Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Analysis of the Astrophysics 105 Traveller EDF F5.8

  • Please log in to reply
55 replies to this topic

#1 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 07 March 2020 - 04:54 PM

Hello and good day

 

I figured I would start a thread describing my thoughts and experiences to you refractorholics with a new to me scope- the renowned Astrophysics Traveller.  

 

This is a later model EDF- serial number 628. 

 

This was a serendipitous acquisition.  I was not setting out to get one of these, but due to the rarity, its beautiful condition, and the fact it was within Canada prompting me to act.

 

I have never owned an Astrophysics scope, and this one was financially in reach. Most are a few thousand more than the incredible amount I paid, which is the highest to date for a refractor purchase on my behalf.

 

On paper this ticks all of the boxes.  Going on those specs alone, this is one of the best designed telescopes ever made, being able to be easily transported on a plane.

 

In fact, it was delivered within 300km of me personally, by someone who took a plane and had it with them on the entire flight.

 

Preliminary thoughts are that it is remarkably compact, it is an engineers dream come to life.  Feathertouch focuser is robust and huge knobs, super smooth action via rack and pinion.  Tube rings and pebble finish exude quality.  Dew shield retracts snug as it is fully extended.

 

I managed to secure a dovetail to it, a losmandy DUP7 for my Stellarvue M2 mount with panhandle on a 1.75" steel tripod. I might switch that out to a longer losmandy dovetail so I can fit the original AP dovetail clamp system back on the other side of the rings and use that as a handle, as I had to take it off to attached the 7" losmandy plate now.

 

I drove a 600km round trip to get this, and if I like this, I will keep it as a graduating present to myself for completing 1.5 years of hard post secondary (4 years of upgrading prior to post secondary)and acquiring a great paying job as soon as I am done, as I got an job offer.

 

For me, this scope is great but for the price, you can get a vast number of great scopes(like a TSA120 a friend of mine has within Canada that is willing to sell to me).  And after my recently acquired 12" dob, I have gotten a bit of aperture fever lately.  Might look hard at a 12.5" Zambuto Portaball.

 

Regardless- I can't say for sure I will keep it, as I know better this time not to say that. I have said that about other scopes and over time found reasons they didn't work for me and my observing(Mewlon 250S and a premium 8" OO mak cass).  It certainly seems like this refractor could be a lifetime scope, especially for someone who prioritizes portability over everything.

 

I will be detailing my further thoughts and observing experiences with it in this thread.

 

For now, here are some pics, thanks for reading this far and clear skies!

 

20200307_132603.jpg

 

20200307_132546.jpg

 

20200307_132852.jpg

 

20200307_132840.jpg


Edited by Tyson M, 07 March 2020 - 07:02 PM.

  • jimandlaura26, Paul Hyndman, zjc26138 and 22 others like this

#2 mikeDnight

mikeDnight

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,041
  • Joined: 19 Apr 2015
  • Loc: Wild Wild West - North West England

Posted 07 March 2020 - 05:41 PM

Can't wait to hear more about this beauty. It's very pretty! 


  • Tyson M and 25585 like this

#3 t.r.

t.r.

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • ****-
  • Posts: 6,149
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2008
  • Loc: 1123,6536,5321

Posted 07 March 2020 - 06:28 PM

Nice acquisition! I believe your location in Canada will be reason enough you keep it for a lifetime...any other scope will be hard pressed to present a better planetary image. Look forward to your impressions!
  • Tyson M likes this

#4 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 07 March 2020 - 06:43 PM

20200307_132840.jpg

 

As you can see with this last picture, (posted again here), the scope has superior stray light control, due to numerous baffles down the length of the scope, which appear to be machined down INSIDE the OTA.  

 

I cannot confirm if they are machined or slid into place, regardless is a scope that looks like it can suppress all forms of stray light.  Looks like the interior of a Intes Mak Newt, which was one of my favorite qualities about that scope.

 

The bright light was coming from my bathroom with the back of the scope open and is a severe test.

 

As for scope visual comparisons, I will compare this scope directly with a reference apo, a brand new skywatcher 100ED. 

 

20200307_133149.jpg

 

 Mentally, I will be recalling my fond recent observing memories and comparing the AP105 to a previously owned high strehl AT92 and a TSA102S.  I hope it matches the TSA in a package half the size.   The AT92 I had was incredible as well, and could do a lot more than the TSA due to its extreme portability and wide field of views.

