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Hi everyone, about a month ago i got my first telescope. Wasn't sure what to get but i wanted something portable and easy to setup and use. After some internet "research" i decided to go for a refractor on a manual alt/az mount. The telescope was on a 50% sale so i decided to go for it , the Meade infinity 90.
 

  • The package:
    The scope came in one big box, everything was inside. Included was the optical tube, the mount, 3 eyepieces (6.3mm, 9mm and 26mm), a 2x barlow lens, 90 degree diagonal, red dot finder, an eyepiece holder for the mount and a few manuals.
    • The optical tube:
      The tube has a 90mm (3.5in) aperture and 600mm focal length. It looks and feels as a quality instrument, it has a small dew shield and the focuser is smooth when you move it back and forward. As expected the lens looks to be coated. It has a dovetail bar on it with 3 holes for screws.
    • The mount:
      Light but stable, made of aluminium. It has 3 extendable legs, and 2 slow motion cables (alt/az). One screw to mount the tube on on top (adjustable back and forward).
    • The eyepieces and barlow:
      All 3 are modified achromat eyepieces, the lenses are made of glass and are OK for the beginner, but i would suggest upgrading if you can. The barlow is bad i even think that the optics are plastic (not sure), it is usable if you don't have other options but this should be the first upgrade in my opinion.
  • Observing:
    • First light:
      The telescope arrived in the morning so the first thing i did after a quick setup was to adjust the red dot finder. I looked at some mountains about 20km away, the view was nice and very detailed using all eyepieces. Combining the 6.3mm with the barlow got me a bit blurry view, but the barlow in combination with the other eyepieces was ok. Night came and it was a moonless and clear night (only light pollution from the city i live in). I saw orion right infront of me, "marked" it with the red dot finder where i thought M42 should be and looked through the 26mm eyepiece. It was a bit blurry but after adjusting the focus i could see some nice pinpoint stars and also something fuzzy, i realized it was the orion nebula. After letting my eyes adjust to the view for a few minutes i started seeing 2 faint "wings" on both sides and in the center were 4 very tiny stars, i didn't expect to see that on my first night. I followed my target for about 15 minutes using the slow motion controls , it was easy to do. Also tried the 9mm eyepiece and with it the 4 stars were more easily seen but the faint clouds got fainter so i moved back to the 26mm. Next target was venus, i tried all eyepieces + with combination with the barlow. It looked like a very bright half moon without any details. When using the barlow the view was ok but purple glow was showing around the planet, without the barlow the purple wasn't noticeable. I also looked at the star Sirius which looked nice, bright and much bigger then any other star i could see that night. After Venus went down i decided it was enough for day one.
    • Moon:
      I expected it to look good, but not this good. I was observing the moon for a couple of nights until it got full. I could see a lot of details at the terminator , with low and high magnification. When the moon was full it was very very bright and it looked best with the smallest magnification using the 26mm eyepiece.
    • Jupiter and Saturn:
      I got 2 opportunities to look at these 2, the first time i think the "seeing" was bad. I could only see Jupiters 4 moons and the planet was a bright disc without any details at any magnification i tried. Saturn also wasn't very good, i could see the rings but they were blurry and "dancing" around. But the next time i had the chance to look at these planets the conditions were much better, first target was again Jupiter. With the 26mm eyepiece i could see a white disc with 4 moons.With the 9mm i could see the moons again but now the disc had very faint 2 bands without any color. The view was best with the 6.3mm eyepiece, the 2 bands were clearly visible and on the upper belt on the right side there was a small dark dot, i am not sure if it was anything . Next target was Saturn, event with the 26mm eyepiece i could see that it has rings, i switched to the 6.3mm right away and wow there it was, Saturn and its rings clearly visible, i even think i could spot the cassini devision, but it might have been my eyes playing tricks. I tried using the barlow on both targets but it was making the image blurry, but at this point i had purchased a higher quality barlow and the views were very nice with it , but the  max magnification i could use that night was 133x, anything higher and the image was getting wobbly (probably that was due to the atmosphere that night). After that some clouds came in and it was time to get back to bed (got up just to see the planets in 4am).
  • Conclusion:
    I think i got what i wanted, a small and very portable telescope for some basic amateur observing. I do recommend this telescope to anyone as a first telescope or even to an experienced astronomer who is looking for something light, portable and being able to set it up and start observing in 2 minutes. Also i would recommend you replace all of the eyepieces and the barlow. I got me a few plossl eyepieces and a nice barlow, it was worth it.


