan /schechter

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 03:37 PM

 

Bob,
 
I disagree: the "magic" of an AP is the lens. If a Vernonscope 94 has an AP lens, it is certainly an AP IMHO.
Peter B.

The Brandon was conceived and designed by Vernonscope so they are the ones that get the blame or the fame for the product not the contractors. Vernonscope contracted out for the optics just like Takahashi, Questar, and Unitron. The Brandon was marketed and sold by Vernonscope. Just like Takahashi, Questar, and Unitron market their scopes. There is no difference. The “magic” of Takahashi refractors and Quester are also in their optics but Takahashi or Questar do not produce the optics for their scopes. Takahashi uses Canon optics (that are just as “magical” as AP) but no one calls a Takahashi a Canon.
 
There is also no way to know to what quality specification Vernonscope required AP to produce those lenses. They might have been produced below the quality standard that AP offers today. Optic manufactures usually produce to the quality/cost spec of their customer’s requirements.
 
TeleVue, TMB and many others contract out for optics but it is the designer/marketer’s name on the scope NOT the optics manufacturer.
 
The Brandon also uses Unitron mechanicals. Is it then an AP/Unitron? Of course not.
 
It was only much later after the reputation of AP started rising that the manufacture of the optics became of more interest. It’s great and it is historically interesting (this is the classics forum) that the Brandon 94 uses an early AP lens, but the Brandon 94 was the baby of Vernonscope (for better or worse) not Astro-Physics.
 
Bob

 

Hi Bob, Peter, Terra and others,

 

I agree with Bob. However, I do not think it should be called a Brandon94. It should be called a Vernon Scope 94mm f/7. I used to own one of these scopes. The objective label had the aperture wrong but the rest right.  It read "92mm Brandon f/7  Vernon Scope USA"  To me that means made by Vernon Scope using a Brandon design for the objective. I doubt that Chester Brandon ever touched one of the scopes. He sold the patent and design to Don Yeier before they were made. When Baader uses Zeiss designs for their prisms or APM uses TMB designs for telescopes and/or eyepieces, they are not Zeiss' or TMB's.

 

Now, lets consider the AP connection. I again agree with Bob. Roland Christien was contracted to make these objectives for Vernon Scope. I do not know if he used his own design or Brandon's as is hinted in the objective label. It would not have surprised me if Don would have called it a "Roland Christien f/7 Vernon Scope" if Roland's name had given the scope an impression of better quality than Brandon's name at that time. I do know that I was not particularly impressed with the performance of mine which is why I let it go. I know this is only a sample of one, but it is the only one I have ever viewed thru. I own a 105mm Traveler and 6" 155mm f/9 that I purchased from from AP in the early 1990's and they easily out performed my "92mm Brandon".  Again, I want to stress that I am only comparing one "Vernon Scope 92mm" scope. I later obtained a 5" AP f/6 EDT and a 180mm f/9 Starfire and they outperformed it as well. I have had the opportunity to view thru an AP Stowaway ( I think 90mm f/5) and it was outstanding. Is there is a difference between Roland Christien making objectives for Vernon Scope as opposed to making objectives of his own design for Astro-Physics? I would guess so. Only Roland knows for sure. Perhaps if some one on this forum knows Roland well, they can ask him. 

 

My 2 cents,

Dan


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#179 TSSClay

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 09:32 AM

 

The 10" f/14 AP refractor on Byers Series III Mount! At the Sherzer Observatory (Eastern Michigan University). WOW! Biggest refractor I have ever seen and was shocked to hear it is an AP. 

Wow, this must be the one..maybe.

 

Back in the the mid 80's, Roland told me (yes, he would actually talk to his customers on the phone then) that he had made a 10" F12-ish scope for someone up in Michigan, a doctor as I recall but that could be wrong or maybe a PHD or maybe the scope was later donated.  But he said he'd never do that again as it was a brute, heavy and requiring great physical effort to polish it.

 

I've always been trying to track it down as I'm not too far away, an easy day trip.  I'm going to have to pay a visit!

 

Thanks!!

 

Jeff

 

Jeff,

 

This scope was ordered by the Eastern Michigan University Astronomy Department about that time.  The person that actually specified the scope and wrote the order WAS a PHD.  It is pretty easy to get a good hands on visit with the scope.  The observatory Director, Norbert Vance, holds regular public nights with it.  In addition he is usually agreeable to a scheduled visit if you contact him through the University.  Very nice folks - they hosted our local swap meet/astronomy expo last Saturday.  BTW - Green is the school color so that would explain the mount color.  The color is consistent outside the mount and INSIDE so I expect the thing was factory painted by Mr. Byers the school color.

