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acuter 100mm versus Skywatcher Startravel 120

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Hi again

I posted a while ago as I was thinking about getting an acuter 100mm spotting scope, well I am also looking at the Skywatcher Startravel 120, I want a scope that will give good views of Jupiter, Saturn and the moon and some nebulous but is quick and easy to set up as well as easy to carry around.

This is a second scope I also have a syntax pro150 on an heq 5 pro mount.

Anyone got any ideas on these scopes. Cheers

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Evening Stickbow. I have owned a ST120 for a couple of years now and have had lovely views thru it, particularly of DSO's. Star clusters were clear, Orion Nebula was sweet and you can't go any better in terms of portability. The epitome of grab and go. Avoid the AZ3 mount if you can, simply not up to the job.

Saturn was always a nice view although I never had a good enough high mag eyepiece to quite make out the Cassini Division. Still a very happy view tho.

With other Solar System targets, particularly the brighter objects such as the Moon, Venus and Jupiter, while the views were fine, I personally found the chromatic aberration a bit of a nuisance. Venus would always have a purple edge to it. The Moon showed nice crater detail but would often be accompanied by a heat haze effect and while the bands were easily visible on Jupiter, again the purple edge would spoil it a bit for me, only a little bit.

I know there are filters you can get to reduce CA, or if it doesn't bother you that much then it's not going to be an issue. For the price, I never regretted having it.

Good luck with your choice.

Edited by Orange Haze

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I have a ST120 as well which gets used on an AZ4 Good on DSO and widefield stuff,clusters etc, less good on very bright objects as Orange Haze has described. The moon show great detail but with the CA banding around the edge, and Jupiter was acceptable but not massively inspiring. Not a great scope for individual bright stars. My other grab n go is a 127 Mak which is very good on everything but has a more narrow view. It is easier to cart around as well as it comes in the SW purpose made bag. The ST120 cools a lot lot quicker and is ready to go very quickly, and is less prone to dewing up than the Mak. I think though if I had to make a choice between the ST120 or the 127 Mak I would keep the Mak for the versatility and the very decent views of whatever you point it at.

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I recently ordered the ST120 on an aluminium AZ4 mount. Though due to changes in travel plans when in the UK it has yet to see 1st light on any asto objects I did have a good play with it on some terrestial objects.

It is a solidly constructed OTA, not plasticky at all. I have an ED80 and the weight and heft of the OTA fet similar. The dewcap can be taken off easily which means it could be reduced in lenght for hand carrying on a flight. 

Focusing is fine and there was no slop. There is a tensioner which also helps.

The supplied erecting prism leaves a lot to be desired and the two ep's (10 & 20mm) are just about acceptable, however with my two Takahashi ep's it was a different story. Nice and crisp with only a hint of CA. I also added much better diagonal and that improved veiwing even if it was upside down.

I have thje aluminium AZ4 which is light and easy to set up. I was a bit concerned about vibration but this too was acceptable give it wieghs in at only 13Kg.


I have added a better Telrad style RDF from 365 Astonomy as the one supplied suffers from the usual problems with cheap RDF's...i.e. limited or no adjustment

I am looking forward to using the set up in earnest when I am back in May. All in all a very nice scope which if you accept the limitations of air spaced objectives punched above its weight.

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