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Where are the Astro-Tech AT102 ED users at?

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#1 sportsmed

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 08:48 PM

I'm still looking at refractors for my first refractor, I have been thinking of getting the Orion 120 f/5 but I thought if I was to step up to alittle better quality in glass I seen this Astro-Tech 102ED for $600. What do you guys think of this scope would this be a good first refractor? A better or other option you suggest thats comparable? 


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#2 sportsmed

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 09:13 PM

I guess I should say that I'm mainly using this scope for visual use for wide viewing but would like to do some solar system viewing as well. I also was thinking of buying an astro-tech Voyager II mount to put it on.


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#3 Bean614

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 09:13 PM

Excellent scope! They should be back in stock sometime in December. 



#4 gnowellsct

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 09:13 PM

The ones that have 'em are using 'em the ones that don't but want 'em are waiting in line.


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#5 sportsmed

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 09:17 PM

Well I guess if there is that much of a wait on them, I might have to pull the trigger on the Orion 120 or just wait and keep saving up for the Astro-Tech 102 and mount. I guess it could be a Christmas present to myself haha.


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#6 sunnyday

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 09:22 PM

I have this telescope on another company name, very good for this size and easy to transport.
almost no CA , no way to disturb the viewer.


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#7 jonee523

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 10:24 PM

I was on the same game plan... But I got lucky and found a nice scope here on the Classifieds I just could not pass up.  The Astro tech 102 is just such a great value. I would wait unless you just happen onto the classifieds and find the one ya can't say no to.

 

Clear skies


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#8 MortonH

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 11:24 PM

From what I've read the Voyager II mount isn't up to the task with a 4" refractor.


Edited by MortonH, 01 September 2020 - 11:24 PM.


#9 drd715

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 06:01 AM

The F-5 will have a lot of spurious color - CA. It is best used for lower power wide viewing 30-50X. Not so good for planets. The F-7 ED 102 is a good general use scope with low CA. For planets/ moon general viewing you could also look at the skywatcher 100ed F-9 or the TS-102ED F-11. Then there is the newer version AT-102EDL with higher end glass that should be in stock soon - more expensive, but you get value for the money. Or in 120mm the F-7 ED Skywatcher is a possibility, but consider the mount requirements.

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#10 2696

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 06:40 AM

The AT102ED is definitely worth every penny. I use it very often and every time I'm still amazed it only cost $600. I would definitely pick one up whenever they're back in stock.
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#11 sportsmed

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 07:16 AM

From what I've read the Voyager II mount isn't up to the task with a 4" refractor.

Really, I looked up the payload and it said 18lbs. The 102 OTA with rings weighs 9lbs and then add diagonal, eyepiece, and finder I should be around 12lbs I would think.


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#12 2696

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 07:19 AM

Really, I looked up the payload and it said 18lbs. The 102 OTA with rings weighs 9lbs and then add diagonal, eyepiece, and finder I should be around 12lbs I would think.


Maybe take a look at the Celestron CG4 or the Orion branded version. I use my 102 on a CG4 and it works great. Even better if you get the 16" pier extension. You can find these mounts used all the time.
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#13 Redbetter

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 10:01 PM

Really, I looked up the payload and it said 18lbs. The 102 OTA with rings weighs 9lbs and then add diagonal, eyepiece, and finder I should be around 12lbs I would think.

It is a re-badged ES Twilight I mount.  It is not a bad mount, but it has some trouble as tubes get longer and heavier.  While I have found the Twilight to work well with an Orion 80ED, I don't know how well it would do withe the 102ED.  My 110ED f/7 is a bit too much for the mount to be practical.

 

A Sky-Watcher AZ5 has proven to be a bit closer to the mark with the 110ED although still somewhat marginal.  Really all I want out of an alt/az the ability to handle a true 4"...although I don't have such an OTA at the moment.  The AZ5 with its heavier tripod (same one used with the CG4 and LX70) should fit that bill.

 

For the 4" class and planetary observing I prefer having a clock drive, so a GEM mount.  I have both a CG4 and an LX70 and they handle the 110ED very well, but of course they are heavy and bulky.  



#14 sunnyday

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 10:06 PM

I use the motorized cg-4 with all my telescopes, without the extension, but it can be useful.


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#15 sportsmed

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Posted 02 September 2020 - 10:09 PM

Yea the more I have looked, I think you guys are right about the CG4 being a better option plus I can put the tracking on it and they are pretty cheap in the used market.