 

I know that Norb has the all the correspondence and paperwork from when these were ordered - a neat historical archive.

 

Clay


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#180 Jeff B

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 10:45 AM

Clay:

 

Ok, things are starting to fall into place.  I believe my specific conversation with Roland was maybe 1986 or 1987 as I was still in my first house.  The context of the conversation was concerning the color correction of my 5" F6, 5" F8 and one-off 7" F15 lenses.   Roland mentioned the 10" up in Michigan.  He said while the color correction was slightly better than of the F6 and similar to that of the F8, at the eyepiece, it would look noticeably more color free and a bit sharper than either scope and similar to the 7" F15.  That was because spherochromatism and other "junk", which bloated out the red and the blue a bit in the smaller scopes, especially the F6 was now considerably reduced, just like in the 7" F15.  This was Greek to me at the time but I wrote it down and studied it a bit.

 

Also, as I recall, the 10" used the "NASA" glass as the boules associated with that glass permitted blanks of that size.  This was right before Roland came out with the Starfire design (which I believe was in like maybe 1988 or 89 as I got one of his first 5" F8 lenses).  And this is when he mentioned that the lens was a real PIA to make. 

 

I imagine the 4" Starfire was added later but it also looks like the OTA for the big boy was upgrade at one point as well as the lens cell looks a lot like that of my Starfires from the late 80's.  

 

Yes, I will certainly make contact and get up there when the Moon and Jupiter are well place together, if not before then.  Those two should be quite a treat in the big guy!

 

Thanks and major cool.

 

Jeff

 

BTW, any intel on if Roland made anything bigger or the number of 10" lenses he made.

 

Jeff


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#181 TSSClay

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 11:15 AM

Jeff,

 

I don't know if this helps but I took a few shots last summer.  It looks like this is designated a "Starfire".

 

AP 10inch cell.jpg

 

I do not know of any other 10" or bigger refractors from AP.

 

Clay


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#182 Don W

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 01:31 PM

I remember him bringing a 10" to Astrofest one year back in the 90s. Not sure if it's the same one. The views of Jupiter and Saturn were just amazing. The sky background was like black velvet. The detail was incredible!



#183 Jeff B

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:51 PM

So it is a Starfire!  Now that's interesting.  Maybe it's not the one Roland was mentioning...or maybe it is.  

 

But it does not matter as I'll be up for a visit anyway!  grin.gif

 

Thanks!

 

Jeff



#184 TSSClay

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 06:11 PM

Give me a heads up when you are going to be in the area.  If I can I will head on in to say HI.

 

Clay



#185 Scott99

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 08:13 PM

Jeff,

 

I don't know if this helps but I took a few shots last summer.  It looks like this is designated a "Starfire".

 

attachicon.gifAP 10inch cell.jpg

 

I do not know of any other 10" or bigger refractors from AP.

 

Clay

Wow, thanks, that is amazing!  Definitely worth a trip, would be a thrill to see that scope.  Not sure if it's already been mentioned in this thread but I believe RC also made a 10-inch tri-space refractor for a local astronomy club in IL that is still in their dome.  someone correct me if I'm off on the details....


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#186 Aleko

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 09:49 PM

 

Jeff,

 

I don't know if this helps but I took a few shots last summer.  It looks like this is designated a "Starfire".

 

attachicon.gifAP 10inch cell.jpg

 

I do not know of any other 10" or bigger refractors from AP.

 

Clay

Wow, thanks, that is amazing!  Definitely worth a trip, would be a thrill to see that scope.  Not sure if it's already been mentioned in this thread but I believe RC also made a 10-inch tri-space refractor for a local astronomy club in IL that is still in their dome.  someone correct me if I'm off on the details....

 

 

 

I assume you're talking about the 10-inch of the Rockford Amateur Astronomers at Lockwood Park. I almost got to look through it last year. It was open house night, the sky was clear, and I was back in my hometown for the weekend. Sadly, of all things, the dome itself failed that night, so no viewing. :-(.   Maybe next time!

 

Alex


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#187 blind astronomer

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:53 PM

Can anyone tell me the optical design of the old 6" f8 scopes and if they were pretty much all the same?

 6" f8 scopes are crown flint crown oil spaced triplets and as far as I know are all the same. They were replaced by the 6" f9 in 1987. These second generation scopes are crown flint flint oil spaced triplets.



#188 TG

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 03:32 PM

 

Can anyone tell me the optical design of the old 6" f8 scopes and if they were pretty much all the same?

