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Thread: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P



    That's great to know. I would have thought that the highest mags achievable will be similar in both since they are both 400mm long, or am I wrong?

    I might well invest! Can you easily attach the 100P OTA directly to a photo tripod - does it definitely have the 1/4-20 hole in the bottom as well as the 3/8-16 as the Skyscanner does?

    My ST80's dovetail also has 1/4-20 holes in its dovetail - does the 100P's dovetail also have these? It might be an alternative mounting possibility. However, I guess the eyepiece may be in a strange orientation, however...
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    Smile Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

    Quote Originally Posted by terrynak View Post

    Also depends on how well collimated the scope is - at F/4, collimation is critical.
    ...
    That speed is the only drawback to using that scope for a grab-n-go. As you say, collimation is the big deal. Combine good collimation with a high quality eyepiece though, and you've got a nice little scope.

    I really considered the Orion version (same scope) to put in the back of the Jeep, but didn't want to have to worry about collimating it all the time. For me, a small (90mm) refractor is handier.

    Clear Skies
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  3. #13
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    Default Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

    I started doing a shootout between the two scopes (ST80 vs. 100P) at a semi-dark site early last year, but unfortunately I never finished. Because they have the same focal length of 400mm, using the same eyepiece on both scopes gives identical magnifications.

    If I recall, at lower powers (e.g. 20x), the views were virtually undistinguishable (e.g. M42, M74), but at higher powers, the 100P provided a darker sky background and fainter objects were visible. I'll need to re-test these two scopes again to confirm.

    The most startling difference was on Jupiter - the ST80 showed a purple haze around the planet, whereas 100p didn't and therefore gave a more pleasing view, despite the image being just a tad softer as I recall.
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    Default Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

    Quote Originally Posted by rodhull View Post
    That's great to know. I would have thought that the highest mags achievable will be similar in both since they are both 400mm long, or am I wrong?

    I might well invest! Can you easily attach the 100P OTA directly to a photo tripod - does it definitely have the 1/4-20 hole in the bottom as well as the 3/8-16 as the Skyscanner does?

    My ST80's dovetail also has 1/4-20 holes in its dovetail - does the 100P's dovetail also have these? It might be an alternative mounting possibility. However, I guess the eyepiece may be in a strange orientation, however...
    There are 1/4-20 holes on the dovetail of the SkyScanner and so they should have them on the 100P as well. The OTA is light enough to accommodate a good sturdy photo/video tripod. So you can attach a photo tripod directly on the OTA or via the mount.

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    Default Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

    Quote Originally Posted by terrynak View Post
    If I recall, at lower powers (e.g. 20x), the views were virtually undistinguishable (e.g. M42, M74)
    Thanks Terry. I'd expect much the same for those kinds of diffuse and "fuzzy" objects.

    Can you recall though how it compared for things like the Messier open clusters in Auriga (M36, M37 and M38)? These are quite impressive in my 8" Dob but in the ST80 I was disappointed - perhaps its the quality of the seeing/light pollution, but I didn't find that they have that "sparkle" in the ST80 (the same goes for the double cluster in Perseus) - the ST80's view of this one in particular is really not that contrasty - the stars don't have that same "pop" and separation from the background sky and lack the brightness - I have always assumed this is down to either the small aperture or the difference between reflecting and refracting optics...would be interested in hearing if the extra 20mm makes a difference...

    The same for some of the large, dense globulars like M13 - in the ST80 it's frankly less than impressive and is merely a fuzzy blob - difficult to discern individual stars even at the edges. Do you recall how the larger aperture of the 100P fares with targets such as this where light gathering ability does seem to be more fundamental?

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    Default Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

    Obviously the views will be disappointing if you're comparing the views from the ST80 with an 8" Dob. Having said that, you should be able to see deeper with the 100P compared to the ST80 on open clusters, i.e. see more stars.

    Also, I've also heard from others that the ST80 cannot resolve M13 - interesting. I've never looked at M13 through the ST80, but I can tell you that the 100P can resolve stars in M13, both within the center and the outer edges. Obviously not completely, but you'll see the starry nature of M13.

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    Default Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

    Thanks again Terry,

    I've just ordered one.

