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Updated AT102ED arrival

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#76 russell23

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 01:30 PM

Incredible dark, transparent skies here last night!  So I had a real nice opportunity to try out the AT102.  I did a little comparison with the SW120 but mostly I just wanted to get a feel for the scope.

 

The quick version:  If you are on the fence about this scope, don't be, just grab one.  It is excellent.  Overall I felt it outperformed its aperture.

 

I used mine mounted on a Vixen Superpolaris mount set in alt-azimuth mode with Vixen aluminum tripod legs and a set of anti-vibration pads that really weren't needed.  It was a solid smooth set-up.  The focuser was very smooth and stable and the fine focus allowed for vibration free focus with no backlash.   The nice thing about this focuser is that I know I don't have to even think about upgrading it - unlike what I ended up doing with my SW120ED.

 

Optically it was super-sharp.  I mostly used the 30mm APM UFF (24x, 3.0 deg TFOV) and the 18.2mm DeLite (39x, 1.5 deg TFOV) and the 18.2mm DeLite with the 1.6x Nikon and 3.0x TV barlows.   I did use the 9mm and 6.5mm Morpheus a little as well.  With the barlows the 18.2mm DeLite gave 63x and 120x.  So most of my observing was 24x, 39x, 63x, 120x. 

 

30mm APM UFF:  I used this eyepiece quite a bit.  It provided clear, sharp views with no EOFB.  It was not sharp to the field stop, but there was minimal fall off and surprisingly I think the edge performance stayed about the same with the AT102 as the SW120.  With the 80mm SV Access there is a pretty noticeable drop in edge performance.   Highlights with this eyepiece include:

 

~Framing NGC7789 and neighboring bright stars in the field with room to spare and the bright stars sharp.

~M24 star cloud and dark nebula

~M8 with a Lumicon UHC filter ... and spans of nebulosity below the Lagoon that I had never noticed before.  While the high quality of the AT102 contributed to seeing this, so didn't the exceptional sky conditions last night.  

~M6&7 star clusters

~M22 - suprisingly resolved at 24x

 

18.2mm DeLite:  This is something I was looking forward to.  I really like the image scale at ~40x possibly more than any magnification below 100x.  However, the 18.2mm DeLite gives 50x with my 120ED.  The 39x it gives with the AT102 was perfection from start to finish.  It began with my first target of the night - open cluster NGC6819 and ended with NGC 457 as my last target of the night and everything in between. 

 

The eyepiece is super sharp and the field is really clean with the AT102.  The exit pupil is 2.6mm and the image scale is really nice.   It did not matter what I looked at, the 18.2mm DeLite with the AT102 was a continuous "wow". 

 

Surprise of the night:  How much nebular detail and resolution of start clusters the AT102 provided compared to the SW120.  I first noticed early on when I got to M27.  At that point I had the SW120 out cooling in its case but I wasn't sure if I was going to use it.  So I grabbed my mount for the 120 and did some back and forth comparisons for a few different objects, but mostly comparing M27, M17, and the M24 starcloud with NGC 6603.   I didn't feel the amount of visible difference was in line with the aperture difference.   I consistently felt that the AT102 was outperforming its aperture.  

 

Higher magnification deep sky:  I stuck within my normal exit pupil limits for deep sky but the AT102 easily handled exit pupils <1mm.  Most common was the 18.2mm DeLite with the 3x TV barlow for 120x magnification.  DSO still seemed sufficiently bright and the scope continued to present pinpoint sharp stars. 

 

The other nice thing is how light and portable this scope is - particularly having that sliding dew shield to pack it up at the end of the night.

 

Anyway, nothing but praise for the AT102. 


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#77 clearwaterdave

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 01:40 PM

Very good write up Dave.,Glad you're happy with the scope.,I put mine on a Meade LX70 tripod/mount and it is very happy riding on it.,cheers.,


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#78 howardcano

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 01:45 PM

Yes, as I said in my first post after getting my AT102ED:  "The focuser is to die for!"