 6" f8 scopes are crown flint crown oil spaced triplets and as far as I know are all the same. They were replaced by the 6" f9 in 1987. These second generation scopes are crown flint flint oil spaced triplets.

 

Roland has never publicly disclosed the designs following his original writeup in S&T, as far as I know. Do you have a source for the crown-flint-flint design? Thomas Back hints that the later StarFire (pre-ED) design used two abnormal dispersion glasses and owning a sample, I'd love to know more.

 

Tanveer.


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#189 Jeff B

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 04:05 PM

 

Jeff,

 

I don't know if this helps but I took a few shots last summer.  It looks like this is designated a "Starfire".

 

attachicon.gifAP 10inch cell.jpg

 

I do not know of any other 10" or bigger refractors from AP.

 

Clay

Wow, thanks, that is amazing!  Definitely worth a trip, would be a thrill to see that scope.  Not sure if it's already been mentioned in this thread but I believe RC also made a 10-inch tri-space refractor for a local astronomy club in IL that is still in their dome.  someone correct me if I'm off on the details....

 

Well this IS the internet so you will be corrected even if your 100% spot on with the details. grin.gif

 

Great thread.


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#190 blind astronomer

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:17 AM

 Hi TG, I have a 142mm f7 that I bought a couple of years ago. With the scope, I also got the original bill of sale, which is dated 1986 and AP sales literature for all scopes available at that time. the first 2 scopes to use the second generation lens were the 142mm and the 178mm f9. Word for word the AP literature is "The lens design incorporates 2 special dispersion glasses that are matched to the hard crown front element." It's been a long time since I read the Tom Back article, but I remember he mentioned the center element is a type of flint sometimes referred to as short flint, but no mention as to which type of flint the rear element is. The price list for all the scopes shows 4" f6 and f10 $895, 5" f6 and f8 $1195, 5" f12 $1225, 6" f8 $1440, 6" f12 $1540, 5.6"(142mm) f7 $1850 and 7" f9 $3600. The 5.6" and 7" are the only 2 referred to as Starfires.   

 I know for sure that sometime in 1987 the 4", 5"and 6" scopes changed over to the new lens with the f ratio changing for some. The 4" was no longer f6 and f10 but f8 only. The 5" remained f8 and f12, but the f6 was discontinued. The 6" f8 changed to f9 and the f12 was still available. 

 This was the lineup until the EDT scopes replaced them in 1990, although the first ED scopes AP offered were the Star12 (I believe starting production in 1988) and the super rare 152mm f7.5 which is a triplet not a doublet like the Star12.

 I hope this is info helps, my brain hurts from trying to remember all this.


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#191 R Botero

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:40 PM

This was the lineup until the EDT scopes replaced them in 1990, although the first ED scopes AP offered were the Star12 (I believe starting production in 1988) and the super rare 152mm f7.5 which is a triplet not a doublet like the Star12.
I hope this is info helps, my brain hurts from trying to remember all this.


:waytogo: 152mm f7.5 still going :cool:

get.jpg
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#192 TG

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 06:07 PM

 Hi TG, I have a 142mm f7 that I bought a couple of years ago. With the scope, I also got the original bill of sale, which is dated 1986 and AP sales literature for all scopes available at that time. the first 2 scopes to use the second generation lens were the 142mm and the 178mm f9. Word for word the AP literature is "The lens design incorporates 2 special dispersion glasses that are matched to the hard crown front element." It's been a long time since I read the Tom Back article, but I remember he mentioned the center element is a type of flint sometimes referred to as short flint, but no mention as to which type of flint the rear element is. The price list for all the scopes shows 4" f6 and f10 $895, 5" f6 and f8 $1195, 5" f12 $1225, 6" f8 $1440, 6" f12 $1540, 5.6"(142mm) f7 $1850 and 7" f9 $3600. The 5.6" and 7" are the only 2 referred to as Starfires.   

 I know for sure that sometime in 1987 the 4", 5"and 6" scopes changed over to the new lens with the f ratio changing for some. The 4" was no longer f6 and f10 but f8 only. The 5" remained f8 and f12, but the f6 was discontinued. The 6" f8 changed to f9 and the f12 was still available. 

 This was the lineup until the EDT scopes replaced them in 1990, although the first ED scopes AP offered were the Star12 (I believe starting production in 1988) and the super rare 152mm f7.5 which is a triplet not a doublet like the Star12.

 I hope this is info helps, my brain hurts from trying to remember all this.

