My list of refractors used and owned:
Sears and Roebuck 60mm f/11.7, my first telescope; the one that introduced me to the wonders of the night sky. My father helped me locate Saturn on that inaugural Christmas night. As a consequence the ringed planet will forever be my favorite sight through any telescope. I love reproducing the excitement I experienced that first night out for others at Outreach events. I used it extensively to observe the moon, sun, planets, and brighter deep-sky objects from elementary through high school.
Orion ED80mm f/7.5, my return to refractors after many years owning and using other designs. I was in awe of the whispy detail visible in M42 from my back yard (red zone). I especially enjoyed low power views of open star clusters with this scope. This now serves as one of my Outreach loaner scopes.
Televue 85mm f/7, often seen riding tandem with one of my larger scopes as it is used as a finder with a 24mm Panoptic eyepiece. However, I have also spent many nights exclusively with this scope touring Sagittarius and other parts of the Milky Way; visiting a number of my favorite open clusters.
Orion ED100mm f/9. Another fine example of Orion's ED lineup. It was a great planetary performer, however, the spacers protruded into the FOV causing a star test that I decided was objectionable. I returned it.
Televue 102 f/8.6, my current 4" grab-and-go for Outreach events. This ED scope is a great lunar, planetary, and white-light solar performer.
SkyWatcher 120ED f7.5, another fine example of the contribution China has made to bring low-cost and reasonably good quality optics to our hobby at a reasonable price-point. The focuser was a weak point and I soon replaced it with a Moonlite unit. It is my favorite instrument to pair up with a Herschel Wedge for a detailed view of Sunspots in white-light on an active solar day.
Our club owns 6" f/15 OTA, one of several instruments built by a talented group of Junior members in the late 1960s, using an Alvan Clark & Sons lens made in 1884. This classical achromat is a true performer on planets and double stars. Saturn and Jupiter are spectacular objects to see on a night of exceptional seeing. Double Stars are easily split. It is a fine example of the skills this early American instrument maker possessed.
Astro-Physics 178mm f/9 air-spaced APO. This is my personal "bucket-list" scope; probably the largest aperture refractor I would ever care to setup solo. I have thoroughly enjoyed the detailed views of the lunar surface and sun-spots through a Herschel Wedge. Planets are what this scope was made for - Jupiter and Saturn are always a treat. Uranus and Neptune show vivid color. Double Stars - especially colored doubles are sweet, Carbon Stars, etc. With the assistance of a Lumicon O-III and UHC filters I spent a productive night in the back yard picking off a large number of Planetary Nebulae. This is the best refractive instrument I have owned or used, and it is a magnet at Public Outreach observing events.
3RF Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus, a local science-based outreach facility, owns a 15" f/12 D&G achromatic refractor (mentioned elsewhere here on CN). It is the largest aperture refractor I have had the privilege of using. Though its relatively short focal length (for an achromat) contributes to some noticaable chromatic aberration on brighter objects, this telescope is a wonderful visual performer for deep-sky targets, e.g. Globular Clusters, Galaxies, Planetary Nebulae, as well as Colored Doubles and Carbon Stars. This is the centerpiece instrument for Education and Public Outreach activity at 3RF and I highly encourage you to stop in and use it if you are ever in the area.
Edited by GaryJCarter, 12 November 2016 - 10:32 AM.