Astro-Tech AT72EDII Refractor OTA FPL-53 and Lanthanum f/6 Doublet


Availability: More on the way

The Astro-Tech AT72EDII takes the performance, and mechanics, of the "product everyone should own" (thank you Astronomy Magazine) and gives it an upgrade.
Our Product #: AT72ED2
Astro-Tech Product #: AT72ED2
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Product Description

This Astro-Tech ED refractor has:
• 72mm f/6 fully multicoated FPL-53 and Lanthanum doublet refractor optics
• dual-speed Rack and Pinion 2” focuser with 10:1 ratio fine focusing and built in Camera Angle Adjuster (Same mechanism as our EDT series)
• 2” and 1.25” non-marring compression ring accessory holders
• Vixen dovetail plate with two tube rings
• retractable self-storing lens shade
• amazing wide field astrophotographic capabilities
• long-lasting white finish with powder-coated black focuser and red anodized trim

Astronomy magazine called this scope’s predecessor, the 66mm Astro-Tech AT66ED, “a product everyone should own.” The original AT72ED has proven to be a worthy upgrade over the AT66ED. Now we come to the next upgrade over the original AT72ED. The new Astro-Tech AT72EDII.

The major upgrades over the AT66ED and AT72ED come in the type of ED element and the type of foucser. The new AT72EDII has upgraded the ED element to FPL-53 with a Lathanum mating element. Our first star test on the prototype was simply textbook. A perfectly defined set of white diffraction rings with jet black spacing. The next upgrade comes with the 2" Rack and Pinion focuser with 10:1 fine focus knob. It is the same mechanism as our EDT line and is buttery smooth. The focuser also comes with a built in Camera Angle Adjuster to help you get just the right position for your camera or diagonal. The final upgrade is something that people have asked us about for years. The AT72EDII now comes with split tube rings and a Vixen style dovetail, with a 1/4-20 thread adapter on the bottom, as standard equipment. Astronomy said the AT66ED was “a great grab-and-go scope, a fine little astrograph, a super-finder scope, and a daytime spotting scope.” The same is equally true for the new AT72EDII.

This 12” long refractor optical tube (15” long with the lens shade extended) has the right balance of aperture and focal length to use as a low-power rich field telescope, as a medium-power planetary telescope, or as any kind of telescope in between. In addition, optional camera adapters turn the AT72EDII into a superb 430mm (8.6x) f/6 daytime telephoto lens and nighttime wide-field astrograph. The supplied Vixen style dovetail fits directly into the dovetail slot, or will attache to any mount or tripod with a 1/4-20 thread screw, on the top of many altazimuth and German equatorial mounts, such as those from Astro-Tech, Celestron, Meade, and Vixen.  The OTA weighs in at 4.15 pounds and 4.8 pounds with rings and dovetail.

Features of this Telescope . . .

AT72EDII doublet refractor optics: 72mm (2.83”) aperture, 430mm focal length, f/6 focal ratio air-spaced doublet lens using premium ED glass, including an FPL-53 ED (Extra-low Dispersion glass) with a Lanthanum mating element to reduce spurious color halos and fringing to vanishingly low levels. While we do not claim fully apochromatic performance in the class of a multiple thousand dollar Takahashi, Astro-Physics, or TMB refractor, the AT72ED is so free from spurious color as to be virtually indistinguishable from an apochromatic system. And, as Mr. Spock probably said in one episode of Star Trek or another, “Any difference that makes no difference, is no difference.”

Multicoated optics: The objective lens has the latest state-of-the-art broadband antireflection multicoatings on all four 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: There are two contrast-enhancing knife edge baffles inside the optical tube, and 15 Micro Baffles running the full length of the focuser drawtube, for truly dark sky backgrounds and high terrestrial contrast. In addition, the edges of the objective lens are blackened to eliminate contrast-reducing stray internal reflections.

