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APM LZOS 130 f6 - first light


Stu
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I picked this little beauty up a number of weeks ago, and with my house move I haven’t had the chance to use it. This is neither an observing report nor a review, just a few notes on how the first light went so I’ve put it in this forum which hopefully works.

I have wanted a top notch 130 triplet for quite a while, and was always undecided between f6 or f8/9.2. Ultimately I’ve always enjoyed widefield views as much as planetary, plus the convenience factor of the shorter tube so I opted for the f6. I’m sure the ultimate performance of the longer focal length will be a little better but for me this is a compromise I’m happy with.

This scope is standard APM spec, but has a Strehl ratio of 0.973, so falls within the higher rated category which Astrograph supply as their version.

I will add more to this thread as I get more experience with the scope, but last night was the first chance I had to use it on a decent night. I used my AZ100 mount and Planetary tripod which handle it very easily, very solid with minimal vibration. I used it without a counterweight and all worked well, although I will try a counterweight at some point to see if it improves anything. There was a bit of juddering in Alt adjustment when the scope was very out of balance but no problem when it was balanced. I think I will replace the standard short Losmandy with a longer one which I have to allow easier front to back adjustment though.

I must say that the production AZ100 I have is a good improvement over the prototypes I tried. I think this is likely just a matter of fine tuning and setup but it is very smooth and holds position well. I used the handle for large movements and the slo mos for tracking. Following Jupiter at high power was very easy.

Mounting the scope on its own is easy enough, but it is very front heavy without finder, diagonal and eyepiece so care must be taken. During the evening I switched regularly between cyclops with a 24mm Panoptic, Leica Zoom and Nag Zoom and then Binoviewing. I was able to get to higher power with a single eyepiece but ultimately I think binoviewing gave the best results.

First views were not promising! The scope was cooled, but Jupiter was quite low down and showed little detail and plenty of atmospheric CA. This was around 8.15pm I guess. I came out again around 9.15pm and things were better, and continued to improve through the evening. I wanted to catch it as early as possible to see GRS and the shadow transit, which I did, but the detail was still a bit lacking. GRS was clear, as was the shadow, and I picked up Io as it neared the limb, then appeared as a pimple and slowly separated. Lovely to watch, and the Moons showed as beautiful tiny disks. Ganymede and Europa were close together and their different size was very apparent.

Later on, the views got significantly better as the planet got above 20 degrees. I just wish the GRS and shadow had still been visible but those opportunities will have to wait. As it was, some lovely detail showed through. Most noticeable were two brown/orange ovals above the NEB. I don’t think these are barges, but am happy to be corrected on this. They show up nicely in Neil Philip’s image here:

The SEB looked pretty muted, but lovely colour was coming through elsewhere, particularly in the NEB. Multiple belts visible outside just the two main ones so on a better night I’m optimistic that the scope will perform very well.

This is definitely not a lightweight setup! The scope itself is a chunky fella, I’m very glad it is not longer! My back demands that I remove the mount from the tripod before moving it, but that is a quick job so not really a problem.

I may have to explore some form of pillar extension as observing at the zenith was a bit tricky, quite tight again the tripod, but otherwise all worked well.

BD62229A-0322-4D69-A364-736C014D276C.jpeg

82368EE7-5F1E-46EC-9A7B-DDAA8EA5B0EA.jpeg

213D9F32-74D5-4221-89AB-A4AE1FC754E2.jpeg

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Looks super Stu, I can now see what the 'Big Spend' was all about now.
A lifetime scope with a lifetime mount and tripod, wonderful.
The 130 triplets do have a certain eye candy appeal, but thankfully the wallet only groans when I look at them.

Nice report, looks like you have a much improved sky compared to your old approach to Heathrow.

Edited by Alan White
typos of course
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2 hours ago, Stu said:

I picked this little beauty up a number of weeks ago, and with my house move I haven’t had the chance to use it. This is neither an observing report nor a review, just a few notes on how the first light went so I’ve put it in this forum which hopefully works.

