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Are you content with your refractor?

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#51 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 02:02 PM

I will preface this by answering this question bluntly-  I have enjoyed trying new gear.  I like really short focal lengths, really long focal lengths, and everything in between.  It is part of the hobby that brought me joy so far, albeit expensive over time so I am slowing down.

 

Also, I will note that having multiple refractors can also make sense, as they can be very different tools in a decent aperture spread, based on eyepieces and mounting solutions.

 

There is a propensity to want to collect refractors, just for being drawn to various functional equipment with some overlap in usage and liking all of them, and not wanting to sell them.  No logic or critical analysis here, just pride of ownership and enjoying time under the stars with each refractor.

 

But let's dig deeper.

 

What does it mean to be content?  This is particularly important for people without larger budgets and can only afford one refractor, and want an apo.  Let's face it, they aren't cheap- if you told someone who isn't in the hobby pricing on various apos, even achros.  You get a much better bang for your buck going the newtonian route.

 

Subjectivity comes into play.  But for each person, I suspect it involves having a refractor that fits your observing habits with your equipment, which results in an optic that brings you joy and you use it lots.

 

Apo refractors typically excel in star aesthetics, wide field viewing, amazing for lunar and solar viewing, put up great planetary viewing for a select few planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus).  Little fussing with the set up because of no collimation.   Another large aspect of contentment involve having good build quality and mechanics, like the focuser or with some people, a sliding dew shield, ect.

 

 

I think Tyson raises some interesting points, particularly, what it means to be content.

 

For me, multiple scopes, multiple refractors are a given. It's important that they all fit nicely together. I'm not one who relishes trying out new gear, partly because it disturbs the relationships between my existing scopes, I prefer just to let things be and spend my time observing the night sky.

 

One thing about having multiple scopes is that there's a variety possible, if one gets bored with one scope from over use, there's others to provide variety. They're not new but they're a change of pace.

 

So what does contentment mean to me? I am not one who feels I must have the best equipment, the most perfect equipment, just good equipment that is, as Tyson says, fits my observing habits, my interests, my situation. 

 

I'm not asking a 120 mm refractor to be the most perfect 120 mm refractor ever because no matter how perfect it is, there are other larger scopes in the lineup that will split closer doubles, show more planetary detail.. just a good solid scope with no obvious flaws..

 

I know myself. Some are afraid of or dislike collimation etc. That's not me. I spent 30 years in a research laboratory doing stuff that required hands on magic. I like to tinker with stuff. A Newtonian is perfect, if I can work my magic and make a split with a $240 used on Astromart 10 inch that was beyond the reach of a $15,000 apo triplet, that's ok by me.

 

I'm content with my equipment because I know I'm the weakest link in the chain. In terms of seeing more, it's on my shoulders. My equipment, in the hands of a better observer would show more. So being a better observer is my goal.

 

I'm content, my equipment provides amazing views, they're good enough for me.

 

Jon


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#52 cupton

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 02:05 PM

I'm so contented with this one that I can't really justify a triplet at 4 inches.

attachicon.gif SV102A.jpg
SV102 Access #0046

Like that setup! But I have a total newbie question if you don’t mind. Looks like you’ve got your Baader diagonal in a WO RotoLock, but what the heck is holding the RotoLock in the focuser?

#53 havasman

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 02:15 PM

Yes, I am extremely content with my refractor, an NP101is. I also have an AT115EDT that I will likely keep in case I start doing outreach again or find some kid that really needs a good scope. But the 4" is completely satisfying and meets my need for a refractor exactly. A refractor, for me, is a compact bit if kit that complements my Dobs.

 

I hope you find that level of satisfaction, even if it comes via sequentially churning scopes through your collections. That's as valid a practice as any of the others.


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#54 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 02:16 PM

I really don't like the looks of the SW 120 ED, I think it looks cheap, I like a white tube and black rings & focuser.  I'm not in a hurry to buy anything now anyway, I'll just wait and keep my powder dry.

 

When I was looking for a larger ed/apo than my NP-101 for backyard stargazing, I looked at the various 127mm scopes and decided they were just too big and bulky to be an "easy out the back" door scope.  And they were just more than I wanted to put on my MG-2 mount.

