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

AT106 as second scope, 1st refractor for a newbie?

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 grahamtv

grahamtv

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 61
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2020
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 11 August 2020 - 07:47 PM

It looks like I’ll have opportunity soon to purchase a used AT106. This would be my 2nd scope but first refractor (see my signature.) It has been used for AP, but I would plan to continue to only do visual for the foreseeable future. 

 

My initial questions are:

 

Is age material (e.g., degradation of coatings) or only overall condition?
How can I distinguish whether it’s an original or the “LE?“ Grey accents rather than black?

It has a Moonlite focuser (again used for AP), but I would need to purchase a diagonal, mount and tripod. 

I’ve read several threads on the AT106 and know that it is well respected (and that old, oft quoted review) especially for photography, but would it be a good 1st refractor for visual for a novice?

 

Thanks in advance for your experience!

 

 

 



#2 photoracer18

photoracer18

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,558
  • Joined: 02 Sep 2013
  • Loc: Martinsburg, WV

Posted 11 August 2020 - 08:03 PM

Admittedly I have a lot of scopes but if it was me I would likely spend the money on more and better eyepieces. Or both as both scopes would perform much better with higher quality eyepieces. Eyepieces are half the optics in a scope.



#3 grahamtv

grahamtv

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 61
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2020
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 11 August 2020 - 08:11 PM

I’ll update the EP’S in the signature but have been working on that steadily. I have completed the ES 82’s and have begun to add a few of the older TV plossls. Assume the EP’s are covered. 



#4 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 18,689
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 12 August 2020 - 05:34 AM

Admittedly I have a lot of scopes but if it was me I would likely spend the money on more and better eyepieces. Or both as both scopes would perform much better with higher quality eyepieces. Eyepieces are half the optics in a scope.

I would have said just the opposite. When your eyepiece collection costs several times as much as your telescope collection, you have to wonder if the money was spent wisely. Because as far as image quality is concerned, eyepieces are far less important than the telescope.

 

Better an 1/8th-wave primary mirror with five well selected Plossls than a 1/4-wave mirror with the world's fanciest eyepiece collection. For me, anyway.


  • BFaucett likes this

#5 PPPPPP42

PPPPPP42

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 262
  • Joined: 13 Feb 2017
  • Loc: Wisconsin

Posted 12 August 2020 - 08:00 PM

If you have the appropriate ES 82 degree focal lengths for a small refractor that's a great set to work with so I would agree you are already set.

 

I can't speak about the quality of that specific scope (hopefully others will cover that) but the moonlite is a nice addition for sure.

 

I can tell you I bought my 127mm refractor because I wasn't getting my 8" sct out enough because I had so little time that by the time it was set up and cooled it was time to go back in and I could never plan far enough ahead with the way my life is to set it up way before hand.

I also bought a nice alt/az manual mount and stuck a red dot finder on it so that its stupid easy to setup and use.  Its like 5 minutes from I want to go out to I am looking through the scope if I wanted to rush.

 

My refractor is also a triplet using FCD100 glass and is a pretty good one optically so I get very clear pinpoint stars and the planets are very sharply detailed (seeing permitting). I also bought a super good diagonal to get the max out of it (actually made a visible difference).

Quality is what makes a refractor worth it to me.  It lets you get every bit of detail out of the smaller image so its worth looking at.

That is good because even with a 5" refractor the light gathering is what I would consider bare minimum after getting used to an 8".  You only can push the magnification so far before the exit pupil is small enough to be problematic so that gets somewhat limited as well.

I don't know how fast a scope the one you are looking at is compared to mine so that may change things somewhat as well.

 

That's just my opinion though, many people love visual even in an 80mm but at that point you really aren't see a whole lot more than a good pair of binoculars would show you.

 

A somewhat important question would be why are you getting a refractor in the first place? Travel? Wider fields? Faster cool down and less maintenance?

Answering that question will help decide what size refractor and type of mount is right for you so maybe we should cover that first.



#6 grahamtv

grahamtv

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 61
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2020
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 12 August 2020 - 08:56 PM

Thanks for the responses so far. Here’s the exact scope under consideration: Astrotech AT-106 LE, 106mm F/6.5 FPL-53.

 

Why a refractor? Fair question. A: Primarily as an even easier grab-n-go than my 8” dob* for relatively brief, impromptu viewing sessions from home. My local skies are moderately light polluted. I live on the outskirts of suburban Oklahoma City. I do love the idea of being able to have a passive (yet sturdy) alt-az tripod and carry it outside in one trip to be viewing even faster than I can today. 

Also, since I know viewing objects are oft asked, my favorite viewing objects so far have been globular clusters (#1 by far), lunar and (attempting) nebulas. 

 

I know that dropping aperture to 4.5” will be significant, but I know that refractors return the best image per aperture. I’ve tried to choose a scope that is economical yet high quality. (This model is used and discontinued yet was and is highly regarded.)

 

As I live only minutes away from our sponsor Astronomics in Norman, Oklahoma, I called and spoke to Michael briefly at lunch today. He answered one of my questions: The scope I’m looking at is the “LE,” but he said there’s essentially no difference except the weight. (I thought that I had read here on CN that the glass was different. I asked him that specifically and (at least from his memory) he said there is no difference in the optics, only the weight and color of the trim (grey vs black = LE). 
 

