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Got a AT102 ED

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#101 punk35

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 07:37 PM

I sure like mine. It won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. 


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#102 Jond105

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 07:51 PM

I sure like mine. It won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. 

After seeing your son upclose and personal I think it's the reason I'll end up getting one. 


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#103 Brollen

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 06:42 AM

I sure like mine. It won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. 

Agreed! It’s an excellent value - especially when sold on sale at $499!


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#104 Jaimo!

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Posted 07 October 2018 - 12:41 AM

I am a big fan and cannot wait for the winter constellations to see how she performs, it has been my most used scope this summer.

 

Jaimo!


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#105 Bomber Bob

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 09:03 PM

On this thread, I weighed the decision to buy either the Astro-Tech F7 102ED or the T-S Optics F11 102ED  -->  https://www.cloudyni...-but-f7-or-f11/

 

I decided on the AT 102ED, which was delivered today, and I managed to get in a brief First Light with it tonight.

 

First off, here's how it compares with my Classic Vixen FL80S F8 fluorite doublet APO:

 

AT102ED S01 (Vixen FL80S Sizes).jpg

 

My first impression after unpacking:  The AT 102ED is a smaller version of my excellent APM 152ED -- and that's a good place to start from.

 

First Light tonight was between the clouds, in a 20* wide N-S gap.  Seeing averaged 6/10 -- 8/10 at best in a few places for a few moments at a time.

 

First star tests were right after taking the scope outside & setting up on an Orion VersaGo 2.  Altair had similar patterns either side of focus, which were slightly out of round, faint reddish tinge inside, brighter green & violet outside -- that straight-through, then with my Baader 1.25" prism.  Followed Altair with Vega, Sadr, & Deneb.  Repeated the star tests about an hour later with Deneb and Alpheratz with a bit better results.

 

Overall, the views compared well with my APM 152ED.  Got 2 clean splits of the Delphinus Double-Double at ~ 35x (UO HD OR 20mm), which is a somewhat better split in the 152ED at 30x.  M29 & M39 are richer in the 152, but very nice in this 102.  Star colors are closer to natural than in any of my 4" achromatics, including my excellent Edmund F15.

 

Wide field performance with 2" accessories is outstanding.  I'll be gifting my vintage Jaegers 4" F5 to our grand-kids, and not miss a thing.

 

Hardware, mechanics, fit & finish are comparable to my 152, which means quite good to me -- especially for the price.  

 

What I really want to see is the AT's planetary views -- see if a good F7 ED can run with my Dakin 4" F10 for fine details.  Too bad Saturn was NOT in the gap tonight.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 21 November 2019 - 10:01 PM.

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#106 Bomber Bob

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 11:06 PM

My new AT-102ED on an old (1980s) Mizar AR-1 with the MMD-II motor drive & hand controller:

 

AR-1 (2) P02 (MMD Attached).jpg

 

The AR-1 is between a Vixen Polaris & Super Polaris in size & load capacity.  It's an uncommon Classic, and the MMD-II is rare.  I found this one on Goodwill online -- had to buy a 2nd AR-1 as part of the auction.  And Stan here on CN had an equally rare Mizar short tripod, so I'll use that combo with my 2 x 6" Newtonians (F4 & F8):

 

ATM 150mm F4 Newtonian - S21 (Mizar AR1 EQ Short Pod).jpg

 


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#107 Tyson M

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Posted 23 November 2019 - 01:17 PM

The new AT102 w/ sliding dew shield is very attractive.  I am looking forward to your observing experiences with it, including the DPAC.



#108 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 10:37 AM

Posting these from my thread:  https://www.cloudyni...but-f7-or-f11/ 

 

The 102's collimation was off.  I had it on my workbench, and noticed that the seam between the tube & the focuser base wasn't a uniform width.  Sure enough, it was loose and/or had slipped during shipping or initial setup.  I loosened all the screws a bit, got the focuser square, and tightened them.  Per my 2 laser collimators, it's now perfect.  I'll soon find out.

