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The joy of a good, small refractor

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#26 2696

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 07:21 PM

I love smaller refractors. I often use my 60mm Mayflower over even my AT102, which still isn't big or a big deal to bring out, but the smaller refractors can be taken out entirely in one hand so that's very appealing to me. I'm waiting for the AT72 to be back in stock and I'll be grabbing one of those for grab & go. Moral of the story is, I like smaller refractors.
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#27 DreamWeaver

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 08:38 PM

One of my 60mm grab & go options.  lol.gif

 

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#28 TNmike

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 08:42 PM

And that is a F_?



#29 DreamWeaver

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 08:56 PM

~1962 Scope Orbit f/20.  It kinda dwarfs the Bushnell 60/700 behind it.


Edited by DreamWeaver, 04 July 2020 - 08:59 PM.

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#30 TNmike

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:10 PM

F/20, amazing.


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#31 gwlee

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:13 PM

I love smaller refractors. I often use my 60mm Mayflower over even my AT102, which still isn't big or a big deal to bring out, but the smaller refractors can be taken out entirely in one hand so that's very appealing to me. I'm waiting for the AT72 to be back in stock and I'll be grabbing one of those for grab & go. Moral of the story is, I like smaller refractors.

I had a TV60 (f6) for a few years, which is an extremely portable scope that provides very good views. After using it for a few years, I realized that didn’t need as much portability as it offered, and I wanted a bit more performance and the ability to use 2” EP, so I replaced it with an AT72ED, and then replaced the AT72ED with an AT72ED2 a few years later.

 

After using these 72mm scopes for a few years, I find that they provide all the portability I need. The AT72ED2 has very good 2-speed focuser and also gives very good views for its aperture and its 432mm focal length, so I use it a lot.

 

I bought the AT72ED/2 because I need a grab-and-go scope at this site, and I wanted to understand the buzz around the new crop of ED doublets coming in from China, but I only intended to keep it long enough to put together a better quality 4-inch class rig.

 

I started my 4 inch build with a premium 4-inch class mount, but couldn’t decide on the scope, so I put the AT72ED2 on the  4” mount to test the mount, and said “wow, this a better scope than I thought,” so the AT72ED2 stayed on this mount for a couple of years.

 

Eventually, I bought a premium 92mm scope to go on the mount, and compared the AT72ED2 the 92mm, and said, “wow, “ the AT72ED2 is a better scope than I thought,” so I decided to keep it around for another year while I evaluated the 92mm scope intended to replace it.
 

Since then, the AT72ED2  got a high quality AMICI prism that turned it into a pretty decent spotting scope, and it has a white light solar filter, so it’s my solar scope and my eclipse scope too. With snow on the ground, it was my most used scope last Winter, and anytime I need more portability than the 92mm can provide, like tonight when I will hoof it around the neighborhood trying to find a vantage point to catch a view of the eclipse. 

 

Last week, I put the AT72ED2 back on the 4” mount that has DSCs that I have never used except to test them a few years ago, and decided to hunt globs using DSCs and the AT72ED2  and said, “wow, this a better scope than I thought” So, at this point the AT72ED2 has been given another 12 month stay of execution while I decide its ultimate fate, but it seems to have nine lives. 


Edited by gwlee, 04 July 2020 - 11:12 PM.

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#32 gnowellsct

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 10:47 PM

 Yet I never saw anything on Jupiter except two belts and four moons. 

This is the classic "bad telescope view" of Jupiter.  Two vanilla bands and four moons.  You can watch till the cows come home and you'll never see the GRS.

 

This "bad telescope view" is not just limited to refractors.  I had it in my 4.25" f/10 reflector (decades ago--I can still get ticked about it if I let my mind dwell on the hours hoping to see the GRS).  And for some people the vanilla bands are an improvement, all they see is a white blurry disk.

 

So what does it take to see some details in the bands and the GRS.  Well, a couple years ago the nut cases on this group said "ooh looka that the Vixen ED81S is on sale for $750."  And I thought now was my time to see what these wackos were saying about small apertures.

 

I was very, very impressed.  And then I got it into my head that I should pull a Galileo.  The lens cap has a center hole (with its own cap) which is 40 mm.  I said to myself, "Great!  I can see the universe the way Galileo did!"

 

if Galileo had a dielectric diagonal

if Galileo had fluorite glass

if Galileo had Pentax eyepieces

if Galileo had a tracking machined aluminum mount

 

....yeah, just like he saw it!  

 

Anyhow I started viewing in shall we say "enhanced" 40 mm aperture using the aperture mask that Vixen provided and I was surprised at all that I could see, including GRS and some band details.  

 

So yes there is a tremendous amount you can see in a very small scope.  As it happens I prefer the 81mm view to the 40 mm view and since the 92mm got here I haven't used the 81 mm much.  

 

How well you mount that small scope is very significant remember that the reason they sell image stabilized binoculars is that you can see a lot more when the view is steady.  I'd rather view through 40 mm well stabilized than 60 mm shaking this way and that.

 

Anyhow the experience proved that the nutcakes were not as nutty as I had thought they were.   I posted a picture of myself taking a bite out of my hat.

 

Greg N


Edited by gnowellsct, 04 July 2020 - 10:48 PM.

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#33 sw196060

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 05:16 AM

Greg,

What 92 did you get ... Stowaway?



#34 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 09:53 AM

Galileo had no diagonal, and his telescopes had two lenses in total. He was a real purist.


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#35 TNmike

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 10:58 AM

Thanks everyone for all the kind comments, stories, thoughts, and experiences. Keep 'em coming!



