AT130 130mm f/6 FPL-53 ED triplet apochromatic refractor

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This Astro-Tech AT130 refractor has:

• 130mm f/6 fully multicoated air-spaced triplet apochromatic optics using an FPL-53 ED element and all Ohara glass
• collimatable lens cell
• rotating dual-speed 2.7" Crayford focuser with 10:1 ratio fine focusing
• both 2" and 1.25" brass compression ring eyepiece holders
• retractable lens shade/dew shield
• long-lasting white paint finish with anodized grey trim
• aluminum-frame foam-fitted hard case
• two-year warranty

The performance of this Astro-Tech 130mm FPL-53 ED (Extra-low Dispersion glass) triplet apochromatic refractor is superb, in keeping with Astro-Tech’s well-deserved reputation for producing optically and mechanically excellent optics. A representative took one to the 2010 Winter Star Party. Its performance was so well received that it sold within an hour of seeing its first light.

All of the lenses in the air-spaced triplet optics of the AT130 are fabricated from Ohara glass (Ohara is Japan’s premier manufacturer of specialized optical glass), including the first-quality FPL-53 center element.

The result of using the best possible glass is the finest possible control of spurious color. The AT130 images are free of all vestiges of the annoying faint color halos around bright objects visible in lesser scopes – despite the Astro-Tech’s fast focal ratio, and even at very high magnifications.

Those exceptional optics come in a finely-machined body with a newly-designed dual speed 2.7" linear Crayford focuser with a microfine 10:1 fine-focusing ratio. The focuser can rotate a full 360° to put your camera or eyepiece in the most comfortable observing position. The supplied 2" and 1.25" eyepiece holders use non-marring brass compression rings that won’t scratch your eyepiece barrels. The Astro-Tech AT130 has a retractable lens shade and comes in a locking aluminum-frame carrying case.

Features of this Telescope . . .

  • Collimatable apochromatic triplet refractor optics: 130mm (5.12") aperture, 780mm focal length, f/6 focal ratio. Three-lens air-spaced optical system using the finest quality FPL-53 ED (Extra-low Dispersion glass) element to reduce spurious color halos and fringing to vanishingly low levels. All three lens elements are made from the finest quality Ohara glass. Ohara is well-known as Japan’s premier manufacturer of specialized optical glass. The lens cell is fully collimatable for peak performance.

  • Fully multicoated optics: The triplet objective lens has the latest state-of-the-art antireflection multicoatings on all air-to-glass surfaces for high light transmission and excellent contrast. This can easily be seen by looking into the objective lens of the scope. Virtually no reflection of your face will be seen. It’s a sure sign that the high transmission coatings are doing their job, by letting virtually all the light enter the scope, rather than reflecting some light back to your eye.

  • Internal light baffles: Contrast-enhancing knife-edge light baffles in the lens shade and the optical tube provide truly dark sky backgrounds and high terrestrial contrast. The edges of the lenses are blackened to reduce internal reflections and further improve image contrast.

  • Dew shield: A self-storing retractable dew shield slows the formation of dew on the lens in cold weather to extend your undisturbed observing time. It also improves the contrast, similar to the effect of the lens shade on a camera lens, when observing during the day or when there is excessive ambient light at night, such as a neighbor’s backyard security light. The tube measures a 27.25” long with the dew shield retracted, and 32” long with it extended. A lock knob under the dew shield locks it firmly in place when fully extended.

  • Dual speed microfine 2.7" linear Crayford focuser: The precision-made focuser has dual-speed focusing. There are two coarse focusing knobs. The right knob also has a smaller concentric knob with 10:1 reduction gear microfine focusing ratio. This provides exceptionally precise image control during high magnification visual observing and critical 35mm or CCD imaging. The focus knobs have ribbed gripping surfaces so they are easy to operate, even while wearing gloves or mittens in cold weather.

    The focuser has dual-speed focusing. There are two coarse focusing knobs. The right knob 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 of the AT130 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 entire AT130 focuser can be rotated a full 360° for photographic composition purposes and locked in place at any desired angle. In addition, the 2.7" diameter focuser drawtube itself terminates in a separate built-in camera angle adjuster as standard equipment. It is not an optional extra-cost accessory, as it is with some other scopes. The camera angle adjuster lets you rotate the focuser to line up a camera in either a landscape or portrait orientation (or any orientation in between), as well as put a star diagonal and eyepiece into the most comfortable observing position. A knob on the camera angle adjuster lets you lock the focuser at whatever angle is most convenient for you.

    The 80mm (3.15") travel focuser drawtube has a scale marked in 1mm increments so you can note individual focuser positions for easy return to the correct focus when switching between visual use and photography. The focuser has adjustable tension to accommodate varying equipment loads. A separate lock knob under the focuser lets you lock in your photographic focus.

