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Televue NP101

Posted by Jeffrey Kramer   05/28/2004 12:00AM

About 8-months ago, I sold my Televue 102 and purchased a Televue NP101. My reason for changing scopes was that I wanted the wider FOV’s possible with the NP101 as well as slightly better color correction. I definitely got what I was looking for!! This scope is superb. It has a perfect star test and virtually perfect color correction. I cannot see any color on Vega at 300x and I was really looking for it in my tests of this scope. In addition, Sirius is completely color free at 216x (2.5mm Nagler), both inside and outside of focus. I have mounted my scope on a Losmandy GM8 mount and this mount seems to be made for this scope. It is the perfect compliment to this excellent scope.

As for mechanics, this scope is built like a tank. It is very solid. The focuser is smooth as silk and the satin like finish to the focuser, dewcap, and tube ring are very impressive. This scope is as nice to look at as it is to look through. The scope comes with the same hardcase as my prior Televue 102, but since this scope is about 5 inches shorter in length, the case has an extra space for a 31mm Nagler eyepiece. I do not own this eyepiece but the case has a pre-cut circle for it as well as several other eyepieces. The hard case is very strong and it is nice to see that Televue includes such a high quality hard case with this scope when other companies charge several hundred dollars for one. Also, I own the Starbeam Finder and the scope fits in the case with the Starbeam attached as well as the Everbrite Diagonal, Tube Ring, and the DUPS Mounting Plate for my GM8 mount. This was very important to me, as now, I can just pull the scope out of the case, attach it to the mount, insert an eyepiece and I am good to go. When I am done viewing, I have nothing to remove from the scope to put it into it’s case. A real time and effort saver.

During the recent close approach of Mars, I viewed it often with my new TV-NP101. The results were very impressive. I was easily able to see the South Polar Cap as well as irregularities along its edges. In addition, I viewed many of the surface markings on Mars such as Syrtis Major and the Eye of Mars. These features stood out easily and the contrast of this scope was very impressive while viewing them.

Saturn is a spectacular sight with Cassini’s Division visible all of the way around the planet as well as a light band and darkening at the top of the planet which is easily visible. I have also seen the A,B, and C Rings. Saturn holds up well at high magnification with this scope and I routinely view it at 270x & 338x, and have even gone higher on exceptional nights.

Jupiter looks very contrasty and detail in the bands is easy to see. In moments of good seeing, 6 to 8 bands can be seen. The 4-moons can plainly be seen as different sizes and transits are readily visible. I have followed the Great Red Spot as it appeared on the edge of the planet all of the way across the planet. I have also seen numerous swirls and irregularities in the North and South Equatorial belts.

The moon is amazing with this scope with superb contrast and sharp detail. I have never seen any false color on the edge of the moon regardless of the moon’s phase or magnification used. I have seen 4-craterlets in Plato pretty easily with this scope which is a sign of a scope with good optics.
I have viewed several double stars with this scope but the one that has impressed me the most is Antares. I obtained one of the cleanest splits I have ever seen with this scope on a night of very good seeing. The bluish color of the secondary stood out nicely and the split was clean. I have had trouble splitting this double with other scopes but my NP101 really did the job. My prior TV-102 could barely split Antares. My NP101 has done it on more than one occasion and the split has been cleaner. This may be due to the better color correction which helps this scope hold up better at higher powers.

As for deep sky, even though this is only a 4” Scope, it’s superb contrast still provides very nice, wide-field views of deep sky objects. I have viewed many of the Messier Objects and the outstanding contrast of this scope shows them with sharp detail. Open Clusters have pinpoint stars and nebula’s stand out against a very dark background. Viewing M31, M32, and M110 in the same FOV of a low power eyepiece is a truly awe-inspiring site as is viewing the Pleiades at low power. One other sight that has really impressed me is how often I can see the 6-stars in the Trapezium of M42. This scope does as well as can be expected for a 4” scope.

Overall, I have been very impressed with my NP101 as it can go from extremely low powers with a wide FOV (13x with a 5 degree FOV using a 41MM Panoptic) to high power lunar and planetary views with superb contrast (up to 216x without a barlow using a 2.5MM Nagler). This scope is easy to set-up and is a pleasure to use. It may be expensive, but I feel it is well worth the price. I purchased this scope from one of the major Astronomy Dealers and have no undisclosed interest in the vendor or product.

Clear Skies!

Jeff

(Click here for more the NP101, -Ed.)