So, these remain my question if you can help:

1) Is the age of this scope material to its condition  (e.g., is there likely degradation of the coatings) or is only the overall condition of the scope the main point? (The owner, who I trust implicitly) depicts it as an 8.5 of 10.)

2j How can I distinguish whether it’s an original or the “LE?“ Grey accents rather than black?

 

3) ...would this specific scope be a good 1st refractor for visual for a novice?

 

Thanks for your time and experience. Tom

 

*By the way, our local club has a dark site and other members are jealous of how quickly I can set up and be viewing while they’re still unloading (I open the car windows on the drive to let the OTA acclimate.) And more often than not, when I share a view from my scope, the response is, “Wow! That’s a great image for what you call a “beginner’s scope’.” So, I love my dob, the used eyepieces I’ve added, and the time (and money) spent to learn to collimate well.

 

[edit for typo]


Edited by grahamtv, 12 August 2020 - 08:59 PM.


#7 Jethro7

Jethro7

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,227
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2018
  • Loc: N.W. Florida

Posted 12 August 2020 - 09:17 PM

Why a refractor? Fair question. A: Primarily as an even easier grab-n-go than my 8” dob* for relatively brief, impromptu viewing sessions from home. My local skies are moderately light polluted. I live on the outskirts of suburban Oklahoma City. I do love the idea of being able to have a passive (yet sturdy) alt-az tripod and carry it outside in one trip to be viewing even faster than I can today. 

 

Hello Graham,

I will give you another good reason for a Refractor. When seeing conditions are not as good as you would like them to be and you want to view on those nights a refractor will best your Dob, they are very forgiving of less than very good seeing conditions. I have a number of scopes now and if I could keep only two I would choose the 10" Dob and my AT102 ED. I would pretty much be able to cover all my bases. But I dont see myself pairing down my collection anytime soon. I still have room left to for more Astro Toys.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 12 August 2020 - 09:18 PM.

  • grahamtv likes this

#8 grahamtv

grahamtv

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 61
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2020
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 12 August 2020 - 09:36 PM

Thanks, Jethro. Are you saying that your AT102 can provide better views than your 10” dob?

 

A 4.5” refractor providing even better views than my 8” dob with my home seeing conditions — is reason enough!

 

I had just checked Astrospheric before your post and we’re still expecting below average seeing. In fact that’s most common and it’s rarely above average. Our dusty warm climate at only 1200 ft elevation, coalesce so that we rarely have even above average seeing.

 

I’ve just checked the light pollution map and it shows:

  • SQM 19.25 mag./arc sec2
  • Brightness 2.16 mcd/m2
  • Artif. bright. 1990 μcd/m2
  • Ratio 11.7
  • Bortle class 6
  • Elevation 367 meters


#9 PPPPPP42

PPPPPP42

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 262
  • Joined: 13 Feb 2017
  • Loc: Wisconsin

Posted 12 August 2020 - 09:45 PM

If it helps I've never seen (or even really heard of) an issue with coatings that wasn't visible shining a light through it and also looking across the surface with a light at various angles.

The only issues I have ever heard of from age were with some old camera lenses that would actually turn cloudy yellow (I forget the reason) but that's 1970's era stuff and apparently was even reversible.

 

I was curious so I looked it up and from what little I could find that was built to be a top shelf quality refractor for imaging (the fact that its an FPL-53 triplet makes that kind of obvious as well) which is much more demanding than visual so unless you are considering a larger size refractor that should be excellent for visual.

 

Telescopes really do tend to age quite well when taken care of, almost not aging at all actually, so short of changing technologies (glass type, coatings, manufacturing processes, ect) age really isn't an issue and it sounds like that one is still state of the art tech wise, especially with the upgraded focuser.

 

EDIT: I would also say my refractor provides "better" views than my 8" SCT, but not bigger (planets), or brighter (DSO's) so there are obvious trade offs.

It seems really good at splitting double stars since it makes really super pinpoint stars.


Edited by PPPPPP42, 12 August 2020 - 09:48 PM.

  • grahamtv likes this

#10 Jethro7

Jethro7

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,227
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2018
  • Loc: N.W. Florida

Posted 12 August 2020 - 09:51 PM

Hello Graham,

When seeing is not so good yes.especially in Planetary viewing. But no it will not replace the Dob for DSO's  when your seeing is very good the Dob with it's much larger aperture and longer focal length cant be beat. Also  the Refractor gives a different viewing experience. And  I prefer the views for some star clusters and for splitting double stars. When you get the refractor and get some star time with it you will understand what I mean. They both excel in deferent aspects of Astronomy and complement one another.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro

 

P.S. I've been recommending a couple of books a lot lately for a reason, they are the best Ametuer Astronomy Primers in print.

 

"NightWatch" Revised forth Edition by Terrence Dickerson

"The BackYard Atronomers Guide" Revised and Expanded third Edition by Terrence Dickerson and  Alan Dyer


Edited by Jethro7, 12 August 2020 - 10:06 PM.