 

The Skywatcher 120EDs were the right size and had a reputation for fine optics but my sensibilities required something a little fancier, I was too spoiled by sliding dew shields, machined focuser bodies, machined tube rings, it wouldn't work for me aesthetically.  

 

The right scope seemed to be the 120mm Orion Eon.  The same Skywatcher 120mm ED optics but a Long Perng OTA.  Long Perng builds the SV, WO, Astro-Tech level of scopes.  In terms of aesthetics, the 120 mm Eon, it's a stunner, the gloss black with chrome accents, it's almost too beautiful to use.

 

Eon Case Open.jpg
 
There's nothing cheap looking about it except the shoes.. $20 at Walmart.
 
Jon

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#55 desertlens

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 02:40 PM

Like that setup! But I have a total newbie question if you don’t mind. Looks like you’ve got your Baader diagonal in a WO RotoLock, but what the heck is holding the RotoLock in the focuser?

The RotoLock is threaded for M63 and screws directly into the drawtube after removing the stock compression ring. Now only available in silver, here's a link to the part.

https://agenaastro.c...t71-silver.html

I found that several recent 2.5" focusers use the M63 thread.


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#56 cupton

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 02:43 PM

The RotoLock is threaded for M63 and screws directly into the drawtube after removing the stock compression ring. Now only available in silver, here's a link to the part.

https://agenaastro.c...t71-silver.html

I found that several recent 2.5" focusers use the M63 thread.

Thank you for confirming. I saw that on the WO site but wasn’t sure. 


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#57 Jared

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 02:51 PM

If not, then why do you find yourself continually switching or changing OTA's and even in some cases going back to the same exact model once, twice, three times again? Is it because you are bored with your current model? Is it finances? Is it cosmetics? Is it because you are getting in or out of imaging? Are you addicted to flipping OTA's? Is it because you don't like your sample? Are you simply addicted to change? Is it because you are overwhelmed with the choices and can't resist change? Is it because you are always in doubt about the choices you made? Is it the weight? Is it the glass type? Are you searching for the holy grail? Is it because you can only afford one refractor? Is it because of FPL53? Is it portability? Is it because of a dust mote? Are you OCD? Is it because you are getting out of the hobby? Is it because you have decided on some sort of reflector instead? Something else?

Been through a lot of refractors over thirty years of amateur astronomy.  A fair number of reflectors and SCT’s as well, but more refractors than anything else.  What I’m really looking for is a 300 mm apochromat with a 95% polychromatic Strehl that also fits in a carry-on case, weighs no more than ten pounds, cools quickly, and doesn’t cost more than any one child’s annual college tuition.  So far I have failed miserably.  As a result, I keep buying scopes that can approach perfection in maybe one or two areas, but never more than that.

 

- Largest refractor I can load into or out of the car in a single trip up and down the stairs (including mount, batteries, and eyepieces):  Astro-Physics Traveler

- Best widefield refractor for imaging: TeleVue 60is

- Largest, best astrograph/refractor that I am willing to transport and setup with good regularity:  Astro-Physics 130 EDF-GT

- Best refractor for Airline Travel and Imaging:  LOMO 80/640

 

I have owned larger refractors than the 130 but found myself looking for excuses to stay home rather than going out.  I have owned several other telescopes in the 80 mm range as I find this size a good compromise for a wide set of uses,  it none could ever match the 80/480 optically.  I had an FLT 110 for a while—the one with the TEC lens—which was perhaps my favorite “do everything” scope till I got the Traveler.  That FLT-110 is also the only scope I ever regretted selling.

 

For me, it’s all about incremental improvements within a given aperture class.  I know there is no such thing as a perfect telescope, but I keep trying to find things that have just a little bit better sets of compromises for my uses.  I think I’m about done, though.  I know I don’t want anything larger than the 130 as refractors get disproportionately heavy and unwieldy at 6” and above.  I know I don’t want anything smaller than the 60 mm, even for relatively wide field astrophotography.  So I now have 60, 80, 100, and 130 millimeter scopes that are about as nice as it gets within their size ranges.  I think my collection of refractors may now be complete.  Of course, I’ve thought that before...


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#58 Bomber Bob

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:04 PM

The twist is that I've had to own the much more expensive scopes to realize just how good the much less expensive ones actually are.

