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Over the weekend I finally got some partially clear skies.  I live in the London suburbs, SW19 with Bortle 9 skies, though possibly not as bad for me in my immediate locality as I live between a common, a park, a golf club and some tennis courts, plus the streetlights are those new down-only LEDs.  There was no moon light on these nights, which really helps.

The FC-76  is my smallest scope ever, having been preceded by an ES ED80 triplet apo and an ST80.  The Tak 76 is much lighter than the ED80, coming in at 3.1kg including a 2" diagonal, Pantoptic 24mm, tube rings, dovetail and RDF.  The ED80 was 6Kg with a 2" diagonal and an Ethos 21mm!

I've used the FC-76 on a Manfrotto 055 tripod and 405 geared head, and also on a Mini Giro Ercole, alongside a Stellalyra 6" Classical Cassegrain.  I also ran it alongside my 115 Photoline triplet Apo.

The 76 DCU is ready to view at low powers instantly and cools very rapidly for high powers (as soon as I tried to use higher powers, the view was already stable).  The views are extremely sharp; I believe they are the sharpest of any scope I've looked through, and I've owned about 15.  The contrast is also higher than any other scope I've viewed the night sky through.  Naturally the light grasp is limited, but the high contrast and sharpness bring out a lot of detail.  The scope snaps to focus with the stock focuser.

Whilst dodging cloud, I noted that the edges of cloud are far better defined and detailed than even in the triplet apo.  

There were no planets or moon up on these nights (but performance on those objects is pretty well documented elsewhere for this scope). 

Star fields look great in this scope, bright, super sharp and the colours are extremely impressive. Random red and orange giants are so full of colour and just a joy to stare at for no particular reason other than how beautiful they are in this scope.  Main sequence stars are bright blue white. 

The views actually appear quite a lot brighter than in my ED80 triplet.  Logic tells us that they are not actually brighter than a scope with higher aperture, but the higher contrast means the sky background is darker and so the objects appear significantly brighter.  I preferred to use my ED80 triplet at x23 or higher; this magnification gives a nice dark background, combatting light pollution.   In the FC76 I found that using x19 or even x15 was really not bad at all due to the higher contrast. 

The contrast the FC-76 gives where other scopes are robbed of definition by light scatter on objective lenses, corrector plates or obstruction from secondary mirrors make this Flourite scope a real weapon in light polluted skies.

I tried several EPs for widefield and I currently prefer the Panoptic 24 over everything else, followed by the ES30mm 82 degree and the Ethos 17mm which gives the same field of view at higher magnification and therefore slightly dimmer (x24 in the panoptic, x33 in the Ethos). Rare that I prefer a 1.25" over a 2", but the Pan24 does hit the magic x24 magnification in this scope, where sky backgrounds are inky black even in light pollution.

DSOs were much easier to find than I thought.  I was really impressed that in Bortle 9 skies I was able to pick out galaxies M81 and M82 at just x24 magnification.  Using x57 in an Ethos 10mm I was surprised to see some some detail in the cigar shaped galaxy.  I couldn't locate the Leo Triplet galaxies but this is not at all surprising in my skies; I couldn't see them in the CC6 either; from my location I've previously only found them in the CC8, which then enabled me to see them in the co-axially mounted 127mm triplet apo.

I found M13 and also M3 easily in the FC76 at x24, these are really bright compared to the galaxies.  I found that using between x70 and x95 gave the best detail, with a few stars resolving.  Impressive for 76mm in light pollution. The CC6 showed more detail of course, whereas it hadn't been anywhere near as good at star fields as the FC-76.

Overall this scope is a joy to view through.  It will undoubtedly be taken to darker skies and on holidays. But ignoring the portability (one handed carry on the Manfrotto head and tripod), the sheer quality of the views make me suspect it is a lifetime scope.

 

 

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Edited by Commanderfish
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What a great write-up for your new scope.  I’ve found that this little Tak (and the even tinier FS-60) feel as though they punch far above their weight.

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That's a nice first light report, and I'm glad you saw detail in M82 in your Bortle 9 skies. An inspiration to others I'm sure!  I know you were happy there was no Moon about, but in the next few days I'd imagine you won't want the Moon to disappear ever again. ☺

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That's a great report Sir! Are you having second thoughts about replacing the focuser? How did you think it performed? Your skies are probably similar to mine (Enfield, just inside M25) and we have also recently had the new street lights fitted so was interesting to read what you could see.

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13 hours ago, Cleetus said:

That's a great report Sir! Are you having second thoughts about replacing the focuser? How did you think it performed? Your skies are probably similar to mine (Enfield, just inside M25) and we have also recently had the new street lights fitted so was interesting to read what you could see.

Yep. Not going to change the focuser at this point. Likely to put the Feathertouch on my CC8, which has a decent stock dual speed focuser but annoys me as I feel it's too low geared, takes too many turns to focus - which in theory is better for precision but does my head in. Its like someone changing the steering rack on a sports car to a really long one so i can't corner fast!

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Posted (edited)

Update: last night I found it was easy to locate open clusters M36 and M38 in Auriga, and I actually detected M37 which is much fainter. I then viewed it in the CC6 in which it was still faint. Auriga was low in the west above some flats with their gardens light up 😠

Also got a quick view of Mars which was a bright orange 7/8ths disc, low between tree branches and hard to get any quality out of. 

More views of M3, M13 and random asterisms popping out all over the place...

Edited by Commanderfish
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Posted (edited)

Had an unexpectedly clear night last night and had some time on the moon with the FC-76 and the CC6 on a Mini Giro Ercole.

The FC-76 was ready to view immediately and I was able to push it to x190 with the Televue Zoom. Lovely crisp sharp views with lots of contrast and huge amounts of serial, totally outperforming what could reasonably be expected from 76mm of aperture.

The CC6 struggled at magnification at first since I started viewing immediately with no cool down, but ended up giving good detailed lunar views but perhaps not quite as sharp as the FC-76. However, where the CC6 did well was that it carried all the Ethos EPs without balance issues and that means the view was twice as wide in diameter and much larger in area.

I then used the FC-76 to spot M36, 37 and 38, and it was very sharp and contrasty but with limited image scale. The CC6 did better pulling up bigger views.of these objects with more magnification.

The FC-76 did a great job spotting.M3 and M13. I was really impressed to see the ring neb clearly in it with my skies.

Great scope, now I want a bigger one to go with it 😈

 

 

Edited by Commanderfish
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