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#79 punk35

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 02:59 PM

These scopes are getting consistently excellent reviews, and my sample with fixed dew shield ( C# 93 ), seems to be no exception. It was mentioned in another thread that the AT92T was speced to be a minimum of .95 strehl as the bare acceptable minimum. With the consistent comments of how great the AT102ED performs, it makes me wonder what the minimum accepted strehl for them was. Now, for the price, I don’t think the bottom acceptability would be .95, probably lower, but they must still be pretty high, given the comments from seasoned observers ( which I am not ) compared to other high quality scopes. Has anyone DPACed their AT102ED yet? 

 

Please share your thoughts on this. 

Thanks 

Wade 


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#80 joseph07081

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 07:39 PM

I am very happy with my sample. The skies finally cleared a bit last night and I had first light with mine. I only had time for some quick looks at Jupiter, and even though it was fairly low, I was very happy with the views I had. The only negative that I can find is that now I have to budget for better eyepieces.


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#81 Jond105

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 06:54 AM

Incredible dark, transparent skies here last night!  So I had a real nice opportunity to try out the AT102.  I did a little comparison with the SW120 but mostly I just wanted to get a feel for the scope.

 

The quick version:  If you are on the fence about this scope, don't be, just grab one.  It is excellent.  Overall I felt it outperformed its aperture.

 

I used mine mounted on a Vixen Superpolaris mount set in alt-azimuth mode with Vixen aluminum tripod legs and a set of anti-vibration pads that really weren't needed.  It was a solid smooth set-up.  The focuser was very smooth and stable and the fine focus allowed for vibration free focus with no backlash.   The nice thing about this focuser is that I know I don't have to even think about upgrading it - unlike what I ended up doing with my SW120ED.

 

Optically it was super-sharp.  I mostly used the 30mm APM UFF (24x, 3.0 deg TFOV) and the 18.2mm DeLite (39x, 1.5 deg TFOV) and the 18.2mm DeLite with the 1.6x Nikon and 3.0x TV barlows.   I did use the 9mm and 6.5mm Morpheus a little as well.  With the barlows the 18.2mm DeLite gave 63x and 120x.  So most of my observing was 24x, 39x, 63x, 120x. 

 

30mm APM UFF:  I used this eyepiece quite a bit.  It provided clear, sharp views with no EOFB.  It was not sharp to the field stop, but there was minimal fall off and surprisingly I think the edge performance stayed about the same with the AT102 as the SW120.  With the 80mm SV Access there is a pretty noticeable drop in edge performance.   Highlights with this eyepiece include:

 

~Framing NGC7789 and neighboring bright stars in the field with room to spare and the bright stars sharp.

~M24 star cloud and dark nebula

~M8 with a Lumicon UHC filter ... and spans of nebulosity below the Lagoon that I had never noticed before.  While the high quality of the AT102 contributed to seeing this, so didn't the exceptional sky conditions last night.  

~M6&7 star clusters

~M22 - suprisingly resolved at 24x

 

18.2mm DeLite:  This is something I was looking forward to.  I really like the image scale at ~40x possibly more than any magnification below 100x.  However, the 18.2mm DeLite gives 50x with my 120ED.  The 39x it gives with the AT102 was perfection from start to finish.  It began with my first target of the night - open cluster NGC6819 and ended with NGC 457 as my last target of the night and everything in between. 

 

The eyepiece is super sharp and the field is really clean with the AT102.  The exit pupil is 2.6mm and the image scale is really nice.   It did not matter what I looked at, the 18.2mm DeLite with the AT102 was a continuous "wow". 

 

Surprise of the night:  How much nebular detail and resolution of start clusters the AT102 provided compared to the SW120.  I first noticed early on when I got to M27.  At that point I had the SW120 out cooling in its case but I wasn't sure if I was going to use it.  So I grabbed my mount for the 120 and did some back and forth comparisons for a few different objects, but mostly comparing M27, M17, and the M24 starcloud with NGC 6603.   I didn't feel the amount of visible difference was in line with the aperture difference.   I consistently felt that the AT102 was outperforming its aperture.  

