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druthers; ES AR102 refractor vs orion Starblast 6i?

Started by JimPhelps, 02/10/2018 09:37AM
Posted 02/10/2018 09:37AM | Edited 02/10/2018 06:22PM Opening Post
I've had many kinds of telescopes over the last 40 years and I'm currently torn between 2 for my next. I still own an Orion 10" intelliscope dob reflector but my back yard has a number of trees that prevent my use of a goto or DSC alignment. I'm looking for a convenient grab&go that I can set up in my back yard to take advantage of what little areas of sky I can use. Currently I'm considering the ES AR102 with twilight mount, two speed focuser , 2" star diagonal, or the Orion Starblast 6" F5 intelliscope. I already have plenty of 1.25" eyepieces and a number of 2" eyepieces. I believe both scopes are light and portable enough to easily move around my property. The intelliscope feature means I could use it at viewing locations with plenty of access to alignment stars. A friend made me a mount composed of Celestron tripod wooden platform that would elevate the scope finder/eyepiece height for comfortable viewing and of course, it has the dobsonian ability to move (push-to) around while viewing. the AR102 has been reviewed as having very good lenses with little chromatic aberration, it has a wonderful 2 speed 2" focuser and diagonal, and, I'm told the twilight 1 mount handles the OTA (10.4 lb weight) well enough for most magnification except possibly high power. The AR102 & mount currently can be got for $600, while the 6i Starblast can be had for $429.00. I find myself going back & forth trying to decide between the two but I'm open to other opinions based upon experience. I am also getting away from equatorial mounts as I just sold an Omni 6" reflector, CG4 package . The cables on the Twilight 1 altaz mount appeal to me, as does the push to character of the Starblast dob. Over the years I've had and liked using 6" F5 reflectors, (I had a Discovery 6" F5 dob that was great, and the omni 6" F5 ota was very good I used it on a pipe mount. I'd like to pull the trigger before spring which doesn't seem to care to show itself any time soon. I'd appreciate any advice.
Jim Phelps
Posted 02/13/2018 07:03AM #1
Jim,

Tough call. There are several pros and cons I can see with either package.

AR102--

Bodacious:
(1) Quicker cooldown vs. 6" mirror
(2) Lower focal length (663mm vs. 750mm) allows for a little wider FOV
(3) Ability to use 2"-eyepieces allows for MUCH wider FOV
(4) Higher f-ratio is easier on eyepieces, particularly widefields

Bogus:
(1) Chromatic Aberration. Not terrible, but definitely there. Can be offset somewhat by minus-violet filter
(2) Less aperture than the 6" Starblast
(3) Might be too low an eyepiece position when aimed towards zenith.


6" Starblast:

Bodacious:
(1) More aperture than AR102
(2) Relatively lightweight
(3) Intelliscope design allows for quick location of DSO's
(4) No chromatic aberration. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Bogus:
(1) Longer cooldown vs. AR102
(2) Barely half the FOV as the AR102, owing to a longer focal length and limited to 1.25"-eyepieces
(3) Rack-and-pinion 1.25"-focuser leaves much to be desired. Can be swapped out for a 2"-focuser, but will likely require a dremmel tool and greatly ramp up the PITA Factor.

Clear Skies,
Phil