 

Here's my AT102ED + vintage Takahashi FC-50 on the vintage Mizar AR-1 + tripod + MMD-II drive system:

 

AT102ED S26 (AR-1 & FC-50).jpg

 

Star Tests #2

 

BLUF:  Near perfect.  I used Sadr, Deneb, & Alpheratz in 8/10 seeing.  Perfect circles / rings either side of focus; both sides have a coronal outer-most ring that's very active / twinkling.

 

Inside Focus:  Inner rings are white for Deneb & Alpheratz, off-white for Sadr.  The corona is pinkish.

 

Outside Focus:  Inner rings a lilac for all 3 stars.  Corona is light green.

 

I got the same results with / without a diagonal, and with both Kellners & Orthoscopics.

 

Heading back outside once this batch of clouds races towards Georgia.

 

**  Okay, this session is done.  Solid cloud decks shut it down for the night.  **

 

Color Correction

 

My 2 x F8 fluorites have the most natural colors in any refractor I've ever used.  Having my Tak FC-50 piggybacked to the AT made color comparisons so easy. 

 

Blue & White Stars:  Blue stars have a bit more blue in the Tak.  White stars are "bleached" in the Tak, and a dirtier white in the AT.  At no time did I see a "halo" around 1st magnitude or brighter stars in the AT, though in my first couple of sessions I did see a halo in the 152ED, which turned out to be combinations of diagonals & eyepieces.  The AT had no such distortions -- and I ran through all the 2" / 1.25" / .965" eyepieces that I regularly use. 

 

Yellow, Orange, & Red Stars:  I saw no significant differences between the fluorite and the ED.  I expected to see errors towards the red after the star tests, but nope.  I did notice that in tight doubles with one red & one orange star, it was a bit tougher for me to see the orange as cleanly as in the Tak, but I think that was due to all the stars appearing so much brighter.

 

Focus!

 

Critical / best focus is tighter in this ED than in my APM 152.  After using it a bit, I can see when it's off -- the star's color is wrong.  I can't imagine trying to hit that with a single-speed rack & pinion.  The AT's fine focus works great.  (It would also be tough to nail focus with a jittery mount.)

 

High power planetary is the make / break for me.  I think it'll do very well, but I gotta see it myself.

 

BIF:  I think at least 1 of the screws securing the focuser was loose when I unpacked it.  The packaging would be insufficient if the scope was heavier than it is.  The shipping box had a 2" x 2" hole punched in at one end.  The scope box sat inside, padded by nothing but Styrofoam peanuts, so it could have moved around inside.  Just to be clear:  There was no obvious damage.  If it was shipped that way from China to Oklahoma, wouldn't surprise me if a loose part got looser.

 

I mention this for a couple of reasons:  For new hobbyists, double-check your scope, even if it's brand new.  These fast EDs have tighter tolerances than the traditional F15 or F20 achromatics to do what they do.  For all of us:  Star test!   I don't try to derive metrics from mine, just spot the big issues that'll hurt performance.  My DPAC tests are even more sensitive, and comparing patterns from a new scope with a Known Good scope correlates well with my side-by-side sky testing.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 24 November 2019 - 10:39 AM.

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#109 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 02:12 PM

FINAL EXAMINATIONS

 

DPAC Test

 

BLUF:  My Astro-Tech AT102ED has a slightly better DPAC pattern than my APM 152ED.

 

Before loading the lens in my DPAC rig, I had to prep the OTA:

 

AT102ED S30 (DPAC OTA Prep).jpg

 

I removed the focuser & dew shield, which meant removing the threaded black ring so I could slide the shield off the focuser end, but I left the lens cell on the OTA.  Next, I wrapped the lens end with black electrical tape to prevent scratches from the rig's lens holder (I designed my system to hold up to a 5" bare lens (out of its cell), then loaded it.  I used the 4 large knobs for the lens centering bolts:

 

AT102ED S31 (DPAC Loaded).jpg

 

Here's a close-up of the screen holder with the green LED at full brightness.  I test in both green & red light.  I run the LED at its highest while aligning & checking that the 3 platforms are set correctly:

 

AT102ED S31 (DPAC Green LED).jpg


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#110 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 02:30 PM

DPAC Results

 

I test both Inside Focus (IF) & Outside Focus (OF) at 3 & 4 vertical bars.  I examine how straight the bars are, how dark they are, and how fine the bars edges are.  At 3 bars, I place bar #2 in the center of the lens; at 4 bars, I put the gap between #2 & #3 in the lens center.

