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Celestron 102GT revisited

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#26 Sarkikos

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 09:21 PM

 

My C80ED gives sharper and more contrasty images of planets, the Moon and double stars.  The improvement is not subtle.

 

Yes, but the C80ED is one of those ultra-high-end, ED thingies.

 

I'm curious, though. Were you able to set both of them up, and do a side by side comparison? I used to own a 4" Vixen/Celestron scope, and yes, Jupiter was a good way to expose the scope's weaknesses.

 

One last thing: I finally broke down and bought a GSO focuser and adapter for the C80ED. It's marked as "out for delivery."

 

No, I never did a side by side comparison.  But I know what to look for when viewing - or trying to view - fine surface features on planets and the Moon.  And I have a good memory for what I've seen.  I had the C4-R for about five years.  It was at least as good as the C102GT, some would say better.

 

Jupiter is a good case in point.  In both my C4-R and my C102GT, the limb of Jupiter and the belts had fuzzy edges due to smearing from CA.  Obviously so.  Also, finer surface detail such as festoons, the smaller belts, and barges and other mottling in the EQ belts were much easier to see and sharper in the C80ED.

 

To my eyes, the Moon just looks better through the C80ED.  Sharper features, better perceived contrast.  Especially when looking at features away from the terminator, the C80ED shows the lunar features with better contrast.  

 

The better images for Jupiter and the Moon were obvious to me the first time I looked at those objects through the C80ED.  It just is.

 

Yep, the GSO Crayford and adapter is an excellent upgrade for the C80ED.  I remember that the adapter was out of stock for many years.  When they finally came back, I grabbed one up fast!

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 24 July 2017 - 09:24 PM.

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#27 droid

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 01:59 AM

Never looked though a C80ED. But we are discussing apples to oranges, lol

 

Not sure ,but didn't they sell for like 360 dollars?

 

80 VS 102 ?

 

Were these achros ? or apos? 



#28 james7ca

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 03:57 AM

I read somewhere that the 102GT only has 97mm of clear aperture.

I think even that may be generous. If you look down the tube on my 102GT the first thing you see is a several millimeter thick ring immediately behind the objective. The inside diameter of the optical tube is 96.6mm and this plastic ring that appears to be part of the cell that holds (or positions) the objective looks to be a few millimeters smaller than that. However, the lens may make the ring appear to be thicker than its true physical diameter and the marginal rays that exit the back of the objective are going to be refracted to a slightly smaller diameter than the front aperture of the lens (before the latter is further restricted by this plastic stop).

 

I'd guess that the true clear aperture is closer to 92mm or 94mm, which would seem to agree with what user Sarkikos mentioned when he said, "Will the 12mm additional aperture allow the C102GT to go deeper for deep sky than the C80ED?" Thus, what he wrote may or may not be a typo (i.e. should it be 22mm or 12mm larger than an 80mm -- it may in fact be closer to 12mm).

 

Let's be generous and assume 94mm. Given the 1000mm focal length that means the 102GT is most likely closer to being a 94mm f/10.6 rather than a 102mm f/9.8.

 

Now add that you probably want to replace the stock mounting rail with a set of rings and you MAY also want to replace the focuser and what initially cost $60 could end up being closer to $290 (your decision, obviously, as to whether to upgrade or not). Of course, upgrading to something like a GSO dual-speed linear focuser ($185) is going to result in a focuser that is much better than what you'll get on most other low-end scopes so still not a bad deal but in the latter configuration perhaps not a really tremendous bargain.



#29 droid

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 05:13 AM

I personally didn't upgrade anything on mine, I bought it used and the original mounting rail was already removed.

 

I already had rings and a Polaris mount on hand, I did take the focuser apart ,clean and relube. Then I reshimmed it.

 

No muss , no fuss...as it were.

 

Now if it bouight just the OTA and had to purchase everything else, yeah it would be more expensive.



#30 Sarkikos

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 05:21 AM

Don't you mean 22mm difference?

 

Yes, that is exactly what I meant.  Thanks.  I've corrected the typo.

 

The C80ED is so much sharper and more contrasty than the C102, without an obvious reduction in light grasp, so it seems like only a 12mm difference.