    Should be here by Wednesday - we'll be camping at a dark coastal site (naked eye Milky Way easily visible) over the Easter weekend, and if there's room, I'll look to take the ST80 as well (I like using it for terrestrial viewing during the day, which sadly the 100P won't be useful for plus I already have a made-to-measure solar filter for it which works a treat). However, I'm banking on the DSO performance to beat the ST80 - I'll try to post a comparison at least from using it at home (suburban location w/ moderate light pollution - no naked eye Milky Way there ) if it's clear.

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    Default Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

    Well, my 100P arrived yesterday so I had a chance to play with it last night.

    Conditions were far from ideal: a full moon had already risen behind my house which was blocking out its direct light, but it had obviously washed the sky out immensely already, some of the objects I chose to observe were not very high and thus the seeing conditions were poor, with a v. thin layer of wispy semi-transparent haze present for some of the time. I was also being periodically flashed by a neighbour's bright security lights spuriously going off and a garish streetlamp only about 15m away all of which meant that I could never get dark-adapted and I suspect was also causing a lot of stray light to enter the open tube of the 100P (the ST80's long dew shield is very helpful in this respect).

    However, I couldn't resist trying them out together and had my ST80 set up on its tabletop EQ1 (without the counterweight and also slung over to 90 degrees so I can use it as an alt-az w/ slow-motion controls) and the little 100P on its Dob mount (which is excellent by the way - more on that later) both on a sturdy wooden garden table.

    I checked collimation of the 100P first, which was spot on out of the box which I was relieved to find (my ST80 is also well factory collimated and I've never had to mess with it)...

    I was using throughout my £50 Seben 8-24 zoom plus a Baader Q-Turret x2.25 barlow where necessary.

    The 100P is a good-looking, convenient little instrument although corners have definitely been cut to get it sub £100 - the focuser is worse than my ST80's (and I don't think that's brilliant!) - there is a lot less travel, and finding the sweet spot at higher mags means you are turning it what feels like only a fraction of a mm to achieve correct focus which was a challenge at times.

    The focuser also protrudes into the tube quite a bit (as is sometimes usual for Dobs) but it is extremely reflective which I can only assume will cause contrast issues down the line - when checking collimation, the effect of the focuser protruding into the light path was completely apparent - I had good concentric airy discs but on one side (where the focuser is) I saw a clear "dent" into the shape of the outermost rings - not sure what effect this will have on overall observations though?

    Coma was apparent to me for I'd say the best part of a third of the outer field of view - only the central portion of any given field shows well-focussed stars - this is a shame and the ST80 has it beat in this regard, but its to be expected for such a fast scope.

    However, one of the stranger aspects of the 100P's design is its secondary mirror support vanes. They are very wide and cause quite pronounced diffraction spikes which can be seen on any bright object (Jupiter included). My 8" Skywatcher Dob has extremely thin vanes but the ones on the 100P are easily 3 times as wide...the ST80 focusses stars to a sharp, single point of light, but the 100P's views appeared to be not as pleasant on the brightest stars. I actually like the aesthetics of diffraction spikes sometimes, but when you are seeing them on a planet I wasn't feeling as happy!

    Another puzzling aspect to the 100P, is the orientation in which the eyepiece and finder are mounted, which goes against Dob conventions - the eyepiece protudes at 90 degrees from the tube relative to the dovetail and the finder is where you'd usually expect the eyepiece to be - this often meant that I had to get right down on the ground to look through the finder, then hover over above and behind the tube to observe - as long as it was placed at the correct height this wasn't that much of a problem, but I really wonder why it was designed like that. However, all this is forgotten when actively using it since the mount is so nice to use! You can just pick it up and pop it down somewhere else whenever without any hassle...it never slips, and moves with ease.

    The mount on the 100P really is an absolute delight - easily the best thing about it - it's sturdy and silky smooth, the scope is extremely well-balanced - the tension knob can be set for varying amounts and I never had any slippage even with the relatively heavy weight of the eyepiece/barlow combo. The ST80 struggles in this regard on its EQ1 and also when attached directly to a photo tripod - with the heavy zoom plus barlow in, and since its a refractor with all this weight right at the back, slippage is often guaranteed unless you are very careful when mounted in this way.

