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Flight-friendly Grab andGoTo travel scope?


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Going to South America for solar eclipse 2019 and visiting the Atacama desert for a few brief nights observing. Will want to see as many of the DSO not visible from the UK, so a GoTo mount would help. Plan is to take as large aperture scope as possible that fits into cabin luggage to go on a SW Az-GTi , mount, hopefully also in cabin luggage (tripod would have to fit in checked-in suitcase).  The Bresser Messier AR102 XL came to mind first, but the SW Heritage 130 Flextube is probably the better choice (larger aperture, cheaper and lighter?).

Question is will it fit Iin the the 55x35x25 cm South American internal airlines limit? And can the 130p be easily fitted on to the Az-Gti?

Would be grateful for any info/suggestions on the above, like weights and measurements of the Flextibe and Az Gti.

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Just measured my 130 P Flextube OTA:

Weight (RDF +lid included): 3090 g

Overall length (with lid and collimation screws in place, but without RDF): 39,4 cm

Max. diameter/width: 22cm (measured across the extension bushings)

                                     21,5 cm (measured along the focuser axis, focuser in it's lowest position).

Hth.

Stephan

 

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My flight-compatible setup is what you'rw considering: Az-Gti, 130 Flextube and a Sirui carbon fiber tripod. Fits in cabin luggage. 130 flextube does sit ok on Az-Gti though the overall setup is rather wobbly on high powers. Also with limited tripod leg spread it's somewhat easy to knock over though that has not happened thus far.

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Ah a topic close to my heart ?

I’m also going to South America next year for the eclipse. I’ve managed to persuade my dad to come along as well - he’s in his mid 70s so I’m thought it was a great opportunity to do a father and son trip. 

So being up a mountain for the solar eclipse has rather focused my mind on the visual nighttime delights of the Southern Hemisphere which I’ve never viewed before.

I’ve travelled to Europe a few times with various scopes in the past few years and I find I need to think carefully about all the other equipment I need in addition to the mount and scope, eg I want to make sure I’ve got room in my hand luggage for some good quality eyepieces.

My latest travel setup for my September trip to Tenerife was as shown below (the thinktank airport accelerator bag fits into the dimensions you state in your post)

BD069DE3-6613-4029-86CE-6388B91A8793.thumb.jpeg.da09da69b27d956ed852b00130caa2d1.jpeg

As you can see the scope is a televue 85 but the majority of the space was taken up by eyepieces, filters, batteries, diagonal, dew heaters etc..

My photo tripod and az gti mount went into the hold (suitably padded). This setup worked great and will in broad terms will be what I will take to Argentina and Chile next year. However I will also have a lunt solar scope that I’m volunteering my dad to take in his hand luggage ? I need to think whether I take two az gtis with me and a Herschel wedge so that my dad and I can observe  the eclipse simultaneously.

So my choice for the trip will be a refractor, but probably not the tv85 - I have another bit larger aperture refractor arriving in the next few months that will give me just a bit more extra reach.

Anyhow, that’s my approach to the travel equipment I’m taking for the trip. I hope it gives some useful information for you.

 

Edited by GavStar
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Thanks to all for the helpful info, the Heritage 130 and Az-Gti will do for me. Thanks also for the tips, GavStar- we'll be seeing the eclipse from Bela Vista, near SanJuan in Argentina and after to Chile and the Atacama desert ending with a visit to Cero Paranal, all with Astrotrails. May convince my partner to take my PST if she has room left in her cabin bag...

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17 minutes ago, Ceramus said:

Thanks to all for the helpful info, the Heritage 130 and Az-Gti will do for me. Thanks also for the tips, GavStar- we'll be seeing the eclipse from Bela Vista, near SanJuan in Argentina and after to Chile and the Atacama desert ending with a visit to Cero Paranal, all with Astrotrails. May convince my partner to take my PST if she has room left in her cabin bag...

Great - we're also going to Bela Vista with the same tour company so I guess we may well meet next year!

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@Ceramus

All these are most excellent suggestions. Many I have used myself as we have travelled in and around Africa most years. But can I urge you to check baggage allowances if you are travelling around a country on internal flights. 

Within Namibia and Zambia we sometimes end up on smaller 29 and 50 seat turboprop aircraft. The cabin baggage allowances on these smaller scheduled internal airlines, such as Proflight Zambia, drops to a measly 5kg.

Where a carry on doesn’t meet these criteria one can discuss, debate and incentivise with a “crispy handshake”; and often it works. However, when it doesn’t, bags end up separated from you and in the “hold”.

My point therefore is to work backwards from the lowest and tightest restrictions. On my forthcoming trip I have 7 flights and my usual “flyaway kit” fits the restrictions of 5 of those with ease... But those two Proflight Zambia ones allow only half the weight of the others. 

So don’t be the person that gets caught out if your itinerary has one of those tighter allowance flights on it...

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This is my Skywatcher Skymax 127mm Mak. in a backpack. The OTA weighs about 3.8 kg.

866325795_SkymaxBackpack-Annotated(R).jpg.286588b3fc2b5ab0c4ff29ef7b34b084.jpg

The Mak. construction is like the proverbial brick outhouse. I have 2, UK & France, and I have not had to touch the collimation in either. Whole setup, with a few eyepieces and a couple of sets of batteries, weighs just under 11kg.

Geoff

 

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I can't see it mentioned but the heritage 130p I would think would be as useful as a chocolate T pot for looking at the Solar eclipse, very dangerous as the heritage is opened sided. What are your plans to make the heritage 130p solar safe?

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On 3 November 2018 at 18:47, happy-kat said:

I can't see it mentioned but the heritage 130p I would think would be as useful as a chocolate T pot for looking at the Solar eclipse, very dangerous as the heritage is opened sided. What are your plans to make the heritage 130p solar safe?

Not using the 130p for solar observing, only for DSO from the Atcama desert after the eclipse. From past experience I find the best way to enjoy the short duration of totality is without any optical aid (perhaps, momentarily only,  with binos if you're very careful!). During the partial phase of course with adequate protection such as proper eclipse glasses.

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