10" F/4 imaging Newtonian optical tube

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Sky and Telescope Hot Product for 20011
This Astro-Tech Imaging Newtonian optical tube has:

• very fast f/4 focal ratio 10” Newtonian reflector optics
• contrast-enhancing extended tube length
• 3.3” dual-speed linear bearing Crayford focuser with 2” and 1.25” compression ring accessory adapters
• built-in cooling fan for faster primary mirror cooldown
• 8 x 50mm finderscope in a quick-release bracket
• dual split hinged mounting rings

    This 10” Astro-Tech AT10IN optical tube is a very fast focal ratio f/4 reflector that has been optimized for very wide field imaging of faint deep space objects. It can be used with 35mm cameras, DSLRs, DSI-type cameras, and large format CCD cameras alike.

    The standard equipment mounting rings of the 10” Astro-Tech Imaging Newtonian allow you to use it on a wide variety of dovetail plates and German equatorial mounts. Careful note should be taken of the weight of the AT10IN, however, at 29.25 pounds without mounting rings or finderscope. This scope will require a substantial and well-built German equatorial mount under it to provide optimum performance.

    In addition to deep space imaging, the Astro-Tech AT10IN is also usable for solar system imaging as well as deep space and solar system visual observing. Solar system visual contrast will be somewhat reduced compared to a longer focal ratio reflector because of the AT10IN’s larger secondary mirror that has been optimized for full-field photographic illumination. Visually, the scope should probably be considered more of a deep space “light bucket,” rather than a solar system scope. However, the visual performance within the solar system will still be much more than acceptable, and the 1016mm focal length of this 10” Astro-Tech makes it quite possible to achieve the high powers needed for detailed lunar and planetary observing. Simply add optional 1.25” or 2” eyepieces, and perhaps an optional Barlow lens, and this Astro-Tech Imaging Newtonian will provide you with crisp and sharply detailed close-up views of the Moon and planets.

This Astro-Tech Telescope’s Optical System . . .

  • Newtonian reflector optics: 10” aperture, 1016mm focal length, f/4 focal ratio. Parabolic primary mirror. Both primary and diagonal mirrors are ground and polished under computer control for guaranteed diffraction limited performance, coated with 91% reflectivity aluminum, and overcoated with a protective layer of silicon dioxide (quartz) for long life.
    The mirrors are made of B270 “water white” optical crown glass that is free of internal stress and striae. B270 glass is equivalent to BK7 in performance and optical quality. The thermal stability of B270 glass is generally better than the soda lime float glass used for the mirrors of most reflectors in this reasonable price range. For maximum contrast, the four secondary mirror spider vanes have been optimized to be as thin as possible without losing stability.

  • No-tool push-pull mirror cell: The die-cast aluminum primary mirror cell has six hand adjust push-pull collimation knobs. These make it easy to collimate the primary mirror without tools, even while wearing gloves or mittens in cold weather. To further ease collimation, the primary mirror is center-spotted.

  • Built-in cooling fan: A low-vibration/high CFM fan is mounted on the primary mirror cell. The fan is powered by a supplied battery pack that uses eight user-supplied AA batteries. Alternatively, the fan can be powered by a 12 VDC rechargeable battery if one is being used to power your mount’s drive system.

  • Extended optical tube: To increase the contrast, the optical tube of the Astro-Tech AT10IN is extended 9.5” forward of the focuser centerline to act as a lens shade to keep ambient light from hitting the diagonal mirror. This results in higher contrast than a conventional reflector for both imaging and visual observing.
    The white-painted 38.5” long x 11-7/8” diameter Astro-Tech optical tube (with 12-1/8" diameter front and rear cells) is fabricated of rolled steel, to allow the mirrors to cool to ambient temperature more quickly, aided by the built-in cooling fan. While the rolled steel optical tube is a little heavier than a more-costly aluminum tube, a Sky & Telescope review of the AT10IN’s 8” smaller brother AT8IN pointed out that a steel tube “also helps make it a very rigid setup, which is a good thing for astrophotographers.” In addition, the coefficient of thermal expansion of the steel tube is low, closer to that of a carbon fiber tube than it is to an aluminum tube. This keeps focus changes (due to tube contraction when the temperature drops significantly during an exposure) to a minimum. The scope’s tube end rings are sturdy die-cast aluminum, to protect the tube during transport and provide exceptionally rigid support for the optics.