I have wanted a top notch 130 triplet for quite a while, and was always undecided between f6 or f8/9.2. Ultimately I’ve always enjoyed widefield views as much as planetary, plus the convenience factor of the shorter tube so I opted for the f6. I’m sure the ultimate performance of the longer focal length will be a little better but for me this is a compromise I’m happy with.

This scope is standard APM spec, but has a Strehl ratio of 0.973, so falls within the higher rated category which Astrograph supply as their version.

I will add more to this thread as I get more experience with the scope, but last night was the first chance I had to use it on a decent night. I used my AZ100 mount and Planetary tripod which handle it very easily, very solid with minimal vibration. I used it without a counterweight and all worked well, although I will try a counterweight at some point to see if it improves anything. There was a bit of juddering in Alt adjustment when the scope was very out of balance but no problem when it was balanced. I think I will replace the standard short Losmandy with a longer one which I have to allow easier front to back adjustment though.

I must say that the production AZ100 I have is a good improvement over the prototypes I tried. I think this is likely just a matter of fine tuning and setup but it is very smooth and holds position well. I used the handle for large movements and the slo mos for tracking. Following Jupiter at high power was very easy.

Mounting the scope on its own is easy enough, but it is very front heavy without finder, diagonal and eyepiece so care must be taken. During the evening I switched regularly between cyclops with a 24mm Panoptic, Leica Zoom and Nag Zoom and then Binoviewing. I was able to get to higher power with a single eyepiece but ultimately I think binoviewing gave the best results.

First views were not promising! The scope was cooled, but Jupiter was quite low down and showed little detail and plenty of atmospheric CA. This was around 8.15pm I guess. I came out again around 9.15pm and things were better, and continued to improve through the evening. I wanted to catch it as early as possible to see GRS and the shadow transit, which I did, but the detail was still a bit lacking. GRS was clear, as was the shadow, and I picked up Io as it neared the limb, then appeared as a pimple and slowly separated. Lovely to watch, and the Moons showed as beautiful tiny disks. Ganymede and Europa were close together and their different size was very apparent.

Later on, the views got significantly better as the planet got above 20 degrees. I just wish the GRS and shadow had still been visible but those opportunities will have to wait. As it was, some lovely detail showed through. Most noticeable were two brown/orange ovals above the NEB. I don’t think these are barges, but am happy to be corrected on this. They show up nicely in Neil Philip’s image here:

The SEB looked pretty muted, but lovely colour was coming through elsewhere, particularly in the NEB. Multiple belts visible outside just the two main ones so on a better night I’m optimistic that the scope will perform very well.

This is definitely not a lightweight setup! The scope itself is a chunky fella, I’m very glad it is not longer! My back demands that I remove the mount from the tripod before moving it, but that is a quick job so not really a problem.

I may have to explore some form of pillar extension as observing at the zenith was a bit tricky, quite tight again the tripod, but otherwise all worked well.

BD62229A-0322-4D69-A364-736C014D276C.jpeg

82368EE7-5F1E-46EC-9A7B-DDAA8EA5B0EA.jpeg

213D9F32-74D5-4221-89AB-A4AE1FC754E2.jpeg

Stunning scope with views to match. High Strehl ratio lenses must be very nice in use. Westcoastcannuks APM 140 is producing stunning lunar images. Been very impressed by these lenses. Based on hes work. I am still mucking it with a bresser 127 achro. Which i am loving though. Being a lunar and planetary guy. Would love a premium large long focus ED. Bet the widefeild views are lovely with this though. I am thinking starfeild sweeping. Congrats 

Edited by neil phillips
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3 hours ago, Alan White said:

A lifetime scope with a lifetime mount and tripod, wonderful.