Full power range capability: The “highest useful magnification” listed above right is 143x. This is the power obtained with a 3mm eyepiece, which provides an exit pupil of 0.5mm (about 1/50th of an inch) and 51x per inch of aperture. This is generally the smallest exit pupil recommended with any telescope before the images start to become too dim to be consistently useful.

Higher powers are possible for lunar and planetary observing, however, given excellent seeing conditions, although the increasing dimness of the image will start to limit the performance on all but the brightest objects.

The lowest useful power is 11x, achieved with a 40mm eyepiece (a 40mm 1.25” TeleVue Plössl will give you a 4.2° field at that power). At 3.8x per inch of aperture, this is very close to the 4x per inch of aperture generally regarded as the lowest practical power with any telescope. A 40mm eyepiece on the AT72EDII will give you a 6.67mm exit pupil, larger than most eyes can dilate. Any lower power would simply waste some of the scope’s light gathering capacity, as its collected light would fall on your iris, rather than entering your eye.

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.

Dual speed microfine 2” Rack and Pinion focuser with 1.25” adapter and a built in Camera Angle Adjuster: The precision-made 2” focuser has dual-speed focusing. There are two coarse focusing knobs. The right knob also has a smaller concentric knob with 10:1 ratio reduction gear microfine focusing. This provides exceptionally precise image control during high power visual observing or critical DSLR or CCD imaging. The focus knobs have knurled gripping surfaces so they are easy to operate, even while wearing gloves or mittens in cold weather. The 86mm (3.38”) 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. A lock knob under the focuser lets you lock in your photographic focus.

The focuser drawtube terminates in a 2” compression ring accessory holder to accept a 2” star diagonal and 2” photo accessories.

The supplied 1.25” accessory adapter slips onto the 2” accessory holder and uses a soft brass compression ring to hold 1.25” star diagonals and photo/visual accessories in place. The 1.25” and 2” compression rings won’t scratch the barrels of your star diagonal or accessories as an ordinary thumbscrew can.

Tube finish: The optical tube is finished in a durable white paint with red trim and a black powder-coated focuser.

Other supplied accessories: A slip-on metal dust cap is standard. Two threaded holes for installing a finderscope mounting bracket are located on the upper left and upper right side of the scope body.

Tech Details

Aperture 72mm
Focal Length 430mm
Focal Ratio f/6
Heaviest Single Component 4.15 pounds
Weight 4.8 pounds
Optical Coatings Fully Multi-Coated
Telescope Type Refractor
Warranty 1 year


Review by:
I bought this telescope about 6 months ago with a goal of getting started in astrophotography using a small and relatively inexpensive portable setup. I have it sitting on an Explore Scientific iEXOS-100 along with an Orion 50mm guide scope and a ZWO ASI120MM-MINI guide camera. I can pick this rig up with one hand and be out in the driveway or yard imaging with it in minutes. The scope itself is of high quality construction, the focuser is smooth, the rings are well made, it comes with a nice dovetail, and the optics are excellent even though it's "only" a doublet. Very crisp and clear optics. Everything on it is solid and it overall has a great fit and finish. It's quite nicely made, especially considering the price. My only complaint is that the matching field flattener/focal reducer is *never* in stock.

As for a rank beginner using this for imaging, I'd like to think that it's working like a champ. This is the second image that I've ever taken and I could not be happier with the results. This was unguided since I'm still trying to understand how all of these things work together:

