Apertura AD10 arrived a couple days ago from High Point, just under a month after ordering, and I started assembling it after getting home from work last night. I live in a suburban hell (Bortle 7) and the sky last night was looking even a bit hazier than usual. The moon had a pronounced orange tint with some details looking a bit fuzzed out to the naked eye, so my expectations were not high but I wasn’t letting that stop me.
Toted the scope to the end of my driveway. First carried out the optical tube (set temporarily in the back of wife’s SUV) then carried out the base, then set the tube in the base. Wrangling the parts is no big deal as I’m reasonably fit and 6’2” so I have the wingspan to manage the tube. Still, a hand truck will make it so much easier to move this, so that will be a likely purchase very soon.
Got the included right-angle finder aligned with the eyepiece using a tree top way off in the distance, easy peasy.
I didn’t even bother checking collimation at first since I just wanted to make sure I could get a focused image, so I pointed it at Jupiter with the 30mm EP. No problems focusing so I swapped in the 9mm plossl. Got a decent view, with the planet appearing slightly fuzzy, could make out one of the cloud bands and could easily see 3 moons (Ganymede was occulted behind Jupiter last night). On a few occasions I’ve been able to get more detail out of Jupiter (both bands, red spot) using my dad’s old 3” refractor, albeit on much clearer nights.
I swung over to Saturn and had no difficulty picking out the shadow cast by the planet onto the rings. Couldn’t really pick out the Cassini division.
I cruised around looking at stars but couldn’t quite get them to focus tack sharp, so at this point I decided I should put the batteries in the laser collimator and check things out. The dot was hitting ~1.5” outside the donut on the primary. Yeesh. Retrieved a screwdriver and got that sorted. Thumb screws for the secondary will be another near-term purchase.
By this point, Mars was rising above the roof of my house. I then swapped in a Celestron 8-24 zoom EP that I picked up here on the classifieds and had a look. Quite bright, difficult to nail focus probably due to general atmospheric conditions plus it being over my roof. Not a huge amount of detail I could discern but I could pick out the slight color shift of a polar ice cap. At times, more central areas of the planet looked dimmer, but not enough for me to confidently describe any surface detail.
I spent the next couple of hours just randomly cruising around, mostly with the zoom EP. The center of Andromeda appeared as a faint smudge and I tripped across that several times while looking around randomly. Over near Vega, I’m fairly confident I picked out the double-double in Lyra, and will look again tonight to confirm.
The inverted image through the Dob was throwing me off a bit when nudging the scope, or trying to do some rudimentary star hopping from the charting apps, but I’ll get used to that soon enough.
Other issues I had were more of the ergonomic sort. Could use a better chair than my mechanic’s stool, but it will do for now. I need some sort of shield to block the neighbors’ house lights from reflecting off the glossy surface of the optical tube as I’m looking through the EP. I did the cupped hands thing, used a black t-shirt as a hood, not sure what’s going to be optimal here. Might need to pick up an eye patch for my off eye too.
I packed it in around 1 am since I was getting tired and had to get up for work the next day. Overall a fun first session. I might be able to improve the collimation (didn’t touch the primary, just made sure it was looking roughly centered in the secondary) so I’ll work on that before heading out tonight.