Thanks Alan. Yes, that’s how I feel about it. I just decided to get what I really want and enjoy it while my eyes are still decent. I’m ‘done’ in terms of refractors now, this is all I could ever want so I’ll make the most of it! The mount and tripod too 👍

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1 hour ago, neil phillips said:

Bet the widefeild views are lovely with this though. I am thinking starfeild sweeping. Congrats 

Yes, rather nice! I did pop a 31mm nag in for a bit of ‘sweeping’ 😀. I mistakenly brought my 1.25” OIII out and couldn’t be bothered to go and get the 2”, so tried the 24mm Panoptic on the Veil, the Eastern part of which was surprisingly clear given a total lack of dark adaptation; Mrs Stu and the puppy kept setting the lights off! Must work out how to turn them off.

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Congratulations! 
Yes, they are good Stu. On Jupiter I'm finding the same as you, needs to cool down for around 30-60 minutes. Around 10.30 -> 11 pm I get the best views.

IMG_4776.thumb.jpeg.6a7f3096fbf688d8624c60ba0224e96a.jpeg
The Baader mirror diagonal is giving more detail on Jupiter belts then the Baader BBHS prism diagonal, using a 4 mm TOE or 3.6 mm HR EP.

Interested in what you find as the best setup with the AZ100. Moved location at SQM is around 20.85 which for DSO work the 5" will show a lot more. For wide field I'd like a mount I can sweep the sky with using a BV.

3 hours ago, Stu said:

think I will replace the standard short Losmandy with a longer one which I have to allow easier front to back adjustment though.

What's the length of you Losmandy bar, I find I have more then enough to balance my scope on its mount. Same time the FT is great ballast and the scope might be a little more balanced to start off with?

Enjoy


Martin 

Edited by Deadlake
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26 minutes ago, osbourne one-nil said:

Do you remember I once sent you a scope so you could have a play with it, well, I was wondering....

I do indeed Piers, very kind of you!

If you just give me a minute, I’ll have another quick look at the LZOS then pack it up and ship it off to you… 🤪🤣🤣

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14 minutes ago, Deadlake said:

Congratulations! 
Yes, they are good Stu. On Jupiter I'm finding the same as you, needs to cool down for around 30-60 minutes. Around 10.30 -> 11 pm I get the best views.

IMG_4776.thumb.jpeg.6a7f3096fbf688d8624c60ba0224e96a.jpeg
The Baader mirror diagonal is giving more detail on Jupiter belts then the Baader BBHS prism diagonal, using a 4 mm TOE or 3.6 mm HR EP.

Interested in what you find as the best setup with the AZ100. Moved location at SQM is around 20.85 which for DSO work the 5" will show a lot more. For wide field I'd like a mount I can sweep the sky with using a BV.

What's the length of you Losmandy bar, I find I have more then enough to balance my scope on its mount. Same time the FT is great ballast and the scope might be a little more balanced to start off with?

Enjoy


Martin 

Thanks Martin.

The Losmandy is very short, need to check and confirm. It is shorter than the AZ100 saddle anyway! Trouble is, a longer bar would hit the dewshield so I need to source some very solid spacers. It is workable at the moment though.

The Astrograph version has a longer dewshield I believe, and you have to remove the rings to retract it from what Rupert told me, is that right? Although a compromise, I needed something as short and compact as possible so the setup I have works for me. I considered the AG version but it was just a little too rich for me as well!

I’ll play around with BBHS Mirror vs prism, although I think I recall the prism being a little better on planets before.

I totally forgot my 3.4mm Vixen HR last night! That might have bested everything else! Next time…..

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32 minutes ago, Stu said:

I do indeed Piers, very kind of you!

If you just give me a minute, I’ll have another quick look at the LZOS then pack it up and ship it off to you… 🤪🤣🤣

So I should think! I won't be in Thursday or Friday so just mark it to be left in the porch - it's never locked so should be fine. 

What a wonderful set up you have. I wonder how long until you buy something new though!

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

The Astrograph version has a longer dewshield I believe, and you have to remove the rings to retract it from what Rupert told me, is that right?

