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This is how it gets away from you

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#1 khingdheano

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 08:54 PM

I love refractors. I have a number of scopes including several reflectors, but my favorite is my Celestron 6 inch refractor on a CG-5 mount. I've had this rig for over 15 years and it has served me well, but it's too large and heavy for "grab and go" use. So that function fell to my Explore Scientific AR102 f/6.7 refractor mounted on my 30 year-old Vixen Great Polaris mount. Very portable, if I wanted to get a 15 minute look at something, I could be out and back in the house in 20 minutes.

But I began to desire a longer focal length refractor, still in the 4 inch range, so I found a very nice used Omni XLT 102 OTA here on CN for a very reasonable price. After getting that mounted on the GP, I thought "sure would be nice to upgrade to a dual speed focuser, one that can be rotated." Subsequently acquired. Then, observing Jupiter almost overhead, I was having to sit almost on the ground to look through the eyepiece. I could have extended the tripod legs some more, but that wooden-legged design made extending and retracting the legs problematic. So I acquired a new Celestron CG-4 mount, now adding the dual axis drive, and easy peasy extending/retracting the legs. 

But I found I was still too close to the ground while observing overhead. SO---

I heard that the 16" extension pier for the Skywatcher EQ3 mount would fit the CG-4, and after searching the web I found one in stock at First Light Optics in England. I ordered it this past Wednesday, and it was in my hands Friday. Two days from the UK, I'd say that's fast! This pier fit just fine, and now I have plenty of clearance to keep my butt off the ground while looking through the eyepiece, but it weighs in at about 12 pounds!

So after around $900 spent (including a new RACI finder) I'm up to almost the weight of the 6 inch on the CG-5. Where does that leave me?

The 6 inch is for settng up for an entire night of observing. The 4 inch Omni XLT on the new CG-4 is for "grab and have at least an hour or two" at the eyepiece. And what's now my quick-have-a-look "grab and go"? 

The Explore Scientific AR102 f/6.7 refractor mounted on my 30 year-old Vixen Great Polaris!


Edited by khingdheano, 10 February 2024 - 08:57 PM.

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#2 12BH7

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 09:04 PM

Use caution when looking at your grab and go. I can't tell you how many times I looked at my grab and go and wanted to add, add, add. In the end I would have changed it from a grab and go to a full setup.

 

Grab and Go - light, quick, easy, and did I mention light.


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#3 Dynan

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 09:09 PM

Someday soon, maybe with the onset of AI, there will be a therapy for us in this condition. :smile:


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#4 gstrumol

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 09:33 PM

The ultimate in 'grab and go':

 

astroscan.jpg

 

and if that's too nostalgic for you:

 

Mak.jpg

 

Rim_Shot.gif


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#5 Dynan

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 09:56 PM

Got one for my Grandson's Christmas! Actually, nice scope especially for grab and go!


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#6 Astroman007

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 10:16 PM

Yes in this hobby...and many others...you're bound to accumulate some equipment. Nothing wrong with that as long as your basic needs are met and there's always something saved up in the bank. I wouldn't worry too much about it.:)


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#7 therealdmt

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Posted 10 February 2024 - 10:25 PM

Early on with my 100ED, I got that 16" extension pier from FLO, too. Only brought it out probably about 3 times as, yeah, it’s just too tall and heavy. A few years on now, it’s still sitting back in its box in a corner of my "astronomy room". An early dud of a purchase, though like you said, incredible service from FLO.

 

My solution is to extend the tripod legs and either don’t view at zenith or, if I really want to view that high (which I sometimes do), simply take a knee (anathema to some, I am aware, but it’s my body and it bothers me not at all unless the ground is wet). Or, for a slightly less grab ‘n go-y scenario, I bring out my chair. Or just for planets/Moon, I’ll set up on our streetlight-bathed front deck and sit on a bench we keep out there.

 

For my lightweight grab ‘n go rig, I use a smaller scope (72mm) on a photo tripod with extendable center column. That’s giving up quite a bit of aperture though. For planets, an 80mm would be better on a similar tripod.

 

Perhaps fortunately, Jupiter will be getting lower in the evenings ahead and accordingly, you may find that regularly viewing up near zenith won’t be such a priority for you


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#8 khingdheano

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 01:26 AM

The issue is not about GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), which I am very familiar with, whether it's about cameras, guitars, or astronomical equipment. It's regarding the attempt to solve an issue and that attempt merely compounds the issue.