 

I saw no signs of curvature in any of the bar patterns.  Green Light:  At 3 bars, the intensity was better than with my 152ED, and the edges weren't as fuzzy.  The patterns matched at both IF & OF.  At 4 bars, the pattern was darker & tighter.  Red Light:  Bars were a bit wider and less intense.  At OF, the pattern was less precise with both 3 & 4 bars.

 

Compared with my 2 fluorite doublets, this ED has dimmer & fuzzier patterns -- same as my 152ED.

 

Published Focal Length is 714mm.  I measured 715mm +/- 5mm.


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#111 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 02:39 PM

OTA Notes

 

The back side of the lens had tiny bits of metal on it (probably from the tube).  After cleaning both external faces, I saw 3 micro-specks of dust between the lens elements, almost in a straight line in the outer third of the lens (you can see the largest one at about the 6:30 position in the photo).  These are almost microscopic, and I'm not gonna remove them.

 

AT102ED S27 (Lens Cell Text).jpg

 

I really like the AT's dew shield -- it is far superior in design & construction to my APM's.

 

AT102ED S28 (Dew Shield Parts).jpg

 

It glides smoothly on the felt lining the base, and the wide felt pads on the lens cell keep it aligned.  That threaded black metal ring is so simple, yet its perfect for preventing dents to the shield's edge (dents to out-of-round ends are something we see too often with vintage refractors in the Classics Forum!).

 

One of the 3 screw holes in the tube at the focuser end isn't circular -- it's egg-shaped.  That may explain the initial collimation problem.  Once again, I used my lasers to collimate, and got the screws in tight.  Then, I put pressure on the focuser all the way round.  Collimation held.  Gonna test my bino-viewer tonight, and see if it holds with the GSO 2" mirror diagonal + the bino-viewer -- about the max weight I ever put on a focuser.

 

Altogether, I spent about 3 hours testing then thoroughly cleaning my AT102ED.  It's back out in the shed, riding again on the AR-1.  Forecast tonight is promising, and I look forward to more star-gazing with this scope.  If it sounds like I'm nit-picking...  I am.  If it sounds like I'm disappointed with it... I'm not.  I am very pleased with the views, the hardware, and the fit & finish.  Compared to my other refractors, it is a very good buy -- worth more than Astronomics charges for it (but don't tell them that).


Edited by Bomber Bob, 24 November 2019 - 02:56 PM.

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#112 punk35

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 08:44 PM

Thank you for that great report. I appreciate your time doing this for our community. You’re right, I’d say these scopes perform above their asking price. As an only scope, I’m very happy with mine. 



#113 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 November 2019 - 09:15 PM

Nabbed Saturn tonight at 2315Z.  Seeing was perfect for DSOs, less so for planets, and Saturn is low on the horizon, too.  Despite all that, I got a sharp view at ~ 100x with a spectros PL 7.5mm, and saw 2 moons besides Titan.  Just for fun, I popped this eyepiece in my GSO APO 2.5x Barlow for ~ 250x... soft as cream cheese.  Backed off to 180x, and saw 2 belts, a jet black Cassini's Division, and a sharp limb.  Overall, more detail than I expected given the conditions.


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#114 Bomber Bob

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Posted 01 December 2019 - 10:09 PM

Moon tests tonight in excellent seeing:

 

- AT102ED showed no / zero false color on the lunar limb, sunward peaks / high crater walls, or any of the places I would see it in a 4" achromatic -- including my Edmund F15.

- Stayed sharp at 75x / inch (300x), though nailing focus was tough -- the micro-focuser is essential.  I tried unsuccessfully with both coarse knobs several times, and it was like "chasing focus" with a CAT.

- With both the AT102ED & Tak FC-50 at ~ 80x, the fluorite showed more shades of gray in the Mares.  The differences were subtle, but I think a serious lunar observer would notice right away.