The AG version does not have a handle, mine does. It's the same standard handle as the found on the KUO tube. I asked around the time the rings where being designed to be built by Starlight for a handle to be fitted. Rupert's reasoning for no handle was to keep the weight down. But makes sense for the two flavours to share components. Since this is the case I suspect the rings are the same position on the tube as the KUO tube version.

As far as retracting, it does not fully, it's long, but fully retracted there is some 13 cm of dew shield before the lens cell. The inner width of the rings is around 19.7 cm's.

However it fits in its Stellarvue case and is shorter them my SD103S:

IMG_4990.thumb.jpeg.e2cbf707c01321aac32ebe9d1cb56065.jpeg

IMG_4791.thumb.jpeg.fd234d6cb93812d6faf445a10bd4caf1.jpeg

1 hour ago, Stu said:

I considered the AG version but it was just a little too rich for me as well!

I have less Astro budget spent. I ordered before Christmas and the price increases which sent FT prices higher and all the other parts. 

Edited by Deadlake
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41 minutes ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

What a fantastic refractor Stu and your new location looks brilliant as well. Hopefully, we will catch up later in the year - it would be nice if one of your fracs came with you 😀

Thanks Mark. Yes, that would be good!

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34 minutes ago, osbourne one-nil said:

I wonder how long until you buy something new though!

The astro piggy bank is bare, so it will be quite some time! I do have one other little confession to make after all my kit rearrangement which I will post about in due course 🤐

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8 hours ago, Stu said:

Binoviewing

What EP's are working for you? I have a pair of 24 mm UFF, need some more to support higher magnifications. Which GPC's have you got?

Also F6 have you got an Q extender for you Takahashi, it's just optics, reportedly works in an AP130GTX so if you have one give it a go... 

Edited by Deadlake
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Welcome to the 130 club STU a very nice Lzos you have there I think they are just perfect not to small not big although mine is a bit bigger than most 😀compared to now days but I love it , as you know like you I have had a few over the years but seemed to be settled for now lol 😂 

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Fantastic scope Stu, congratulations. Mouth watering prospect with darker skies. 
Like you, I decided to go up in aperture to 120mm while I still could. Also had to rethink the mounting set up to cope with the weight - long Losmandy, new rings etc. I keep reading how there’s not much visual improvement between 100mm and 120mm, but I’ve been thrilled with the extra punch. So can imagine 130mm will open up all sorts of targets for you. Galaxies, globulars - and what about early morning solar WL with the LZOS? I was using a 4mm Delite with the TSA-120 and Baader wedge this afternoon at 225x and got some great views, but I shall keep an eye out for your WL reports with the new scope

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Thanks Mark. Yes, I’m really looking forward to using the scope regularly and getting the most out of the better skies. I had a quick look at M15 the other night but no galaxies yet. The Veil looked very promising even only with the 24mm Panoptic, should be fab with the big Nag.

I was thinking about WL solar with it today, not sure I’m brave enough at the moment but will likely give it a go at some point; I assume as an air spaced triplet there should be no issues?

I do need to find my Vixen HR 3.4mm though, it is hiding somewhere after the move!

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You will have no problem with white light solar at least with the telescope itself. I have the longer f9.2  130mm LZOS version of your telescope which I use with a Baader 2” Herschel prism. After an hour of use the prism body is merely warm. I asked Markus Lundy at APM about this when I first bought the prism and he told me has used the same prism with an 8” triplet. Also a little UV light down the tube can be good for reducing the risk of any fungal growth.

still day or night you have an excellent telescope, among the best of it’s aperture, all the best.

John 

 

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I do own the smaller version: an LZOS123 f/6. I always wonder why there are two almost identical scopes from the same manufacturer. However, it is quite a beast, that is heavy. I used it mainly for imaging and with 98.6% strehl it gives excellent star shapes :D. It is of serial # 004 in an William optics tube. I wish you all the best with this scope. I do like your garden :D.

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