 

I love long focal length scopes, but when you get a optically/mechanically superior short focal length scope, you can do both wide fields, high power, in an extremely small package.

 

For my visual expectations, if I get TSA102S performance on the moon/doubles out of this AP105, I will likely keep it.  The TSA provided the best view of the moon I had ever seen, followed by splitting Antares better than anything.  I will be gunning for these, and Mars, whatever else I can think of for targets.

 

If it is even slightly less (a tough act to follow I know)than the TSA102, then I might sell this to someone who values portability over everything and pick up a TSA120 and net $1100 CAD cash.  I am young and schlep around  12" solid tube dob, I can handle a longer scope with larger aperture.

 

49369447051_eecf9a215a_c.jpg


Edited by Tyson M, 07 March 2020 - 06:46 PM.

  • Scott in NC, m9x18, John O'Grady and 1 other like this

#5 Paul G

Paul G

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8,765
  • Joined: 08 May 2003
  • Loc: Freedonia

Posted 07 March 2020 - 06:53 PM

Beautiful scope. Minor correction, that focuser is Astro-Physics designed and built, only the little dual speed pinion between the knobs is made by Feathertouch.


  • Joe Bergeron, peleuba, turtle86 and 1 other like this

#6 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 07 March 2020 - 06:58 PM

Beautiful scope. Minor correction, that focuser is Astro-Physics designed and built, only the little dual speed pinion between the knobs is made by Feathertouch.

49368989683_6f72865608_o.jpg

 

Thanks Gus,

 

It looks like the nicest focuser I have used to date.  I will confirm that under the stars with various eyepieces and barlows/powermates.

 

Regards


Edited by Tyson M, 07 March 2020 - 07:11 PM.

  • Paul G, jimandlaura26, R Botero and 4 others like this

#7 jay.i

jay.i

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,766
  • Joined: 11 Jun 2017
  • Loc: Minneapolis, MN

Posted 07 March 2020 - 06:58 PM

You dawg!!! Congrats man. You deserve it!


  • kkt, Gavster and Tyson M like this

#8 Esso2112

Esso2112

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,059
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2017
  • Loc: Magnolia, TX

Posted 07 March 2020 - 10:37 PM

Congrats. I recently acquired one as well for less than typical market values. They are built like tanks. I really like the pebble finish and the focuser is wonderful. I’ve only had mine out once so far, but the views were very nice. 
 

From memory, and not a true side by side comparison, I would rate the Traveler just below my original TMB 100 f8 with the silver focuser.  It’s not a fair comparison though, f8 vs f5.8. And for weight, I would definitely pick the Traveler as the TMB weighs a ton.  


Edited by Esso2112, 07 March 2020 - 10:39 PM.

  • Tyson M likes this

#9 Scott in NC

Scott in NC

    Refractor Fanatic

  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 31,932
  • Joined: 05 Mar 2005
  • Loc: NC

Posted 07 March 2020 - 11:29 PM

Very nice, Tyson, and congrats!  I hope you'll love yours as much as I do mine. :yay:


  • Tyson M likes this

#10 azfar72

azfar72

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 115
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2016
  • Loc: Oakville , Canada

Posted 07 March 2020 - 11:57 PM

Congratulations on acquiring such a fine instrument 


  • Tyson M likes this

#11 m9x18

m9x18

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,754
  • Joined: 12 Oct 2007
  • Loc: Abilene, Texas USA

Posted 08 March 2020 - 12:33 AM

Wow Tyson! Congratulations! Now we finally know what your latest top-secret-project was all about! What a fantastic scope acquisition! Such a beauty! If you should ever decide to sell however, you know who to keep in mind! Heh heh!  ; )  


  • Tyson M likes this

#12 donadani

donadani

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 972
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2015
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 08 March 2020 - 01:10 AM

Great find Tyson - congrats!!! bow.gif 

 

Looking for you thoughts comparing it against the TSA - but it will be difficult to be objective without the TSA standing next to it... For a high mag/ planetary scope I always found longer f-rations preferable to shorter ones - but for a traveling and widefield scope - thats the ultimate scope and I´m sure it will be great on everything else too!