 

Other equipment results:

 

- I saw no color differences between the 1.25" Baader prism, GSO 2" dielectric, or cheaper ES 2" enhanced mirror diagonals.  I did see some resolution differences between the ES and the 2 more expensive diagonals.  At ~ 200x, I could not see some of the tiniest craters / faults / rills in the walls of larger ones, and the shadows were not black. 

 

- My Vixen Custom AZ mount carries the FL80S F8 with ease, but it can't carry the AT102ED above about 60* altitude.  Hate that, as I really like this mount!


Edited by Bomber Bob, 01 December 2019 - 10:11 PM.

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#115 CHASLX200

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 06:47 AM

I did 400x with mine on the moon.


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#116 Bomber Bob

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 10:59 AM

I did 400x with mine on the moon.

I think mine can deliver at 400x, but the Moon needs to be higher -- and the air calmer.  Very much like my APM 152...



#117 CHASLX200

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Posted 02 December 2019 - 07:13 PM

I think mine can deliver at 400x, but the Moon needs to be higher -- and the air calmer.  Very much like my APM 152...

I had a TMB 105 CNC at the same time.  Compared to my Taks and TMB 105 the AT102 was very good, not as good as the Taks or TMB but close enough i sold the TMB.  I rated the AT102 as the best bang for the buck scope of the year.

 

One a dead still nite 400x on the moon will be easy. I found 300x on the planets fine and they were never high up to start with when i had my AT 102.


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#118 Bomber Bob

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 10:40 AM

We're supposed to have clear calm air tonight, and the Moon will be at / near the meridian, so I'll test MAX magnification again and let y'all know what I see...

 

BIF:  My AT102ED carried my GSO 2" mirror diagonal + 1.25" bino-viewer + 2 x 1.25" Plossl eyepieces with NO slippage at the zenith -- and that's as delivered with no tightening of the mechanism by me.

 

** Moon Test #2:  GSO 2" Dielectric Mirror Diagonal + GSO 1.25" APO 2.5x Barlow (stretched to about 3x) + spectros 5mm Plossl = sharp views at ~ 420x with the Moon at the meridian in 8/10 seeing.  I'm sure that with a higher quality diagonal & Barlow my AT102ED would deliver eye-popping lunar & planetary views under the same conditions.  Pretty amazing for a China-made ED, and 2 x Taiwan-made major accessories in the light path.

 

False Color:  I observed the high & brightest parts of crater walls + peaks sticking out / above The Terminator.  At 420x, these areas were off-white with a bit of gray on-axis; looking slightly left, I saw a hint of blue; looking right, I saw a stronger yellow-green.  At 300x, these same features were bright white on-axis; and, I had to look way off-axis to see these false colors -- I doubt most observers would do this intentionally.  Like my other APOs, if I saw false color on-axis, then I knew that I hadn't "nailed" perfect focus.  Shadows were black at 420x.

 

Resolution:  I found a bit of slop in the micro-focuser at 420x.  I worked around it by using the big knob to go in a bit, then used the micro to rack slowly out.  No problems working the micro in either direction at 300x.  The view was dimmer at 420x than at 300x, but quite usable, and the views were sharp enough to see very tiny details (I'll have to check my atlas to find out just how small they are).

 

[Supper Break -- my Wife postponed the meal so I could observe -- ain't she The Greatest?!]

 

The fact that this ED is sharp at ~ 100x / inch puts it in my Outstanding Category, despite its DPAC pattern being less clean than my 2 Japan-made fluorite APOs.

 

IMO, the very best & most comfortable high-power views were at ~ 300x with my spectros 7.5mm Plossl.  No surprise, as this was my first of these Swiss-made eyepieces, and I liked the views so much that I bought a complete set of spectros from Xavier -- and got a 2nd 7.5mm in the buy.  In my bino-viewer these Plossls pack a punch on Mars / Jupiter / Saturn.  And now, in my AT102ED, the Moon, too.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 03 December 2019 - 09:27 PM.

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#119 punk35

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 05:13 PM

popcorn.gif popcorn.gif 
 

 

I agree, the focusers are very nice on these scopes. The best I have ever used. It’s been said they compare favorably to a FT by users who have tried both ( not me). 