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#16 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 September 2020 - 10:55 PM

I just came in from a great short session with my AT102ED, so let me share my Classics post here:

 

Clouds Chased Me In...  but not before I got to observe Jupiter & Saturn in my AT102ED & FC-50, and eat-up the Summer Milky Way with my Triple Nickle 5.  Since it's not a Classic (yet), all I'll say about the AT102ED is:  I had to remind myself that it's just a 4" refractor -- and a "fast" one at that.  It did occur to me that the GRS is smaller, brighter, & redder than in years (decades!) gone by -- dynamic planet, indeed.  Good as the AT102ED is (maybe the modern RV-6 of EDs?), it ain't no Tak.  The tiny FC-50 at 100x & 150x ate its briefs for color correction, clarity, and resolution.  Y'all, the belts looked like gray or black bands carved into a white marble disk -- with the GRS as a blood red bright status light.  Seeing was best from Albireo south, so I lucked out with J&S.  Bounced between 7 & 8 for clarity, and 7 for stability -- outflow from the MCS next door in Mississippi stirred the air erratically...

 

Here's my grab & go Duo Scope:

 

AT102ED S24 LS (Mizar SP & FC-50).jpg

 

I paid almost 2x as much for the 35+ year old 50mm Tak fluorite as I did for the AT102ED.  No surprise that our sponsor, Astronomics, can't keep these in stock.  From 15x to 320x, every view is tight.  No problem nailing focus.  No visible false color on Jupiter, and I really tried to see it tonight -- put a GSO 2.5x APO Barlow in, then a Baader diagonal, then a 1980s spectros 7.5mm Plossl or my Nagler 7 for about 317x to 340x.  Saw no / zero fringing at the limb, no blue halo.  I had to look way off axis to get a thin yellow rind.  So, in my book, that's visually CA-free.  Yes, the disk is dim at 340x, but the very fine & thin belt strand I saw at 175x was still visible.  The GRS lost its red, but the eye-socket & its white notch were obvious.

 

Very impressive views of Saturn, too.  It can't compete with my APM 152ED, but this stubby scope gets used much more often.  175x showed 3 belts + the polar region.  Colors went from medium gray, to rose-gray, to a pale lavender.  Dropping down to 70x with my spectros .965" 10mm Kellner, and Saturn + Titan are almost 3D against a black sky.

 

No doubt, this scope is the best $600 I've spent on the hobby.


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#17 CHASLX200

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Posted 06 September 2020 - 06:26 AM

I loved my AT102. It was the best bang for the buck scope in my book.


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#18 aeajr

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Posted 06 September 2020 - 06:35 AM

I just ordered mine.   I have been looking at this scope for a long time.

 

My friend had it on an ES Twilight 1 for over a year.  Worked pretty good but a stronger mount would be better.  Mine will go on my Twilight 1.


Edited by aeajr, 06 September 2020 - 06:40 AM.

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#19 25585

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Posted 06 September 2020 - 07:10 AM

I just ordered mine.   I have been looking at this scope for a long time.

 

My friend had it on an ES Twilight 1 for over a year.  Worked pretty good but a stronger mount would be better.  Mine will go on my Twilight 1.

Great companion for your 12" Dob, Ed.  waytogo.gif


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#20 russell23

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Posted 06 September 2020 - 07:56 AM

I'm still looking at refractors for my first refractor, I have been thinking of getting the Orion 120 f/5 but I thought if I was to step up to alittle better quality in glass I seen this Astro-Tech 102ED for $600. What do you guys think of this scope would this be a good first refractor? A better or other option you suggest thats comparable? 

It is excellent and I would recommend it over the 120mm f/5 because it is a more versatile scope and the aperture difference between the 102mm and 120mm is not that dramatic.  I've had a 120mm f/5 and the AT102mm f/7 ED is a better scope.   One of the big things is that the focuser on the AT102 is outstanding whereas the focuser on the 120mm f/5 is just serviceable.

 

Optically, you will get much better lunar/planetary views with the 102mm f/7 because it has very little CA. 

 

I really don't think you can find a better cost vs. performance value among refractors than the AT102ED.  They do show up used as well so if you wait around you might find one that way with a savings.


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#21 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 September 2020 - 08:59 AM

I just ordered mine.   I have been looking at this scope for a long time.

 

My friend had it on an ES Twilight 1 for over a year.  Worked pretty good but a stronger mount would be better.  Mine will go on my Twilight 1.

They're very light.  When I don't need EQ, I pop mine on my OLD Orion VersaGo 2 -- steady enough for 150x when I want to zoom in while sweeping.