It's a fantastic small and portable scope that I would happily recommend to anyone. (Posted on 6/22/2020)
Review by:
Quality of the components is excellent. As for the optics, a picture is worth a thousand words:
Note: there were 0 pixels with CA in this image and sharpness of the moon's features gives an almost 3-d effect.
Here are several thousand more words about this scope:
The AT72EDII definitely is a winner. (Posted on 4/3/2020)
Review by:
Follow up to my post from 18 Jan 2020.
I took it out and mounted it on my SkyGuider Pro with an ASI183MM-Pro and a 5 filter filter wheel and shot M42 in RGB with it. I don't have the flattener/reducer on it yet, since it's on back order. It was only a test. Unguided, 20 sec subs in each color and processed quickly in PI. Here's what I got from my urban back yard with a Bortle of about 6.
I'm anxiously awaiting the flattener/reducer since I would like a slightly wider FOV and there is just a hint of stars stretching on the outer edges of the frame. The image linked was only cropped slightly to get rid of the stacking edges. Colors line up real well but not absolute perfection; pretty nice, though, for the price range.
I also want to add that I love the focuser. Very smooth and solid.
I don't know what's going to change with the flattener/reducer, but out of the box, you need to get your imaging plane about 45mm off the back of the focuser to get into focus and you'll have the focuser racked pretty close to all the way out. With my ASI183 and the EFW in there, I've got 25mm of spacers screwed on to my 2" adapter going into the scope in front of the filter wheel and I've got about 10mm of travel left on the focuser before it's racked all the way out.
Love the scope overall and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light-weight rig that will get nice images. (Posted on 1/26/2020)
Review by:
Scope just arrived. Not had a chance to put it on a mount but I'm highly impress by the quality of the construction. It's a nice build, the focuser is very smooth tight. I can't wait to use it. I'll add more once I've used it. (Posted on 1/18/2020)
Review by:
The Astro-Tech AT72EDII is an excellent choice for beginning astrophotographers who do not wish to spend a lot of money getting started in the hobby. The scope is light-weight, easy to use, and produces outstanding images that rival more expensive triplet apochromatic refractors.

The AT72EDII is a wide-field scope, and is best suited for larger Deep Space Objects, such as the Great Orion Nebula, the Heart Nebula, the Soul Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, etc. Obtaining details on smaller objects, such as planets, planetary nebulae and distant galaxies, is a little more challenging. It is, however, well suite for wide-field imaging of groups of galaxies, such as Markarian's Chain in the Virgo Cluster. There are plenty of targets to keep one busy year-round for many years.

The scope's small size and light weight make it suitable for a wide range of relatively inexpensive mounts. I have used it on an old Vixen Super Polaris and a Sky-Watch EQ6-R Pro mount.

The focuser is smooth and solid and handles my Canon DLSR well. The The rings are solid and stable. The build quality and paint job are top-notch. The anti-glare coatings on the lenses, light baffles, and internal coating seem to practically eliminate reflections. The image contrast is excellent.