  • 3.3” dual-speed linear bearing Crayford focuser: The newly-designed heavy duty linear bearing Crayford focuser’s 3.3” drawtube ends in a step-down adapter to a 2” accessory holder. A 1.25” accessory adapter is standard equipment. Both the drawtube’s 2” accessory holder and the 1.25” accessory adapter have non-marring compression ring accessory holders.
    The focuser has dual-speed focusing. There are two coarse focusing knobs. The knob facing the rear of the scope also has a smaller concentric knob with a 10:1 reduction gear microfine focusing ratio. This provides exceptionally precise image control during critical imaging. All focus knobs are ribbed, so they are easy to operate, even while wearing gloves or mittens in cold weather. A lock knob underneath the focuser lets you adjust the tension on the drawtube to accommodate varying equipment loads. A large lock knob on top of the focuser lets you lock in your photographic focus.
    The new linear bearing focuser has a polished stainless steel drive rail that runs the length of the underside of the drawtube. The focuser’s stainless steel drive shaft presses on this drive rail to move the focuser, rather than having the hard steel drive shaft press directly on (and wear out) the softer aluminum drawtube as with conventional Crayford focusers. The steel drive rail rides in a self-lubricating track that extends almost the entire length of the focuser body. The drive rail and its attached drawtube are thereby supported over most of their length at all times, rather than by a conventional Crayford focuser’s two sets of small contact area roller bearings. This system distributes the drive force evenly over the entire drawtube, without concentrating it on a few small contact points. The result is a very rigid drawtube with essentially zero flexure and no wear (much less flat spots or uneven wear) on the focuser drawtube.
    The focuser drawtube has 51mm (2") of travel. A focusing scale on top of the focuser drawtube is marked in inches and millimeters to make it easy to return to the approximate correct focus when setting up to image or observe each night.
    Because of the 29.25 pound weight of the AT10IN (without mounting rings or finderscope) , plus the weight of your ancillary camera equipment and any photoguide scope, installing the AT10IN on a German equatorial mount with a 60 pound or greater payload capacity is recommended. Such mounts include the 90 pound capacity Celestron CGE Pro and the Losmandy 60 pound capacity G11 or G11 go-to and 100 pound capacity Losmandy HGM Titan. Other suitable mounts are also available.
    For essentially coma-free imaging with the AT10IN, consider adding the Astro-Tech ATCC coma corrector to the scope. This imaging accessory essentially eliminates the coma inherent in all fast focal ratio reflector telescope designs, so that the coma-free star images remain point-like all across the field.

  • Split tube rings: A pair of die-cast aluminum hinged split tube mounting rings are provided. Each ring has a flat boss on its underside with a 1/4”-20 thread mounting hole for installing the ring on a Vixen-style or Losmandy-style “D-plate” dovetail mounting plate. This lets you mount the scope on virtually any equatorial mount. In addition, there is a flat boss with a 6mm metric hole on the top of each ring. This allows you to install a separate dovetail on top of the optical tube for mounting photoguide rings and a guidescope or similar accessories piggyback on top of the AT10IN. The optical tube rotates in its felt-lined die cast cradle rings to bring the focuser and finder to the most comfortable viewing position.

  • Finderscope: 8 x 50mm straight-through dark crosshair achromatic design, in a spring-loaded quick-release mounting bracket. The finder has a long and comfortable 13mm eye relief. To focus the finder, loosen the trim ring behind the objective lens cell, screw the lens cell in or out to focus, and tighten the trim ring to lock in the correct focus.

  • Two-year warranty: All Astro-Tech telescopes have a two-year warranty.
Highest Useful Magnification:
This is the highest visual power a telescope can achieve before the image becomes too dim for useful observing (generally at about 50x to 60x per inch of telescope aperture). However, this power is very often unreachable due to turbulence in our atmosphere that makes the image too blurry and unstable to see any detail.

