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BB Reviews the Bresser Messier AR-102L

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#151 Bomber Bob

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 08:47 AM

Will the longer version of AR102 clear the tripod legs on EQ5 mount without pier extension?

 

Check my photos of the Bresser on the Goto and Polaris mounts / tripods.  I had no problem observing at the zenith with either mount.  Oh, and if you use heavier 2" accessories, that will shift the eyepiece end higher in the saddle, and even further away from the tripod.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 23 April 2019 - 08:50 AM.

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#152 Astrojensen

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 02:07 PM

I thought, when glass types are the same – as is with all achromats, it's only a function of the aperture and f/l ratio? What am I missing here?

Glass types are NOT the same in all achromats. At all. 

 

As an example, the Zeiss C63/840 uses a Schott BK7/SF2 combination, which shows around 15-20% less false color than an objective using the standard BK7/F2 combination. Royce Optics offered a similar objective design. 

 

Also note that a small deviation in spherical correction will also lead to increased chromatic aberration, so if you have two identical objectives, but one with significantly better spherical correction than the other, then it will also show less false color. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#153 Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 06:23 PM

Cloudy and/or rainy weekends, so no Jupiter images yet.  But if the seeing will hold here for another 2 hours, I'll at least get soon Moon images made using my ASI120MC.

 

All of these are prime focus & straight-through...

 

False Color (blue/violet rind) along the sun-ward limb, but not along the Terminator:

 

Moon_00008.jpg Capture_00003.png


Edited by Bomber Bob, 13 May 2019 - 07:58 PM.

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#154 Bomber Bob

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 09:03 PM

Tonight at The Swamp...

Temperature  68°F (20°C)

Humidity 59%
Wind Speed NW 5 mph
Dewpoint 53°F (12°C)

Seeing 6 [planetary] / 7 [DSO]

 

This image is very close to visual with the Baader prism diagonal + UO HD OR 9mm:

 

Bresser AR102L - Moon 20190514V08R64S01.jpg

 

I started imaging at sundown because the NWS satellite had mottled cirrus streaming in from the NW by 2000 local (0100Z).  We had a strong MCS push through yesterday, and the air was clear but unstable.  Not the best night for planetary observing.  If I'd waited an hour, seeing actually improved -- better transparency & less upper-level turbulence.

 

Straight-through (no diagonal), even with both extender tubes & the focuser racked all the way out, I barely got the ASI120MC focused.  WITW??

 

The views were sharper than this picture.  It does get the grays right for what I saw.  I got the Bresser up to 270x with my spectros PL5, and Copernicus was sketch-worthy -- all those intricate & broken wall layers stepping down to the floor.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 13 May 2019 - 09:15 PM.

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#155 Bomber Bob

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 07:00 PM

Tonight is looking perfect... for DSOs!!   Much better transparency than last night, but surface winds & upper-air turbulence...

 

While I'm still indoors:  Last night I was testing SharpCap on my new Win10 Laptop, and it was "freezing" at random times.  My previous sessions -- months ago! -- were with my Win10 Tablet, and SC had no problems.  Makes no sense to a Computer Guy.  This laptop has a faster CPU (i7 vs i5), more system RAM, more VRAM, larger SSD, and a much larger & higher-resolution display than the tablet...

 

IF the seeing is stable, I'll try imaging with the laptop One More Time.  Tonight I have a 2nd scope out -- my Vixen VMC200L.  I really like this 8" F10 Field Maksutov:  All the benefits of my Cassegrains + largest aperture I own @ 8" + "faster" at F10 vs F15 or F20.  It's becoming my favorite DSO scope.  Tonight I wanna see how it does with the waxing Moon.

 

- - - - - - - - - -

 

At The Swamp @ 00Z...

Temperature  74°F (23°C)

Humidity 38%
Wind Speed NW 8 mph
Dewpoint 47°F (8°C)

Seeing 8 / 10 [DSO]

 

The Bresser is riding on my tripod version Vixen Polaris w/ single-axis AstroMaster drive.  VMC200L is on my Takahashi EM-1S, also with single-axis drive.  Both scopes are fitted with 2" dielectric mirror diagonals.  While the Moon is below the oaks, I'll do some DSO viewing with these 2 very different scopes!

 

Will the "cheap" Bresser out-perform the $2000 Vixen on the Moon?  Don't laugh!  Last night I used 270x in wobbly planetary seeing...  Well, it didn't keep up with the 8" Field Maksutov.

 

However, it delivered sharp views at 270x with my spectros PL5, and that's about 70x per inch of aperture, which puts it in my Excellent Refractor category.  Got to have the seeing.  Had it tonight -- in brief moments of stable air -- and this "cheap" refractor showed its stuff.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 14 May 2019 - 09:13 PM.


#156 Steve Allison

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 12:02 AM

The simple things in life, like a good, long-focus achromatic doublet are often the best. 


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#157 Bomber Bob

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 06:09 AM

That's how I would sell the AR-102L.  It's a new version of an old favorite.  But... I'm not sure who Bresser's target customers are.  Young people with limited $$?  New hobbyists wanting to upgrade from a Dept Store scope?

 

Yesterday I thought back (okay, WAY back!) to my teenage years, when I had that Tasco 80mm that I won -- didn't have to save up & buy.  Would I have bought one of these?  Assuming the same ala carte market, with tons of new & used mounts available...  Yes.  I was a die-hard Refractor Fan, but too thrifty to buy a Unitron -- and forget APOs!!  This scope is priced right for what it can do, and it doesn't require a hefty or expensive mount.


