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Why do you regret buying a large (5”+) refractor for visual? Did you keep it?

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#26 Castor

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Posted 20 June 2021 - 11:53 PM

I have a Takahashi TSA 120 and I do not regret having it.  Quite the opposite.  It is a nice size and is not too heavy to use easily.  I will say that I use my smaller Tak's more but the view through the TSA120 is quite satisfying.  The real issue is the mount.  Be sure to get an adequate mount.  So many people on CN undermount their telescopes - a terrible mistake.  

 

Hi Thomas,

 

If I had a Takahashi TSA-120 (at 6.7 kg) I can assure you that I wouldn’t regret it either! lol.gif  I fully agree with you: It is a nice size and is not too heavy to use easily.  But once you cross a certain threshold, say a TOA-130NFB (at 12.3 kg) to keep it in the same brand, things start to get fuzzy (not the scope of course!) because you won’t be able to set it up on the same lightweight mount efficiently and then you won’t use it as frequently if you have to set it up each time.

 

This personal anecdote of mine should make things interesting:  When considering buying my 6-inch ED refractor telescope my other, less expensive alternative was, guess what?  Yes, a Takahashi TSA-120, a refractor that is possibly as perfect as it can be made in that size -I almost clicked the mouse to order it!  But in the end I went for the 6-inch.  Years later, mostly because of the heavy mounting requirements and poor local weather, my 6-inch refractor has seen relatively modest use.  Had the roles been inverted, I can assure you that the TSA-120 would have been one of my most used scopes and I would not have felt guilty about not using it! ohmy.gif

 

I love your scopes and mounts, thanks for sharing the picture!


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#27 Castor

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 12:01 AM

[...] On a fairly light but sturdy alt/az mount it's easy. I drive it like I stole it.

Does the SCT beat it? Who knows. I never use the SCT.

 

Thanks for the words of wisdom but also for bringing fun to this thread! roflmao.gif 


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#28 BRCoz

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 12:20 AM

I have an LZOS 130 f9 that I bought about 10 years ago and last October picked up AT152EDT when I retired.

 

I wanted a 6" for a long time.  No regrets so far.  A G11 with the 12" extension is used.  I only take them out to dark sites.   Bortle 8 sky at home.

 

I use a gng 80mm on a Twilight I at home for some quick viewing or the FS102 on a GM8.

 

As long as I can get the 152 up to the mount and back I will use it.  It will also be the first to go and I am unable to lift it, followed by the 130.

 

I took the 152 out around the new moon to Joshua Tree NP but after all of the cars coming in and the idiots shinning their bright LED lights in my face I packed up around 10:45.  I have not seen so many out there in many years.  

 

Enjoy what you have.

 

Happy Fathers day to all.


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#29 Castor

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 12:27 AM

I had a 6" F8 triplet for a couple years. It was fun to try out, but I sold it off because in the grand scheme of things, 6" is a small telescope, and the amount of work to get it someplace dark was typically a bit more hassle than my 16" dob.

 

I also didn't like the length necessitating an extension for my mount, and even then a chair that goes very low to the ground was needed.

 

For me it's not the weight, as I'm happy to lug around quite a lot, and will eventually go for a portable 20-22". But if I'm going to do all this work to observe, then I'm almost always going to side with more aperture.

 

My experience tells me that the sweet spot for me on a refractor is somewhere in the 120-140mm class, and probably closer to the 120 end. Beyond that point, I'd rather just switch to a bigger reflector. Or even better, pair up my 12.5" Portaball with a 92mm Stowaway.

 

With that pair, I really do not need a mid-sized apo. It would just be nice to have for those times when I want a simpler set up, or feel like a change.

 

Even then I really second guess that as a motivation. I now have a superb 8" F7 in a solid tube. My thinking is that I might prefer to get a lightweight (ultra-light?) structure for the 8" reflector over a medium sized refractor. The substrate is quartz, and it is up and running faster than my 80mm refractor.

 

Thanks Scott,

 

That’s the same conclusion that I reached. ubetcha.gif  If I’m going to all the trouble to setup a big mount for only a 6-inch scope, I’d rather go all the way and bring out the 11-inch SCT instead that provides more resolution and reaches a higher limiting magnitude –and likely more color saturation on the planets at high magnification, alas with much less contrast!  I’m not a Newt guy so I can’t comment on the big Dobs, but they certainly provide the largest aperture that we amateurs can get our hands on, so I concur with you!  All things been equal, I still prefer the refractor views of course!

