Jump to content

Walking on the Moon

First light for Starfield 102ed


CraigT82
 Share

Recommended Posts

Since bringing home my new-to-me Starfield 102mm F/7 ED refractor I’ve been frustrated in getting first light by either dad duties or just plain old cloud.

Tonight everything line up though and I managed a good 30 odd mins with the new frac and I must say this little pea shooter has really impressed me! Having been a died in the wool Newtonian fan for years I think this pretty little scope is swaying me away from shaving mirrors: Well for some visual work at least.

Started off with Jupiter as nice and easy to line up the finder. In goes my also new 4mm Nirvana and I’m treated to some lovely pin point Galilean moons and the equatorial belts with GRS immediately clear smack in the middle. Observing a little longer and I can start to make out a bit more detail to the north and south of the main bands but not a lot. I didn’t linger here as it was already quite low and with some clear atmospheric dispersion present. Had a real fright when I first looked through the Nirvana to see the most horrendous scatter before I realised that I was breathing on the eye lens when I looked through the finder 🙄. Slight adjustment to the finder rotation and and gentle dab of the lens with my wondercloth and away we go again.

Over to Betelgeuse to have a look at the stellar image, pop in the Baader 6mm ortho and Q 2.25 barlow for x268 and WOW! I’ve never seen so many diffraction rings! And with a perfect pin point airy disk cradled in the centre. Seeing pretty decent then. Beautiful twinkling orange colour too. Must admit I spent longer looking at this one star than I think I’ve ever done before. Totally forgot to look at the out of focus images diffraction patterns. 

Quick look at M42 with the 30mm Vixen NPL, transparency seems good but the view is bit disappointing… it’s nice but not 12” aperture nice. Not what I bought the frac for though so onwards and upwards (literally!)

With the NPL still in I take a quick tour up through the Hayades and onto the Pleiades. Lovely! The stars are perfectly set in their black velvet background, can almost believe I can see some nebulosity around Alcyone but I think it’s just moisture in the air, maybe the eye lens is fogging a little again. Just about fit the cluster in the FoV but would be nice to have a bit more context. *Off to FLO to look at big 2” EPs*. 

Time for the main event: Mars. In goes the 4mm Nirvana for x178 and almost immediately - well…  after figuring out how to actually look through the EP with it so close to the ground, *cue the addition of a pillar extension to my FLO trolley* - I’m met with large dark albedo features covering most of the lower half (Southern Hemisphere? No idea what the image orientation is with this thing!), and with a little more observing smaller dark markings at the 10 o’clock position in the upper half. Also present is some whitish brightening at the top (Cloud? Checking an online Mars map I believe the lower half dark features were the Aurora Sinus region, and the upper one was the Lacus Indus region). I just let the planet drift through the field and it is impressively sharp all the way to the edges. Nice eyepiece this. 

Crank it up a notch with the 6mm BCO and Q barlow and the detail is all still there but larger and still sharp with a very well defined limb, not mushy at all. Spend about 10 mins nudging and observing quietly and just start thinking about putting the 4mm in the barlow for x400 but I start to see the tell tale signs of the objective dewing up and I decide to head back indoors instead to let the scope dry off. 

Well I must say I thoroughly enjoyed that session and of the few refractors I’ve had before, this is the first one that I’ve looked through and come away from happy and satisfied. There’s no way I’m going to drag the 300p and AZ-EQ6 out for a 30 min session - which with my other commitments that’s mostly all the time I get nowadays - so this little frac is going to step in a fill that void perfectly and drag me back to visual observing that I’ve missed out on for a couple of years whilst I focused on imaging. Very happy chap right here :) 

 

 

B5C317FF-7920-478A-BF91-277FB177A751.jpeg

  • Like 17
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great to hear about your first light and welcome to the club! Your experience quite similar to my first views - doubles and clusters amazing, planets awesome, faint fuzzies a bit "meh". But actually it's my main scope at present due to its convenience, and the lack of aperture hasn't stopped me seeking out those faint fuzzies anyway, and with its super contrast, its actually better on fuzzies than you would think, especially with narrowband filters. I got some binoviewers for planetary, lunar and solar and have been amazed by what extra you can see and how much more enjoyable the experience is. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, RobertI said:

Great to hear about your first light and welcome to the club! Your experience quite similar to my first views - doubles and clusters amazing, planets awesome, faint fuzzies a bit "meh". But actually it's my main scope at present due to its convenience, and the lack of aperture hasn't stopped me seeking out those faint fuzzies anyway, and with its super contrast, its actually better on fuzzies than you would think, especially with narrowband filters. I got some binoviewers for planetary, lunar and solar and have been amazed by what extra you can see and how much more enjoyable the experience is. 