    So, onto optical performance: I have to say that the ST80 overall generally showed much better contrast on stellar targets (planetary and lunar are another story) - the sky definitely looked darker and stars stood out more prominently from the background haze. Now, I'm not sure whether this is due to the larger aperture of the 100P which was gathering more light thus showing more of the effects of light pollution and the full moonlit sky or whether it's simply better optics?

    However, when I looked at open cluster M36, despite the view initially being more pleasant in the ST80 (due to the darker looking sky and more well separated stars) - at second glance and once well-focussed, the stars were actually definitely brighter in the 100P and I could make out ever so slightly more of the fainter, more central ones...

    I took a brief look at M13 when it rose higher and was just about able to make out some pin-pricks of individual outer stars in both instruments but it was generally a fuzzball! I think the 100P had the slight edge but conditions for very poor admittedly for a true comparison.

    The moon, Jupiter and Mars looked much better in the 100P than the ST80 however. In these poor seeing conditions the ST80 produced a wobbling image of Jupiter that was awash with chromatic abberation all over (but more about the edges of the disc). I'm used to this - and is one reason I was looking to the 100P as a grab/go/travel replacement. The 100P however focused Jupiter to a much crisper disc with no abberations, and allowed in moments of better seeing to see more detail. Even at the modest highest x112.5 magnification I was working with, I could easily identify the north and south belts of Jupiter, and even got a hint of darker patches of colouration on the surface of Mars in the 100P. Same results for the moon - since it was completely full, only the extremities were showing any shadow and contrast but these looked great in the 100P - no purple halo around the outside there - the full disc was blinding, and once in correct focus it looked sharp.

    I split Alpha Gem (Castor) easily with clear separation at only ~50-60x in both instruments - I couldn't get the ST80 to split it with a lower mag...

    Overall, I'm quite impressed by the convenience of the 100P and its ease of use but on balance the ST80's more contrasty stellar views looked nicer but again I wonder if this is actually a side effect of the 100P's higher light-grasp - can anyone comment on this. I really need to test both under much darker skies (which is difficult over the coming few days due to the lunar calendar) and I suspect that under properly dark skies, the 100P might well win out - it's lunar and planetary performance is certainly better than the ST80 without a doubt.

    I'll try and get out again tonight before the moon rises and see if conditions are any better. I'm still undecided as to whether the 100P is a keeper/replacement to my ST80 yet...
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    Default Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

    Well, I took both scopes out again just before 10 last night before the moon had risen - I tucked myself down the side of the house, away from any interfering ambient lights - results were much better.

    The contrast levels between both scopes were roughly matched this time in terms of darkness of sky background. Auriga was higher in the sky than from the first attempt, and the 100P clearly showed brighter stars in M36. When looking at M37, the 100P I saw the sprinkling of stars immediately, whereas in the ST80, I definitely had to look for slightly longer to adapt to the dimmer view. Once adapted the results were similar, but there's no doubt that the 100P's view was brighter overall.

    Jupiter was higher too, and the belts certainly stood out more on the ST80 in moments of good seeing, appearing darker and more distinct from the bright disc, but the lack of any chromatic abberation with the 100P again gave an overall more steady and more satisying view.

    Later I observed M44, and although the views in both instruments were very similar since it is such a bright, open target anyway, the 100P again won out due to the very slight increase in brightness overall...

    I think the first attempt the other night was definitely hampered by stray light and the 100P clearly suffers - as I've said, I'll be in a very dark coastal location on the weekend, so I'l try to take both scopes with me and have another shoot-out...I'll look to create some kind of shroud I think - pretty sure I have some old thin camping mats lying about...

    It's not all rosy though - I still think that the coma is definitely an issue on the 100P as is to lesser degree the very small critical sweet spot for focus at high mags which certainly makes achieving correct focus more taxing. Overall though, it's a satisfying grab/go scope since again, the mount is fundamental to its ease and pleasure of use.

    I'll update this as i discover more!
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    Default Re: Skywatcher Heritage-100P

    Thanks for doing the shootout between the two scopes. I started testing them side-by-side around the same time last year, but never did finish the comparisons.

    pic 057.jpg

    I did flock both scopes with black adhesive felt to minimize stray light reflections within their tubes.

    pic 056.jpg

    Haven't used either scope since.

 

 
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