 

But after reading James7ca's post, maybe it's only a 12mm difference after all.

 

grin.gif

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 25 July 2017 - 05:44 AM.


#31 Sarkikos

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 05:28 AM

Never looked though a C80ED. But we are discussing apples to oranges, lol

 

Not sure ,but didn't they sell for like 360 dollars?

 

80 VS 102 ?

 

Were these achros ? or apos? 

Well, they are both smallish aperture refractors.  So more like McIntosh's to Granny Smith's.  wink.gif

 

But the question was asked, "How many still love and use them?"  So I answered the question and gave reasons why I don't use my C102GT any more.  The C80ED was my prime reason.

 

On the other hand, when I got back into astronomy in 2007 after a long hiatus, the first telescope I bought at that time was a C4-R, an older version of the C102.  For several years, I enjoyed that scope for observing planets, the Moon, bright DSO and double stars.  But even from the first, I knew that the image of Jupiter was not so good due to CA.  Apparently Jupiter is a good observational test for CA, as well as bright stars like Sirius and Vega.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 25 July 2017 - 05:52 AM.

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#32 james7ca

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 05:43 AM

I've done some searching and reading to try and find the true, clear aperture on the 102GT and it seems that the numbers vary from 97mm to just over 100mm. I think those two numbers come from the inside diameter measurements at the front of the objective (at the lens cell or where the dew shield finally mates to the optical tube) and from the inside diameter (I.D.) of the optical tube (which is apparently 96.6mm).

 

However, the rear of the lens cell on my 102GT isn't as wide as the tube, so the 97mm estimate may be wrong for several reasons. It could be that the opening at the front of the lens (which has been measured at 100.6mm) is the true clear aperture (it certainly couldn't be larger than that),  but like I've mentioned it seems that the rear of the lens cell is definitely smaller than 97mm and without knowing where the physical center of the lens is (optically) and without knowing how far that that center is from the rear of the lens cell I can't really tell how much that smaller-than 97mm opening affects the true aperture of the lens. The true aperture could be a few millimeters smaller than 97mm or it could be that it does not restrict the marginal rays at all and thus the aperture could be the 100mm that was measured at the front of the lens.

 

One test that I may try is to shine a laser pointer down the edge of the lens and see if any part of that ray hits the plastic stop that seems to be right behind the objective (and which is obviously smaller than the I.D. of the optical tube, so less than 97mm). 

 

[UPDATE]

I did the laser point test and it seems that the marginal rays are pretty close to the smaller inside diameter at the rear of the lens cell. What this means is that the full 100mm front aperture seems to mostly clear the rear of the lens cell, certainly within a few millimeters either way. So, I'd say the clear aperture is between 100mm and 96mm, perhaps not as "bad" as I originally guessed.

[/UPDATE]


Edited by james7ca, 25 July 2017 - 07:01 AM.

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#33 REC

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 10:35 AM

I'll have to compare the 80ED with the 102 side by side on Jupiter and Saturn the next time out. I do use a filter to help with the CA. Also when comparing a f/600 to a f/1000, seeing may come into play with planets?

 

With my C102 and a ES 6.7m I get 150x which is about the highest I can go on most nights from where I observe.

 

Withe the C80ED and the same EP, I get 90x, which is quite a difference in magnification. I tried a 5mm ED eyepice with 60* FOV for 125x, but wasn't to happy with the results and eye relief. I suppose I could try a more expensive 5mm ish EP, but I'm done with buying anymore eyepieces.  Don't like using more glass from a barlow.

 

For me, the other consideration for the C102, is being able to use my binoviewer with it. With the C80ED, I have to use a 2x barlow to get to focus and now we are talking about an f/1200mm scope.

 

As said, to each their own:)



#34 Sarkikos

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 11:53 AM

Yes, I saw for myself that the C102GT can be used directly with a binoviewer, without a Barlow or OC.  The C80ED needs a Barlow or OC to binoview, even with the GSO Crayford upgrade.  Unless you want to cut the tube.  I don't want to cut the tube.