 

Funny that you mention the chair:  On my first 6-inch achro I had to purchase a step stool just to be able to sit as close to the ground as possible.  But then I was younger and didn’t mind the extra exercise! grin.gif 


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#30 Castor

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 12:49 AM

I have an LZOS 130 f9 that I bought about 10 years ago and last October picked up AT152EDT when I retired.

 

I wanted a 6" for a long time.  No regrets so far.  A G11 with the 12" extension is used.  I only take them out to dark sites.   Bortle 8 sky at home.

 

I use a gng 80mm on a Twilight I at home for some quick viewing or the FS102 on a GM8.

 

As long as I can get the 152 up to the mount and back I will use it.  It will also be the first to go and I am unable to lift it, followed by the 130.

 

I took the 152 out around the new moon to Joshua Tree NP but after all of the cars coming in and the idiots shinning their bright LED lights in my face I packed up around 10:45.  I have not seen so many out there in many years.  

 

Enjoy what you have.

 

Happy Fathers day to all.

 

Hi Bruce,

 

One of the worst regrets is not pursuing your dreams while you still can.  I’m glad that you achieved your goal of having a 6-inch ED refractor and now that you retired you have more time to use it, may you continue to enjoy it for many years! waytogo.gif

 

I’m sorry that the bright lights ruined your session with the scope at the Joshua Tree NP! mad.gif  Lately, I mostly take my smaller scopes to public places.


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#31 Rutilus

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 04:29 AM

 

Thank you Barbie!

 

That has been my main reason too – I suffer from back problems and it’s the weight of the big mount required plus the height that you need to raise the big (long) scope to place it on the saddle that kills you!

I have very bad A.S. disease (and more recently in the last year signs of M.S.) that has robbed me of much mobility over

the last couple of years.  I have a couple of 6 inch refractors, and there is no way that I'm going to give them up.

Instead I now have to think about ways I can work around my problems. My equatorial mount is set-up in a very simple 

8'x8' rool-off roof observatory, so at least i don't have to move it around all the time. If I had to, then I would mount it 

on a set of wheels to move it around.  I also have/did have the problem of lifting the tube onto the equatorial mount.

to overcome this I made a simple step-up bench. Now I'm holding the tube at more or less waist height and can easily

attach the scope to the mount. 

So regrets, no, my 6 inch scopes are staying with me.


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#32 PETER DREW

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 04:33 AM

Economics are usually an important factor.  There's no way I could have afforded $60k for a large refractor, large mount and observatory commercially.  However, self building my 8.5" refractor, mount and observatory cost me less than $5k.     smile.gif


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#33 bobhen

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 05:27 AM

I owned 2, 6” AP refractors for 22 years. When they became too much for my advancing age, I sold them and moved to a smaller Tak TSA 120. I suppose if I’m around long enough I’ll need something smaller still.

 

Don’t regret having the big guys and I would still have them if I could.

 

Bob


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#34 25585

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 05:43 AM

I am visual only. An APM 140mm doublet ED would be the largest mounted on an alt az (which yet to be decided). Most posters here mention GEMs.


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#35 sw196060

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 07:20 AM

Hi Castor,

  I notice you have a NP127.  Is that becoming too big to deal with?

I would love a large apo (5-6") but, I fear that the mount requirements would make it a bit much for me.

I have a marginal back so try to minimize moving heavy objects.

 

I recently picked up a GPDX mount head and plan to make a tripod for it.  That will be the heaviest GEM I would like to deal with, adding in the counterweights, etc.

I am thinking a Vixen 115ED might be able to ride on it.

 

Otherwise, my dob is an easier rig to setup for sure and does more to keep me in the hobby.


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#36 firemachine69

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 07:46 AM

If i had around 60k laying around then i would build a dome and home for a 8 " F/15 ACHRO.  No way i am touching a 8" APO for $60k plus have a building built to house it.  All my high end Dobs have givien me the best views of the planets by far over any other kind of scope.  The Sky watcher 6" ED is the best bang for the buck, but needs a AP-800 size mount and high pier.  Any smaller mounts are just not up to holding it very well. I had to have a much taller pier than seen in this pic.

 

 

A Skywatcher refractor on an AP mount... The world's gone to something in a hand basket. lol.gif


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#37 Phillip Creed

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 08:13 AM

Before I went into imaging, my dream scope was an NP127.  Not terribly heavy, insanely-fast for a 5" apochromatic refractor, and stupid-wide FOV (nearly 4°).

 

I once had a 6" refractor--a Celestron Omni 150mm f/5 achro.  Very lightweight for a 6" refractor, and comfortable viewing even near zenith due to its short tube length.  More purple than a Prince concert, but for a deep-sky, widefield sweeper, second-to-none.

Clear Skies,

Phil


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#38 laedco58

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 09:09 AM

No regrets with my NP 127. I actually prefer it over my smaller scopes, and recently sold my FC100DL. Events of the past two years have driven the cost of building materials beyond affordable, so my ROR observatory project is on hold. When I can have a permanent setup, I will get a larger refractor… much larger… and a bigger, do I dare mention this in the refractor forum, DOB.


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#39 Brollen

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 10:22 AM

i purchased a Sharpstar 140PH APO triplet a short time back. This scope really surprised me with its overall size and weight - even at an f/6.5. For me, I would never go larger.

 

No regrets so far, but it has definitely forced me to upgrade to a new mount/tripod setup to carry it.

 

But on the occasions I get it out - all ambivalences melt away. Views under the stars are superlative.


Edited by Brollen, 21 June 2021 - 10:29 AM.

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#40 dagadget

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 11:00 AM

I have no regrets with my two refractors. The only regrets I have are not being able to get low enough when the Refractor is aimed at Zenith. The refractor itself is awesome I am not so much. But I have a Pier coming and that is going to help a great deal. 

davidand 152.jpg

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#41 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 12:24 PM

My refractor experience over the years:

 

80mm f/6

Various makes, too many to recall easily! Great appeal when I didn't have one. When I did, use dropped quickly - too small. Usually sold, often re-bought one or two years down the road. Final nail in the coffin - my eyes have a hard time with the field curvature. Tried the field flattener, but it vignetted in the eyepiece I wanted to use the most.

 

100mm f/8 Takahashi

Beautiful scope, amazing performer. A bit small on the aperture for my tastes.

 

NP101is

Jury still out - purchased for lowest power (8x) NV viewing and imaging. Otherwise, aperture too small for visual. Will probably sell after I image a few of the larger DSO's.

 

Star12 ED

A very noticeable aperture increase from the 4" refractor, yet still handles like the smaller aperture. Satisfying. Very close the the Goldilocks solution.

 

TMB 130SS

Another excellent performer. Again, noticeable bump from the previous 120mm. Heavier, but not objectionably so - about 19 pounds. This may indeed be the Goldilocks solution.

 

Agema 150-SD

Entering the Big Leagues now. Still in the early going. Performance increase on Globulars over the 130mm is substantial, expect other object classes to be better too. Definitely on the heavy side, and tube length is starting to give moment arm considerations both in the mount and handling (be careful going through doors and around corners). The mount that is solid with a 130 class scope may be challenged here.

 

D&G 8" f/12

An awesome deep sky performer, but if you don't have an observatory for a permanent installlation, forget it.

 

So bottom line, a good range for me would be 120-150. The 130mm with no regrets.

 

The 150 will probably prove out also, and it is helpful that I can use the same mount as my 130. The performance increase is such that I would consider installing a pier and mount head with weather cover (no dome) for it.


Edited by Jeff Morgan, 21 June 2021 - 12:26 PM.

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#42 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 12:48 PM

I had a 6" F8 triplet for a couple years. It was fun to try out, but I sold it off because in the grand scheme of things, 6" is a small telescope, and the amount of work to get it someplace dark was typically a bit more hassle than my 16" dob......

 

For me it's not the weight, as I'm happy to lug around quite a lot, and will eventually go for a portable 20-22". But if I'm going to do all this work to observe, then I'm almost always going to side with more aperture.

 

 

 

 

That pretty much describes it for me. 

 

I am happy to deal with rather large telescopes but the performance/effort ratio needs to be there.

 

Jon


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#43 barbie

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 01:28 PM

If I want to observe through big scopes, I simply drive out to them at their observatories where the skies are darker!!  I have a very fuel efficient car and don't mind driving 50-75 miles to get that big telescope observing experience!! It beats breaking my already bad back trying to set up one of these beasts by myself!! I'm just way too old for that anymore.


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#44 CHASLX200

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 02:01 PM

My refractor experience over the years:

 

80mm f/6

Various makes, too many to recall easily! Great appeal when I didn't have one. When I did, use dropped quickly - too small. Usually sold, often re-bought one or two years down the road. Final nail in the coffin - my eyes have a hard time with the field curvature. Tried the field flattener, but it vignetted in the eyepiece I wanted to use the most.

 

100mm f/8 Takahashi

Beautiful scope, amazing performer. A bit small on the aperture for my tastes.

 

NP101is

Jury still out - purchased for lowest power (8x) NV viewing and imaging. Otherwise, aperture too small for visual. Will probably sell after I image a few of the larger DSO's.

 

Star12 ED

A very noticeable aperture increase from the 4" refractor, yet still handles like the smaller aperture. Satisfying. Very close the the Goldilocks solution.

 

TMB 130SS

Another excellent performer. Again, noticeable bump from the previous 120mm. Heavier, but not objectionably so - about 19 pounds. This may indeed be the Goldilocks solution.

 

Agema 150-SD

Entering the Big Leagues now. Still in the early going. Performance increase on Globulars over the 130mm is substantial, expect other object classes to be better too. Definitely on the heavy side, and tube length is starting to give moment arm considerations both in the mount and handling (be careful going through doors and around corners). The mount that is solid with a 130 class scope may be challenged here.

 

D&G 8" f/12

An awesome deep sky performer, but if you don't have an observatory for a permanent installlation, forget it.

 

So bottom line, a good range for me would be 120-150. The 130mm with no regrets.

 

The 150 will probably prove out also, and it is helpful that I can use the same mount as my 130. The performance increase is such that I would consider installing a pier and mount head with weather cover (no dome) for it.

I would love a 8" F/12 in my seeing. Jupiter must look crazy at 650x.



#45 KI5CAW

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 02:19 PM

I own a homebrew 4" f/15 (Jaegers lens) that I don't use. The long tube is a PITA and the scope only really beats my Dobs on close, unequal double stars. But my 8" and 12" Dobs greatly exceed its performance 99.9% of the time.

If I could afford it, a 5" apo would be my choice.


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#46 sunrag

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 03:12 PM

I recently got a 130mm/F7 APO. I got the OTA without optics from Astronomics, then a TS Photoline used objective from CN classifieds. I have used it only a couple of times as it is stressful to put on my HEQ5 mount and I constantly worry that either the OTA is going to slip out of the saddle or the entire thing will topple over, or the diagonal+eyepiece will slip out. Takes 1/2 hour to setup each time and balance and another 1/2 hour at end to disassemble and put away the components. This is my first APO and i hope this will definitively answer the perennial question of whether APO is better than a larger dob. I hope so, because it is certainly not easier to setup than my 12” dob.


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#47 lurking_grue

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 04:41 PM

I previously owned a 150mm Celestron -

 

CA was just more than I was willing to deal with for the targets on which the optic seemed to work best.

It was not bulky or cumbersome at all to me - until I tried to use it on an EQ mount.  I switched it to a beefy Alt+Az and it was a little better, but it's still not the best for anything up in a cone towards zenith.

 

I did later get glasses and realized how badly astigmatism was impacting my enjoyment of bright objects; I really did have no idea previously.  I thought optics were just that low-quality before.  Anyhow - I would now likely NOT have gotten rid of it due to CA - it was there but it was really unpleasant largely due to my eyes.  Having evaluated other, similar scopes since then the situation is much improved with glasses or TeleVue's Dioptrix EP add-on (which I really prefer). 

 

So - in short I could deal with CA, I could deal with astigmatism, I could deal with the back and knee bending.  Having to deal with all three at once just wasn't worth it.  The objects in my dob were faint, small and centered enough in the telescope that the views were more pleasing to me.  By the time I got an SCT and a Mak I had gotten glasses, then Dioptrix.

 

At this point I prefer Maks / SCT for anything higher-magnification, Refractors for AP and Dobsonian-mounted Newts for wider angle or faint / fuzzy visual.

 

All that said a 130mm Tak provided what is still stuck in my mind as the best visual telescope experience I have ever had.  YMMV...


Edited by lurking_grue, 21 June 2021 - 04:44 PM.

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#48 Castor

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 05:44 PM

Hi Castor,

  I notice you have a NP127.  Is that becoming too big to deal with?

I would love a large apo (5-6") but, I fear that the mount requirements would make it a bit much for me.

I have a marginal back so try to minimize moving heavy objects.

 

I recently picked up a GPDX mount head and plan to make a tripod for it.  That will be the heaviest GEM I would like to deal with, adding in the counterweights, etc.

I am thinking a Vixen 115ED might be able to ride on it.

 

Otherwise, my dob is an easier rig to setup for sure and does more to keep me in the hobby.

 

Hi SW196060,

 

The Tele Vue NP127is is my dream scope, the culmination of a 15-year buildup process while longing for a TV Genesis and I wouldn’t depart from it unless some serious circumstances happened in my life!  My only regret with it is not having purchased a TV-102 to keep it company.

 

Since TV refractors don’t use a traditional tube baffling system the OTA is quite slim for a 5-inch refractor but it’s also built like a tank so is not exactly lightweight -though it isn’t very heavy either, I’d say a middle ground.  Even with my lousy back in the mid-fifties, I don’t have any trouble handling it or setting it on the mount saddle.  I normally use it on a middle weight class EQ mount (a Losmandy GM8) but the standard LW tripod was too light and short for the scope, so I switched to a heavier tripod that makes the mount less portable, but I still can lift it and carry it fully assembled (w/o weights or scope) to the backyard.

 

My backup plan in the eventual failure of my GM8 mount is to use it on a Vixen GPD2 EQ mount (same as your GPDX, only in white) on a HAL130 aluminum tripod and probably in combination with a Half-Pillar (extension) to avoid having to sit too close to the ground when the scope is aiming straight up.  I believe your Vixen GPDX with a good tall tripod could handle the NP127 well –if not rock solid, for that you would need a G11 or EQ6 class mount.  Vixen refractors are usually lightweight for their aperture, so I suppose a Vixen ED115 or SD115S would be a good match for your GPDX mount.

 

Here is a link to an old post from a fellow CN’er with a picture of his NP127 on a Vixen GP mount:

https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/91095-tec-apo140-f7-or-tele-vue-np-127-f52/?p=1199467

 

Here is a picture of my NP127is on a Vixen SXW EQ Mount with half-pillar, a mount with the same weight capacity as the GPD2 and the GPDX mount -I have not tried this combination lately but from what I recall I believe they did fine.  In the second picture you can compare the size of the NP127is in relation to other refractors.  From top to bottom: Celestron NexStar80 (ST80), Vixen ED100Sf (same as Sky-Watcher 100ED), Tele Vue NP127is.

 

I hope that you find your ideal refractor that brings you lots of joy!

Attached Thumbnails

  • Vixen-SXW+Half_Pillar+TeleVue-NP127is-660x1100_142429.jpg
  • ST80+ED100Sf+NP127is-crop-1000x600_113110.jpg

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#49 dagadget

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 05:59 PM

DSC01631.JPG

 

My other refractor is a wonder. It is an AT 72EDII on Ioptron IEQ 30 and I have no issues looking through that regardless of the angle. This photo was taken inside my Sky Shed Pod, which during Hurricane season in Florida is undergoing renovation to include a pier for two mounts and electricity. Yes I know it is not a big scope but will be with the AT 152 very soon.

 

Clear Skies.

 

David


Edited by dagadget, 21 June 2021 - 06:00 PM.

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#50 Castor

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Posted 21 June 2021 - 06:03 PM

I have very bad A.S. disease (and more recently in the last year signs of M.S.) that has robbed me of much mobility over

the last couple of years.  I have a couple of 6 inch refractors, and there is no way that I'm going to give them up.

Instead I now have to think about ways I can work around my problems. My equatorial mount is set-up in a very simple 

8'x8' rool-off roof observatory, so at least i don't have to move it around all the time. If I had to, then I would mount it 

on a set of wheels to move it around.  I also have/did have the problem of lifting the tube onto the equatorial mount.

to overcome this I made a simple step-up bench. Now I'm holding the tube at more or less waist height and can easily

attach the scope to the mount. 

So regrets, no, my 6 inch scopes are staying with me.

Hi Rutilus,

 

Your commitment to your choice of instruments and observing preferences is admirable and I’m happy that your 6-inch refractors are staying with you, keep pushing on! waytogo.gif 




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