Yes I’d love to get it out to a really dark sky and see how it performs on the faint fuzzies, but to be honest I’ve never been a  fuzzyophile. I might see if I can find used UHC and O3 filters though as never tried them.

Binoviewers sound great and I’d love to use them but I only have sight in one eye so I have to make do with regular pirate viewing.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, CraigT82 said:

Yes I’d love to get it out to a really dark sky and see how it performs on the faint fuzzies, but to be honest I’ve never been a  fuzzyophile. I might see if I can find used UHC and O3 filters though as never tried them.

Binoviewers sound great and I’d love to use them but I only have sight in one eye so I have to make do with regular pirate viewing.

 

Personally I think an OIII is worth it for the Veil Nebula alone. Even through the 4", with an OIII it's stunning on a transparent night and so much to see, and sketch if you're that way inclined. UHC is more versatile. Both really can make the invisible visible. I also bought a 38 Panaview eyepiece for my 102ED giving a 4 degree FOV and can fit the entire Veil in! 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great stuff @CraigT82. It is oft said that every astronomer needs a 4” apo, and you are immediately seeing why! Your setup is similar in concept to mine ie high quality 4” apo on a simple and very quick to set up alt az mount and it is my most used scope. Stick a Herschel wedge in it and you’ll get some spectacular Solar views too 👍

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would recommend a couple of Baader accessories, just to finish off. Getting rid of that awful sticky twist lock is a must. It's the only thing that lets the scope down. The Baader in comparison is just so sweet to use.

DSC_0420_DxO.jpg.fea3bed4fe3a022909f171a7b257640c.jpg

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations on a great scope and a great first light experience! welcome to the 4" frac club, I have handled that telescope before and was impressed with it's fit and finish. Reading your first report proves it has the optics to match, I think you found a new best friend! 🔭

You may have to use your new starfield to see that refractor emoji.

Edited by Sunshine
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 23/01/2023 at 21:57, CraigT82 said:

Since bringing home my new-to-me Starfield 102mm F/7 ED refractor I’ve been frustrated in getting first light by either dad duties or just plain old cloud.

Tonight everything line up though and I managed a good 30 odd mins with the new frac and I must say this little pea shooter has really impressed me! Having been a died in the wool Newtonian fan for years I think this pretty little scope is swaying me away from shaving mirrors: Well for some visual work at least.

Started off with Jupiter as nice and easy to line up the finder. In goes my also new 4mm Nirvana and I’m treated to some lovely pin point Galilean moons and the equatorial belts with GRS immediately clear smack in the middle. Observing a little longer and I can start to make out a bit more detail to the north and south of the main bands but not a lot. I didn’t linger here as it was already quite low and with some clear atmospheric dispersion present. Had a real fright when I first looked through the Nirvana to see the most horrendous scatter before I realised that I was breathing on the eye lens when I looked through the finder 🙄. Slight adjustment to the finder rotation and and gentle dab of the lens with my wondercloth and away we go again.

Over to Betelgeuse to have a look at the stellar image, pop in the Baader 6mm ortho and Q 2.25 barlow for x268 and WOW! I’ve never seen so many diffraction rings! And with a perfect pin point airy disk cradled in the centre. Seeing pretty decent then. Beautiful twinkling orange colour too. Must admit I spent longer looking at this one star than I think I’ve ever done before. Totally forgot to look at the out of focus images diffraction patterns. 

Quick look at M42 with the 30mm Vixen NPL, transparency seems good but the view is bit disappointing… it’s nice but not 12” aperture nice. Not what I bought the frac for though so onwards and upwards (literally!)

With the NPL still in I take a quick tour up through the Hayades and onto the Pleiades. Lovely! The stars are perfectly set in their black velvet background, can almost believe I can see some nebulosity around Alcyone but I think it’s just moisture in the air, maybe the eye lens is fogging a little again. Just about fit the cluster in the FoV but would be nice to have a bit more context. *Off to FLO to look at big 2” EPs*. 