 

But I only binoview planets and the Moon, not deep sky.  IME & IMO the C80ED is a much better planet/lunar scope than the C102GT.   However for me the point is moot, since I only bother to binoview planet/lunar through my 10" Dob.

 

Over the years, I've tried various VR filters on the C4-R and then the C102GT.  They never gave me a satisfactory improvement for planet/lunar.  I don't like a harsh yellow Jupiter.  For planet/lunar, I prefer a telescope which has zero or very little CA out-of-the-box:  Newt, ED/APO or Cat.  I see the difference.

 

My telescope that comes closest to the color correction and light grasp of the C80ED is my A80MF f/11.4 achromat.  But even at f/11.4 the A80MF doesn't quite match a C80ED, though it gets close.  And of course the long achro is more awkward to take out of the house, mount, and use.  

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 25 July 2017 - 11:55 AM.

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#35 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 01:51 PM

Never looked though a C80ED. But we are discussing apples to oranges, lol

 

Not sure ,but didn't they sell for like 360 dollars?

 

80 VS 102 ?

 

Were these achros ? or apos? 

The C80ED did indeed sell for $360 with free shipping (nice out to Hawaii). The objective is a doublet using FPL53 glass (the C102 is an achromat at around f10). The bizzaro clamp, massive focuser casting, along with the ultra-thick (and rather short) dew shield makes for a weird looking scope. Still, there is no denying its optical excellence.

 

People do various upgrades. The first thing I did was replace the tube clamp with some decent rings and a Vixen style rail. The finder eventually got replaced by a Baader red dot. The focuser isn't bad, but when the optics easily carry you to 200x, a fine focus knob is a good thing to have. I just installed the basic GSO two speed.

 

So now I have a rather more conventional looking 80mm, ED refractor that easily delivers on all of its potential. The C102 is an achromat that's a little too short for top performance. I had the Vixen version, which was far less cheaply built that the current version. If I had to choose between the Vixen version and the C80ED, I would choose the C80ED every time.


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#36 AlphaGJohn

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 12:15 AM

Based on this complex formula: Enjoyment / Cost, my C102GT OTA has been a great value for me. As far as how much I've enjoyed my telescopes throughout my life, I would rank it second only to the used, homemade (not very well made, actually) 6" Newtonian reflector that my parents bought me when I was a kid and first astronomy mad--at least for night viewing. I've enjoyed my Lunt Ha solar scope tremendously and definitely used it more regularly than anything else I've ever owned.

 

I bought my C102 from a fellow CNer who'd already upgraded it with a 2-speed GSO focuser and equipped it with rings and a decently long dovetail. Of course, it cost somewhat more than the $59 close-out price, but it has been well worth it. I mostly use it on my CG4 mount and it works very well. I've used it at star and sun parties (with the Thousand Oaks filter I bought). And on one memorable night at a great dark sky site in Southern Utah, with the C102 mounted on my iEQ45, I saw more fun objects in a few hours than I've ever seen in one night, before or since.

 

I now have the Baader Semi-apo filter and use it all the time (except when solar viewing). Although you can see some yellow tint on the moon, it doesn't bother me, and Jupiter looks great to me. The other night, the GRS was easy to see at 80 power, I still see Jupiter as pale yellow with plenty of contrast in the banding colors. Viewing Saturn, just now at about 125x, from my back yard (not great seeing and lots of light pollution), I could see banding on the planet and the Cassini Division w/o difficulty. Absolutely no problem distinguishing the very pale yellowish planet from the white, white rings. I've seen more moons than Titan on multiple occasions, but not tonight--need darker skies. At any rate, if was fun to get home late in the evening and still have time for some quick views because of how easy the scope sets up.

 

I have opportunities to view through other people's larger diameter, better color-corrected scopes frequently, but for a quick view in the back yard, the C102 is a pleasure. Might I enjoy a well-corrected 80mm scope more (or a 90 or 100 mm)? Maybe so, but I have the C102 and it does very well. Some day it might be fun to upgrade, but I have no plans for the coming year or so, at least.

 

I do have a larger-diameter, better-corrected refractor en route--should be here tomorrow! (And no, the weather was not my fault: it was already bad before I even sealed the deal, fellow Utahns!) But for the kind of quick view I just barely had time for this evening, I expect to continue to enjoy the C102. The larger scope is not going to approach grab-n-go even though I expect to use it a lot too.

