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About RefractorPhill

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    Flanders Fields
  1. RefractorPhill

    Observatories worldwide

    Observatories worldwide
  2. Superb star trails... which camera was used and how many pictures per minute did You take approx ?
  3. Hi, not completely... the equipment sits on another mount and is being used for astro-photography... with an auto-guider... working on an update of this review
  4. As a new Stargazers lounge use I would like to share my review of the TS 130/910 Apo-Refractor (with 3” linear power focuser) I have a keen interest in astronomy for almost 40 years and have mainly been “visually” observing the Moon & planets using refractors. With a growing urge to perform some Astro-Photography (AP) I decided to go for an Apochromatic refractor with minimum aperture of 130 mm in order to use it on a Celestron German Equatorial Mount (CGEM) capable of carrying 18 kilograms. Although the Celestron CGEM (capacity 18 kilograms) worked fine on the Moon, astro-photography of Deep Sky Objects requires a more sturdy mount, so nowadays the TS 130/910 sits on a CGE mount (capacity 45 kilo). Optical Tube Assembly The TS 130 mm f 7.0 APO-refractor sits in TS’ new photoline telescope series, aimed at both beginner & advanced amateur-astronomers doing AP. First impression shows a high quality well manufactured refractor with a tough look & feel. The white robust tube weighs 10.5 kilograms and the dew cap screws in a retractable metal dew cover with large locking screw. Transport dimensions are 68 cm tube length (dewcap retracted). The metal tube doesn’t look a fancy as carbon-fiber OTAs but allows a faster cool-down time, important for this size refractors. Of course it’s a well designed tube with internal baffles prevent straylight. The OTA comes with CNC machined tube rings (Computer Numerical Control refers to the automatic operation of machine tools) which have a base to put a finder of guiding scope in place. An aluminium storage/transport case is included, which is replaced by a quilt padded bag whenever the APO doesn’t fit due to custom accessories (e.g. longer focuser). Lens Cell Basically, the quality of any apochromatic refractor depends on three items: (1) aperture, (2) glass quality and (3) lens configuration. This refractor has an aperture of 130 mm, combined with a 910 mm focal length, which gives an f 7.0 ration so it can be used for both planetary and deepsky imaging. One of the TS 130 mm high-quality lenses is made of Extra-low Dispersion (ED) FK-61 glass. The glass material used for the other mating element lenses is not specified. Forum-members claim the scope has the same specifications as if it used FPL-51 glass manufactured by Ohara GmbH in Japan (Sales offices in USA & Germany). A good possibility as most TS modern Photoline APOs are based on FPL-51 & 53 Ohara glass. Finally, the TS 130 APO uses an air-spaced triplet configuration for full color correction. Last but not least TS offers a free test on their optical bench before shipping each refractor very carefully packed to the customers. Dual-speed Power Focuser A large refractor needs an intelligent dimensioned focuser. The TS 130 APO comes standard with a 3” Crayford focuser but I decided to go for the TS Linear Power focuser. The 3” Linear Power focuser is an advancement of the great Crayford design as it combines the smooth operation of a Crayford focuser with high load capacity and precision. This 1:11 dual speed transmission focuser has a massive steel rail, fixed to the drawtube, guided by needle bearing instead of small ball bearings. The focuser can be rotated 360° and a big locking screw enables a sure fix in whatever position without tilting. Moreover, a 2" adaptation and a separate 2"-1.25" adaptor are included as standard. When the 2" adaptation is removed it is possible to directly install the 2.5" TS Optics field flattener. This TS Linear Power focuser has a massive load capacity of 7 kilograms, so it can handle any heavy full-format DSLR body or any beefy CCD camera with cooling and accessories. First Light hands on experience The day of delivery was followed by a few clear nights with good seeing and low humidity so I could test the Apo-refractor for visual observation and compare it to my TS 152/1200 achromatic refractor which I have been using for more than ten years. Moon & planets: crystal clear views of the craters on the crescent Moon, showing lots of detail. Same deal when turning the APO on the planet Saturnus, which gave me a good view of the Cassini division and the rings as these are in a favourable orientation in the summer of 2012. With an excellent seeing, the APO really marvelled on the giant Jupiter and its moons. Although the planet stood low above the horizon, the APO delivered far better views than I have seen in the 152 mm achromat. The belts of Jupiter’s cloud deck appeared more detailed and were easier to be seen. Deep Sky Objects: using a 2 inch 40 mm SWAN eye piece I got superb wide angle views of "bright" DSOs such as M13, M31, M81 & M82 although I believe there’s no real “visual” improvement over the 152 mm. Other views scanning into the Milky Way and on some double stars made these appear pinpoint perfect. In summary a quality 130/910 (f 7.0) Apo-refractor air-spaced triplet for high contrast lunar & planetary observing which will probably perform really perfect for Astro-photography. The scope is easy to handle and the CGEM computerized GoTo mount has no problem pointing it around in whatever orientation. Using this 130 mm triplet just for "visual" observing already gave me a better appreciation of the Apo enthusiasm but the purpose is to start some Astro-Photography and mount it in a permanent observatory... Astro-photography Technical first light occurred at TS in Germany and Astronomical first light occurred in 2012... As said the CGEM mount performed flawlessly on the Moon but DSO required a more sturdy mount, so the TS 130/910 rides with a TS 90/500 refractor as guidescope atop a CGE mount. Detailed review on DSO astrophotography follows as soon as possible ...
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