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Startravel 120 first light.


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At last, after a day of snow showers, the sky cleared, around sunset, I thought, the Cloud God is messing with me, knowing how keen I was to test the scope.

But no, half an hour later, the skies were still clear, so the scope was put outside to cool down, whilst I wrapped up warm.

Hands up, who when they have a knew piece of kit, can wait for it to stabilise? I couldn't, pointed at M42, focused and there it was, beautiful.

Right back to a more logical approach. the scope is the Startravel 120, on the Alt/AZ 3 mount, supplied with 25 & 10 mm SP ep's, 45 degree diagonal, Red dot laser finder.

I found the Finder OK, but very cheaply made, the On / Off switch is in the brightness control. I found in the dark, that I was adjusting the rear setting control instead of the brightness when trying to find objects. But it works, with such a wide field of view, you could just point the scope and you would be near, but the finder was spot on.

I also swapped the 45 degree diagonal for a 90 degree mirror.

With magnifications of only 24 and 60, I found the focuser OK, but I will be looking to replace the thick grease with something more sensible.

With both the ep's there is the usual, or so I am led to believe CA around very bright stars and Saturn. But I found with careful focus and eye postion to the ep, this reduced to an acceptable level, for me anyway.

Next chance, I will insert the Barlow before the diagonal for 3X and see what happens.

On Saturn, I inserted a Barlow for 2X increase, and on both ep's the CA reduced considerably.

I was not sure about the mount at first, but for visual use, quick and easy, I found M78 very to locate, and a sweep around Cassiopeia was journey of discovery, far more stars than my 80mm f5 has ever shown me, and this on a night when naked eye visibility was only about mag 5, with they occasional high thin clouds

At this stage I had been outside in sub zero temperatures for nearly two hours, so I decided to call it quits for the night, also the fresh snow flakes that were beginning to fall helped with the decision.

Initial conclusions are that it is a capable scope, that performs reasonably well, yes there is CA, but this particular tube I found to be acceptable, as a wide field scope, more than adequate. Planetary use, well I didn't expect it to be any use, but with the barlow, Saturn was clear, rings distinct, two of the moons showed. I didn't really settle down to observe Saturn, more just a tourists look. But next chance I will have a go.

Well worth the money second hand, new? maybe not.

My fingers were that sore last night, I left posting this to this morning.

naz :lol::)

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Nice report Naz.

It sounds like you are pretty happy with your scope. And unlike most Startravel owners you are fully aware of the Startravels strengths and weakness. Which is great because a lot of people who buy the Startravel are disappointed because they were expecting it perform as an allrounder.

I had the 120 Startravel for almost 3 years. Mine was an earlier Skywatcher with the dark blue paint scheme. I found it to be the best of the Startravels i owned and a great companion for the 127 Mak. One for nice low power widefield and the other for high power planetary.

Look forward to your future reports.

Russ

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Thanks for your comments everyone, I have to really get to do some serious work with this scope, when I have had a chance to get some more use, then I will report back.

Initially I was probably expecting worse CA than I found, or maybe I need an eye test!, but I am not dissapointed so far, time will tell.

Heres to more clear skies SOON

naz :lol:

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Good new Naz, well worth the wait then.

Guess CA is as much of a problem as you want to make it. Let it bug you and I suppose even small amounts start to rankle, Ignore it and you can save yourself the couple of grand you could spend on a true apo :lol:

That Alt Az mount sounds great for grab and go wide field.

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Just done some further testing in daylight, looking at a radio / TV mast on the hill above my location, about 1km away.

Focus is absolutely critical. One side of focus, everything is green, and the other side purple haze, but on focus very slight CA is noticeable. This was looking at a white cylindrical TV aerial against a grey sky. The steel work on the mast also exhibited the same characteristics.

Checked the 80mm f5 against the same mast, and similar results but not as critical on the focus.

This scope gives fairly decent results on stars, and with slight CA on the brighter stars and planets, although I have managed to catch three of Jupiter's bands with this scope in the past.

Now I will have to tackle the grease in the focuser, to try and improve it's operation, can't put it off any longer.

As a grab and go, and for the level of observing that I anticipate in the forseeable future, I can't really fault it to much.

It will also make a useful cheap telephoto lens for the D70, were at 600mm, and only enlarging to A4 size, I don't see any real problems.

Marks out of ten, so far based on price secondhand, and performance. Probably an "9"

naz :lol::)

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