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#158 AaronM

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 05:01 AM

Hello Friends,

 

as you know my german friend Hannes and I have "reviewed" the 102 L too, one year ago. I do not have the scope any longer, but I have heared from Bresser Germany, that there will come a new series of 102L with a sligtly improved lens cell.

It's still made of plastic, but more wall thickness !

 

But I dont know, when this serie will come to market..

 

Kind regards, Michael Aaron


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#159 Riccardo_italy

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 06:31 AM

For me, why they don't charge 30€ more and use a metal even non-collimable cell is unexplicable.

 

The AR102L is a specialist scope, an entry-level one.


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#160 precaud

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:21 AM

It seems most folks who bought them (and the 90mm one) have sold them now...



#161 Bomber Bob

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 08:08 AM

I wanted to make some Jupiter photos with the AR-102L, but between weather & work, I'm at that point where I either have to stay up really late or get up really early to have the planet on the meridian.  I'll prep it for tonight, but if I konk, I'll go back through the posts, and summarize.  I think the Moon photos show that planetary photography is worthwhile, and that the hardware works with common imagers.



#162 Bomber Bob

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 10:37 PM

Ended my observations with the Bresser AR-102L on a high note, and with some of the traditional long refractor objects:  Double stars & star clusters.  I spent 2 hours last night in Bootes & Coma Berenices with my excellent 1971 Criterion RV-6 Dynascope, and I returned to those constellations tonight with the AR-102L.  

 

DSO seeing tonight was 9 / 10.  Drier air than the 3 or 4 previous nights, which also made it feel a bit cooler.  I could easily see Alpha CB (V=4.35) with my own eyes.

 

I put the AR-102L on my Meade StarFinder pedestal version, so the eyepiece was at a comfortable height for observing at the zenith.  Light as the Bresser is, the rig was vibration-free up to 200x.  I used a 2" dielectric diagonal with 1.25" adapter for most observations.  No issues with the focuser.

 

I've observed M3 with at least a dozen different scopes over the past few weeks.  The AR-102L presented the cluster well for a 4" refractor.  I got resolution of the outermost fringes at 150x, and the view stayed sharp & bright enough at 200x with UO HD 9mm & 6mm Orthoscopics.  M53 looked to be about half the extent, but also held relatively sharp & bright at 200x.  Background sky was charcoal to black.

 

For a small constellation, CB has some spectacular double stars.  24 Comae (5.2, 6.5; PA 271º, separation 20.3") is the most impressive:  Brilliant orange primary, & cool blue secondary.  In my APOs, the secondary is a blue-gray with a hint of deeper blue or violet.  In the AR-102L, it's blue with a bit of green.  (As a cross-check for colors, I had my Takahashi FC-50 set up on the VersaGo last night.)

 

The 30mm finder isn't much help in star-hopping to the DSOs you can see in this refractor.  On my 4" & larger scopes, I use a minimum 50mm finder, and the AR-102L needs one.  Using memory, I located M56 & M100.  Again, the views of these two galaxies at ~ 100x was good for this aperture -- plenty of detail for sketching.

 

IMO, the AR-102L does well with the DSOs I'd target with a high F-ratio achromatic refractor.  I have larger reflectors for observing faint fuzzies, but even these can be viewed with the scope, and I find the differences interesting.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 26 May 2019 - 10:18 AM.

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#163 memento

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 01:11 PM

Thanks for the long review thread, observation reports, photos and information. Stuff like this is worth a ton and is what makes this forum such a great source of information!! (And it's also so great to read in those "cloudy nights" or when you can't go out and observe for any other reasons.)


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#164 Bomber Bob

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 01:25 PM

Thanks Thomas.

 

I'll be thinking about the summary as I work on my Tinsley mount today:

 

- Why buy a Bresser Messier AR-102L?

- Is the AR-102L worth the money?


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#165 rolo

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 02:38 PM

I think for the price I would prefer the quakity of a Vixen 102 f/10 achromat...As low as $125 for an OTA pretty much negates the need for any manufacturer to try and revive the long achromat market. Too much plastic for my taste and a none collimatable cell...I'll pass.

I do appreciate you testing and posting your resultswaytogo.gif


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#166 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 10:24 AM

Wrapping Up this Review

 

1. Why buy a Bresser Messier AR-102L?  Adding the AR-102L to an existing collection of non-refractors makes sense to me.  If I already owned a large Dobson and/or SCT, and wanted a large aperture grab & go refractor at a low price, I'd buy the AR-102L.  It's very light for a 4" F13 refractor, and there are literally dozens of new & used mounts available that'll carry it with low to zero damping times.  Outreach.  It's cheap, gives decent views, and if a bystander damages it, it's not a catastrophe.  If I still taught Civil Air Patrol Cadets, I'd buy an AR-102L for sessions with these young people.  I wouldn't mind letting them borrow this scope, either.

 

2. Is the AR-102L worth the money?  Yes.  IMO, the views are worth $220.  The $100 shipping charges hurt at this price point. 

 

If I could advise Bresser, I'd recommend a direct sales vendor in the USA (like the Nature Stores in the malls, sporting goods stores, and/or Target), and put a $249.99 retail price on the box.  Vendors could put it on sale for $219.99 and still make a profit.  Put a pretty picture of the scope on the box, and grandparents would pony-up for it -- it's an impressive scope that looks like a "real telescope" to folks near my age.  Offer a couple of mount options (alt/az, manual GEM, & Go-To) at the same vendor, and I think it would move.  40 years ago, my Towa 339 (80mm F15 EQ kit) cost more than a Bresser Messier AR-102L EQ kit would today.


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