Feel free to ask me anything regarding this telescope i will be more than happy to answer.
Sorry for any spelling mistakes this review probably contains :)

Also i am attaching a few images i took directly off the eyepiece using my smartphone (handheld).


The Telescope

IMG_20200319_141724_1.jpg
The Moon:

IMG_20200329_230816.jpg
The Moon:

IMG_20200407_211234.jpg
Venus:

IMG_20200418_194059-01.jpeg
Saturn:

IMG_20200419_043400.jpg
Jupiter:

IMG_20200419_053014.jpg

Edited by Stefann
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добра вечер / good evening @Stefann and welcome to SGL. :hello2:  🇲🇰 🇬🇧

Good images from a smartphone handheld over the eyepiece. I have tried many times... and keep trying... and fail.

You said, quote: "... and on the upper belt on the right side there was a small dark dot, i am not sure if it was anything..." - that may have been one of the four Galellean moons shadow. Always fun to watch them go in and come out of shadow.

6.3mm e/p and x2 barlow is way to much magnification... even using the 9mm e/p and x2 barlow you may get the same result, so worth investing in 'better' here as you are planning to do. As for brand; do you have a budget? - then we can advise better.

Wishing you clear Balkan skies.

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Thanks for your comment @Philip R.

About the eyepiece upgrades, i already got 4. They are celestron omni plossl eyepieces, 15mm, 9mm, 6mm and a 2x barlow. I got them for about 12 Euro's a piece. The views are noticeably better and the field of view is bigger then with the ones that came with the scope.I would love to later upgrade to ones with better eye relief but I think these are good enough for now.

In the near future i am looking to get a solar filter, so any suggestions are welcome.

Edited by Stefann
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I think the eyepiece choice is OK size wise, though as to quality I am not. @rwilkey is the man who knows his eyepieces inside out and not forgetting @John and @Louis D too.

Solar filter wise... personally go for a solar wedge, (image of my 70mm refractor and solar wedge below on a overcast GB/UK at about midday).

 IMG_0675.thumb.JPG.61d0def85db3d5e798128ef6d95d020b.JPG 

 

Alternatively you can try a full aperture solar filter. There are at least three types.

  1. Glass. In my opinion, apart from the solar wedge this is my choice. I have one but is starting to show its age now and no longer not use it. Gives a nice 'comforting' yellow-orange hue of the solar disc.
  2. Solar film. Two options available here. One is buy a ready made for your 'scope objective, i.e. full aperture. Can either be ready made or you can make one yourself with some cardboard and stick-back plastic tape, which is also the cheapest option. Gives a very pale blue or white disc. 
  3. Black polymer. They are supposed to be a longer lasting version of '2' above, though how true, I do not know, as I have not used one.

Anyway, if you do decide on a full solar filter, DO REMEMBER TO CHECK IT BEFORE EACH AND EVERY USE for any scratches, tears, pin-pricks, etc., and this  includes the glass one too! - do not assume that it is 100% defect free.

This is why I have now gone for the solar wedge option. Depending on the brand, (mine is a Lunt), I get a green solar disc when used with a solar continuum filter and built-in ND3.0 filter. Also it is worth noting that they can only be used with a refractor 'scopes. 

BTW - please remember to remove your finder/RDF before finder too! - I got a nasty rash on my forehead, back in 1999; (I was in Krapets, BG, with a few other members from my local astro. society/club to view it); when I forgot to remove my RDF. It stung for days after! 😳

Edited by Philip R
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Hi Stefann, 

Really enjoyed reading your first light report! Btw, there is an app called 'Moons of Jupiter' that you can use to identify where the 4 largest moons are positioned at a certain time or date. I observed a transit last year and was able to use the app to identify the moon as being Io.