Given its price, build quality, imaging quality, and features, I highly recommend this scope. (Posted on 10/31/2019)
Review by:
I purchased this OTA after being frustrated with larger, more cumbersome scopes. It is mounted on a Vixen Porta II, which makes a light pair - as in, one hand to carry it outside while the other hand opens the door! The AT 72 EDII provides very clear and crisp views. Yes, it is only a 72mm objective, but it provides great wide views. Here in the Pacific NW, having a grab-n-go scope ready for breaks in the weather is a must. (Posted on 10/23/2019)
Review by:
I picked this scope up about 8 months ago as my first telescope. So far I have used it with my Sony a6300 and Skyguider pro which just barely handles it without guiding but has no problem when using a small guiding setup. The scope itself has been great and produces images with no noticeable chromatic aberration. When used with an ioptron 2" field flattener (the astro-tech one was out of stock) the stars are sharp to the edges of the frame. Build quality seems to be very solid and the dual-speed focuser is very easy to use. Overall I have been very happy with the scope and the results it has given for its value. (Posted on 10/23/2019)
Review by:
I bought this unit to get started in astrophotography. I have been using it for 6 months now with excellent results. I have attached my Sony A6500 to it and mounting it on a Skyguider pro. Focus is very smooth and I like the dew shield smoothness too. Good entry level scope. (Posted on 10/17/2019)
Review by:
I use the AT72EDll telescope with an Orion 8893 field flattener and a Lumix G85 micro 4/3 digital camera. I took some really nice pictures with it, but noticed that the field was not well flattened. I discovered that for my camera and T-mount adapter I needed a surprising 13 mm spacing between the flattener and the camera adapter. Fortunately, I had the extension rings and spacers to achieve this spacing. Once this was done, the field was nearly perfect. Overall, this telescope is excellent! (Posted on 10/4/2019)
Review by:
So easy to set up on an alt-az mount for quick viewing or on an iOptron goto mount for more extended viewing. I love the performance on planets using a 7mm Nagler with a 3x barlow. Both Saturn and Jupiter are fairly bright at that power with the Cassini division on Saturn’s rings sharp and Jupiter bands and red spot nice. Brighter DSO’s are observable also. Great little telescope. (Posted on 8/29/2019)
Review by:
This is one great scope for the money. I bought it to get started in astrophotography, but I find myself using it for visual wide field views of the milky way often. It is solid construction and quality through and through. I'm hooked on refractors now, thanks Astro-Tech! (Posted on 8/22/2019)
Review by:
I purchased an AT72ED II early this summer to start my foray into astrophotography, and man was I NOT disappointed. This little scope is awesome, it's lightweight but a powerhouse for imaging and providing wide field visual views. Stars are pin point, and for a 72mm objective, it does a great job of gathering photons for my photos. Love this scope so much am considering one of it's big brothers for a longer focal length. Construction is solid, and all components are high quality. Love the retractable dew shield. (Posted on 8/22/2019)
Review by:
Great doublet with Fpl53 glass. I use it as a guide scope and wide field imaging scope. Works great and build quality is excellent. (Posted on 8/14/2019)
Review by:
This is my first Astronomics telescope. I was first looking at the AT60ED but decided to go with the big brother AT72EDII. Love that Astronomics is transparent in that they indicate the type of glass used. Everything about this scope is a pleasure to use. Sliding dew shield, classic white color, gorgeous red trim. The 72mm gives me a bit more aperture then the 60mm and it is also very portable and a great "grab and go". I plan on purchasing another refractor from Astronomics next year. Keep up the great work and customer service! (Posted on 8/14/2019)
Review by:
I had the MKI which I loved, but was curious as to how this might be better. It seemed crazy to upgrade, but had a buyer here for the old
To be fair, the original production run hadn't arrived, and I managed to talk Mike into selling me the prototype since I was going back to South Africa before the shipment was to arrive . So I did side-by-side comparisons to the MKI - this is optically superior. The 53 glass makes a significant difference. I miss the rotating focuser, but that's a tradeoff. This one is also just about perfect. I would be curious to have it tested to see the strehl - it's a perfect star-test.

I've also done side-by-side shoot-outs against the old TeleVue Pronto 70mm. NO CONTEST. The AT72EDII blew it away. It's amazing how hard I can push this little scope. Visually, an Explore Scientific 5x focal extender pushes it to the limit...the image holds up to 100x per inch of aperture - superb. Photographically an amazing performer. I have the field flattener for full frame, but love just using this without using a smaller apc-c sensor.

If you only have ONE telescope...this is the one to have. I keep it in the trunk of my car along with an IOptron SmartEQ+ with a carbon fiber tripod. Perfect combo to travel with!