Time for the main event: Mars. In goes the 4mm Nirvana for x178 and almost immediately - well…  after figuring out how to actually look through the EP with it so close to the ground, *cue the addition of a pillar extension to my FLO trolley* - I’m met with large dark albedo features covering most of the lower half (Southern Hemisphere? No idea what the image orientation is with this thing!), and with a little more observing smaller dark markings at the 10 o’clock position in the upper half. Also present is some whitish brightening at the top (Cloud? Checking an online Mars map I believe the lower half dark features were the Aurora Sinus region, and the upper one was the Lacus Indus region). I just let the planet drift through the field and it is impressively sharp all the way to the edges. Nice eyepiece this. 

Crank it up a notch with the 6mm BCO and Q barlow and the detail is all still there but larger and still sharp with a very well defined limb, not mushy at all. Spend about 10 mins nudging and observing quietly and just start thinking about putting the 4mm in the barlow for x400 but I start to see the tell tale signs of the objective dewing up and I decide to head back indoors instead to let the scope dry off. 

Well I must say I thoroughly enjoyed that session and of the few refractors I’ve had before, this is the first one that I’ve looked through and come away from happy and satisfied. There’s no way I’m going to drag the 300p and AZ-EQ6 out for a 30 min session - which with my other commitments that’s mostly all the time I get nowadays - so this little frac is going to step in a fill that void perfectly and drag me back to visual observing that I’ve missed out on for a couple of years whilst I focused on imaging. Very happy chap right here :) 

 

 

B5C317FF-7920-478A-BF91-277FB177A751.jpeg

You have a beautiful looking scope there Craig.  I think  You should take another look at M42,  but with a 20mm wide field eyepiece and from a dark site. You might just view your "little pea shooter" as you call it, in a completely new light.  About 15 years ago i was observing with a friend from a dark site out of town. He was using a Vixen 102 F6.5 ED and I a NP101. My friend was looking at the orion nebula using a low power eyepiece of around 35mm or 40mm fl.  I looked through his scope then suggested he try my 20mm Nagler. He said "No thanks,  I like the low power views",  but I encouraged him to try the 20mm. I wish I hadn't,  because by the end of the night he'd somehow talked me into selling the 20mm Nagler to him, and cheap as he didn't have much money.  Truthfully,  the view of M42 in his 102ED with the 20mm Nag blew his socks off. The nebula was spectacular, and filled the field like a pearlescent green gaseous clam shell set against a much darker sky background. Not only the bright nebulosity stood out better, but the dark black nebula exploded in tiers one behind another, giving depth to the view and a very 3D impression.  The wow's and colourful expletives must have gone on for 20 or 30 minutes.  If you can't find a dark site, then try observing from under a blackout blanket for a while. Transparent nights will be best of course. You'll be amazed!

Edited by mikeDnight
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Stu said:

Great stuff @CraigT82. It is oft said that every astronomer needs a 4” apo, and you are immediately seeing why! Your setup is similar in concept to mine ie high quality 4” apo on a simple and very quick to set up alt az mount and it is my most used scope. Stick a Herschel wedge in it and you’ll get some spectacular Solar views too 👍

Will be adding one to the basket in the spring. Looking forward to a bit of white light without having to faff about with a solar film on the front! The grab and go aspect is really suiting me at the minute. 

7 hours ago, mikeDnight said:

You have a beautiful looking scope there Craig.  I think  You should take another look at M42,  but with a 20mm wide field eyepiece and from a dark site. You might just view your "little pea shooter" as you call it, in a completely new light.  About 15 years ago i was observing with a friend from a dark site out of town. He was using a Vixen 102 F6.5 ED and I a NP101. My friend was looking at the orion nebula using a low power eyepiece of around 35mm or 40mm fl.  I looked through his scope then suggested he try my 20mm Nagler. He said "No thanks,  I like the low power views",  but I encouraged him to try the 20mm. I wish I hadn't,  because by the end of the night he'd somehow talked me into selling the 20mm Nagler to him, and cheap as he didn't have much money.  Truthfully,  the view of M42 in his 102ED with the 20mm Nag blew his socks off. The nebula was spectacular, and filled the field like a pearlescent green gaseous clam shell set against a much darker sky background. Not only the bright nebulosity stood out better, but the dark black nebula exploded in tiers one behind another, giving depth to the view and a very 3D impression.  The wow's and colourful expletives must have gone on for 20 or 30 minutes.  If you can't find a dark site, then try observing from under a blackout blanket for a while. Transparent nights will be best of course. You'll be amazed!