 

Yes in this hobby...and many others...you're bound to accumulate some equipment. Nothing wrong with that as long as your basic needs are met and there's always something saved up in the bank. I wouldn't worry too much about it.smile.gif



#9 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 03:05 AM

I can carry my venerable 80mm f/5 Orion ShortTube 80 refractor and mount with one hand.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 40mm Coronado PST and 80mm Orion ST80 CN Home.jpg

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#10 beecee

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 03:14 AM

Wow, this mirrors my recent dip into having an inexpensive, vintage G&G refractor on those nights I don’t want to schlep my 10” dob up two flights from the basement.

 

I got an old f/11 Vixen NP-80 plus Polaris mount locally for a terrific price. The objectives had fungus on them, and it was beyond my capabilities to unfreeze the cell from the tube and clean the lenses. Lesson one - sealed optics. While I was waiting for the lenses to be cleaned, I was seduced by an f/10 NP-102. Great light grasp and astonishing optics, but much bigger and heavier, and the Polaris mount doesn’t support it well. Plus that sitting-on-the-ground-when-viewing-near-zenith surprise. Lessons two, three and four!

 

Im in touch with a great CN member who can make me a good deal on a GP mount, but part of me is saying, “Rein it in there, buddy, go back to that NP-80”. But then I’m giving up all that light grasp (and sitting on the ground at zenith viewing). My thinking as of this morning is that the 102 plus GP mount is still “portable enough”, but wow, what a voyage of discovery, a bit like a car with no brakes. lol.gif

 

I’ve now got two scopes that are slow sellers here in Europe, only one of which is acknowledged here in the house, and likely a bit more money to be spent. First world problems to be sure, and nobody’s gotten hurt. And now I know how to use an eq mount. waytogo.gif
 

“Hoss” on its struggling Polaris mount:

np-102e.jpg


Edited by beecee, 11 February 2024 - 03:36 AM.

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#11 gstrumol

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 08:20 AM

I can carry my venerable 80mm f/5 Orion ShortTube 80 refractor and mount with one hand.

Nice ones Dave! I put two like that together in a one-handed carryout 'solar rig' configuration:

 

solar rig.jpg

 

with a PST and an Orion Apex 90mm Mak (Baader solar film filter on front), sitting on a simple, lightweight camera tripod. The custom metal frame holds both scopes just below the tripod's head so that even with the tripod's tension knob completely loose, the scopes stay where they are pointed. Another metal tray attaches to the rig to hold an additional 4 EPs. A complete description of the design can be found in the first article link below in my signature. Since both are aligned together I only needed to use the solar finder on the PST, and you could easily move your head from one to the other to alternate between WL and Ha views.

 

When not being used for solar, the Apex Mak can be used separately for either daytime terrestrial viewing (as a spotting scope) or at night for astronomical purposes.

 

Unfortunately, taking images with the rig wasn't practical due to balance issues from the addition of cameras.


Edited by gstrumol, 11 February 2024 - 08:30 AM.

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#12 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 11 February 2024 - 04:43 PM

Here's a shot of another one of my solar observing combinations, although my 80mm f/7.5 Vixen Optics ED80Sf 3.1"/80mm refractor is not exactly grab-and-go.

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  • 40mm Coronado PST and 80mm Vixen ED80Sf CN Home.jpg

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#13 sevenofnine

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Posted 12 February 2024 - 03:49 PM

This is close to a one handed grab-n-go but for safety I usually take it out in two moves.

It's a very comfortable scope to use, no awkward positions borg.gif

 

rsz_img_1896 (1).jpg

 

 


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#14 star acres

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Posted 13 February 2024 - 12:23 AM

Sometimes getting swollowed into the belly of the whale isn't a bad thing.
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#15 khingdheano

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 09:37 PM

You are right about that. After a number of nights where the weather prevented observing, I took the newer and heavier grab-and-go out for a look at the moon and Jupiter. The extra weight wasn't too bad, and having the extension pier allowing me to observe in a comfortable position made it worth the added weight. Also, the dual axis drive was a huge plus. I guess I can call this setup my "heave-ho and go" rig!

Sometimes getting swollowed into the belly of the whale isn't a bad thing.


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