Peter

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  • 1 month later...
  • 11 months later...
On 02/05/2020 at 14:03, Stefann said:

Hi everyone, about a month ago i got my first telescope. Wasn't sure what to get but i wanted something portable and easy to setup and use. After some internet "research" i decided to go for a refractor on a manual alt/az mount. The telescope was on a 50% sale so i decided to go for it , the Meade infinity 90.
 

  • The package:
    The scope came in one big box, everything was inside. Included was the optical tube, the mount, 3 eyepieces (6.3mm, 9mm and 26mm), a 2x barlow lens, 90 degree diagonal, red dot finder, an eyepiece holder for the mount and a few manuals.
    • The optical tube:
      The tube has a 90mm (3.5in) aperture and 600mm focal length. It looks and feels as a quality instrument, it has a small dew shield and the focuser is smooth when you move it back and forward. As expected the lens looks to be coated. It has a dovetail bar on it with 3 holes for screws.
    • The mount:
      Light but stable, made of aluminium. It has 3 extendable legs, and 2 slow motion cables (alt/az). One screw to mount the tube on on top (adjustable back and forward).
    • The eyepieces and barlow:
      All 3 are modified achromat eyepieces, the lenses are made of glass and are OK for the beginner, but i would suggest upgrading if you can. The barlow is bad i even think that the optics are plastic (not sure), it is usable if you don't have other options but this should be the first upgrade in my opinion.
  • Observing:
    • First light:
      The telescope arrived in the morning so the first thing i did after a quick setup was to adjust the red dot finder. I looked at some mountains about 20km away, the view was nice and very detailed using all eyepieces. Combining the 6.3mm with the barlow got me a bit blurry view, but the barlow in combination with the other eyepieces was ok. Night came and it was a moonless and clear night (only light pollution from the city i live in). I saw orion right infront of me, "marked" it with the red dot finder where i thought M42 should be and looked through the 26mm eyepiece. It was a bit blurry but after adjusting the focus i could see some nice pinpoint stars and also something fuzzy, i realized it was the orion nebula. After letting my eyes adjust to the view for a few minutes i started seeing 2 faint "wings" on both sides and in the center were 4 very tiny stars, i didn't expect to see that on my first night. I followed my target for about 15 minutes using the slow motion controls , it was easy to do. Also tried the 9mm eyepiece and with it the 4 stars were more easily seen but the faint clouds got fainter so i moved back to the 26mm. Next target was venus, i tried all eyepieces + with combination with the barlow. It looked like a very bright half moon without any details. When using the barlow the view was ok but purple glow was showing around the planet, without the barlow the purple wasn't noticeable. I also looked at the star Sirius which looked nice, bright and much bigger then any other star i could see that night. After Venus went down i decided it was enough for day one.
    • Moon:
      I expected it to look good, but not this good. I was observing the moon for a couple of nights until it got full. I could see a lot of details at the terminator , with low and high magnification. When the moon was full it was very very bright and it looked best with the smallest magnification using the 26mm eyepiece.
    • Jupiter and Saturn:
      I got 2 opportunities to look at these 2, the first time i think the "seeing" was bad. I could only see Jupiters 4 moons and the planet was a bright disc without any details at any magnification i tried. Saturn also wasn't very good, i could see the rings but they were blurry and "dancing" around. But the next time i had the chance to look at these planets the conditions were much better, first target was again Jupiter. With the 26mm eyepiece i could see a white disc with 4 moons.With the 9mm i could see the moons again but now the disc had very faint 2 bands without any color. The view was best with the 6.3mm eyepiece, the 2 bands were clearly visible and on the upper belt on the right side there was a small dark dot, i am not sure if it was anything . Next target was Saturn, event with the 26mm eyepiece i could see that it has rings, i switched to the 6.3mm right away and wow there it was, Saturn and its rings clearly visible, i even think i could spot the cassini devision, but it might have been my eyes playing tricks. I tried using the barlow on both targets but it was making the image blurry, but at this point i had purchased a higher quality barlow and the views were very nice with it , but the  max magnification i could use that night was 133x, anything higher and the image was getting wobbly (probably that was due to the atmosphere that night). After that some clouds came in and it was time to get back to bed (got up just to see the planets in 4am).
  • Conclusion:
    I think i got what i wanted, a small and very portable telescope for some basic amateur observing. I do recommend this telescope to anyone as a first telescope or even to an experienced astronomer who is looking for something light, portable and being able to set it up and start observing in 2 minutes. Also i would recommend you replace all of the eyepieces and the barlow. I got me a few plossl eyepieces and a nice barlow, it was worth it.