 

Higher magnification deep sky:  I stuck within my normal exit pupil limits for deep sky but the AT102 easily handled exit pupils <1mm.  Most common was the 18.2mm DeLite with the 3x TV barlow for 120x magnification.  DSO still seemed sufficiently bright and the scope continued to present pinpoint sharp stars. 

 

The other nice thing is how light and portable this scope is - particularly having that sliding dew shield to pack it up at the end of the night.

 

Anyway, nothing but praise for the AT102. 

Please don’t tell me I should sell my 120Ed for one of these though. I’ve already been tempted since last year for one of these. 



#82 russell23

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 09:59 AM

Please don’t tell me I should sell my 120Ed for one of these though. I’ve already been tempted since last year for one of these. 

No.  Certainly not.  I've been looking for a more portable scope than the 120 to be able to take on trips (driving not plane).   That required two things:  (1) shorter and lighter OTA.  (2) Lighter mount requirements.

 

I originally bought the 80mm SV Access for this purpose, but I wanted to get the AT102 when it came in stock to see if I could maximize the aperture while still portable option.

 

My 120ED is on a Vixen SuperPolaris  mount with two 6lb counterweights and a heavy duty wood tripod.  I have a 2nd SuperPolaris mount but with a single 6lb counterweight and lighter aluminum tripod legs.  The 80mm Access is very stable on the lighter option.  It turns out the AT102 is also just as stable on the same set-up.  So now I have a portable, lighter weight option for travel that - as it turns out - does not give up too much light gathering to the 120.   The sliding dew shield really helps with the portability.  For home use I have the heavier 120mm set-up but the AT is going to get a lot of use at home as well.   I'll probably use both scopes most nights. 

 

Over the last year I have picked up three APO's smaller than the 120 trying to find the right scope for travel.   First I grabbed a WO Z61 and an Orion Tritech II tripod.  While this is certainly portable for travel and I've enjoyed it for nighttime views, I see this scope more as a daytime scope at this point. The other day I was looking at some animal out in the back field behind our house.  It was a large bird but at the distance I could not tell what it was so I grabbed the Z61 out of my office and looking from a 2nd story window was able to pick out that it was a female turkey just laying there sunning herself.

 

So then I decided that since I had the 2nd, lighter SP mount I would give the 80mm Access a try.  Great scope with excellent optics.  And now I have the AT102 and I have to decide whether or not I am going to keep the 80mm Access since it is too heavy to use like I use the Z61 and the aperture gain of the AT102 gives the 102 a noticeable advantage in terms of resolution and exit pupil. 

 

Having the 4 scopes all at the same time (and a 90mm achromat) has revealed to me that 4" seems to be an important aperture transition point. 

 

If you would need to sell the 120 to grab an AT102 then keep your 120.  However, if you are looking for a smaller option for car travel, the AT102 would be a very nice affordable option.  Like I said in the previous post - the AT102 seems to punch deeper than the aperture difference between the 102 and the 120. 


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#83 russell23

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 10:05 AM

I am very happy with my sample. The skies finally cleared a bit last night and I had first light with mine. I only had time for some quick looks at Jupiter, and even though it was fairly low, I was very happy with the views I had. The only negative that I can find is that now I have to budget for better eyepieces.

Now that is the other nice thing about the AT102.  My WO Z61 and SV 80mm Access put a serious strain on the edge of field.  The longest FL eyepiece I have that is truly satisfying in those two scopes is the 18.2mm DeLite.

 

So do the math for the 18.2 mm DeLite

 

In the Z61:   20x,  3.0 deg TFOV

 

In the 80 Access:  31x, 2.0 deg TFOV

 

My 30mm APM UFF is not great in either of those scopes near the edges.  The 26mm Silvertop plossl is ok.