 

Once you are done with it - please give me a call! grin.gif 

 

Btw. I prefere that focuser a hundred times over any completeclonetrooperfeathertouchstandardone waytogo.gif

 

cs

Chris


  • Tyson M likes this

#13 Erik Bakker

Erik Bakker

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 8,569
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2006
  • Loc: Netherlands, Europe

Posted 08 March 2020 - 05:11 AM

Congratulations on getting a wonderful Traveller. Af far as form factor and compactness go, it is a hard scope to beat in the 4" class. Side by side comparing with a Tak TSA-102, or your memories of it if you recollect those well, will show you what performance can be achieved if ultimate compactness is not necessary.


  • Tyson M and 25585 like this

#14 Haydon

Haydon

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 190
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2009

Posted 08 March 2020 - 08:37 AM

If your friend has a TSA-120 that is for sale and one was not concerned about the collector's aspect or compact size, the TSA-120 will definitely show more stars and resolve more detail on solar system targets.  120mm is a significant jump from 105mm at that size.  The TSA likely does not way much more either, it is a light scope for its size.  But of course, the Traveler will have a much wider field of view.  That said, if it were me I'd keep the Traveler, eventually pick up a 130mm or 140mm refractor such as a TEC, and keep your 12.5 inch dob or find one you like eventually.  That would be a very nice quiver of scopes.  


  • Paul G, turtle86, scooke and 1 other like this

#15 lu270bro

lu270bro

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 9
  • Joined: 23 Oct 2018
  • Loc: Tennessee

Posted 08 March 2020 - 10:40 AM

Congrats on the pick-up!  I love mine....it's such a pleasure to use.  I throw it on a half-hitch with the 26 and 22 naglers, and get lost.  Such amazing views in as compact a form as the Traveler.  


  • Tyson M likes this

#16 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 08 March 2020 - 01:46 PM

As luck would have it, I am having clear skies and good seeing right now.  So I will be updating this thread with my first observing reports viewing the sun in white light today.

 

Furthermore, I am doing experimentation with  cooldowns between an oil spaced triplet vs doublet, quantifying the exact temperature deltas with proof via pictures.

 

Watch this space....


  • Scott in NC, eros312 and jay.i like this

#17 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 08 March 2020 - 04:26 PM

Screenshot_20200308-130540_One UI Home.jpg

 

March 8, 2020   Empirical Temperature test.  Daytime - minus 16C (3.2F) transitioning to minus 13C (8.6F)   local time 12:15 to 13:15

 

105mm Oil-spaced triplet vs 100mm Air spaced doublet

 

This test was inspired by all of the cool down estimates that a multitude of observers here have speculated on and shared their experiences here in the refractor forum.

 

I consider most of your reports accurate, and the purveying wisdom is that air spaced doublets cool down faster than triplets. 

 

Also purported here, is that certain scopes cool down fast, ready to go in 15 to 30mins even.  Both the traveller and the SW100ED have observing reports like this.

 

This test does not address the last point.  I feel that night time observing at low power is what people are referring to when they refer to these speedy ready to go cool down times for the 4" class apo.  Medium to higher power viewing would likely set in 30-45 mins in and after an hour likely high power barlow double star viewing is possible.

 

This test was just to track the progression of cooldown, providing picture evidence with a handheld digital temperature reader.

 

Both scopes were placed outside together at the exact same time, and put on lawn chairs facing the sun, at similar heights off the ground and locations in the yard.  Both have black painted tubes. 

 

I tested several areas, mostly the objective end and the focuser end.  There was a bit of a margin of error on my part until I found ideal spots to test on, but readings were stable at the specific locations and conclusions could be inferred over time.

 

First test done once outside from my warm house (basement is colder than the upstairs).

 

12:21  Skywatcher 100ED (5mins outside)

20200308_122222.jpg

12:22  Astrophysics 105 (6mins outside)

20200308_122156.jpg

 

 

Next location was the outer diameter tube wall

12:25-12:26 (10mins outside) Skywatcher 100ED

20200308_122551.jpg

12:25-12:26     Astrophysics 105

20200308_122619.jpg

 

You can immediately notice that the Skywatcher tube wall is colder than the Astrophysics.

 

12:36-12:37  (22mins outside) Objective lens + tube call close to the front of the ota 

Skywatcher 100ED

20200308_123605.jpg

Astrophysics 105

20200308_123703.jpg

 

Here again, you notice that the Skywatcher objective is colder than the AP.