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#120 Bomber Bob

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 09:34 PM

I think the micro-focuser on my APM 152ED is more precise than the AT102ED, but I'd have to do a shoot-out to see that for sure.

 

Again, given the price, the Astro-Tech is an overall Excellent multi-object 4" refractor.  It beats my Dakin 4 fair & square on every object type -- and that says a lot.

 

Given what I've seen so far, I really need to get the firmware updated on my ASI120MC, and fix its USB issues.  Then do some lunar & planetary imaging.


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#121 stevew

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 09:52 PM

Bob, Is it the same glass prescription as your APM 152?


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#122 Bomber Bob

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 09:59 PM

Good Question!

 

The AT102ED uses an FK-61 ED element; the APM 152ED uses an FPL-51 complimented by a Lanthanum coated element -- according to their ads...

 

Honestly, I don't pay much attention to the glass types.  First, folks who know infinitely more about this stuff pick the mating elements; and, second, the accuracy of the curves on all 4 (or, six!) surfaces is something that I can measure with DPAC -- and it don't lie.  And, if the lens is a dud, I don't care if it has $1000 / cubic cm of FPL-MOUSE-1000000 glass in the elements.

 

I mean -- REALLY.  I got by for DECADES with doublets of crown & flint.  At this point in my life, I ain't gonna sweat it.

 

Remember:  Both the AT102 & APM 152 are Economy Big EDs.  I don't care if they're using recycled Coke bottle glass from the 1960s, as long as they out-perform excellent vintage achromatics, and deliver great views, I'm a happy camper.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 03 December 2019 - 10:25 PM.

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#123 drd715

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 01:42 AM



[quote name="Bomber Bob" post="9811837" timestamp="1575428382"]Good Question!

The AT102ED uses an FK-61 ED element; the APM 152ED uses an FPL-51 complimented by a Lanthanum coated element -- according to their ads. ]

The APM 152ed Lanthanum lens is full homogeneous Lanthanum all the way through. The "Lanthanum coating" quote got started when APM did the English conversion from German on their website - since fixed. It has been re quoted many times, but is in error.

I like my 152ed, it is a great visual scope. Years ago I had a Celestron 6 inch achro. The APM 152ed is so much better, both build quality and optically.



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#124 Bomber Bob

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 06:15 AM

The Lanthanum coating text is still on the product page:  https://www.apm-tele...o-152-f-7.9-ota

 

The new 152-1200ED features a Doublet lens cell using ED glass of FPL-51 complimented by a Lanthanum coated element to maximize performance. Our innovative combination of materials and design has resulted in optical performance far beyond the normal for a telescope of this price.

 

I had a Huh? Moment first time I read it -- 2+ years ago.  Still bought the scope.

 

BIF:  Washed-out was the description I was looking for when comparing the Mares in the AT102ED to the Tak FC-50 with both fracs at the same power per inch of aperture.  Last night got the FC-50 up to 100x / inch, and the seas were much dimmer, but still had more shades of gray than the AT.  Not a huge difference, but noticeable. (But the 2" Tak -- used -- runs at about twice the price.)



#125 drd715

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Posted 04 December 2019 - 11:27 AM

The Lanthanum coating text is still on the product page: https://www.apm-tele...o-152-f-7.9-ota

The new 152-1200ED features a Doublet lens cell using ED glass of FPL-51 complimented by a Lanthanum coated element to maximize performance. Our innovative combination of materials and design has resulted in optical performance far beyond the normal for a telescope of this price.

I had a Huh? Moment first time I read it -- 2+ years ago. Still bought the scope.

BIF: Washed-out was the description I was looking for when comparing the Mares in the AT102ED to the Tak FC-50 with both fracs at the same power per inch of aperture. Last night got the FC-50 up to 100x / inch, and the seas were much dimmer, but still had more shades of gray than the AT. Not a huge difference, but noticeable. (But the 2" Tak -- used -- runs at about twice the price.)

Interesting on the APM site still having "Lanthanum coated" on the 152ed with 2.5 inch focuser. The text in the listed product for the 152ed with the 3.7 inch focuser has the corrected text. I guess APM only corrected it on the 3.7 inch version. I will drop Markus an email about it as i have to ask him about another product question.

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