 

With the AT102 the 30mm APM is as good as the 18.2mm DeLite in the others so with that eyepiece in the AT102 I get 24x and a 3.0 deg TFOV.

 

So in reality, with the eyepieces I am using, I get as much quality TFOV in the AT102 as I do in the Z61 and more than with the 80mm Access simply because the AT102 is more forgiving of my longer FL eyepieces.    Yes, I can throw that 30mm APM in the Z61 or 80 Access, but there is really no point* because the edge falloff is too much for me to tolerate.

 

*Although seeing the entire NA Nebula framed in one field with the Z61 and 30mm APM was pretty sweet the other night.


Edited by russell23, 02 July 2019 - 10:07 AM.

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#84 Toddeo

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 01:57 PM

Arrived by Fed EX, just in time for the "Monsoon Season"! Everything looks great! Very well packaged.  Nice scope.

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#85 rockethead26

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 02:31 PM

Arrived by Fed EX, just in time for the "Monsoon Season"! Everything looks great! Very well packaged.  Nice scope.

You're lucky this year. Monsoon is predicted to be a few weeks late so you have plenty of this perfect weather ahead.laugh.gif



#86 Toddeo

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 02:44 PM

You're lucky this year. Monsoon is predicted to be a few weeks late so you have plenty of this perfect weather ahead.laugh.gif

We, in Southern AZ are getting the rain and clouds alreadyfrown.gif



#87 rockethead26

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 03:03 PM

We, in Southern AZ are getting the rain and clouds alreadyfrown.gif

Bummer, but that's not monsoon activity yet. There is still hope!!!!



#88 Jond105

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 03:20 PM

 

 

If you would need to sell the 120 to grab an AT102 then keep your 120.  However, if you are looking for a smaller option for car travel, the AT102 would be a very nice affordable option.  Like I said in the previous post - the AT102 seems to punch deeper than the aperture difference between the 102 and the 120. 

Phewww, thanks for the reassurance, although, as Wade knows, I probably wouldn’t be needing a bigger mount though . 🤔 Just kidding, everyone, seriously, enjoy these scopes. They are gorgeous even just to look at. 


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#89 punk35

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 03:36 PM

Right now I’m on vacation in some dark skies Ohio, and didn’t have room to bring my scope.🙁😢

 

Jon, just tell your wife I offered to sell you my CPC11 at a good price, but you decided to save some money and pick up the AT102ed instead😁😁


Edited by punk35, 02 July 2019 - 03:38 PM.

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#90 Jond105

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 04:02 PM

Right now I’m on vacation in some dark skies Ohio, and didn’t have room to bring my scope.

 

Jon, just tell your wife I offered to sell you my CPC11 at a good price, but you decided to save some money and pick up the AT102ed instead

 

Haha, my wife said, “fine, but instead of me looking at million dollar homes, I’ll settle and you can buy us a 500k home.” She wins this argument still. I’ll get her one of these days. I’m only approved for 235k. Lol


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#91 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 04:33 PM

I ordered one of these yesterday. I can’t wait to take it to Jon Isaacs dark sky location and put it through the test.

 

I'm confident this is going to be a keeper.

 

Jack

 

waytogo.gif

 

I am looking forward to looking through Jack's AT-102ED.  In 2007,  the very first AT-102ED was sent to me to review.  After the review, I bought the scope, $800, I believe they were $1000 at the time.

 

I loved that scope and had a lot of fun with it. It taught me the joys and virtues of a 4 inch refractor. Two years with the it and I decided to go for More Better rather than Good Enough and purchased my used NP-101.

 

So Jacks AT-102ED is a 10 year reunion for me. The 5 ton elephant in the room will be the NP-101 but I think we'll just keep it in it's cage and enjoy the AT-102ED for what it is and what it can do.

 

I like F/7 for an ED/Apo. There's no doubt the NP-101 provides amazingly perfect wide field views but you better have TeleVue eyepieces because it brings out the tiniest flaws in an eyepiece. F/7 is a nice place to be, easier on eyepieces, still capable of wide fields, with the AT-102ED, that's 3.7°.

