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Fozzie

Altair 102/F7 Ed (FPL53) - Some initial Musings

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Afternoon all..

Thought i'd post my first thoughts on this freshly delivered Altair Astro variant of the 102F7ED Refractor.

Firstly excellent response time from Altair direct, less than 48 hours from order to door, all done on line, no communication but then, non was needed at that stage.

Scope arrived insured DHL, double boxed, packed reasonably well with chunks of foam, and profiled foam to keep it snug in a double box configuration.

The scope it self wrapped in a bag, with rings and vixen dovetail ready to go.  The scope, white with black accents, push fit end caps, rotating focuser 2.5" with twist lock adapters to accpet 2" and 1.25" accessories, duel speed 1:10 ratio, and two fixing points for a finder shoe.

the scope is very compact, especially as i am used to an F11 102mm, here with the dew shield out and diagonal, with extension in place is around 900mm, my previous scope was nearly 1400mm when ready for play time.

Finish wise, a tactile powder coating, matt white with a transfer on the dew shield.  Although i note this isn't the transfer that is depicted on the sales page at Altair, which makes me think is this new or old stock coming out before the new logo appears..

the focuser is a R&P design, and feels a lot smoother than the crayford on my previous F11, and i like the addition of the roto locking/self centring adapters, these feel sturdy and secure.

I can count about 13 baffles in the draw tube and about3 to the main scope tube.

don't think theres much chance of a first light any time soon, so will post my thoughts later on that.

Initial Pro's

  • Finish is excellent
  • good accessories
  • push fit dew cap, better than the screw on on my previous Altair scope (that thing was noisy at 2am i can tell you!)
  • focuser is a step up and smooth.
  • roto lock type accessories seem smooth.
  • lens looks excellent with yellow/green coatings (although there is what looks like a spot of paint flake on the inner surface. (might go to get that off)
  • ergonomics wise, much easier to handle due to size.
  • rides on the GP very well by the looks of it, might not even need the extension.
  • compact for storage.

Initial Con's

  • No finder shoe provided (this irked me a bit, as only a certain type will do - I have a nice baader QR which wont work due to screw holes) It's a lot of money not to have one supplied, TS who do a version of this scope do btw, they also state a mating element..  adds a bit more cost on to after the event, and can catch you out if you don't have one (like it did me)
  • I Think I prefer the new/other design logo, a bit disappointed its not as shown in that respect..  but I'll get over that very quickly, once i get chance to look through it.

As a comparison between my previous Altair Achro to this, the entire thing seems more compact, in fact at first glance id almost say it was a 90mm, that's how much bigger the AA F11 achro was..  obviously i have no comment performance wise, hopefully the views will be sharper at high magnifications, focusing vibration reduced and in general..  I'm not expecting miracles in resolving finer details, my record on the moon was a bout 2.4km wide crater with the F11, last time out with it, easily 4km..  i'd be happy if i can pick out some of plato's dimples!

looking forward to using, that's for sure!

A few Pictures, apologies as its raining out so it's a bit cramped.

20201028_113141.thumb.jpg.64d7e82d38d781abe6459c0ea5fb38af.jpg

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20201028_151821.thumb.jpg.6103f95da8c78c4c55518ece177719ac.jpg

thanks for reading..

Ta & clear skies

Fozzie

 

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Very nice Fozzie.   I look forward to your first light  report . It does look compact, except when it is on the mount

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Looks the biz mounted on the GP I have to say!... super looking OTA ...humm so tempted. happy observing Sir!

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Very nice, I was looking at one of these but they were out of stock. 

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Word of warning, the state of the weather, serious cloud/rain penalty currently going on outside!

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Beautiful scope! It really does belong on a nice EQ mount like that. The transfer on the side of mine is the same as yours by the way.

I am enjoying mine more with every view, both the ability of the optics (despite the modest aperture) and the convenience of that F7 tube. And the quick cooling time.

My only criticism so far is the twist lock 2" holder for the diagonal - when you try and twist it to lock it, the focuser also wants to rotate (it has a not very effective rotation lock screw). Would prefer a couple of simple screws to be honest.

Looking forward to your first light. 

 

1 hour ago, Fozzie said:

Word of warning, the state of the weather, serious cloud/rain penalty currently going on outside!

Bizarrely its clear outside at the moment, but I'm not expecting it to last.

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Welcome to the club! Will be interested to hear how it goes when you get a chance to observe.

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Great looking setup - congratulations :smiley:

Good to see really effective baffling in a scope. The focuser looks the business as well !

 

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Many thanks for the comments gents..

9 hours ago, John said:

Good to see really effective baffling in a scope. The focuser looks the business as well !

I was surprised when i looked in tbe draw tube, dont recall the f11 having such a system, the focuser seems very well thought out..

10 hours ago, RobertI said:

My only criticism so far is the twist lock 2" holder for the diagonal - when you try and twist it to lock it, the focuser also wants to rotate (it has a not very effective rotation lock screw).

Yeah i noticed that, i assumed i was over tightening tbh, but i do prefer the twist lock system over the screw/compression ring..  I've added a 50mm 2" self centering adapter to mine, thinking I might need it for the tak prism, like with the f11, apparently they we designed for 2" diagonals.. so well see what we need to focus with this scope and prism..

9 hours ago, Paz said:

Welcome to the club! Will be interested to hear how it goes when you get a chance to observe.

Looking at the weather this morningthat might be some time!

