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One For The Road

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#1 RBTinFL

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 04:39 PM

First post in quite some time… Have had a pretty long lapse in my astronomy passion. Getting everything back out of storage boxes, dusting off the books and atlases and getting going again. I'm retiring at the end of the month! I own an Orion 10XTi now. It sits in my bedroom corner and has started whispering to me as I slide into bed each night. Bought a set of Oberwork 17X50’s and mounted them on my Bodkin tripod setup to start looking up again. Gives the wife a toy to use too when I’m observing.

 

Spent most of my observing years in SE Alaska. Astronomy in a rain forest for 20 years. Sometimes I have trouble catching on….
I’m thinking of buying a refractor to travel with. We take frequent long drives pursuing my other passion, chasing trout with my flyrod. I want a simple setup that will pack into the truck without taking up too much room.

 

Up in AK I owned an 8inch CAT. I still have a nice Feathertouch Focuser and an AT diagonal and a good full set of premium eyepieves. My first leaning, after lurking for and reading here for a month now, is a AT102ED and a AT Voyager II. I can put my diagonal to work, but not the focuser. So I’m thinking maybe I should be considering other refractor tube options since I already have this equipment and can put it to use.

 

I don’t mind paying for quality. Just as important as good visual quality is compactness for traveling and ease of setup for a grab and go when I’m not heading out to the glades with the DOB. I live in very light polluted skies. I think I would make the 45 minute drive to dark skies more often if I did not have to look forward to being a pack mule each time.

 

I will mention my most memorable observing nights with the 8 inch CAT had me turning the equatorial gears slowly, star hopping with a Teldrad and atlas. The Goto never seemed to live up to the “ease of use” claims. At least for me. I do also have a 9x50 RACI finder that I use with the DOB. Would be nice to be able to use it on the refractor too if that’s possible.

 

Anyway… any experienced observer think of a 3 to 4 inch refractor mount combo that makes sense for all the babbling I just put out there.  I’m thinking why pay for a focuser when I already have good one. Appreciate any ideas to ponder.

 

Our next trip is early spring to NE Penn, near Cherry Springs. Made the cabin rental with trout in mind, not stars, but hey.... 

 

Thanks!


Edited by RBTinFL, 01 December 2020 - 04:42 PM.

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#2 samovu

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 05:08 PM

Great that you’re “coming back” to this wonderful hobby/passion :)

 

I don’t understand why your FT focuser can’t be adapted to the AT102ED but here’s a recommendation FWIW. And would you want to check in your scope or bring it into the cabin for your flight to PA (assuming that you’re not driving obviously)? 
 

If you don’t mind buying used, a Takahashi Sky 90II would easily travel with you being a little over 13” long. You didn’t mention what your  primary targets would be but if you want to view planets, for example, you can also get the Extender 1.6x that was designed work with this scope (and also the FSQ106N) to get more magnification. 
 

If being easy to travel as a carry on isn’t a priority, then a 4” might make more sense. But being heavier (and quite a bit longer) will require a beefier mount. I’ll leave the mount recommendation to others. 
 



#3 lsm4691

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 06:25 PM

I'm not very experienced but will share my 2 cents.  I recently asked for opinions for a travel scope and something that would complement my 12" dob.  I decided on the AT102ED but they are all gone, so I got the 80.  As a complementary scope, it does very well, giving bigger fields of view for big targets.  It's nice to have a convenient, grab and go scope, especially on nights when the conditions don't warrant dragging out the dob - when the moon is bright, it's partly cloudy, just looking at planets briefly, or whatever the reason.

 

However, for me personally, I'm not sure it will be a primary travel scope.  The dob is a tough act for the little refractor to follow, in my opinion.  It's just too big of a jump and the small refractor is just complementary.  The 102 might offer something more - I don't know, I've never looked through one.  More than likely, I will probably look at a 6" or 8" dob for traveling.    

 

Everything is relative and everyone has there own ideas about convenience, size, weight, views, etc.  I have room to carry a small dob around and, after moving 10" and 12" dobs around the past few years, it's not a big deal, for me.  If you don't want to lug around your 10" though, you may not be interested in a dob that's just a little smaller.


Edited by lsm4691, 01 December 2020 - 06:25 PM.


#4 stevew

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Posted 01 December 2020 - 09:04 PM

Congratulations on your pending retirement !

The AT102 is a well respected 4 inch refractor with a loyal following, that won't break the bank.

A 4 inch refractor is an excellent companion to a 10 inch Dobsonian.

I think the AT102 will surprise you. You won't need the feather touch focuser.


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#5 RBTinFL

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 08:46 AM

I pulled the trigger on a AT102ED with Astronomics along with a Voyager II. The very helpful sales associate thought I could see the OTA by late December to mid January, but the mount might be a month or two longer.

 

I had an old post here with another username about 15 years ago from my Alaska days. I built four PVC blackout cloth panels with  hex tap screws that I set up in front of the house and ziptied together. I had the luxury of an asphalt driveway to set it up on. I had a Scopebuggy and just wheeled the whole enchilada in and out of the garage. I now have a lot next to me with a big tree in the middle of it. I'm thinking of doing it again. I live under red zone skies in SW Florida. It would give me some privacy (I'm one half unsocial old curmudgeon) and truth be told you really can see quite a lot if your patient. More to the point it gets both my hands back on the equipment and me looking up again. There are a few "observing tents" out there, a new one from Scientific Explorer coming out this month that looks pretty lightweight. Horrible descriptions and bad pics on the website. Might just have to build my own again. Always a hassle to store the panels when not in use. It would be great if the home owners association wouldn't flip out if I had a small shed (this ain't Alaska), but as my wife is now the president I probably will get some MIGHTY pushback. Tow BIG streetelights around the lot with the residents wanting more and bigger. What a world.

 

Retiring from a VERY demanding job come year end. I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas. I looked over my library and the prices of some of the editions I have bought and received as presents over the years I determined I could almost buy another scope with what they are selling for now. My dog eared copy of Harrington's Messier Marathon (I have two as it is, after Sue Frech my goto book) with the publisher going out of business is just crazy. I have all three editions of Night Sky Observers Guide. They are worth more than what I just spent for my refractor and mount. Publishers are just giving up.

 

Cheers!


Edited by RBTinFL, 03 December 2020 - 08:49 AM.

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#6 gjanke

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 09:17 AM

 I have all three editions of Night Sky Observers Guide.

 

Cheers!

You'll been happy to know that there is a fourth one to the series. The third one is nice but I haven't had the chance to make it to the southern hemisphere. The latest addition is titled " Glories of the Milky way ".  What is covered in the new one? Well about half stuff can be found in the first two volumes but the author did add about a 1,000 more viewing objects so its worth a spin if you liked the other three.



#7 RBTinFL

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 09:26 AM

You'll been happy to know that there is a fourth one to the series. The third one is nice but I haven't had the chance to make it to the southern hemisphere. The latest addition is titled " Glories of the Milky way ".  What is covered in the new one? Well about half stuff can be found in the first two volumes but the author did add about a 1,000 more viewing objects so its worth a spin if you liked the other three.

Thank you. I was suppose to go down under to see our daughter, who defected there right out of college many years back, but it never came to be. Might still happen, who knows, I gave up on such things a long time ago and just do what I'm told these days. I registered for the OZ Star Party and bought the edition but had to cancel. Of note, they were quite gracious with a very small fee and wishes for a rain check. I may make it some day.


Edited by RBTinFL, 03 December 2020 - 09:27 AM.



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