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GavStar

TEC160FL/Panther TTS - first light review

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After a week of cloud, tonight clear skies appeared and I was able to have a play with my new scope and mount.

SW London is not exactly the best place to use a scope like this but I had fun anyway.

Set up was quick and within about 15 mins the tec was aligned on the panther mount ready for goto and tracking. My sky surfer v finder comfortably cleared the ‘wheel’ handle so that means it will stay in place.

First up was M42 and in particular the trapezium. Seeing must have been ok since E and F were obvious.  With my oiii filter in place, there were lovely long tendrils of nebula emerging from the ‘mouth’. Sigma orionis was fantastic with all 4 stars  very ball like and obvious.

Then onto NGC 2169. Lovely 37 with a cheeky double at the top of the 3 (thanks Stu). Auriga clusters of m36, 37 and 38 were nice but I think the poor skies didn’t bring out the stars so they looked a bit sparse.

I then followed Nick’s early winter gems suggestions. 

Ngc2301 was very much like a dragon with wings and a really nice selection of coloured stars. One to revisit again - liked it a lot.

Beta monocerotis was a new one for me and a very straight clear split. The tec is clearly well suited to doubles/triples etc.

Hind’s crimson star was another new one for me and boy was it crimson - real surprise this one. Again the tec showed the colour and tight star shape very well.

Tegmine needed a good level of magnification to split it into 3 - trickier than double double by a margin I would say. 

Then I had another look at m42 before finishing with the moon. I’m don’t observe the moon very often but with the 4mm DeLite giving 280x it was a delight!! I suffer to some extent with floaters but it’s clear the tec soaks up magnification easier than any other scope I’ve had. In fact I was surprised how often I used the 4mm this evening  since I rarely go over 200x. The tec was at ease with this - decent seeing I guess.

The panther mount is amazing. Easy to align, holds the tec comfortably and the goto and tracking particularly using sky safari and skyfi are very easy. I could cover a lot if I wanted but could also concentrate on an object for an extended period due to the very accurate tracking. Of this new setup it’s the mount that has made the leap forward in ability compared to my other setups.

In respect of the Tec, the build quality is excellent - very close to my AP. The 3.5 inch feathertouch focuser is brilliant, better in my opinion than the AP focuser. The feathertouch makes fine focusing such an easy task.

So I think I’ve found my dream visual setup. I’m looking forward to try my night vision monoculars with it (still waiting for the adapters from the US)

The only slight negative is the weight and length. The 12kg weight means I have to be very careful when mounting it particularly as the mounting point is quite high on the panther. Also the extra length does mean that the viewing height can change markedly- I’m pleased I got the pier extension for viewing those objects near the zenith (rather than be laying on the ground!)

Howver, thsee issues come with all bigger fracs. 

In summary, a great first light and I’m looking forward to taking it to a dark site to get it to strut it’s stuff more

 

 

E8947F22-C475-44D9-875C-358CEE8F6905.jpeg

Edited by GavStar
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Great report Gavin :icon_biggrin:

Always some effort needed to make the most of a big frac, but worth it !

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great report...very happy to hear the panther and tec160 are a well suited pair :)

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Fabulous looking pair Gavin, that really is a cracking setup.

The extra aperture will help increase the exit pupil at high power which will reduce your floaters a little. At x200 you are at 0.8mm rather than 0.65mm in the AP which does make a difference.

Glad you found the little double in the 37 Cluster, I love that one.

Fingers crossed for more clear skies to come.

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Stu, yes the bigger exit pupil at high mags was very noticeable imo. Shame there’s no big planets around...oh and I forgot to mention - I split the pup for the first time ?

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That was a late/early one! Has Santa/postman delivered the rest of your new eyepiece?

 

peter

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Still waiting for the tnvc televue adapter Peter . Its  at Parcelforce - they’ve been calculating the customs due for a few days now! Santa must have a fair few imports to deal with...

I’ve got the 55mm televue plossl, halpha 12nm filter, and baader 685 filter ready and waiting though.

Edited by GavStar

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Speaking as someone who did sprain his wrist once picking up the 180mm triplet APM, I can certainly appreciate the cautious approach needed when hoisting one of these big refractors onto a mount! :icon_biggrin:

 

You are certainly building an enviable set of scopes.