 

This image was taken with my AT-102ED.

 

6478992-Osprey 2 Bright CN.jpg
 
Dave's reviews are encouraging and the mere fact that Dave had decided to buy one was encouraging on Sunday when Jack was deciding with my assistance to buy the AT-102ED.
 
It's supposed to arrive on Friday so hopefully it will arrive early enough that he can make the drive from Palm Desert to Boulevard.
 
Jon

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#92 CHASLX200

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 05:56 PM

Please don’t tell me I should sell my 120Ed for one of these though. I’ve already been tempted since last year for one of these. 

Keep the 120.  But try to buy a used 102ed if one pops up. I liked mine.  Sure is much more easy to use than my 150mm ED.


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#93 makeitso

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 06:09 PM

 

waytogo.gif

 

I am looking forward to looking through Jack's AT-102ED.  In 2007,  the very first AT-102ED was sent to me to review.  After the review, I bought the scope, $800, I believe they were $1000 at the time.

 

I loved that scope and had a lot of fun with it. It taught me the joys and virtues of a 4 inch refractor. Two years with the it and I decided to go for More Better rather than Good Enough and purchased my used NP-101.

 

So Jacks AT-102ED is a 10 year reunion for me. The 5 ton elephant in the room will be the NP-101 but I think we'll just keep it in it's cage and enjoy the AT-102ED for what it is and what it can do.

 

I like F/7 for an ED/Apo. There's no doubt the NP-101 provides amazingly perfect wide field views but you better have TeleVue eyepieces because it brings out the tiniest flaws in an eyepiece. F/7 is a nice place to be, easier on eyepieces, still capable of wide fields, with the AT-102ED, that's 3.7°.

 

This image was taken with my AT-102ED.

 

 
 
Dave's reviews are encouraging and the mere fact that Dave had decided to buy one was encouraging on Sunday when Jack was deciding with my assistance to buy the AT-102ED.
 
It's supposed to arrive on Friday so hopefully it will arrive early enough that he can make the drive from Palm Desert to Boulevard.
 
Jon

 

If I can’t be there on Friday, I will be on Saturday for sure Jon! It may even still be in the box if I can keep my hands off it for one day.

 

Jack


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#94 astro42

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 10:51 AM

Mine has arrived.

Have to pick it up after work from the post office then some how sneak it in the house past the wife.LOL


Edited by astro42, 03 July 2019 - 10:53 AM.


#95 aa6ww

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 12:17 PM

Is the dew shield longer with this new AT-102 then the fixed dew shield model? It looks longer?

 

...Ralph



#96 ihf

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 02:08 AM

What is the minimum length of the scope for transport? (The product page is light on specs, it only states "keep the overall scope length reasonable".) Also what is the thickness with focusser and rings for putting in a case?


Edited by ihf, 04 July 2019 - 02:09 AM.


#97 Schurke

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 08:01 AM

Now astronomics needs to sell a finder shoe in aston martin grey...
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#98 punk35

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 08:26 AM

Also a RACI finder in the same beautiful matching  paint. ubetcha.gif ubetcha.gif


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#99 russell23

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 08:44 AM

What is the minimum length of the scope for transport? (The product page is light on specs, it only states "keep the overall scope length reasonable".) Also what is the thickness with focusser and rings for putting in a case?

The length with lens cap and plug in 1.25" adapter is 24 1/8".  The width of the focuser knobs with cap over the fine focus knob is 6 1/2".  I'm keeping mine in the Orion soft padded bag that came with my Orion Tritech II tripod.  I will probably get something with more padding in the near future but this works for now.


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#100 Agatha

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Posted 04 July 2019 - 12:09 PM

Also a RACI finder in the same beautiful matching  paint. ubetcha.gif ubetcha.gif

Here:  https://www.astronom...m.html?___SID=U


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