  • grahamtv likes this

#11 SeattleScott

SeattleScott

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8,821
  • Joined: 14 Oct 2011

Posted 13 August 2020 - 08:17 AM

It should be an excellent compliment for short sessions and wide field work. For visual only in a place that can get rather cold, a doublet might be preferable for faster cooling and lighter weight, but probably not a big deal at that aperture. And F6.5 can’t really be done with a doublet without significant compromises so you are getting a bit more extreme wide field capabilities in exchange for a bit better cooling and portability. You just need a 30-35mm wide angle eyepiece to do justice to the wide field capabilities.

Scott
  • grahamtv likes this

#12 grahamtv

grahamtv

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 61
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2020
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 13 August 2020 - 09:44 AM

Thank you for that re-assurance, Scott of its use for visual.

The scope came with a GSO 30mm Superview. One of the only new EP’s I’ve purchased was a 30mm ES 82 degree which is good. And I’ve just purchased a used TV Nagler 31mm Type 5. Ill be choosing which of these last two to keep and which to pass along to a good home.

#13 Eddgie

Eddgie

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 27,041
  • Joined: 01 Feb 2006

Posted 13 August 2020 - 09:49 AM

I have an Astronomy Technology 106 LE (well, for a few more days anyway because I am in the process of selling it).

 

The LE (Limited Edition) has the same FPL-53 f/6.5 Triplet design of the standard AT 106.

 

It is easy to tell them apart.  The 106LE had a very premium looking finish, with almost black anodized details.  The rings at the end of the dew shield and focuser have a distinct contour.

 

XQE_00691.JPG

 

And the easiest way to tell it is an LE is because it says so right on the focuser.

 

 

XQE_00701.JPG

 

You can see the contour of the details I mentioned in the pictures above. 

 

These are beautifully made.  The finish here is much nicer (in my opinion) than the Televue 101 and one of the nicest finishes I have ever had on any telescope.  Very much a premium quality look and feel.

 

The only negative (and this will be true of any refractor with this kind of short focal ratio other than something like the Televue 101 series) is that when using something like a 31mm Nagler, the field will be curved but again, at this kind of focal length, that is going to be true with most refractors but otherwise, it is a wonderful telescope.

 

And I know you are going to ask "Well if you love it so much, why are you selling it?"  The answer is I don't have much use for small slow telescopes like this. For my own purposes, my 6" f/2.8 is a much better choice.  I really owned this specifically for white light solar, which it is absolutely fantastic at, but I don't do much white light solar anymore, so with no other use for it, it was time to sell it.

 

It is a beautiful telescope though.  From an aesthetic standpoint, one of the most beautiful I have ever owned and when the dew shield is retracted, is is surprisingly compact.


Edited by Eddgie, 13 August 2020 - 09:50 AM.

  • grahamtv likes this

#14 grahamtv

grahamtv

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 61
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2020
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 13 August 2020 - 09:52 AM

Jethro,
Thanks for the recommendations for the two books. I’ve recently purchased both (used). After reading your recommendation, I took time this morning to read up through the Telescope chapter (three) of "The BackYard Atronomers Guide" Revised and Expanded (my copy is Second Edition).
I know that prices change but I certainly see the wisdom that there is not one type of telescope that is right for everyone (though all may have personal favorites or a certain nostalgia for what type of scope they personally started off with.)
  • Jethro7 likes this

#15 Jethro7

Jethro7

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,227
  • Joined: 17 Dec 2018
  • Loc: N.W. Florida

Posted 13 August 2020 - 02:03 PM

Hello Graham

When I got hooked in this Astro Hobby,I was recommended these books. These books had the answers I was looking for and kept me from constantly asking routine questions on the forums.

Not everything you need is contained in the text of these books and that's what we are here for and to try and help you. Many aspects of this hobby are confusing at times especially when you start AP.

And general questions on equipment and techniques and such.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro 

 

P.S. FWIW the TV 31mm NT5 is my favorite Eyepiece.


Edited by Jethro7, 13 August 2020 - 05:48 PM.


#16 grahamtv

grahamtv

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 61
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2020
  • Loc: Oklahoma City, OK

Posted 05 September 2020 - 08:04 AM

As an update:

I decided that it was even more important to be sure that I didn’t undersize the mount and tripod. So, I shopped for that first. With experience and advice gained from those of you here on this thread, I decided upon the iOptron AZ Mount Pro and Tri-pier which I’ve ordered from our CN host — but is still back-ordered.

 

As a result, I piddled too long and the AT106 went to a different home. Though I was quite disappointed, I WAS given the chance first. I’m sure that buyer is VERY happy with the deal he made.

 

And, I’m no longer sad, because I’ve since purchased a Takahashi FS102-NSV “apo” (?)..doublet. And it is all original and pristine. Sure, I paid quite a bit more for the Tak, but am very happy with that purchase. Now, if my mount would just come in!

 

p.s., Don’t be surprised if my impatience leads me back to a manual alt-AZ mount. If I find a nice used tripod, I’ll likely buy the Stellarvue MC2 new... but the search for a tripod for the MC2, well that’s a different thread. 




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