(Posted on 8/1/2019)
Review by:
Well built. Great optics. Excellent price. Astrophotography became a lot more enjoyable once I purchased this scope. I have owned 6 telescopes in the last 12 years. This is the scope I will never get rid of. (Posted on 7/29/2019)
Review by:
I use this as my grab n go scope on a Vixen Porta II. Excellent mechanical and optical quality. Love the dual-speed focuser! (Posted on 7/24/2019)
Review by:
I like this item for its size and go-to capability. It doesn't require a large tripod for stability. My only criticism of it is that it's too fast - I prefer an F7. (Posted on 7/22/2019)
Review by:
This refractor is great! It is what got me into refractors. I fit it, a diagonal, and three eyepieces in a Harbor Freight Apache 3800 case. The setup is amazing. I take it everywhere! It mounts well on a lightweight photo tripod and small az mount. The views are wonderful and stars pinpoint with no chromatic aberration to be seen. The only issue I've experienced is some balance problems with heavier diagonals and eyepieces. This is to be expected though in such a short scope. Use it with a 1.25 diagonal and Pan 24 and you'll be completely happy. Definitely 5 stars. (Posted on 1/8/2019)
Review by:
Love this scope and additional focal reducer. Very well built! Great for wide field A/P.
Good quality through out. Thanks Astronomics! (Posted on 12/31/2018)
Review by:
Recently I have gotten into Astrophotography after years of use with a Dobsonian on a dob mount. After being recommended this scope on Cloudy Nights, I will say that I am glad that this was recommended to me. I use this on a Celestron AVX mount due to the fact that this is very lightweight and because its hard for me to polar align with my 60-foot front yard tree in the way of Polaris. After imaging with this telescope for a few months I will say I am happy with how clear photos have come out even with no processing. In my Bortle 7-8 yard with an unmodified DLSR Nikon D5300, I am still able to get amazing photos just like ones from a dark site. Of course, though that comes with staying up late doing exposures and filter use ;).

I would recommend this to anyone that is on a budget for AP use, and for a lightweight mount such as the AVX (Posted on 12/20/2018)
Review by:
When paired with the field flattener, this produces nice round stars almost to the edge of my ZWO 1600MM. The focuser is smooth and stable, and the view is perfect for a imaging a wide range of DSOs. Highly recommended scope. (Posted on 12/10/2018)
Review by:
I purchased this scope almost a year ago. I wanted to try wide field imaging and thought, for the price why not try it out. If it’s not very good I can learn what to look for in a better scope next time, or if I don’t like wide field imaging I can at least sell it for half the cost. I normally image with a 105mm APO and an F4 8 inch Newtonian, so when it arrived the size shocked me. Man this scope is really small and extremely light. I thought to myself, yep this will be a learning tool for sure. Something this small and light can’t produce very good views or images. The finish on this scope is fantastic; the duel speed focuser is outstanding as well. The scope is very well made and the optics are great. I am truly shocked with this scope in a very good way. It is so easy to use and the images are unbelievable. I would recommend the Astor Tech 0.8 reducer / Field Flattener and the “Baader VariLock 46” adjustable spacer to place the flattener at the correct distance from the optics. This will give you round stars across the field. Don’t let the price of this scope fool you, it’s worth every penny and more, you will not be disappointed. (Posted on 12/7/2018)
Review by:
I've been doing outreach astronomy programs for over 20 years at 5 state parks. This scope is my grab and go instrument when deep sky wide field is the primary viewing for that night. Open star clusters and star fields are razor sharp with zero chromatic aberration. The 2 inch focuser with camera ring makes photography a breeze. The metal tube is durable and less prone to vibration. Its a hit at star-parties and outreach programs. (Posted on 12/4/2018)
Review by:
Purchased this to bring with me on trips and vacations. Have traveled around the globe with this scope and it has not disappointed. Small enough to put in my backpack for carry on. Will be trying astrophotography with the scope as well this winter. (Posted on 11/24/2018)
Review by:
As an owner of the older version of this great scope, I have to say, this is a scope I use far more in various applications. It is as beautiful as it is functional and a fellow astronomer in our club recently purchased this wonderful scope. First impression is that this is a great version of AT72ED. Great glass choice with the FPL-53 and views of the moon during the recent International Observe the Moon night revealed stunning details. Additionally, the rings are a wonderful addition over the older version. The focuser is another improvement over the previous version! If you are looking for a quality refractor for wide viewing or astrophotography, I strongly recommend this wonderful refractor! (Posted on 11/11/2018)
Review by:
Got this to go on a Star Adventurer mount, sometimes coupled to a camera for long term photographs. Scope has a nice focus system and the built-in dew shield really is nice. Good intro to a system which is easy to travel with. (Posted on 11/10/2018)
Review by:
This is a great scope. I love taking this out and using it on those spur of the moment "I want to look at something" times. Great views. Just buy one.