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Nice one Gavin. Lots of fun times ahead with this setup, and it looks amazing too.

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That is a quite wonderful visual setup, I hope it serves you well. Great to see a Panther in action, intriguing mount.

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1 hour ago, GavStar said:

Stu, yes the bigger exit pupil at high mags was very noticeable imo. Shame there’s no big planets around...oh and I forgot to mention - I split the pup for the first time ?

is it possible to split the pup with a 4" Frac ? 

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12 minutes ago, jabeoo1 said:

is it possible to split the pup with a 4" Frac ? 

I have seen reports on-line of it being done (with a Tak TSA 102), but they were located at more southerly locations where Sirius was higher in the sky.  From the UK it is a rather tricky with so much murky and turbulent atmosphere in the way.

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Very nice report on what looks and sounds like a another great scope from TEC. BTW I have split Sirius with a 115mm, that's 4 1/2 inches in old money, though as Matthew states above this, I am further south than anyone in the UK.

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34 minutes ago, jabeoo1 said:

is it possible to split the pup with a 4" Frac ? 

It's not something I've ever managed with the FC100DC. 160mm of class glass makes quite a difference even from the U.K. :) 

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52 minutes ago, DirkSteele said:

I have seen reports on-line of it being done (with a Tak TSA 102), but they were located at more southerly locations where Sirius was higher in the sky.  From the UK it is a rather tricky with so much murky and turbulent atmosphere in the way.

 

29 minutes ago, Stu said:

It's not something I've ever managed with the FC100DC. 160mm of class glass makes quite a difference even from the U.K. :) 

Yep okay,  that clarifies my observations with the FC-100 so far.  Anyhow this is off topic to the OP so back to dribbling over the TEC160 !

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I tried to split Sirius with my Tak FC-100 DL last night. Very tight Sirius even at 300x with no CA but slightly unstable seeing so no "pup" :rolleyes2:

Got E & F Trapezium though as a partial compensation - F is a toughie with 3.9" of aperture even when it's Tak glass !

I split Antares with my TMB/LZOS 130 last year and I'm hoping to be able to give that another shot soon. Need a nice clear horizon for that one here :icon_biggrin:

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Great report on a beautiful telescope Gavin. Am also very much looking forward to reading about your night vision set up once you've had chance to use it - along with many others on SGL. 

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3 hours ago, DirkSteele said:

Speaking as someone who did sprain his wrist once picking up the 180mm triplet APM, I can certainly appreciate the cautious approach needed when hoisting one of these big refractors onto a mount! :icon_biggrin:

 

You are certainly building an enviable set of scopes.

Matthew, it was reading that you had sprained your wrist lifting your scope that made my decision to stick at 160mm. Although only 15cm longer I think your scope (lovely btw!) is about double the weight, and also more front heavy. 

Although MikeDNight possibly doesn’t believe me ? I really think (hope) this is the last scope purchase for me for a loooong time. Over the past 18 months I’ve been on a bit of binge and tried out several. I think my current 85mm (for overseas travel), 100mm (for grab and go), 130mm (for easy setup proper views) and 160mm (for serious session views), plus 60mm solar cover my requirements suitably. ?

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Dob???

Sorry, wash my mouth out??

Enjoyed your write-up. Definitely money well spent.

Maybe a place in the country with dark sky and a nice obsey to go with your new scope?

Paul

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@Paul73I have tried to convince him of the advantages of brute aperture, but he won’t relent.... quality rather than quantity!

 

Peter

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2 minutes ago, PeterW said:

@Paul73I have tried to convince him of the advantages of brute aperture, but he won’t relent.... quality rather than quantity!

 

Peter

I think I could 'cope' with just 160mm in this case ;) 

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If you look at the price of the Tec 160 it would cover the cost of around three 20" dobs but if you live under light polluted skies massive aperture won't be a lot of use at home and travelling to observe might not be practical very often. So the focus becomes pure optical quality at an aperture that will be effective.

 

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Don’t worry chaps. I was only joking.

Sounds like the scope was performing splendidly! Agreed, big big aperture would just magnify the LP.

Looking forward to reading more of  the OP’s adventures with his lovely collection.

me jealous? Not a bit ???

Paul

PS. I do have a 120mm frac for when I want to look at the bright dots between the DSOs. 

Edited by Paul73

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