#22 eros312

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Posted 06 September 2020 - 09:59 AM

Mine rides mostly on a Vixen Advanced Polaris EQ mount. I'm mainly a lunar and planetary observer so I like tracking and higher powers. Wonderful scope and highly recommended. Everyone should own a 4" refractor.

AT102ED.jpg


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#23 aeajr

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Posted 08 September 2020 - 03:55 PM

Great companion for your 12" Dob, Ed.  waytogo.gif

That is exactly what it is for.  I think this AT 102 is the ideal Grab and Go to a large Dob. 

 

 

In 5 years I have accumulated 8 scopes including this new 102.  I have given away 2 so far.

 

I am in consolidation mode, now that I know what I like and what I want.

 

  • 12" F5 Dob - as big as I am likely ever to go. Main scope
  • 102 mm F7 ED refractor - Grab and Go Scope
  • 80 mm F5 GoTo refractor - outreach scope and maybe EAA
  • 100 mm F4 tabletop Dob - loaner scope.
  • 15X70, 10X50 and 10X42 Binos

 

Have two other scopes that are going to be spruced up as loaners or will be given to friends who are just starting out.

 

I have a bucket of mixed cheap binoculars that I take to outreach to loan out as I do a binocular sky tour.  They always come back. 

 

When you start out you don't know what you want.  But over time it becomes more clear. 

 

This AT 102ED is exactly what I wanted!


Edited by aeajr, 08 September 2020 - 04:01 PM.

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#24 vkhastro1

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 10:27 PM

My first light tonight !

Since the next shipment was not arriving until this December at the earliest, I was not willing to wait.

I managed to locate 2 used scopes in Canada.

#1 Deal reached, payment made But the seller found an issue with the main objective and politely refunded my $.

#2. Perfect transaction, excellent double boxed shipment arrived mid last week.

 

Performed the following upgrades in anticipation of 1st light:

Removed the front objective cover and replaced with a fabric “hoodie”

Removed the VIxen saddle plate and replaced with 8” William Optics heavy duty saddle plate with 4 screws now holding the dual hinged rings plus a “safety bolt” against slippage.

Added a Vixen style finder shoe to accept an Orion 9x50 RACI finder

Utilized an perfectly sized Orion hinged aluminium case, added extra foam - the OTA’s new storage location.

 

The weather has been horrible but projected decent conditions tonight - transparency 4/5, seeing 3/5 projected low of 5°C

Setup to cool down for an hour.

Used a Takahashi Teegul mount with Lapides upgrade mounted on a heavy duty ~ 1960s vintage geared tripod with ~2” centre column. Left the tripod legs in lowest position for stability and raised/lowered the OTA as required.

installed a TV 2” Everbrite dielectric mirror star diagonal.

 

Waited patiently for twilight to end, aligned the finder with the OTA.

First object - what else.... the Double Cluster - used a Brandon 48mm (exit pupil of 7mm, background was darker than I expected (a good sign) with beautiful pinpoint stars, next Paragon 40mm, then 30mm APM UFF (perfectly pinpoint stars across the entire FOV - simply stunning contrast), then a Docter 12.5mm (57x) beautiful dark background, pinpoint stars - perfect match

 

Left the Docter 12.5mm in the diagonal and viewed the following: M103, NGC 659, NGC 663, NGC 457, NGC 7789, M76, M34, M31/32/110, NGC 752, M15, M71, M27, M56, M57, M81/82 and many more. The views seemed very close to my Orion 120 f/5 in resolution but a much flatter field being f/7 and definitely tighter stars at this magnification with a correspondingly darker background yielding much more contrast.

 

I then viewed M13 to see the optical quality/resolution.

Docter 12.5mm (57x) - nice bright globular easily resolved nearly to the core, DeLite 7mm ( 102x) best view ! DeLite 5mm (143x)

and DeLite 4mm (179X) - snap focus ! View is getting progressively dimmer. The dual rate R+P focuser is terrific - super smooth.

 

My impressions are extremely positive - great looks, excellent optics and workmanship. Definitely “punches” above 4”.

Definitely a keeper !

Looking forward to a shootout between my Astro-Tech 102ED f/7 vs my Altair Astro 102ED f/11.


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#25 dusty99

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Posted 11 September 2020 - 10:42 PM

It’s a great scope.  The only reason I sold mine is that the small size and light weight of my SW120ED made the AT102ED a little redundant, and not quite as small as I wanted for a travel scope.  I replaced it with an AT80ED for the latter purpose, and that’s a great scope for the money, too.


Edited by dusty99, 11 September 2020 - 10:43 PM.

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