 

Next time interval: 12:47-12:48 (33mins outside) at the end of the focuser

Skywatcher 100ED (minus 10C or 14F)

20200308_124658.jpg

Astrophysics 105 (minus 6C or 21.2 F)

20200308_124744.jpg

 

Objective end (12:50 or 35mins outside)

Skywatcher 100ED

20200308_125018.jpg

Astrophysics 105

20200308_125056.jpg

 


  • Scott in NC likes this

#18 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 08 March 2020 - 04:40 PM

Focuser end (12:57 or 42 mins outside)

Skywatcher 100ED (minus 12.7C or 9.14F)

20200308_125712.jpg

Astrophysics 105 (minus 7.8C or 17.96F)

20200308_125644.jpg

 

Outer tube diameter (13:09 or 54 mins outside)

Skywatcher 100ED

20200308_130916.jpg

Astrophysics 105

20200308_130903.jpg

 

Focuser end (13:13 or 58 mins outside)

Skywatcher 100ED (minus 13.8C or 7.6F basically at equilibrium with outside)

20200308_131259.jpg

 

Astrophysics 105 (minus 9.6C or 14.72 F)

20200308_131309.jpg

 

 

As the skywatcher was at equilibrium, I set it up to begin observing the sun to wait until the AP caught up.

 

As you can see with the pictures and digital thermometer, temperature profiles across the tubes vary from the objective end/inner tube wall, focuser end and the outer tube wall.  In all cases, the Skywatcher remained colder and closer to outside temperatures(shed its heat faster) than the Astrophysics 105 traveller.  The black paint likely have made the temperatures slightly warmer on the outer tube wall on the OTA versus the inside of the scopes, which didnt seem to affect tube currents.  The air spaced doublet Skywatcher 100ED won this round of the competition regarding cool down under extreme loads, such as basement of a warm house directly outside minus 13C.

 

Next installment, solar observing reports....


  • Scott in NC likes this

#19 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 08 March 2020 - 05:37 PM

Solar observing report- March 8, 2020

 

Minus 16C transitioning to 13C at high noon to 1300.  Scopes left outside for an hour + for cooldown purposes.

 

Seeing was listed as good 4/5 to average but I would say more like just average.  Perfectly clear and above average transparency. 

 

AP 105 Traveller, SW100ED comparison.  In this comparison, the SW100ED should show its strongest performance against the more expensive AP scope, as most scopes are best corrected in green.  If a SW100ED scope was going to match the AP, under the herschel wedge and green solar continuum filter, it should equal the playing field as much as possible.

 

I have a confession.  I was kind of hoping this test would have ended up in a draw or too close to call.  The SW100ED is an amazing scope and the amount of money cost difference between the two would have made me VERY happy to keep the SW100 over it.  So moral of the story, I was biased against the AP 105 Traveller.  I think it is super expensive.

 

That being said, now to the report, describing my overall feelings and impressions while observing and using both scopes.

 

As luck would have it, there was a single sunspot in white light today.  Lately the disk was absolutely spotless and with no faculae.  Today, there was what looked to be a single spot, and a bunch of tiny pores to the right of it. 

 

I checked solarmonitor.org, it lists no active regions which is peculiar.   

 

Under careful scrutiny with the SW100ED and the leica zoom, I zoomed in and out of this region of interest.  I recorded my observing notes, and I sounded very excited.  I counted 8 tiny pores, main spot next to it had a light bridge across it.  3 or 4 spots in the larger half, and 2 or 3 spots in the smaller half.  Penumbra details faintly apparent.  Solar granulation cells were visible all across the disk.

 

After a satisfying session, enjoying the long focal length of the SW and the use of the leica, I put the CG4 away and set up the M2 mount on the CG4 legs to use with the Astrophysics 105 EDF.

 

Everything about the AP set up was better.  I enjoyed the M2 mount with panhandle better than the slo motion controls on the CG4.  The astrophysics scope looks beautiful and exquisitely machined. 

 

I got a close up look of the baffles, look at this beautiful interior:

 

20200308_124116.jpg

 

Using the leica zoom, I was not getting the same reach as the SW due to focal length, so I tried to use the AP at higher settings to keep them somewhat equal in exit pupil.

 

The feathertouch focuser has the largest knobs I have used on a scope.  It is super smooth and hitting focus is easy, even in the average seeing which had its wavy moments.  There was a hard snap to focus, much better than the SW100ED.  This might have something to do with the short focal length vs long focal length.  The focus point of the SW100ED is at a broader range than the AP, which essentially means it should be easier to find focus.  But the crispness of hitting the focus point was clearly making itself known in the AP scope. 