 

Excellent point, and that's been my experience also.  I love my 2 vintage fluorites -- Tak & Vixen -- but I could've bought 4 (FOUR!!) Astro-Tech AT102EDs for the same $$$$ as this pair.  BUT, as you say, I wouldn't have these upper-tier scopes as references for the cheaper EDs.  Are there differences?  Absolutely.  Are they worth the extra money?  IMO, yes.  Outstanding optics, simple but Classic functionality, and high-quality fit & finish -- these are Lifetime Scopes.  But, the EDs get better & better, and narrow the gaps... and, for less cash.  When Ol' Bomber Bob will shell out $$$$ for a 6" ED, you know prices are getting reasonable!!


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#59 Kunama

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:17 PM

I am very happy with my two refractors and really cannot understand this whole “buy&sell” caper.....cool.gif


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#60 Tyson M

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:22 PM

funnypost.gif


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#61 SonnyE

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:52 PM

Yes, I am happy with my >1< refractor telescope.

I don't want to be fooling with other telescopes, just want to perfect my AP with what I chose years ago.

I like to photograph Nebula. So I did my homework and got set up with the telescope for that. An Orion ED80T CF

Only two things have let me down, the first camera choice, and my first mount choice.

Oh, well the telescope's focuser developed a cracked guide wheel inside it, but Orion fixed it all up. A brand new focuser assembly.

I just like refractors. Simple, traditional, Galileo Galileion.  So much like a simple camera lens for a dedicated purpose.

 

Yep... Happy.


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#62 Nippon

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 03:53 PM

Yup a 4" FPL53 doublet. Took me buying an expensive triplet to make me realize for my visual observing my doublet was first class and I didn't need a triplet. Either by ad copy or posts on forums you can get the notion that the grass is greener with something else. But it often isn't. 


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#63 clearwaterdave

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 04:19 PM

Am I content.,Yes.,I have achros from 60mm-127mm.,and the AT102ED.,I like them all.,No big money.,so having a few makes variety available without breaking the bank.,The 102ed is gettin kinda fancy for me.,lol.,

For me.,I like driving fracs more than newts.,but I needed a set up that kept me comfy.,not fussin with my chair and mount.,

  This is what I came up with for mounting my fracs.,now I can just observe.,so yes.,I am content,.and I still have a little room in the porch.,in case an orphan shows up.,

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#64 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 04:23 PM

When the aperture is tiny, as is usually the case with refractors, every mm of perfection makes a difference.

 

Plus there's the question brought up already of comparison or a reference scope. That's what got me to bite on the Stowaway. I have an Orion 80mm CF and a Televue 101. Both are excellent, but somehow the seeing is a tiny bit better in the Stowaway, and that was both expected and appreciated.

 

Other than that, packaging counts for a lot in refractors for me. I tried an Explore Scientific 6" F8 apo, and while I enjoyed it, the size of it for a 152mm of aperture was more than I was willing to deal with when I could just switch to a larger reflector. 

 

I'm yet to figure out what my upper size limit of tolerance is for a refractor, but like many on here, something like the Skywatcher 120ed seem to fit that role very well.

 

The only problem for me would be that I'd be wondering about the slightly greater perfection of a TSA 120 if I got the 120ed.


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#65 SonnyE

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 04:29 PM

 

When I was looking for a larger ed/apo than my NP-101 for backyard stargazing, I looked at the various 127mm scopes and decided they were just too big and bulky to be an "easy out the back" door scope.  And they were just more than I wanted to put on my MG-2 mount.

 

The Skywatcher 120EDs were the right size and had a reputation for fine optics but my sensibilities required something a little fancier, I was too spoiled by sliding dew shields, machined focuser bodies, machined tube rings, it wouldn't work for me aesthetically.  

 

The right scope seemed to be the 120mm Orion Eon.  The same Skywatcher 120mm ED optics but a Long Perng OTA.  Long Perng builds the SV, WO, Astro-Tech level of scopes.  In terms of aesthetics, the 120 mm Eon, it's a stunner, the gloss black with chrome accents, it's almost too beautiful to use.

 

 
 
There's nothing cheap looking about it except the shoes.. $20 at Walmart.
 