Feel free to ask me anything regarding this telescope i will be more than happy to answer.
Sorry for any spelling mistakes this review probably contains :)

Also i am attaching a few images i took directly off the eyepiece using my smartphone (handheld).


The Telescope

IMG_20200319_141724_1.jpg
The Moon:

IMG_20200329_230816.jpg
The Moon:

IMG_20200407_211234.jpg
Venus:

IMG_20200418_194059-01.jpeg
Saturn:

IMG_20200419_043400.jpg
Jupiter:

IMG_20200419_053014.jpg

Hi Stefan

I am thinking of buying the meade 90 as the first telescope, do you recommend it for the price of 300 euros?  On the other hand you mention that you bought extra eyepieces, are they absolutely necessary?  

With the ones that the telescope already brings, what can be observed? 

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Posted (edited)
On 01/06/2021 at 13:26, Zenit 89 said:

Hi Stefan

I am thinking of buying the meade 90 as the first telescope, do you recommend it for the price of 300 euros?  On the other hand you mention that you bought extra eyepieces, are they absolutely necessary?  

With the ones that the telescope already brings, what can be observed? 

Hello,
I got the telescope for a very good discount (new). It cost me 160 euros. I wouldn't recommend it for 300 euros.
I would recommend this scope only if you can get it under 200 euros.
For 300 euros I would recommend the SkyWatcher Heritage 150P, or some other 130mm to 150mm telescope.

About getting new eyepieces, no its not necessary. But I do recommend you replace them when you can, the views are noticeably better even with relatively cheap plossl eyepieces.

Edited by Stefann
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      The ASKAR FRA400 doesn’t come with a carry case, which is a bit of a shame.
       
      Summary
      I’m really happy with my ASKAR FRA400, and think it’ll serve me well for years to come. Once the initial issues were overcome, I’ve been finding it a lot of fun. It’s compact and light -- I can carry the OTA with all attached accessories in one hand. It pairs well with the ASI2600 and L-eXtreme. The ASIAIR PRO controls everything very neatly as well. If I see a gap in the clouds, I can set everything up (tripod and mount in the garden, attach telescope, polar align, autofocus, start imaging) in 20 – 25 minutes. I’m looking into a DIY pier in the garden, which should reduce this to 5 – 10 minutes.
       
      Images
      Single FITS sub, straight from the camera (with L-eXtreme):
      Light_IC1805_300s_Bin1_gain100_20201224-224655_-9.7C_0039.fit
       
      Single 300s sub with L-eXtreme, debayered, stretched, and resized to 50%:

       
      Random star from the centre of the frame:

       
      And the edge of the frame:

       
      8.5 hours of integration time. One of my very first attempts at processing with PixInsight, so definitely not the limit of what the telescope can do, but more an indication of what a beginner can achieve in Bortle 8 skies:

       
      Views of the Askar FRA400 in my garden:


    • By andyrawlins
      Hi All
      After much research, primarily on this site and The Binocular Sky, I got hold of the above binoculars.  I spent ages writing a review specifically for this site of what I found, as a thanks for all the advice I had received.  By the power of idiocy I then managed to post it on Cloudy Nights instead (I had both open in my browser).  Too much Christmas port I guess  
      Anyway, too late to take it down as some have already replied and I guess I shouldn't post the same thing on two sites so here is a link to my review on completely the wrong site   No offence at all to Cloudy Nights but I wrote it with the Stargazers Lounge audience in mind and it may make less sense on a US site.
      Comparison of Pentax SP 50 WP 10x50 and Nikon Action EX 10x50 CF




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