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DaveGibbons

Altair Astro Starwave 152mm v2 f5.9 refractor

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Hi all,

This is a brief review of my recently aquired Altair Astro Starwave F5.9 Achromatic refractor. It's the latest version with longer retractable dewshield and massiive 3" rotatable focusser in a rather fetching red.  It is mated to a humble eq5  with ADM puck and saddle along with beefier 2" eq6 tripod, no drives just a couple of slow motion flexi contols.

I purchased this after trying to find a complete lightish weight set up via usual channels but after a purchase went awry on astro buysell decided to go with a new richfield refractor . Reviews on this scope in all variants have generally been positive in it's various vendor incarnations an I have always loved achromats -false colour never bothers me and could this one be as good as they say? read on!

I decided early on that I did  not need or want a goto mount and  wanted as light as possible sturdy set up  so went with a beefed up eq5 with manual slow mo cables. As it's primary use is as a rich field scope giving over 2.4 degrees fov  it's very liberating to be electronics free.

All bits came last week . The OTA itself is stunning just about the best constructed refractor I have ever owned and Ihave had dozens over the years. OTA weighs in at  around 11kg  add to that a finderscope and 2" diagonal  plus eyepiece all in weight around 13kg  hence thhe need to beef up mount with ADM saddle and 2" tripod .images attached below.

So established it looks fantastiic, but so it should for the price a hefty £830  without diagonal or  finderscope !

O.K.  Lets cut to the chase and see how it performs under the night sky.  I have now had 2 nights out a total of 4 hours viewing and here are my thoughts.

Firstly it does require at least a 30 min cooldown to get the big lump of glass to thermal equilibrium and get the best images, it is however good to go on widefield low power within 10 min and gives outstanding views, on objects such as galactic clusters orion neb or any rich starfield it gives the finest views I have ever seen . On faint objects such as the crab and m51 m81 and 82 the contrast makes them easily stand out with far more pleasing views than many a larger reflector I have owned. M51 in particular was mesmerizing and I swear you could pick out hints of spiral structure with averted vision. You can just get lost in the depth of field and sheer beauty of the views. Having never owned such a fast refractor before all I can say is it opens up a different viewing experience ..so sharp  yet without the abberations of similar focal length newts.

What about the dreaded Chromatic abberation? Well having owned 3 synta 6" f8 it is absolutely better colour corrected and how this is done at f5.9 I do not know.  It is not perfect and has false colour on jupiter and bright stars but will still give very good views up to x150. At this point I did find my minus violet filter worth using on the moon and jupiter but let's be honest  you would be better off with an f10 and upwards if that is what you want to do with visual astronomy. Unfortunately I did not have opportunity to test out on tight doubles as on both nights the seeing was below par although did have a brief glimpse of Propus at x250 and a good split for a few seconds again If double stars your bag a  good  f10 scope will outperform the Starwave in that department -not by much though !

Intra and extra focal start test show smooth optics with ever so slightly softer intafocal  image -still superb though.

The eq5 and slow mo perform brilliantly by the way and the whole set up very smooth and solid. All in alll a compact if expensive gem

 

I love it!

 

regards

 

Dave

 

 

 

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Edited by DaveGibbons
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Looks lovely Dave. Very tempting scope I must say, both for deep sky and for Quark Ha solar

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Very nice, Dave :smile:

I bought one of these (in white) a few weeks ago and love it. I have mostly used it for solar viewing with my Quark but intend giving it a whirl at some of the targets you mention when the sky conditions permit.

Enjoy!

Edited by DRT

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Nice in red though innit? ??

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Nice one Dave :happy7: I was thinking about getting one of these especially after seeing the solar views through Derek's. I also like the red version.

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Very nice Dave, as per Derek I will be getting one of these delivered this week, the Technosky version as they all appear to originate from the same factory, bit cheaper in white :)

Will also be using it with the Quark, what sort of ERF filter are folks using ?

Dave

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8 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

Very nice Dave, as per Derek I will be getting one of these delivered this week, the Technosky version as they all appear to originate from the same factory, bit cheaper in white :)

Will also be using it with the Quark, what sort of ERF filter are folks using ?