Jon

 

 

The scope was $20 at Walmart, Jon????shocked.gif

 

LOL! Got your shoe, tuggin on it.

My $9.98 plastic Walmart shoes got you beat though. smirk.gif


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#66 Wildetelescope

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 04:31 PM

 

Daniel:

 

I am constantly changing my refractors so they match my wardrobe.  I just got a new suit (see below, shield your eyes)  I need to find a scope that is a good match.  waytogo.gif

 

The important issues out of the way... 

 

I am generally content with my refractors.  I am not quick to buy and when I find one that suits my needs, I keep it.   I've had my 80mm WO Megrez II FD for about 15 years, I have had my NP-101 for about 10 years.  The AT-80LE is a recent, probably 4 years ago.  

 

The one good quality scope that I have bought and sold and bought again is the Orion 120mm Eon.  I bought my first one about 5 years ago as a backyard refractor with more zoot than the NP-101 on the planets and double stars. It did the job very well but it was in competition with my 10 inch Dob for that role.  The Eon was handier and had far fewer thermal issues but the Dob split the tighter doubles and the better planetary, when everything was right.  It just seemed like I wasn't using the Eon, I needed shelf space.  I sold it.  It took a while several starts and stops but finally I found a serious buyer who has been very happy with the scope. 

 

But soon enough I started to regret having sold it.  That never happens to me, but it did this time. It was there in the back of my mind... For the backyard stuff, the Eon really is the right refractor..  So then, earlier this years, there was some scope swapping between a couple of CN mods/admins and ex's that resulted in a surplus 120mm Eon needing a new home.  

 

So that new home was me.. This time, I'm keeping it. 

 

The new Eon: 

 

 
 
The New Suit:
 
 
What do you think?  A good match?  smile.gif
 
(When my 12 year old grandson saw that picture, someone said, 
 
"Not many can pull off wearing a suit like that but Jon can."
 
The grandson said:
 
"Yes, Grampa Jon can pull it off and he should pull it off."
 
I thought to myself, man, that is a perfect comeback.. I would have been proud of it myself.)
 
Jon

 

Your grandson has a bright future ahead of him!!!

 

jmd 


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#67 punk35

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 04:41 PM

My $5 Walmart shoes latsted as long as you’d think they would ( not long), but both my $50 60mm refractor and $500 AT102ED have the potential to last forever with daily ( nightly) use, unlike my shoes. grin.gif lol.gif


Edited by punk35, 07 December 2019 - 04:41 PM.

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#68 stevew

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 04:49 PM

While a few hours under the stars with a new telescope will give an overall impression of the quality of a scope, I find that it takes hundreds of hours at the eyepiece under many different types of observing conditions to become really familiar with what an individual telescope can actually do.

Each night is a little different due to transparency, contrast, seeing, humidity, darkness etc. On one night the scope may perform ok, another night it will be spectacular.

Learning what a particular scope can do under various conditions over many years is half the fun.

 

My observing partner has 3 scopes. A 16 inch, and a 10 inch that he built himself, and a TV102 [ his latest] that he bought about 15 years ago. He knows these scope so well, he can play them like a violin. Why? Because he has used them for thousands of hours under all sorts of conditions. Every time he calls me over to look through the eyepiece it's an amazing view, as he knows exactly what magnification, and field of view to use for the best possible view of the object he is looking at on that particular night.

 

Am I content with my telescopes?  So far I am...

I don't need another telescope, just more perfect nights.

 

Steve


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#69 Wildetelescope

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 05:00 PM

I have one vice, and it is telescopes.  I have built up a bit of a collect, although not as extensive as some.  I am motivated by history, design, and of course optical quality.  But I do not chase optical perfection.  A pale, diffuse halo on Sirius does not bother me in the least.  Of my refractors, I enjoy all of them, and use all of them.  I have only sold one, an eon 80, that proved to fast for visual grab and go for me.  Ironically, Santa is bringing me an at80 edt, for widefield imaging, so maybe I should have hung on to the eon;-).  For the most part I am happy with the lineup I have.  If opportunity arises in the future, the only other scopes I might want would be a tv np101 and an original TMB 152 f8.  But if that never happens I will be content.  What I REALLY want is more time to use what I have:-).   Looking forward to retirement.  