That’s a good point Mike, like all scopes it really deserves a dark sky.  Might have to think about a good mid length eyepeiece soon. 
 

 

I had another quick session last night whilst the slim crescent moon was still low in the western sky. I enjoyed watching a couple of isolated sunlit peaks off the sharp point of the cusp fade into darkness (rubbish phone pic below-the sight through the EP was much better!)

Had a another good look at mars too and in addition to the dark albedo markings I observed yesterday in the northern and southern hemispheres, I could see a much lighter patch of terrain just coming into view in the southern hemisphere on the limb, which doesn’t really tally with anything on the maps that I can see so could have been a dust storm? Will have a trawl through others Mars images that I can find from last night to confirm or not. 

 

84CF99A1-B48B-4E3C-8BA3-432D35422B17.jpeg
 

EDIT found a tweet from Martin Lewis (@SkyInspector) luckily the first placed I looked as I know Martin is a prolific imager and wouldn’t miss a clear night! It shows the light patch well. It’s on the terminator - not limb - and it’s at the lower left in this video screen grab. Certainly looks like the yellowish sandy colour for a dust storm.

 

Edited by CraigT82
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i have had a starfield 102 for a while now, i find it a nice scope to use, but for £900 it could have a much better clamp. the starfield takes a lot of tightening to grip. i have had my e/ps slipping round on several occasions, in fact  a Pentax XW i have fell out, so i was not impressed, luckily there was minimal damage done to the e/p. i have seen others rightly suggesting to upgrade the offending clamp, but after spending £900 on a telescope should we really have to do that. i think not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, apaulo said:

but after spending £900 on a telescope should we really have to do that. i think not.

But how much are your eyepieces worth? I had an (irreplaceable) LVW swing round. Due to its undercut it didn't fall out. That convinced me the twist lock had to go.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, CraigT82 said:

I enjoyed watching a couple of isolated sunlit peaks off the sharp point of the cusp fade into darkness

Beautiful wasn’t it? I only had my little 60mm with me but it still showed them very nicely.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great report @CraigT82, I really enjoyed reading it. You captured the 'magic' of a good 4" refractor perfectly! Like @mikeDnight, I've occasionally been lucky enough to get to a dark site with mine and with a UHS filter have had stunning views of M42. 

Malcolm 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, apaulo said:

i have had a starfield 102 for a while now, i find it a nice scope to use, but for £900 it could have a much better clamp. the starfield takes a lot of tightening to grip. i have had my e/ps slipping round on several occasions, in fact  a Pentax XW i have fell out, so i was not impressed, luckily there was minimal damage done to the e/p. i have seen others rightly suggesting to upgrade the offending clamp, but after spending £900 on a telescope should we really have to do that. i think not.

Yes the clamp on mine was hard to turn and often I unscrewed the entire adaptor from the drawtube when I tried to undo the clamp. 
 

I took it off the scope and sat turning it back and forth repeatedly for a few minutes which loosened it up to the point where it’s actually usable and works fine  now - there is grease in there and turning it back and forth repeated must have helped distribute it around and thin it out a bit. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, apaulo said:

i have had a starfield 102 for a while now, i find it a nice scope to use, but for £900 it could have a much better clamp. the starfield takes a lot of tightening to grip. i have had my e/ps slipping round on several occasions, in fact  a Pentax XW i have fell out, so i was not impressed, luckily there was minimal damage done to the e/p. i have seen others rightly suggesting to upgrade the offending clamp, but after spending £900 on a telescope should we really have to do that. i think not.

Definitely a nuisance but I wonder which scope is perfect? we all find faults in even the most expensive units. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

for £900 i am not looking perfection, just equipment that is fit for purpose. i have taken  the holder out of my starfield, on examination it works on friction, however, the manufacturers have made 2 very nice , flat smooth surfaces. that is never going to hold anything tight. i cranked the clamp up in  my hands and it still slipped. i am going to roughen up the surface on the reducer with emery cloth and hope that will either help or to cure the problem. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Tak prism does not play well at all with the Nirvana 4mm, when fully inserted and fully tightened it wobbles around as the Tak collar is not gripping anything due to the tapered nosepiece on the EP. Going to return it and get a Baader T2 Zeiss prism - which will cost more than I paid for the scope in actual fact but I think it deserves it. 
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 23/01/2023 at 21:57, CraigT82 said:

Since bringing home my new-to-me Starfield 102mm F/7 ED refractor I’ve been frustrated in getting first light by either dad duties or just plain old cloud.