 

20200308_134306.jpg

 

Through the entire zoom range, I enjoyed finding focus of the disk.  At max zoom, I was getting the same size of disk as the SW at lower settings.  Despite the less than perfect seeing at times, the AP seemed to cut through the seeing better(seemingly to dispel the smaller aperture/long focal length cutting through the seeing myth). I could see all of the same details in both scopes, but the tiny pores adjacent to the sunspot , and the tiny pores that made up the single spot seemed to show themselves easier.  

 

This could be because of the aperture increase that the AP had over the SW, or the difference in optical quality, or the seeing conditions were improving (SSC said otherwise, from good to average).  Everything on the AP just seemed to jive together well and I was having even more fun than with the SW, but I begrudgingly put it away to rule out the seeing. 

 

I set up the SW100ED again and went back at it mostly at lower zoom settings but occasionally higher power to see what I could pull out for detail on the disk.

 

Everything seemed to be a bit harder.  Like I had to work harder to find perfect focus.  And more importantly, seeing low contrast features were harder, including the solar convection cells called granulation.  They popped out in extreme contrast with the AP, and they were simply there and looking good to occasionally great in the seeing waviness in the 100ED.  I packed up both scopes and prepared these lengthy posts on empirical temperature deltas and observing notes.

 

The AP105 is at least as good (if not a touch better) as the 98% strehl AT92 but the larger aperture made seeing small features easier.  Further night testing will determine its place to the formerly owned AT92.   

 

The AP105 was noticeably better than the SW100ED, but not overwhelmingly so. Setting them both up using the same eyepiece and same diagonal was instrumental to this comparison.  Comparing based on memories is not nearly as concrete as side by side. 

 

Here is the exact  order of my feelings.  Beginning, absolutely thrilled with the details of the SW100ED, enjoying the view immensely, which included finally seeing a spot in White light on the disk and solar pores beside it, including the solar granulation.  Then, I was setting up the Astrophysics scope and proceeded to be blown away and just soaking up the views, marvelling at the focuser, admiring the razor sharp snap to focus and easy ability to dial in the sharp solar disk and its features like the pores inside the spot, the light bridge, and the pores beside it easier.  I did not want to put it away.  Then, I was slightly saddened by returning to the SW100ED right after, and saddened that it struggled a bit harder to match the views, as it seemed to perform a touch worse with the conditions.   

 

Moments of good seeing allowed the same details to be seen with both scopes.  Had I never looked through the AP105, I would have been a happy man today with a good solid scope.  The difference was going from looking through a good scope and then comparing it to great or possibly perfect one.  The old astronomer's adage, "never look through a scope you cannot afford" applies here.

 

Unlike the above test where the skywatcher air spaced doublet won on thermal properties, the sum of the observing experience was easily won by the Astrophysics today.

 

Thanks for reading, and I will detail further thoughts in this thread for a night time comparison between both scopes. 

 

Cheers from Canada and clear skies!   

 

20200308_134658.jpg


Edited by Tyson M, 08 March 2020 - 07:44 PM.

  • Paul G, Scott in NC, Philipp and 13 others like this

#20 Rocket Ron

Rocket Ron

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 323
  • Joined: 03 Oct 2015
  • Loc: California

Posted 09 March 2020 - 07:00 PM

Congratulations on your acquistion!  The Traveler is indeed a lifetime scope.


  • Tyson M likes this

#21 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 09 March 2020 - 10:00 PM

Night report 03/09/2020   

 

full moon / red-white zone / -8C  or 17.6F   / out for about an hour and 20 mins

 

Astrophysics Traveller EDF  / various eyepieces / M2 mount

 

I just took the Traveller out today strictly to catch some decent dusk seeing for Venus. 

 

I was out in average seeing, average transparency, clear skies.

 

I had out my entire selection of eyepieces and barlow, including a 15 delite and 10XW and 5x powermate.  Max magnification was 305x and the traveller didnt break a sweat, with still sharp half moon crescent.

 

At first there was a decent amount of scatter, some eyepieces worse than others.  But eventually the views calmed down enough for some decent viewing.

 

Unfortunately my feet got cold because I decided to not wear extra pair of socks and winter shoes.  Regardless, it was one of the better sessions viewing Venus.

 

No cloud details, no ashen light.