Dave

I use a 2" Baader UV/IR Cut on the nose of the diagonal, Dave and it works well. I have not detected any heat build-up anywhere on the scope but I don't have a tracking mount so it doesn't sit there for hours on end pointing straight at the Sun. I think an ERF on the front of one of these beasts would start to get very expensive!

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1 minute ago, DRT said:

I use a 2" Baader UV/IR Cut on the nose of the diagonal, Dave and it works well. I have not detected any heat build-up anywhere on the scope but I don't have a tracking mount so it doesn't sit there for hours on end pointing straight at the Sun. I think an ERF on the front of one of these beasts would start to get very expensive!

Around £1000.0 I think, so more than the scope :eek:

Have you tried / considered stopping down the aperture ?

Dave

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Great report Dave ! :icon_biggrin:

I've read lots of reports on these 152mm F/5.9 scopes since they were introduced - I think Ed Tings was the 1st but there have been a fair few more.

It sounds like the Altair branded version is just as good as the others and they almost universally get very postive feedback.

Nice scope !

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1 minute ago, Davey-T said:

Have you tried / considered stopping down the aperture ?

No,although not sure why I would as I have smaller refractors that would do that naturally and the attraction of the 152 is the large aperture :wink:

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1 minute ago, DRT said:

No,although not sure why I would as I have smaller refractors that would do that naturally and the attraction of the 152 is the large aperture :wink:

Had a chat with Rupert about the ERF and he supplies a 132 which he says reduces the front aperture to a point that better suits the Quark.

Dave

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Lovely setup Dave. I saw these new ones in Red on the Altair site and thought they looked really striking! 

The best I've ever done with any scope is to detect the cores of M51 with averted vision, so to detect spiral structure must have been amazing :)

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Lovely looking scope and a very positive report. I can feel the bank card squirming in my pocket.

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32 minutes ago, Chris Lock said:

Lovely setup Dave. I saw these new ones in Red on the Altair site and thought they looked really striking! 

The best I've ever done with any scope is to detect the cores of M51 with averted vision, so to detect spiral structure must have been amazing :)

Chris,

Just a glimpse but it is there. The contrast from the 6" unobstructed lense is outstanding.

 

 

 

Edited by DaveGibbons
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That has some great numbers going for it, particularly the possible FOV which would make it a cracker for things like the Veil, Rosette, etc. The price strikes me as more than reasonable, too. Very nice indeed and with that excellent red colour thrown in as a bonus!

Olly

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Nice report Dave, and I feel cheated about that red!  Mine is barely a few weeks old but had a niggle or two so is back with Altair under warranty. I had a bit of fine focus wobble and a spec or two on inside of lens. But performance wise I love it!  (Squirming in my chair as I write, impatiently awaiting its return...:happy6: )

Regarding the red, I couldn't tell what is different from the white?  Looks fabulous though!  On CA, it's very interesting to hear your thoughts. So far, I haven't been plagued by it on Jupiter or on the moon really, and I'm used to the ED80's good correction. I see some CA for sure but it's mild to my eye.  Maybe being red colourblind helps.

I'm getting by on an eq5 with 1 3/4" legs. Seems absolutely fine for visual.  As you say, it's a delight aimed at DSO's. 

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Mine arrived today, Technosky version, had to get a white one so I can slip it by the astro spending police, she's not that clued up about sizes but would defo notice a big bright red one appear in the garden :grin:

Dave

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Looks great and the colour, worth the price alone for that red!

Certainly a great scope to consider for the FOV, slot in a fringe killer as well and you will have a sweet set up.

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Never touched mine, the two Vixens were set at the factory and without collimation adjusters. What you may find is that diagonals may not be collimated, worth checking. 

The 152 looks superb, from the reviews it's a superb all rounder . A lot better than Apos for the money,

Nick.

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It's turned out to be a great all rounder from my perspective: recent views of Jupiter have been amazing. Yet to try a fringe filter and may never bother with that. Update on defects with mine is I've got it back and they appear to have replaced the focus assembly. I don't have any image shift anymore with the fine focus. The lens cell still doesn't look spotless to me but maybe is just lint or dust. I'm emailing to get details on what actions were taken. While speaking with Altair on the phone I asked if there were any differences between white and v2 red and it's only the color.  I reckon they have realized it's a hot item and bumped up the price point due to demand!

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