In addition, I got great customer service from AT when I dropped my scope and broke the focuser. They replaced it and checked out the scope at no charge. Amazing. (Posted on 11/3/2018)
Review by:
I recently purchase a AT72EDII when first launched. Money well spent! Great little scope. Perfect "Grab-N-Go!" This scope replaced an older 80ED(Celestron). The build quality is "top notch". The focuser is a delight to use. (Posted on 10/28/2018)
Review by:
Originally, I purchased this to use for wide-field astrophotography. It gave great views and very crisp photos. So good, in fact, that I ended up using this scope double-duty as a guide scope atop my LX200, replacing the Orion 80 Short that I had used through the years. The AT 72, while a tad lower in aperture, is a far superior instrument to the Orion 80 Short tube. I donated the Orion to a local school and never looked back. (Posted on 10/24/2018)
Review by:
This scope is great for the first time buyer or an experienced veteran, view`s are sharp and clear. Also makes for a great daytime spotter, the size makes it very portable to just about any site you are going to. You cant go wrong with this little Gem. (Posted on 10/15/2018)
Review by:
I have to get this out of the way- the AT72EDII is a fantastic little scope. I got it to serve as a convenient grab-and-go package that I could take outside even in the cold Minnesotan winters. I was not let down. I used it as a spotter during the day, enjoying incredibly sharp views of everything to see around my apartment. I was honestly stunned by the sharpness provided by these optics. There was essentially no false color, only if I looked carefully at challenging objects like mesh grates around HVAC appliances. I took this little wonder out during many many cold nights, even down to -20F windchill, and it didn't let me down. I had some minor pinching at those very cold temps, but it was to be expected. Besides that, I could not help but be impressed and honestly quite pleased with the views for the money. M42 (Orion Nebula) was awesome, even from my light polluted skies, and I enjoyed my best view of the M45 (The Pleiades) to date using a 13mm Ethos (33x). The stars were so tight, so bright, and framed perfectly. I could not help but gasp. Some people think little scopes are pointless, subscribing to the "more aperture is always better" mantra, but not me. This little scope is proof that some objects are best viewed in small scopes, and that small scopes can get used a lot more than big scopes due to their easy mounting requirements and little to no thermal acclimation time. Even in the cold winter the supplied focuser was superb, so much better than expected, and I cannot see myself needing to replace it. Overall I cannot say enough good things about this affordable high quality doublet and I have recommended it to many people already. Big thanks to Astronomics for bringing this to market at a great price with great optics and great mechanics. I couldn't have asked for more. (Posted on 10/12/2018)
Review by:
Build quality of scope is superb. The focuser is probably it's biggest pro. It also comes with a Vixen dovetail which is a nice bonus. Bought for both AP and as a guide scope for EDGE11HD. As stated in description there is no visible false color. Only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that with the ATR8 and my Starlight Xpress SXVR-M25C I do get noticeable coma (comatic aberration) about 3/4 out from center. However, for the money it's still a great buy and would recommend as I don't think you will find a better value. (Posted on 10/9/2018)
Review by:
AT72EDII is great as a first meaningful refractor. It's great as a travelling scope when you have limited room. It's great as a guidescope. Really at this price, it's almost something everyone should have. (Posted on 10/8/2018)
Review by:
I have had this scope for about 6 months and use it on a Smart EQ+ with an ATR8 flattener. A great telescope for the money. Use it for AP with my DSLR and had great results. The Smart EQ+ and AT72EDII make a great combination. (Posted on 10/7/2018)
Review by:
Excellent scope that I’m very happy with. I recommend the focal reducer if imaging.

My favorite part of this scope is the focuser. It’s so fine and keeps focus even after several imaging sessions over many days. (Posted on 10/6/2018)
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