 

Views were good of the white half crescent with leica once fully cooled down, it was better with the pentax 10XW and 15Delite at first with regards to scatter.  After things seemed to stabilize a bit, the AP convertible barlow and leica was just as good as the 15D and 10XW with the 5x powermate.

 

Venus is a tough target but always fun to challenge oneself.  I would rate this as a bit better than the SW100ED with average seeing I had recently, with respects to spurious color. It looked more similar to the 12" newt than it did to the 100ED.  There was some hints of momentary CA or atmospheric dispersion at 305x power with the AP 105, but never obtrusive and would go away with the fluctuating seeing. 

 

For kicks I tried to split sirius but no dice.  I could see it in the first diffraction ring but no split.

 

Thanks for reading and clear skies!


Edited by Tyson M, 09 March 2020 - 10:19 PM.

  • Scott in NC, turtle86, BravoFoxtrot and 3 others like this

#22 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 21 March 2020 - 12:39 PM

20200320_210722.jpg

 

Night time observing session - first light if you will

 

03/20/2020 -  2.5 hours long from 20:45 to 23:15

 

-13C coldday.gif Yellow zone dark site, clear skies, seeing was average(3/5) to good (4/5), transparency was average (3/5) to below average (2/5).

 

AP 105 Traveller EDF, SVM2 mount.  Various eyepieces.

 

Because I was testing out optics and it was cold, I hit up the standard showpiece objects and didnt look for anything obscure. 

 

The plan was that I wanted to try and catch amazing dusk seeing and view Venus, then work my way west to east.

 

Packing up the car with this set up is a treat.  The scope in its bag is stout and heavyish but very easy to handle.  I grabbed it and my eyepiece case from the basement directly to the car.

 

Then I carried my astro chair and folding camping table in another trip from the patio to the car.  Then the mount from the garage into the car and I was ready to go.

 

In contrast to my 12" dob, which also is somewhat grab and go, there is waay less work involved fitting it into my car.  The seats all have to be folded down and moved a certain way to maximize room for the OTA, and the base has to be disassembled carefully in two pieces and placed in a certain spot.  It is actually a lot of work, so this traveller set up was such a breeze.

 

The reason why this point is important, is because the refractor has to compliment the 12" dob.  I will use the 12" dob in certain circumstances, and the refractor in other circumstances.   If the refractor set up is too fiddly, I use it less.

 

Last night was fairly cold and I didnt feel like a fiddly set up for the 12".  Plus the transparency wasn't going to be great so I was thinking this would be a double star/Venus night.

 

A short drive to my dark site and after 5 -10mins of set up I was ready to go.

 

The first 15 mins or so at low power showed heat plumes, which is to be expected.  It went away after 30-45mins.

 

I do not use a finder scope.  I use a 31N and star hop or scan to find objects.  Then I put in a 17ES92 to frame at higher power.   If I need to get closer, then goes in the leica zoom.

 

Because i was doing higher power work, the AP 2"  2x barlow and the 1.25" Tele Vue 5x Powermate were utilized.

 

I wanted to really bump up the magnification tonight to really try and see some details in Venus.

 

The leica zoom is an interesting eyepiece.  I wouldnt rate it as being the very best Venus eyepiece.  Insane glare made suppressing the light hard.

 

At lower power setting 25x, the Disk is perfectly focused.  Crescent shape apparent.  At 50x the disk when perfectly focused shows some stray light, which I am fairly sure its the eyepiece.  With a barlow or powermate, it completely disappears.

 

On that note, I really wanted to eek out some cloud detail in Venus.  I took a page out of Mike's observing book and tried higher powers with the 5xpowermate which made it a 3.56mm to 1.78mm zoom.

 

At max power setting, 343x, disk remained fully sharp and actually looked pretty good.  I backed off the zoom just slightly, I reckon 2mm and enjoyed the Venus disk immensely.  

 

I cant say that I definitely saw cloud details.  I thought I saw only the slightly dark irregularities for only ephemeral moments of the seeing, but i twas just too hard to call.  Since I was getting moments of spurious color (atmospheric dispersion) in the wavy seeing at times, I felt I couldnt say what I was seeing was a sure thing.  I certainly could not have sketched it.  I really think this planet needs a filter.

 

I changed it up and put in the 31N and viewed M45 as it was right beside it.  Conditions of transparency weren't excellent at all, at the beginning of the night id say it was average.  