#36 gwlee

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 12:29 PM

Greg,

What 92 did you get ... Stowaway?

Yes.



#37 TNmike

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 12:58 PM

Galileo had no diagonal, and his telescopes had two lenses in total. He was a real purist.

Yeah, sometime in the past I read that he didn't even like orthos, just too much glass in the optical train Rim_Shot.gif


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#38 25585

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:55 PM

Small refractors in pairs could perhaps be made into a binoscope without being too heavy or awkward to handle and collimate. 



#39 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:14 PM

wow, this a better scope than I thought” So, at this point the AT72ED2 has been given another 12 month stay of execution while I decide its ultimate fate, but it seems to have nine lives.

 

 

Gary:

 

Like your story.

 

It doesn't take too many "wow, this is a better scope than I thought" for a scope to earn a permanent place with me.

 

Jon



#40 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:47 PM

Another way to enjoy small refractors is the challenge of small apertures.  I'm putting together a trio of sub-60mm achromatics, all at about F12.  I already have a Monolux (Towa) 50mm, and a Tasco 4VTE (Kenko) 40mm, and I'm looking for a 30mm.  This one seems to be tough -- tough to find a long 30mm with a quality lens.  The 4VTE is one of those click-zoom types, with the erecting lenses & such built in... so, I removed all that stuff, chopped 6" off the tube, and made this astro frac:

 

Tasco 4VTE S11 (Shortened OTA).jpg

 

I've had several sessions with the 50mm on that same Kenko KDS II mount in my previous post.  An EQ with 360* gears doesn't get much smaller than the KDS.

 

Besides double stars, one thing these 50mm & 40mm refractors can display is the Marble Moon.  If you haven't seen it, you're missing out on quite a sight:  At about 15x - 20x, it's a 3D ball with razor-sharp features, and little to no blue/violet fringing around the limb.


Edited by Bomber Bob, 05 July 2020 - 07:54 PM.

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#41 barbie

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:02 PM

Several years ago, I made my own small, long f-ratio refractors from 50mm on up to 80mm using surplus optics and lenses that I ground, polished and hand figured myself. The really memorable and fun scope was an 80mm F20 that I made entirely on my own.  It was a very fun project to take on and complete!!  I've long since hung up my glass pushing but would gladly build another 50-80mm long focus refactor as a winter time project using surplus optics and parts!!  I had a lot of fun doing that and in restoring neglected small refractors back to health. Fun stuff!!


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#42 erin

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:10 PM

Several years ago, I made my own small, long f-ratio refractors from 50mm on up to 80mm using surplus optics and lenses that I ground, polished and hand figured myself. The really memorable and fun scope was an 80mm F20 that I made entirely on my own.  It was a very fun project to take on and complete!!  I've long since hung up my glass pushing but would gladly build another 50-80mm long focus refactor as a winter time project using surplus optics and parts!!  I had a lot of fun doing that and in restoring neglected small refractors back to health. Fun stuff!!

That’s awesome! waytogo.gif


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#43 LDW47

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 09:16 PM

One for each eye, lol !  Clear Skies !

 

3683238F-B3AF-4739-AB4F-BE24C7196112.jpeg


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#44 gnowellsct

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 11:18 PM

Greg,

What 92 did you get ... Stowaway?

 

Yes.

No.  CFF 92 and a Stowaway.  The Stowaway had some issues.  Some were related to my health, and some to the Stowaway's health.  So I haven't been able to use it yet, and it is currently at the Astro-physics Spa for a look-see.  The scope I've been using is the CFF 92.

 

Greg N 


Edited by gnowellsct, 05 July 2020 - 11:19 PM.


#45 25585

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 05:21 AM

No.  CFF 92 and a Stowaway.  The Stowaway had some issues.  Some were related to my health, and some to the Stowaway's health.  So I haven't been able to use it yet, and it is currently at the Astro-physics Spa for a look-see.  The scope I've been using is the CFF 92.

 

Greg N 

A new but unhealthy Astro-Physics refractor?! What is going on?



#46 gnowellsct

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 01:49 PM

A new but unhealthy Astro-Physics refractor?! What is going on?

Meh.  I'm not going to talk about it nor any details.  People flip out on this topic.  Anyhow I have two 92s, one is at the spa.



#47 25585

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 05:33 PM

Meh.  I'm not going to talk about it nor any details.  People flip out on this topic.  Anyhow I have two 92s, one is at the spa.

Just as well you had a back-up (& the Vixen).  thinking1.gif   One thing about rare anything is, its a risk if anything is wrong since no off the shelf replacement, and having to deal with testy craftsmen.    


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#48 desertlens

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 08:49 PM

Whenever the discussion turns to fun with small telescopes, my thoughts turn to this one:

 

Borg55FL.jpg

Borg 55FL: ƒ4.5

 

I've had some remarkably good views of the Veil nebula (all of it) with this setup, a 25mm Abbe and an OIII filter.


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#49 Bowlerhat

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 10:17 PM

Whenever the discussion turns to fun with small telescopes, my thoughts turn to this one:

Borg 55FL: ƒ4.5

 

I've had some remarkably good views of the Veil nebula (all of it) with this setup, a 25mm Abbe and an OIII filter.

Borg is surely adventurous with their 36ED and even with pencil borg. Interesting company.

https://www.cloudyni...aperture-fever/



#50 desertlens

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 10:33 PM

These days, Borg's primary focus is on imaging instruments. The last of their visual scopes (the 89ED) has been discontinued, at least for the time being. I've had some fun adapting these small astrographs for visual use. The WO RedCat 51 is another.


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