  • 2" and 1.25" compression rings accessory/eyepiece holders: The 2.7" drawtube terminates in a 2" accessory/eyepiece holder that uses a non-marring soft brass compression ring to hold a 2" star diagonal and accessories in place. The compression ring won’t scratch the barrel of your star diagonal and accessories as an ordinary thumbscrew can. For 2" eyepiece use, an Astro-Tech one-piece body guaranteed 1/10th wave peak-to-valley accuracy 2" quartz star diagonal (#AT2DQ1) is recommended to deliver all of the scope’s exceptional optical performance to your eye.

    A standard equipment 1.25" accessory/eyepiece adapter slips into the 2" accessory holder on the focuser drawtube to let you use a 1.25" star diagonal or image erecting diagonal. Like the 2" eyepiece holder, the 1.25" adapter also uses a non-marring soft brass compression ring to hold 1.25" star diagonals and accessories in place. If you are partial to 1.25" eyepieces and need an outstanding diagonal for this scope, consider the Astro-Tech 1.25" dielectric diagonal (#AT1D). It was named a Sky & Telescope Hot Product for 2007.

  • Tube finish: The optical tube and lens shade are finished in a durable high gloss automotive-style white paint, the same as that used on scopes double the price of the AT130. The focuser and trim are anodized gun metal grey.

  • Other supplied accessories: A slip-on metal dust cap is standard. There is no finderscope provided, but a threaded hole on the upper left side of the optical tube permits the installation of an optional multiple reticle red dot finder (#ATF). The finder mounting hole is sealed with a slotted-head threaded insert to prevent the entrance of dust into the scope when no finder is installed.

  • Recommended mounts: Because of the 19.75 pound weight of the AT130 (including optional #AT142R tube rings, but without mounting dovetail), plus the weight of your ancillary visual or photographic accessories, a quality German equatorial mount with a 30 pound or higher payload capacity is recommended. Such mounts include the 40 pound capacity Celestron CGEM and the Losmandy 30 pound capacity GM8 or GM8GT go-to. Other suitable mounts are also available.

  • Shipping/storage case: The scope comes in a foam-fitted aluminum-frame locking hard case with carry handle. Astro-Tech is one of the very few manufacturers to provide a case at no charge for protection during shipping and as a storage convenience when the scope is not in use. Unfortunately, FedEx, UPS, and the Postal Service are very good at treating packages roughly. Occasionally, your scope can arrive in perfect condition, but with the walls of the shipping case dented in transit from rough handling, or the aluminum frame sprung, rendering the appearance of the case less than pristine. Damage to the shipping case in such instances is not covered by warranty.

  • Two year warranty: As an expression of the confidence Astronomy Technologies has in the quality of their products, the Astro-Tech AT130 FPL-53 triplet is protected by a two-year limited warranty against flaws in materials and workmanship (shipping case excluded).
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.
260x
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).

13.1
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.

780 mm
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/6
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.

0.89 arc seconds
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.
5.12"
Heaviest Single Component:
The weight of the heaviest component in this package.
16.55 lbs.
Telescope Type:
The optical design of a telescope.  Telescope type is classified by three primary optical designs (refractor, reflector, or catadioptric), by sub-designs of these types, or by the task they perform.
Refractor
 
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:
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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General Accessories
Finderscopes (1)
Illuminated multiple reticle finder
by Astro-Tech
Quantity:  
$59.95 
Tube Rings (1)
142mm tube rings for Astro-Tech AT130 and TMB TMB-130 refractors, pair
by Astro-Tech
Quantity:  
$129.95 
Visual Accessories
Star Diagonals (2)
1.25" 99% Reflectivity dielectric mirror diagonal
by Astro-Tech
Quantity:  
$69.95 
One-piece machined 2" diagonal with 1/10th wave quartz mirror
by Astro-Tech
Quantity:  
$249.95 
  • Collimatable lens cell
  • Retractable lens shade with lock knob
  • Rotating dual-speed 2.7" Crayford focuser with 2” and 1.25” brass compression ring eyepiece/accessory adapters
  • Dust covers
  • Hard case.
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Astro-Tech - AT130 130mm f/6 FPL-53 ED triplet apochromatic refractor

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Astro-Tech - AT130 130mm f/6 FPL-53 ED triplet apochromatic refractorClose-up of Astro-Tech AT130 dual-speed focuser, drawtube focusing scale, focuser and camera angle adjuster lock knobs, compression ring 1.25" eyepiece holder.Close-up of Astro-Tech AT130 focuser, showing linear drive track on drawtube.Close-up of Astro-Tech AT130 focuser, showing dual-speed knobs and both tube rotation lock knobs.Large image of Astro-Tech At130.
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The newest addition to the growing Astro-Tech family. Introduced at NEAF 2009, the 130mm f/6 AT130 is sure to take its place among the titans of the refractor world. Don't let the price fool you, this is a world class instrument . . .





. . . our 34th year