On nights of less-than-perfect seeing, medium to low power planetary, binary star, and globular cluster observing (at 25x to 30x per inch of aperture or less) is usually more enjoyable than fruitlessly attempting to push a telescope's magnification to its theoretical limits. Very high powers are generally best reserved for planetary observations and binary star splitting.

Small aperture telescopes can usually use more power per inch of aperture on any given night than larger telescopes, as they look through a smaller column of air and see less of the turbulence in our atmosphere. While some observers use up to 100x per inch of refractor aperture on Mars and Jupiter, the actual number of minutes they spend observing at such powers is small in relation to the number of hours they spend waiting for the atmosphere to stabilize enough for them to use such very high powers.
339x
Focal Length:
This is the length of the effective optical path of a telescopeor eyepiece (the distance from the main mirror or lens where the lightis gathered to the point where the prime focus image is formed). Focallength is typically expressed in millimeters.

The longer the focallength, the higher the magnification and the narrower the field of viewwith any given eyepiece. The shorter the focal length, the lower themagnification and the wider the field of view with the same eyepiece.

1016mm
Focal Ratio:
This is the ‘speed’ of a telescope’s optics, found by dividing the focal length by the aperture. The smaller the f/number, the lower the magnification, the wider the field, and the brighter the image with any given eyepiece or camera.

Fast f/4 to f/5 focal ratios are generally best for lower power wide field observing and deep space photography. Slow f/11 to f/15 focal ratios are usually better suited to higher power lunar, planetary, and binary star observing and high power photography. Medium f/6 to f/10 focal ratios work well with either.

An f/5 system can photograph a nebula or other faint extended deep space object in one-fourth the time of an f/10 system, but the image will be only one-half as large. Point sources, such as stars, are recorded based on the aperture, however, rather than the focal ratio – so that the larger the aperture, the fainter the star you can see or photograph, no matter what the focal ratio.

f/4
Resolution:
This is the ability of a telescope to separate closely-spaced binary stars into two distinct objects, measured in seconds of arc. One arc second equals 1/3600th of a degree and is about the width of a 25-cent coin at a distance of three miles! In essence, resolution is a measure of how much detail a telescope can reveal. The resolution values on our website are derived using the Dawes’ limit formula.

Dawes’ limit only applies to point sources of light (stars). Smaller separations can be resolved in extended objects, such as the planets. For example, Cassini’s Division in the rings of Saturn (0.5 arc seconds across), was discovered using a 2.5” telescope – which has a Dawes’ limit of 1.8 arc seconds!

The ability of a telescope to resolve to Dawes’ limit is usually much more affected by seeing conditions, by the difference in brightness between the binary star components, and by the observer’s visual acuity, than it is by the optical quality of the telescope.

0.46 arc seconds
Visual Limiting Magnitude:
This is the magnitude (or brightness) of the faintest star that can be seen with a telescope. The larger the number, the fainter the star that can be seen. An approximate formula for determining the visual limiting magnitude of a telescope is 7.5 + 5 log aperture (in cm).

This is the formula that we use with all of the telescopes we carry, so that our published specs will be consistent from aperture to aperture, from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some telescope makers may use other unspecified methods to determine the limiting magnitude, so their published figures may differ from ours.

Keep in mind that this formula does not take into account light loss within the scope, seeing conditions, the observer’s age (visual performance decreases as we get older), the telescope’s age (the reflectivity of telescope mirrors decreases as they get older), etc. The limiting magnitudes specified by manufacturers for their telescopes assume very dark skies, trained observers, and excellent atmospheric transparency – and are therefore rarely obtainable under average observing conditions. The photographic limiting magnitude is always greater than the visual (typically by two magnitudes).

14.5
Aperture:
This is the diameter of the light-gathering main mirror or objective lens of a telescope. In general, the larger the aperture, the better the resolution and the fainter the objects you can see.
10"
Weight:
The weight of this product.
29 lbs. 4 oz.
 