 

The 4 degree views through the 31N are addicting.  The stars are very small pinpricks.  Even at 610mm and f5.8 , I couldnt really see any field curvature.  I tried looking for it at the edges.  All I saw at first were heat plumes then it got steady. It makes me wonder it I was seeing coma in less expensive fast optics.  For this reason, this scope reminded me of the views NP127, although the NP127 was much heavier and awkward to use and mount via alt az.

 

Using the 17ES92, I can just frame the brighter members of the 7 sisters.  Nebulosity was easily seen around the members.  In fact, I think I am getting better at picking it out, and it very faintly looks like some of the photographs you see.   That could be a testament to the optics (premium scope, diagonal, eyepieces) and dark site as well.  It wasnt my best view of M45, but very good.  

 

I scanned around with the 31N closer to Cass.  I observed Stock 2 and the double cluster.  The double cluster with a 31N exhibits 3.9 degrees, and just starts to take on that whirlpool shape you get with medium power binoculars.

 

There is two trails of stars that lead into the double cluster, and one of those follows to Stock 2, the other star trail in the opposite direction towards Cass.

 

From Stock 2 I starhopped to Mirfak and Melotte 20.   Couldnt quite frame it all, this is a true binocular cluster but outstanding view.

 

I starhopped down the towards M31.  With the 31N I could see M31 and M32.  With the 17ES92, I could faintly see M110.  Not bad, this is a hard target when transparency isnt above average.  Even when it is, not all scopes can pick it out.  I tried with a friend and an NP101 with above average transparency, and with the two eyepieces it was extremely faint.  My friend couldnt see it at all, but I knew where to look and on further scrutiny, on the edge of visibility is was barely detectable.  This night the conditions were not as good, so score another point for the Traveller.

 

I went back to Cass, to the last member Caph.  I was actually looking for Caroline's Rose (season is virtually done for it), but I don't think I saw it confused1.gif   embarrassing but I wasnt in the right direction, and if I did scan over it, there are so many stars in Cass and the milky way I was lost in the view!   I did find M52 and observed that with all eyepieces, including the Leica zoom.  Nice small faint cluster.

 

I decided to make my way back south then east. 

 

I went after the Auriga clusters.  These were easy pickings in the 31N.  M38 and M37 really start looking impressive in refractor apertures of at least 100mm.  I utilized the 17ES92  and leica zoom on these.  Tiny pinpricks at higher zoom mags, looked beautiful but conditions werent excellent.

 

I scanned up Hyades, Aldebaran was looking great.  Couldnt quite frame the 5 deg cluster with the 31N

 

I tried to find M1.  Another one I scanned for and missed.  I shouldve checked SS6, but I just  didnt do it.  I realized now I was scanning between Bellatrix and Tianguan when I needed to go higher up passed it.  It is actually in between Bellatrix and Elnath.

 

3.9 degs really buys you a lot of real-estate in Orion.  Can frame all of Cr70 which is always a treat.  Can frame NGC 1981, M42, NGC 1999 all together.  I could observe all 4 members of the trapezium with the 31N.  With the 17ES92, the nebula really takes on some life and large bat wings visible, as well as M43's nebulosity.  I also tried here with the leica zoom and 5x powermate, to pick up other members of the trap but no luck.  At the highest settings the stars starting turning fuzzy in the nebula cloud, although a dark nebula right beside the trap was very much apparent.

 

I actually think I found a target I have never seen before, a small faint nebulous patch of light just above Cr70.  On further scrutiny,  I found M78  NGC2068, a reflection nebula.

 

I split Alnitak with the 8.9mm setting on the Leica zoom.  Faint looking companion.

 

I quickly went after Meissa and Cr69.  After some scanning around, I found it and split it very well with the leica zoom and 5x powermate.  This was another great view, one of the better in the night.  Hard star point with beautiful airy disk visible.

 

I made my way to the ultimate test- Sirius. 

 

The conditions of seeing were not above average.  They were about average, with fleeting moments of above average.

 

Sirius is a treat to view with a high quality apo.  My 100ED struggled with it.  It is a hard point of light in the AP105.

 

I tried with really high power with the leica zoom and 5x powermate but it was harder to pull out the companion.  At those magnifications, it started to look like the 100ED does, were the pup becomes diffuse and lost in the glare of Sirius first diffraction ring, only visible but its inherent blue color that doesnt mix well with Sirius.