 

If you enjoy your C102, I think that's great! I know I do.

 

John


Edited by AlphaGJohn, 26 July 2017 - 12:15 AM.

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#37 droid

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 05:39 AM

Here's mine, the finder is borrowed from my dob ,so many scopes, so few finders....lol

 

 

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#38 droid

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 10:57 PM

After all the threads Ive seen on these scopes I think there are a few take away, IMO, 

 

First, for a poor astronomer who cant afford several hundred dollars, these scopes are a awesome deal, or at least were, still occasionally available used.

 

secondly- while possibly not the best scopes in the world ,are very capable and far better than what's frequently available in the 100 dollar market.

 

lastly while it is true that " if " you have to buy rings and mount ,etc  the price goes up, the same could be true for any OTA purchased used or new with out these add ons 

 

After reading post regarding the lens cell stopping it down , I took mine apart and checked, mines right at 100mm, so true I lost 2mm, lol.

 

So I wondered , could I buy a " better " scope for 100 dollars, I haven't found any.

 

I was lucky, I already had all the add on bits an pieces, and I was already well on my way to newer wide angle lenses , that give the 102GT a new look on life.

 

To each his own , to all those who still have there's  and use them , my hats off to you. To the multitude who have upgraded to better scopes, my hats off to yall as well. 

 

Amateur astronomers are one big happy family as we should be.


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#39 droid

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 11:33 PM

Here is an interesting read

 

https://www.astronom...elescope_t.aspx



#40 gunfighter48

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 02:24 AM

I used mine for about a year. I upgraded the focuser to a GSO and it made it a joy to use. I gave it to my adult grandson along with a bunch of wide FOV eyepieces and a Twilight l mount. He has used it a few times and loves it also. I wound up getting a ES 102APO to replace it. I still have one of the GT102s in the box. Bought it as an extra when they were on sale for $69.00. Came with the focuser and eyepiece holder. Now it just sits in my closet.


Edited by gunfighter48, 27 July 2017 - 02:31 AM.


#41 Sarkikos

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 06:41 AM

Here is an interesting read

 

https://www.astronom...elescope_t.aspx

Overall I agree with this article.  There is one idea that I definitely disagree with:

 

Since the Moon and planets are all brightly lit by the Sun, a large light-gathering capacity is not as important as high magnification within the solar system. The relatively small aperture of a refractor therefore often has an advantage over a larger reflector-type scope for this kind of observing, as there is less glare from a larger scope's brightly lit planetary surfaces to wash out faint detail.

 

The concept of "glare" in a larger aperture "washing out faint detail" is erroneous.  Both the greater light grasp and greater resolution of a larger aperture will allow finer surface detail to be seen on planets and the Moon.  IMO & IME, any observer who complains about "glare" when viewing bright planets or the Moon is not doing it right.  As a general rule, if an observer perceives "glare" when observing, it is the observer's fault, not the objects'.  If these objects appear too bright and glaring, it's either because the eyes are partly dark adapted or the magnification is not high enough, or both.  

 

The observer's eyes can be kept closer to photopic adaptation by having a white light in the observing area, or periodically looking at the reflection on a white piece of paper from a bright white-light flashlight.  If the observer does not want to bother maintaining their eyes near photopic, then they can use filters to lessen the perceived "glare."

 

If, as the author says, high magnification is important, then the larger aperture has the advantage in that it can reach higher magnification at the same exit pupil as a smaller aperture and with greater resolution.  I do not see any advantage to smaller aperture in this regard.

 

If by "glare," the author actually means "scatter," this can be lessened by making improvements to the telescope (e.g., flocking the interior of the OTA, adding a light shield) or using eyepieces that have better scatter control.

 

Mike


Edited by Sarkikos, 27 July 2017 - 06:55 AM.

