New Scope - Astrotech AT72ED Refractor

Submitted by jimwcoleman

We finally got another clear night in the Seattle area, though it only lasted two hours before the high clouds moved in. Even with that, though, I was able to take my new 'grab-and-go' scope out for a quick trial run.

This is an Astrotech AT72ED f6 refractor. Attached to it is a Canon T3i, with an AstroTech field flattener between the two. The scope is a delight to carry around - it fits snugly into the included carrying case and unpacks easily, without bringing pieces of foam with it. It weighs five pounds, ten when combined with the case. The OTA is 12 inches long, 14 with the lens shade extended.

The dual-speed 2" Crayford-type focuser is a delight to use ... the draw travels freely, but not too freely. It has 3.5 inches of focuser travel, suitable for most applications.

For this quick trial, I mounted it atop my Celestron AVX mount. It attaches easily to the AVX, but there is a problem in that the rail (mounted to the underside of the OTA) is not long enough to attach to the AVX head with both screws. As I was not attaching a lot of gear and I was not doing any precision work, this was not a problem. In the field, though, this won't cut it, and I'll be contacting Astrotech for a solution.

The setup is affordable - you'll pay around $550 for the whole enchilada (minus the mount) if you get the 2" field flattener, which I recommend, particularly if you will be using the OTA for astrophotography.

All in all, it's a pleasant scope to use, and is a perfect grab-and-go instrument for visual or wide-field astrophotography use. I look forward to spending more time with this ... once I can get the mounting issue resolved.

I got this photo of the moon right after sunset, when the skies were still reasonably bright. Not bad for a quick image from a small refractor. :)


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