 

Cheers!

 

JMD


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#70 erin

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 05:11 PM

What I REALLY want is more time to use what I have.

Well said! Every time I find myself wanting something else, I remember this. It helps me be a little more patient.


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#71 tonyt

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 05:20 PM

I've bought and sold a lot of scopes, purchased either used or on sale, then sold for a small loss - cheap way to try things out.

 

I'm quite content with the TS115 and Sharpstar 61edph - both perform well and are fairly easy on the wallet.

 

I've just bought a Skywatcher Evostar 150ED on sale but there's no way to know if I'll like it until I've owned it for a while; I expect to use it for visual on solar system objects and imaging of PN and galaxies. There are more capable scopes for imaging those targets but refractors are just 'easy' and my atmosphere is often unstable. 


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#72 wrvond

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 05:33 PM

 

When I was looking for a larger ed/apo than my NP-101 for backyard stargazing, I looked at the various 127mm scopes and decided they were just too big and bulky to be an "easy out the back" door scope.  And they were just more than I wanted to put on my MG-2 mount.

 

The Skywatcher 120EDs were the right size and had a reputation for fine optics but my sensibilities required something a little fancier, I was too spoiled by sliding dew shields, machined focuser bodies, machined tube rings, it wouldn't work for me aesthetically.  

 

The right scope seemed to be the 120mm Orion Eon.  The same Skywatcher 120mm ED optics but a Long Perng OTA.  Long Perng builds the SV, WO, Astro-Tech level of scopes.  In terms of aesthetics, the 120 mm Eon, it's a stunner, the gloss black with chrome accents, it's almost too beautiful to use.

 

 
 
There's nothing cheap looking about it except the shoes.. $20 at Walmart.
 
Jon

 

OK, well I USED to be content! Is that baby for sale?  ;)


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#73 coopman

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 07:00 PM

I think that I am done with my refractor shopping. I have an FS-102 and an SW120ED and am retiring in 3 weeks. I probably can't afford anything better at this point, nor am I really looking for anything else at this point.
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#74 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 07:16 PM

I'm satisfied with what I have currently, a ES 152 f/8 triplet on a G11 in a little dome..  A FCT 200 sure would be nice, though, but I would need a bigger dome.lol.gif


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#75 Scott Beith

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 07:27 PM

 

Daniel:

 

I am constantly changing my refractors so they match my wardrobe.  I just got a new suit (see below, shield your eyes)  I need to find a scope that is a good match.  waytogo.gif

 

The important issues out of the way... 

 

I am generally content with my refractors.  I am not quick to buy and when I find one that suits my needs, I keep it.   I've had my 80mm WO Megrez II FD for about 15 years, I have had my NP-101 for about 10 years.  The AT-80LE is a recent, probably 4 years ago.  

 

The one good quality scope that I have bought and sold and bought again is the Orion 120mm Eon.  I bought my first one about 5 years ago as a backyard refractor with more zoot than the NP-101 on the planets and double stars. It did the job very well but it was in competition with my 10 inch Dob for that role.  The Eon was handier and had far fewer thermal issues but the Dob split the tighter doubles and the better planetary, when everything was right.  It just seemed like I wasn't using the Eon, I needed shelf space.  I sold it.  It took a while several starts and stops but finally I found a serious buyer who has been very happy with the scope. 

 

But soon enough I started to regret having sold it.  That never happens to me, but it did this time. It was there in the back of my mind... For the backyard stuff, the Eon really is the right refractor..  So then, earlier this years, there was some scope swapping between a couple of CN mods/admins and ex's that resulted in a surplus 120mm Eon needing a new home.  

 

So that new home was me.. This time, I'm keeping it. 

 

The new Eon: 

 

 
 
The New Suit:
 
 
What do you think?  A good match?  smile.gif
 
(When my 12 year old grandson saw that picture, someone said, 
 
"Not many can pull off wearing a suit like that but Jon can."
 
The grandson said:
 
"Yes, Grampa Jon can pull it off and he should pull it off."
 
I thought to myself, man, that is a perfect comeback.. I would have been proud of it myself.)
 
Jon

 

Jon you need a 12" f2.5 achromat.  The only thing as "colorful" as that suit.  ;)


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