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#42 flyer92

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Posted 02 April 2020 - 01:46 PM

Greetings all, and just happened to see this thread by accident...and not more than a month after purchasing a new-old-stock 102GT AND another that was slightly used as a store display.  Even as a newbie to the hobby, it is apparent that the 102GT provides a lot of bang for the buck, and is my primary scope for planetary, moon, and some DSO exploration.  I was only interested in the OTAs, and have one in a modest configuration as a (slightly heavy) grab-and-go aboard a reinforced Twilight I mount, with an Orion 8880 star diagonal, ES 52-degree series EPs, and a simple (but accurate) RDF.  Perhaps I will upgrade to another OTA in the future, but for now, this one is checking all the blocks and will likely be a keeper, even if I do upgrade at some point.  Hope others are enjoying this great refractor as well!        


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#43 erin

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Posted 02 April 2020 - 01:54 PM

I owned one for a little while. It gave me really nice views of Jupiter, Saturn, and some double stars! My first split of the double double was with this scope.  Be careful...it could set you down the path for a 102 f7 Ed wink.gif

 

It’s a fun scope. Enjoy waytogo.gif


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#44 droid

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 06:00 AM

Well, I made discovery, lol

 

For several years I've enjoyed this scope., and never though much of it , until I had it set up side by side with a C6R refractor, switching a 35 panoptic back and forth, and just generally wondering why the stars were pin points in the C6R , and slightly bloated in the 102gt. 

 

Now I know its not the eye pieces fault, the 35mm Panoptic is no slouch.

 

So the following morning I took lens out. it has { had ) a thin plastic ring between the lenses. And it was larger than the lens, it was actually created a bump on one side. nothing huge, but enough to not allow the lens to work at is best.

 

So I made some very small heavy duty aluminum foil tabs for spacers. 

 

I stuck them in the three equal spots, and reassembled the scope. Now they stars are pin points in the Panoptic.

 

Side note: I checked the first baffle ring, its like 2 inches behind the lens cell. So it might not cut into the light path after all.

 

As for why would I buy a 102gt, simple, I live on a fixed income. I'm not bothered by the tiny ring of blue, in fact I never even see it, though my gf can.

 

I have nothing against apos or eds , to each they're own. And if I was into astro photography Id definitely want one.


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#45 mich_al

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 10:43 AM


So the following morning I took lens out. it has { had ) a thin plastic ring between the lenses. And it was larger than the lens, it was actually created a bump on one side. nothing huge, but enough to not allow the lens to work at is best.

 

Celestron could upscale it's entire product line by simply doing a little QC.  Lots of fine designs and 10% quality rolling out the door!


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#46 belgrade

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 12:03 PM

For what the Celestron NexStar 102GT OTA was sold by OPT several years ago (under $60) - well, it was a bargain, plain and simple, almost a giveaway. I never encountered such a deal in amateur astronomy before or after. A quite decent 4” achromat. I still have it and the only mod I did was I replaced the focuser couple of years ago.
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#47 droid

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 05:51 PM

Actually the focuser is very nice, robust, and I love the focuser knobs



#48 epee

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 06:45 PM

I bought a 102GT optical tube when OPT was closing them out; even came with a house brand 2" diagonal. I too, have it mounted on a Twilight 1.

 

It is definitely a gateway to refractor addiction.


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#49 erin

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 07:20 PM

I bought a 102GT optical tube when OPT was closing them out; even came with a house brand 2" diagonal. I too, have it mounted on a Twilight 1.

 

It is definitely a gateway to refractor addiction.

Yes! It way my gateway refractor for sure.


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#50 bobhen

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 06:58 AM

For what the Celestron NexStar 102GT OTA was sold by OPT several years ago (under $60) - well, it was a bargain, plain and simple, almost a giveaway. I never encountered such a deal in amateur astronomy before or after. A quite decent 4” achromat. I still have it and the only mod I did was I replaced the focuser couple of years ago.

I still have my $59 102 GT as well. I never saw the need to replace the focuser or do anything but add rings, finders and a mounting bar, which I already had. One of the best "bangs for the buck" I ever encountered. 

 

I use the scope for white light solar, public star parties (where it impresses the public), and ( because it is very lightweight) for those iffy nights and quick sessions.

 

Ed Ting liked his as well. HERE is his review.

 

Below is mine on a UA Macrostar mount.

 

Bob

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