Based on Astronomy magazine’s telescope "report cards", scopes of this size and type generally perform as follows . . .
Terrestrial Observation:
Observing terrestrial objects (nature studies, birding, etc.) is usually possible only with refractor and catadioptric telescopes, and convenient only when the scope is on an altazimuth mount or photo tripod. Most reflectors cannot be used for terrestrial observing. Scopes with apertures under 5" to 6" are generally most useful for terrestrial observing due to atmospheric conditions (heat waves and mirage, dust, haze, etc.) that degrade the image quality in larger scopes. 
No
Lunar Observation:
Visual observation of the Moon is possible with any telescope. Larger aperture scopes will provide more detail than smaller scopes, thereby getting a higher score in this category, but may require an eyepiece filter to cut down the greater glare from the Moon's sunlit surface so small details can be seen more easily. Lunar observing is more rewarding when the Moon is waxing or waning as the changing sun angle casts constantly varying shadows to reveal craters and surface features by the hundreds.  
Great
Planetary Observation:
Very Good
Binary and Star Cluster Observation:
Very Good
Galaxy and Nebula Observation:
Very Good
Photography:
Yes
Terrestrial Photography:
Photographing terrestrial objects (wildlife, scenery, etc.) is usually possible only with refractor and catadioptric telescopes, and convenient only when the scope is on an altazimuth mount or photo tripod. Most reflectors cannot be used for terrestrial photography. Scopes with focal ratios of f/10 and faster and apertures under 5" to 6" are generally the most useful for terrestrial photography due to atmospheric conditions (heat waves and mirage, dust, haze, etc.) that degrade the image quality in larger scopes.
No
Lunar Photography:
Photography of the Moon is possible with virtually any telescope, using a 35mm camera, DSLR, or CCD-based webcam (planetary imager). While an equatorial mount with a motor drive is not strictly essential, as the exposure times will be very short, such a mount would be helpful to improve image sharpness, particularly with webcam-type cameras that take a series of exposures over time and stack them together. Reflectors may require a Barlow lens to let the camera reach focus. 
Yes
Planetary Photography:
Yes
Star Cluster / Nebula / Galaxy Photography:
Yes
Warranty:
1 year
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1. Jason on 3/9/2013, said: AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics
I have had this scope for a better part of a year now. I use it to image with a Canon DSLR / Baader MPCC on my CGEM mount. Mechanically, I like everything about this scope. The focuser is very stable with my Canon XS and holds focus throughout a night of imaging. The focusing is very smooth. The larger primary mirror collimation bolts are easy to use and make collimation of this fast scope much easier. The optics in my scope are very good. I use it occasionally for deep sky viewing and the views are great. High power views of globulars and Planetary nebula are very sharp and detailed. The image snaps into focus. Overall, I highly recommend this scope and look forward to getting it mounted on a little heftier mount in an observatory soon!
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General Accessories
Dovetail Plates (2)
13" Losmandy-Style "D-plate" universal dovetail plate, black
by Astro-Tech
Quantity:  
$60.00 
14" Universal D-plate dovetail plate
by Losmandy
Quantity:  
$70.00 
Photographic Accessories
Camera Adapters (1)
2" Prime focus adapter, needs T-ring
by Astro-Tech
Quantity:  
$29.95 
Coma Correctors (1)
Photo-visual Coma Corrector & field flattener for fast focal ratio Newtonian reflectors
by Astro-Tech
Quantity:  
$135.00 
• built-in cooling fan for faster primary mirror cooldown 
• 8 x 50mm finderscope in a quick-release bracket 
• dual split hinged mounting rings
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Astro-Tech - 10" F/4 imaging Newtonian optical tube

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Astro-Tech - 10" F/4 imaging Newtonian optical tube
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This new 10” f/4 Astro-Tech imaging Newtonian reflector makes serious wide field faint object astrophotography possible at a fraction the cost of a similar aperture catadioptric or Ritchey-Chrétien optical tube. The AT10IN is a Sky & Telescope Hot Product for 2011 . . .





. . . our 34th year