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I’d be interested to know what finder arrangement you end up with @Fozzie. I have mounted a small 6x30 finder using the mounting screws on the focuser - it’s nice that it rotates with the focuser, but really is too far down the tube and difficult to get low enough to look through. So I will be looking at trying a finder solution further up the tube somehow, not sure how yet as the obvious places are now occupied by a handle. 😕
 

Edit: I guess a RACI finder in the same spot is the obvious solution, I prefer straight through, but might be my only option? 
 

Sorry if I am diverting the thread btw! 

Edited by RobertI
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tbh Rob, although I have a really nice ra finder, on a baader base I usually use a rigel qf with the base fixed to the centre hole on the first ring..  I'm looking at potential using a smart phone adapter to see how accurate an app is for some kind of goto function.. this attaches using a photo quick release plate.

If it works I'll write it up..

But primary finder will be the rigel qf 

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9 minutes ago, Fozzie said:

tbh Rob, although I have a really nice ra finder, on a baader base I usually use a rigel qf with the base fixed to the centre hole on the first ring..  I'm looking at potential using a smart phone adapter to see how accurate an app is for some kind of goto function.. this attaches using a photo quick release plate.

If it works I'll write it up..

But primary finder will be the rigel qf 

Thanks Fozzie, yes good point about using a 1x finder,  I have to admit I was planning on fitting my Rigel Quickfinder aswell, I only really need a 'proper' finder when I can't find reference stars on moonlit night, but 90% of the time the Rigel QF is absolutely perfect. I'd certainly be interested to see how you get on with the smart phone option though......

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Rigel QF mounted using a quick release plate, which allows for interchangeable accessories.. just using a few spares I have, if it works, I'll probably invest in nicer looking parts..

You get the general idea..

20201029_110843.thumb.jpg.6f5debe3286c594616fda089d280ae22.jpg

20201029_110832.thumb.jpg.6ff142cadfd050d812db5208bf7c1002.jpg

And with the smart phone mounted... 

20201029_110903.thumb.jpg.0c0f64e4900259b81f02d2b1099e140c.jpg

20201029_110912.thumb.jpg.63cdd44964fd67149e01397f71cfbe52.jpg

I might look for a top mounting rail, the fixing points in the rings are very shallow..

Be interesting to see of the app puts the scope somewhere near, it's also has an alignment function which should help..

Ta

Fozzie 

 

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Ingenious! What is the app btw?

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35 minutes ago, RobertI said:

Ingenious! What is the app btw?

Thanks.. the app is called skeye..  the standard version, there is a pro paid version also..

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So all this bad weather is your doing lol.......................lovely scope

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1 hour ago, nightfisher said:

So all this bad weather is your doing lol.......................lovely scope

It won't have helped for sure... thanks Jules..  hope you are keeping well..

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So I've had a few days to look, push, pull, prod and probe around the scope.. I've added 3 fixing points for the various types of finders I have..

The main RA 50mm with hot shoe on the focuser, the arca style quick release for the rigel qf and I've used a spare shoe for the solar finder/RA 50mm should I move it up the tube.. 

Unfortunately there is no room for a handle.. sorry not cool I know.

Obviously I won't have the sol finder on all the time, but it's there for when the clouds go away.

Other upgrades, the 2 to 1.25 Roto lock adapter has been replaced with a revelation astro one.. much smoother and more trust worthy..  the supplied one didn't seem to want to grip the diagonal very well.  Beleive this is the design, as you tighten the ring, it forces the brass ring down over a lip, which causes the brass ring to contract, I think it's not compressing flush, hence not gripping the barrel adequately.. pics below..

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With finders in configuration 

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I've not had any clear skies yet, however I did have a couple of hours under some high hazy cloud on Friday..  mars being the main target of the night.. all I will say at this stage is the view at x285 with a 5mm SLV and 2x es extender were better than I've had before, clear SPC and shading on the planet, and what I believed to be clouds over the NP area, almost luminous blue, very delicate..   I don't think this was a colour cast as I tried a semi apo filter and they still showed the same intensity..  must say the vixen GP, tracked for about 5 mins at that mag, before needing a nudge, I'm happy with that PA and performance.. looming forward to a proper clear night..

Ta 

Fozzie 

Edit... that rigel is on the wrong way.. just noticed..

Edited by Fozzie
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Lovely, Fozzie. You can't beat a white Refractor IMHO!

Looks like you should get a decent moonless clear night later this week, fingers crossed for you!

Dave

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Lovely scope, wish I still had mine. I took it to my local astro club one night and everyone commented on how sharp the views were. Agree about the locking clamps. The 2" one on mine needed quite a lot of effort to tighten and it usually rotated the focuser in the process. Compression rings with thumbscrews would have been better I think. I did consider this below from TS but never got round to ordering one.

https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p9781_TS-Optics-360--Rotation---Thread-Adapter---M63-to-M68--M54-and-2-.html

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On 29/10/2020 at 09:19, Fozzie said:

tbh Rob, although I have a really nice ra finder, on a baader base I usually use a rigel qf with the base fixed to the centre hole on the first ring..  I'm looking at potential using a smart phone adapter to see how accurate an app is for some kind of goto function.. this attaches using a photo quick release plate.

If it works I'll write it up..

But primary finder will be the rigel qf 

The phone idea is one I have thought about but I ended up just using a RDF. So Far I’ve found this good to use on its own. 

Edited by Dantooine
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3 hours ago, Fozzie said:

and what I believed to be clouds over the NP area, almost luminous blue, very delicate..   I don't think this was a colour cast as I tried a semi apo filter and they still showed the same intensity..

I also saw clouds over the north polar region with my 102ED-R - first time. :)

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Looks like a well built and capable scope.

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23 minutes ago, RobertI said:

I also saw clouds over the north polar region with my 102ED-R - first time. :)

What eyepieces was you using?

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