Tonight everything line up though and I managed a good 30 odd mins with the new frac and I must say this little pea shooter has really impressed me! Having been a died in the wool Newtonian fan for years I think this pretty little scope is swaying me away from shaving mirrors: Well for some visual work at least.

Started off with Jupiter as nice and easy to line up the finder. In goes my also new 4mm Nirvana and I’m treated to some lovely pin point Galilean moons and the equatorial belts with GRS immediately clear smack in the middle. Observing a little longer and I can start to make out a bit more detail to the north and south of the main bands but not a lot. I didn’t linger here as it was already quite low and with some clear atmospheric dispersion present. Had a real fright when I first looked through the Nirvana to see the most horrendous scatter before I realised that I was breathing on the eye lens when I looked through the finder 🙄. Slight adjustment to the finder rotation and and gentle dab of the lens with my wondercloth and away we go again.

Over to Betelgeuse to have a look at the stellar image, pop in the Baader 6mm ortho and Q 2.25 barlow for x268 and WOW! I’ve never seen so many diffraction rings! And with a perfect pin point airy disk cradled in the centre. Seeing pretty decent then. Beautiful twinkling orange colour too. Must admit I spent longer looking at this one star than I think I’ve ever done before. Totally forgot to look at the out of focus images diffraction patterns. 

Quick look at M42 with the 30mm Vixen NPL, transparency seems good but the view is bit disappointing… it’s nice but not 12” aperture nice. Not what I bought the frac for though so onwards and upwards (literally!)

With the NPL still in I take a quick tour up through the Hayades and onto the Pleiades. Lovely! The stars are perfectly set in their black velvet background, can almost believe I can see some nebulosity around Alcyone but I think it’s just moisture in the air, maybe the eye lens is fogging a little again. Just about fit the cluster in the FoV but would be nice to have a bit more context. *Off to FLO to look at big 2” EPs*. 

Time for the main event: Mars. In goes the 4mm Nirvana for x178 and almost immediately - well…  after figuring out how to actually look through the EP with it so close to the ground, *cue the addition of a pillar extension to my FLO trolley* - I’m met with large dark albedo features covering most of the lower half (Southern Hemisphere? No idea what the image orientation is with this thing!), and with a little more observing smaller dark markings at the 10 o’clock position in the upper half. Also present is some whitish brightening at the top (Cloud? Checking an online Mars map I believe the lower half dark features were the Aurora Sinus region, and the upper one was the Lacus Indus region). I just let the planet drift through the field and it is impressively sharp all the way to the edges. Nice eyepiece this. 

Crank it up a notch with the 6mm BCO and Q barlow and the detail is all still there but larger and still sharp with a very well defined limb, not mushy at all. Spend about 10 mins nudging and observing quietly and just start thinking about putting the 4mm in the barlow for x400 but I start to see the tell tale signs of the objective dewing up and I decide to head back indoors instead to let the scope dry off. 

Well I must say I thoroughly enjoyed that session and of the few refractors I’ve had before, this is the first one that I’ve looked through and come away from happy and satisfied. There’s no way I’m going to drag the 300p and AZ-EQ6 out for a 30 min session - which with my other commitments that’s mostly all the time I get nowadays - so this little frac is going to step in a fill that void perfectly and drag me back to visual observing that I’ve missed out on for a couple of years whilst I focused on imaging. Very happy chap right here :) 

 

 

B5C317FF-7920-478A-BF91-277FB177A751.jpeg

Glad you are happy with it 👍

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, apaulo said:

for £900 i am not looking perfection, just equipment that is fit for purpose. i have taken  the holder out of my starfield, on examination it works on friction, however, the manufacturers have made 2 very nice , flat smooth surfaces. that is never going to hold anything tight. i cranked the clamp up in  my hands and it still slipped. i am going to roughen up the surface on the reducer with emery cloth and hope that will either help or to cure the problem. 

Buy the M63 clicklock for 2.5” focusers. It screws straight on.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Mr Spock said:

I would recommend a couple of Baader accessories, just to finish off. Getting rid of that awful sticky twist lock is a must. It's the only thing that lets the scope down. The Baader in comparison is just so sweet to use.

Do all your LVW's come to focus ok with this setup? Clicklock, plus 2" mirror, plus second clicklock is quite a long light-path. I have these components, the same as yours, but have not used them all together yet, I thought it would be a little too long. Will have to have play around with them and see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.