 

But backing down the magnification, to zoom ranges of about 14mm-10mm, the pup would momentarily jump out of the glare of Sirius and be fully resolved!  There was no black space between them, and its hard to say it was a "split", as the jargon implies a black space between them.  More like two orbs right up beside each other.  But several times, the pup jumped out from the glare of Sirius and retreated back into the glare.  This process repeated itself enough times to fully declare it split.

 

That makes the AP105 one of only 2 scopes that has ever done this for me.  One of which being a Vixen100SF (100ED clone), but the seeing was during dusk and exceptional.  Something I have only seen once in my 5 years in the hobby.  Conditions werent nearly as good last night, and Sirius itself looked immensely better in the AP105 rather than the 100ED clone.  Score another point for the Traveller.

 

The optics of this scope are so fine, they remind me of the longer focal length triplets like the SV80L and TSA102S.  I cant say what is better, especially as they arent side by side.  But when you use a premium scope, you know it when you see it when you play with the intra and extra Fresnel rings and racking out the focus in and out.  It's hard to write in words, but you immediately know it when you see it, and you enjoy racking out stars in and out.

 

The wide field of views of this scope act like a flat field tele vue, just cools down faster. The Traveller seems like a mini NP127. 

 

A few further notes of the night.

 

With this scope package (my eyepieces, my mount, the scope), everything just works which is an immense joy.  The focuser had no problems freezing up in the prolonged cold (unlike the exceptional AT92 I had but at -19C for an hour).  There is no tension brake on the AP to hold heavy eyepieces towards the zenith, as its not needed-it holds everything perfectly fine.  Using large glass grenades as finders works exceptionally well with a short focal length refractor with a strong focuser.  The AT92 was a joy to use for the same reasons the AP105 is a joy to use.  These are skirmishing-style scopes that allow you to launch ambush assaults that you can quickly deploy against the night sky when conditions arent ideal in some form or another.

 

A small portable, high quality apo with great mechanics means even on the coldest nights, you will want to have a shorter session at a dark site.  I can fully say, if you want an Astrophysics 92 Stowaway on a budget, I'd say buy an AT92. I think it may be Astronomics best scope.  If you want a Traveller on a budget, buy an NP101.  Your primary concern on that decision would be based on your mount. 

 

That being said, the mechanics all around are nicer with the AP105 over both scopes, but you sincerely pay for it.  Nothing I have used to date matches the build quality of the Astrophysics 105 Traveller, but then again, nothing comes close to it in price.

 

The reasoning behind keeping a scope like the AP105 Traveller, is that even though it costs an arm and a leg, it is a scope you want to use.  Isn't that the most important thing?

 

 

To review so far:

 

Astrophysics 105 Traveller pros:

-build quality second to none

-large aperture in the smallest form factor

-rides very well on medium duty alt az mounts even high power tracking

-optics are sublime

-does ultra wide fov's, and high power planetary/double star viewing

-cool down is acceptable despite its tank-like robustness, seemingly a bit better than Tele Vue quad element air spaced frac (possibly 10-15mins earlier to go?).  

 

Astrophysics 105 Traveller cons:

-price (buy once, cry once)

-availability

 

I still have another couple tests to do.  A lunar session I am particularly looking forward to, preferably first quarter moon.  Then I will try and catch Mars later this year. 

 

Thanks for reading and clear skies!


Edited by Tyson M, 21 March 2020 - 01:42 PM.

  • Paul G, Spacedout, BravoFoxtrot and 10 others like this

#23 t-ara-fan

t-ara-fan

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,108
  • Joined: 20 Sep 2017
  • Loc: 50° 13' N

Posted 21 March 2020 - 03:56 PM

Nice info about those scopes.  AP has a good reputation for a reason.

 

 "never look through a scope you cannot afford"

LOL.
 


  • ewave and Tyson M like this

#24 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Skylab

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 4,445
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: Canada

Posted 22 March 2020 - 12:14 PM

Nice info about those scopes.  AP has a good reputation for a reason.

 

LOL.
 

Agreed.  It would be nice to get to own and view through an AP130GT and/or a 155 f7  hmm.gif



#25 Paul G

Paul G

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8,765
  • Joined: 08 May 2003
  • Loc: Freedonia

Posted 22 March 2020 - 03:03 PM

Agreed.  It would be nice to get to own and view through an AP130GT and/or a 155 f7  hmm.gif

Those two plus the Traveler make an awesome threesome that covers a wide range of observing.


  • peleuba and Scott in NC like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics