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AT80ED vs. AT102ED

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#1 DarkSky64

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 10:58 AM

I'm torn between these two scopes. Visual use only, on an ES Twilight mount. Widefield, Planetary, and brighter DSO targets. I've been out of the hobby for some years, and excited to reengage. I've had almost every type of scope in the past. My biggest was a 10" Dob. 

 

I like the compact size of the 80 for portability, but I'm thinking I'll like the views with a bit more aperture. 

 

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

 

Dave


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#2 Space_Race_T.J.

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 11:24 AM

Hi Dave,

 

Will you need the scope to be airline carry-on portable? Because if not then maybe the 102ED is the better all around size for visual astronomy.

I'm expecting my 1st refractor next week, and I decided on a 102mm Doublet. I wanted the extra bit of aperture because I live in heavy light pollution (Bortle 9).

 

Reviews of both sizes from Astro-Tech are always outstanding, so you won't go wrong with either scope.

There are options in the 90-92mm size range such as the Astro-Tech AT92, but the cost obviously is much higher with it being a Apochromatic Triplet.

 

Good Luck with your decision.

 

Clear Skies,

 

T.J.  



#3 bobzeq25

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 11:32 AM

Visual only?  The 102 is the clear choice.  Roughly 40% more light gathering power for your unavoidably short exposure eyes.

 

Long exposure DSO work is a different story, particularly when starting out.



#4 brentknight

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 11:37 AM

I think you would be happier with the overall experience if you used the 80mm on the Twilight.  My 72mm is just about perfect on the Voyager (same as the Twilight).  If you get a better mount, then definitely go with the larger 102.  People use the 102 with the Twilight, and it works, but it will never be great...


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#5 vdog

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 11:43 AM

The 80 would ride better on the mount.  The heaviest scope I put on my Twilight I was a 127 Mak, and that worked but was not the steadiest even with modifications and vibration-suppression pads.  Now, the only scope I put on the Twilight I is my TV 76.

 

But if you don't mind a little shake, aperture rules.


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#6 72Nova

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 11:46 AM

I have an AT80ED on a Voyager 2 mount (very similar to twilight one) and I enjoy the widefield views but agree that for visual, the 102 is a better choice 

 

However, you are probably pushing the limits of that mount with the At102ED.  Some have reported long settling times with this combination 


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#7 Redbetter

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 11:46 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

 

For the targets that interest you, the 102 should be better. An 80 is right about the point that planetary detail becomes interesting, but a 102 will show considerably more.  The difference in resolution is fully realized visually in this aperture range.  The extra reach for  DSO's is noticeable, half a magnitude.  There will be some loss of widest true field of view, but that is a given when increasing aperture with the same focal ratio.  

 

The ES Twilight Mount will be near its limit with the 102 OTA though.  It would be good to hear from folks with this combination.  I have an ED80, which is a little larger than the AT80ED (uses a wider tube and has slightly longer focal length) and it works quite well on the mount, including for planetary and double stars.  I have a 110ED f/7 as well which is somewhat larger and heaver than the 102, and it is a bit big for the Twilight--it works in a pinch, but I wouldn't recommend it, particularly at planetary magnification.  


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#8 DarkSky64

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 11:53 AM

Which alt/az mount would you all suggest for the 102?



#9 brentknight

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 11:57 AM

I have mounted my AT102ED on the Voyager, just to see how it does.  With the mounts that I do have, I'd never have a reason to actually use the scope on that mount.  The LX70 is a good bit heavier, but the scope seems rock solid on it (unfortunately it's not available anymore).  I would think a Vixen might work just fine, but never had one of those.  I actually prefer the EQ's, so I will defer to others with more experience for a better Alt/Az.



#10 Chilihead

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 12:12 PM

My AT102 rides great on the Twilight I. Even with a Altair Herschel Wedge it's plenty solid for my use.



#11 DarkSky64

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 12:34 PM

Interestingly, the mount discussion is making my decision easier. I'm firmly committed to keeping this a grab & go set-up. I want to be able to carry the whole rig out to my back yard on a cool October night and enjoy a casual tour of the heavens with a glass of wine (or two!).

 

I think the ATED80 on the Twilight sounds like a more manageable set-up. Saves my $200 too which I can spend on more wine!... or EPs. 

 

Hopefully they will get more stock soon!

 

Thanks,

Dave


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#12 MisterDan

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 12:49 PM

Interestingly, the mount discussion is making my decision easier. I'm firmly committed to keeping this a grab & go set-up. I want to be able to carry the whole rig out to my back yard on a cool October night and enjoy a casual tour of the heavens with a glass of wine (or two!).

 

I think the ATED80 on the Twilight sounds like a more manageable set-up. Saves my $200 too which I can spend on more wine!... or EPs. 

 

Hopefully they will get more stock soon!

 

Thanks,

Dave

In my opinion, that's a fair choice.  If the 80 is optically excellent, the "visual differences" between it and a similarly excellent AT102ED won't club you over the head.  They'll be minor.  Depending on the object being observed, those differences may be closer to "subtle."

 

However, if you're still wavering, there's another option which may allow for big-enough savings...

 

How about a slightly-modified CG-4 (or equivalent)?  Second-hand units are easy to find, and their "payload capacity per dollar" is impressive.

 

Here's what I mean...

https://www.cloudyni...131-cg-4-altaz/

 

Again, I think you're fine with the ATED80.  If you later decide to 'trade up" to a 102, the 80 will sell quickly and for a good price.

 

Best wishes and enjoy the heck out of your future scope (and mount).

Dan


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#13 iKMN

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 01:08 PM

Interestingly, the mount discussion is making my decision easier. I'm firmly committed to keeping this a grab & go set-up. I want to be able to carry the whole rig out to my back yard on a cool October night and enjoy a casual tour of the heavens with a glass of wine (or two!).

 

I think the ATED80 on the Twilight sounds like a more manageable set-up. Saves my $200 too which I can spend on more wine!... or EPs. 

 

Hopefully they will get more stock soon!

 

Thanks,

Dave

 

I think you made a good decision.  I had a TWI and an 80mm scope it was a good combination.  I am getting the AT102EDL hopefully in a few weeks or less but it is going on an M2 mount.  I have a Porta II which is similar to the Twilight I.  I plan on putting an AT72 on it either a new one that I have to order or my friend is going to sell me his.  It will also be a one hand out the door to my back yard.   80mm scopes are nice you will be fine.   Enjoy your new scope when you get it and clear weather too. 

 

cheers

 

K



#14 Mitchell M.

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 02:01 PM

My Grab&Go setup is the at80ed on an ES Twilight I. Stays set up ready-to-go at a moment's notice. Dampening times with this rig is less than a second when being bumped. Very easy to track using the Slo-Mo knobs. As a bonus, I added the Kokusai Kohki Guide Handle. That, along with a RedDot Finder, I'm able to get the scope on target fairly quick, without having to move the scope by pushing/pulling on the focuser or the diagonal.

Overall, my most used rig.



#15 rexowner

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 02:22 PM

I owned 80 and 102mm Astro-Tech scopes simultaneously, and the visual difference

from aperture was quite apparent.  For me, the 102 is still a good size for a grab-and-go

(mine is on a Stellarvue M2C, not on a Twilight 1, so can;t comment on that).

 

I agree with the comments above about getting the 102mm, and that's what I'd

do FWIW.


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#16 gwlee

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 02:28 PM

I like the compact size of the 80 for portability, but I'm thinking I'll like the views with a bit more aperture. 

 

You clearly understand the primary tradeoff between these two scopes. Keeping in mind that you already have a 10” scope when you need performance, and it’s performance is many times the performance of a 4” scope, is performance or portability a higher priority for your soon to be purchased refractor? 


Edited by gwlee, 17 September 2021 - 02:38 PM.

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#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 06:50 PM

You clearly understand the primary tradeoff between these two scopes. Keeping in mind that you already have a 10” scope when you need performance, and it’s performance is many times the performance of a 4” scope, is performance or portability a higher priority for your soon to be purchased refractor? 

 

The way I read it, the biggest scope Dave had was a 10 inch Dob.  Right now, he doesn't have any scopes.

 

My thinking:

 

For an only scope, the 102ED is the better choice.  It's more capable in most everything, it's still "grab and go".  I would not let the mount decide this, get a better mount.  I like the Vixen Portamount but the modified CG-4 is a good choice as well.

 

I owned the very first AT-102ED, at the time I had my William Optics 80mm F/7 FPL-53 doublet, similar to the AT-80ED but with better color correction.  I rarely used the 80mm, the 102mm was enough more capable without being much more hassle that it just didn't make sense.  

 

https://www.cloudyni...h-at102ed-r1690

 

Jon


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#18 vdog

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 07:52 PM

I owned 80 and 102mm Astro-Tech scopes simultaneously, and the visual difference

from aperture was quite apparent.  For me, the 102 is still a good size for a grab-and-go

(mine is on a Stellarvue M2C, not on a Twilight 1, so can;t comment on that).

I bought that mount with a 102 refractor in mind.  I ended up putting a 120 on it.  No mods, no VSPs necessary.  It's rock solid with super-smooth motion. If you're going to observe planets with a manual, alt-az mount, that one is definitely up to the task.



#19 JamesGang

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 08:25 PM

I ordered an AT80ED yesterday and know that it will be awhile before I get it. For me, it will be all visual. Although my son is into photography, to some extent, and may want to use it some for that. I have a SW AZ5 mount and was worried an AT100ED might be a little much for it, especially if my son wants to attach a DLSR to the scope. For planetary work I have an Orion Mak 127. Oh, I am a newbie at all of this.  



#20 gwlee

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 08:56 PM

The way I read it, the biggest scope Dave had was a 10 inch Dob.  Right now, he doesn't have any scopes.

 

My thinking:

 

For an only scope, the 102ED is the better choice.  It's more capable in most everything, it's still "grab and go".  I would not let the mount decide this, get a better mount.  I like the Vixen Portamount but the modified CG-4 is a good choice as well.

 

I owned the very first AT-102ED, at the time I had my William Optics 80mm F/7 FPL-53 doublet, similar to the AT-80ED but with better color correction.  I rarely used the 80mm, the 102mm was enough more capable without being much more hassle that it just didn't make sense.  

 

https://www.cloudyni...h-at102ed-r1690

 

Jon

You are right Jon, Dave said “had” a 10”. In that case, I recommend the largest of these two scopes he’s certain he can handle easily when used with a mount and tripod that’s fully adequate to support them.

 

Where keeping the rig very light is a high priority,  I usually prefer a smaller scope on a heavier mount/tripod than larger scope on a lighter mount/tripod unless the rig needs to be extremely light and will only be used at low magnification. In that case, having two tripods can add versatility to the same scope at a fairly low incremental cost. 


Edited by gwlee, 17 September 2021 - 09:27 PM.


#21 gwlee

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Posted 17 September 2021 - 10:15 PM

Which alt/az mount would you all suggest for the 102?

I haven’t used it, but hear good things about the Stellarvue M2C for 4” class scopes.  I bought a more expensive DiscMounts DM4 for a 4” class scope, based on my prior experience with the larger DM6, but the biggest scope I am using on it now is 92mm f6.7, and it’s an excellent combination, and I am confident it would work well with a 4” scope. For either of these mounts you will need to buy a tripod to go with it. 

 

Keep in mind you might need to add an extension column to either of these mounts to allow a 4” f7 scope to point at the zenith before the focuser end of scope hits the tripod legs, and the extension column will add about 3# to the rig. I have an extension column, but don’t need it with my 92mm f6.7 scope, and you probably won’t need one with an 80mm f7 scope that’s lighter and about the same length. 

 

I have no experience with Porta and Twilghts mounts, but many people here use and recommend them, but not everyone seems to think they are adequate for a 4” scope. They are less expensive than the other two mounts I mentioned, and I believe they come with a tripod. To be sure it would work well with a 4” scope, I would want to try one before buying one, or buy from a dealer with a generous return policy. 
 

In my experience, it’s much easier to find the right telescope than to find the right mount and tripod for the scope unless I have prior experience with the mount and tripod with a similar size scope. Sometimes it seems to me that mounts and tripods only come in two sizes: too large and too small, so when in doubt I usually get more satisfactory results by choosing too large. 


Edited by gwlee, 17 September 2021 - 11:04 PM.


#22 DarkSky64

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 07:46 AM

So I was about to order the at80ed from astronomics yesterday, but I paused because I read their return policy which is a 15% restocking fee for anything that is opened. That bothered me when other retailers offer full 30 day unconditional returns. I ended up ordering the SW Evostar 80 ED from B&H with the Twilight mount. Everything was in stock and ready to ship. If I don’t like it I can return it and upgrade to the 102.


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#23 Redbetter

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 08:33 PM

So I was about to order the at80ed from astronomics yesterday, but I paused because I read their return policy which is a 15% restocking fee for anything that is opened. That bothered me when other retailers offer full 30 day unconditional returns. I ended up ordering the SW Evostar 80 ED from B&H with the Twilight mount. Everything was in stock and ready to ship. If I don’t like it I can return it and upgrade to the 102.

While the ED80's are good scopes with better color correction than the AT80ED, and the package with SW 80ED version adds value (case, 2" diagonal, RA finder),  you pay for those advantages.   The price is over twice as much (even without including CN discount.)  So I don't understand the economics of balking at the *chance* of paying a 15% restock fee of about $60 (which is quite reasonable considering the shipping both ways, etc.) vs. paying the price of two scopes to receive only one. 

 

The AT80ED is more compact (retracting dew shield, narrower OTA, shorter focal length) and it has a better focuser based on what I have seen from my AT60ED and AT72EDII focusers vs. my ED80's focuser.  

 

Or perhaps I am comparing the wrong scopes or prices?


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#24 sevenofnine

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Posted 18 September 2021 - 11:43 PM

Welcome to C/N! flowerred.gif You will get lots of good astronomy related information from our knowledgeable members. Like any forum though, some of it will be conflicting. It helps C/N members give better advice if you fill in your signature with what equipment you have and where you live.

 

Your scope choice is fine, especially if you want a relaxed viewing session with a glass of wine bow.gif  I went back and forth on the 102 vs. 80mm too. I chose the 80mm as well. If you will be considering eyepieces next, be sure to consider the Baader 24-8mm Mark lV zoom with it's dedicated 2.25x barlow. It really extends the reach of this small scope and keeps with the relaxed viewing that you are after. Best of luck to you! waytogo.gif



#25 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 12:40 AM

For moving around a good bit, and 80 is probably the better choice for most people.

 

While the 100 will show more, it's really a matter of perspective. In the grand scheme of things, and 80 and 100 are more alike than differerent. 

 

I find that my 80mm F6 orion is an easy one hand and out the door set up, whereas my Teleuve 101 is about double the weight, requires a bigger, heavier mount, and is definitely not something that I can move with one hand. I also have a 92, and same deal--it needs a bit more of a mount and tripod, and it's a two-hand move.


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