Thanks for the info, blind astronomer. I have the 178mm f/9 and I'm perpetually curious about its lens design. I guess I'm too intimidated to actually ask Roland for the design but I wish A-P would just publish their designs like, e.g., Takahashi has here:

 

https://www.cloudyni...rehl/?p=7444973

 

I put in the above numbers into OSLO and it's a terrific design. Would be great to have similar info for my A-P.

 

Tanveer.



#193 Jeff B

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:28 PM

Tanveer, try BK7/KzFSN4/BaF13 for the glass types, null in green.


Edited by Jeff B, 22 March 2017 - 09:31 PM.


#194 starman876

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:56 PM

http://www.csun.edu/...n/tmb/tmb1.html

 

I thught everyone had read this about AP scopes.



#195 TG

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:55 PM

Tanveer, try BK7/KzFSN4/BaF13 for the glass types, null in green.

 

Jeff, wasn't this the followup to the "NASA glass" triplet but before the StarFire (non-ED) series?



#196 blind astronomer

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 12:40 AM

 Hey TG, me again, even if you never find out the exact design, the most important thing is that you have it, you use it and you like it.



#197 Jeff B

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 09:09 AM

 

Tanveer, try BK7/KzFSN4/BaF13 for the glass types, null in green.

 

Jeff, wasn't this the followup to the "NASA glass" triplet but before the StarFire (non-ED) series?

 

Well that's what Roger Ceragioli recalled to me for the 6" F9 StarFires.  I got a busted 6" F9 StarFire lens from him sometime ago that he reworked.   He figured out the glass types, got a new center element and he reworked it to F10.  I picked it up from Roger several years later. Roland tweaked it up a few years ago  (I lost touch with Roger 7-8 years ago).  It performs really well and, one of these days, I'm going to do a side-by-side comparison with my stock 6" F9 Starfire (which was also serviced by Roland about 5-6 years ago).

 

I don't know if the 7" F9 used glass types that differed from the 6".  I LOVE my 7" F9

 

Jeff


Edited by Jeff B, 23 March 2017 - 09:11 AM.


#198 TG

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 01:51 PM

 

I LOVE my 7" F9

 

Me too! I just weighed my 7" f/9 with a luggage spring scale (it's very accurate, "calibrated" against airport check-in scales). It was a mere 28lbs without the dew-shield. And it has a modern A-P focuser and D&G back-plate. Simple aluminium pipe compared so fancy-shmancy CNC milled tubes has something to say for it. I think about half the weight comes from the lens with its two flints but it's still a great one-man package.

 

Btw, the dew-shield has to be Roland's worst idea ever. It makes the scope look good in photos but is an absolute disaster waiting to happen. The threads are hard to catch when screwing on and when unscrewing, it comes off suddenly, its heavy weight increasing the chances of hitting the lens. I never use it and put on an AstroZap dewsheild made for MN66, which is more thermally efficient anyway.

 

Tanveer.


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#199 TG

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 01:51 PM

 Hey TG, me again, even if you never find out the exact design, the most important thing is that you have it, you use it and you like it.

As a kid, I was notorious for disassembling everything. I just have find out. :grin:



#200 Jeff B

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 02:46 PM

 

 

I LOVE my 7" F9

 

Me too! I just weighed my 7" f/9 with a luggage spring scale (it's very accurate, "calibrated" against airport check-in scales). It was a mere 28lbs without the dew-shield. And it has a modern A-P focuser and D&G back-plate. Simple aluminium pipe compared so fancy-shmancy CNC milled tubes has something to say for it. I think about half the weight comes from the lens with its two flints but it's still a great one-man package.

 

Btw, the dew-shield has to be Roland's worst idea ever. It makes the scope look good in photos but is an absolute disaster waiting to happen. The threads are hard to catch when screwing on and when unscrewing, it comes off suddenly, its heavy weight increasing the chances of hitting the lens. I never use it and put on an AstroZap dewsheild made for MN66, which is more thermally efficient anyway.

 

Tanveer.

 

Hah hah, yup.  I almost never use the stock dew shield.  I too use Astro-Zap wrap on shields for both the 6" & 7" scopes.

 

I did the same with the D&G back plate and 2.7" AP FT equipped focuser.  I also cut the tube back to made it bino-friendly (the AP collectors were storming the gates, pitchforks and torches in hand when they found out about that).   Oops I'd better get the oil up to a boil now that I said that as there will be another wave of collectors up in arms.

 

I can only imagine what the response will be when I refinish the tube and dew shield to corvette white.

 

Jeff 

Attached Thumbnails

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  • 178 F9 B.jpg

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