TMB-130 Signature Series 130mm f/7 ED triplet apochromatic refractor optical tube

by TMB Print

What would you like to print?
(Reviews and Documents/Videos will not be printed)

Basic Product Information
Full Description
Tech Details
Supplied Accessories
Recommended Accessories


More product information

This TMB Optical refractor has:

• 130mm f/7 air-spaced apochromatic triplet optics using FPL-53 ED glass
• collimatable temperature-compensated lens cell
• 3.5” Feather Touch rotatable dual-speed rack and pinion focuser
• 2” and 1.25” compression ring eyepiece adapters
• retractable dew shield, dust covers, and fitted hard case
• state-of-the-art optical performance, exceeding even fluorite scopes
• sales limited to 100 scopes per year to maintain the value of your investment
• normally available from stock – with no multi-year waiting list

The TMB-130 Signature Series refractor – named a Sky & Telescope Hot product for 2007! – puts exceptionally high optical and mechanical quality in a portable and easy-to-manage 28.75” long package. It is ideal for the serious observer who will accept nothing less than unsurpassed imaging and visual observing performance. The TMB-130 is one of the finest optical instruments, both optically and mechanically, that TMB Optical has ever designed – which means, quite simply, that it is one of the finest optical instruments ever designed for the serious amateur astronomer. Period. The late Thomas M. Back, the designer of the TMB-130, felt that his TMB-130 apochromat refractor had the best price to performance of any apo refractor on the market. We agreed with him when he designed it, and we have seen nothing since then to change our opinion.

The TMB-130 is exceptional for observing and imaging within the solar system. Its images of subtle low-contrast lunar and planetary details are razor-sharp, with realistic and highly saturated color. Those images are free from chromatic aberration of any type, thanks to the scope’s air-spaced ED triplet optics. The latest antireflection multicoatings and knife-edge internal baffles assure the maximum image contrast possible. Image excellence is limited only by the seeing conditions, not by any aberration or short-coming in the telescope.

In addition, this 5.1” TMB combines a refractor’s traditional high light transmission and diffraction-free images with a very flat field. The combination makes the scope surprisingly good for deep space observing and imaging, as well as solar system observing. Binary stars and globular star clusters are particularly well-resolved and vivid, with the contrasting colors of binary systems showing nicely. Nebulas and galaxies stand out briskly against a very dark sky background.

Here are some TMB-130 images, taken by Terry Hancock, and used with his kind permission. Terry used a QHY8 CCD camera. His TMB-130 was riding on a Celestron CGE Pro mount and guided by an Orion AutoGuider through a TMB80 refractor. Information about exposure times, image processing, etc., can be found at Terry’s imaging website at this link. The site includes many other examples of Terry’s TMB130 images. The links below will take you to larger versions of the images. The original very large images can also be found at Terry’s imaging website.

The first image is Terry’s image of the Andromeda Galaxy.
The second image is one of Terry’s images of the Veil Nebula.Terry also has a different image of a portion of the Vail on his website.
The third image is globular cluster M13. Here is the original full size version of the M13 on Terry’s imaging website.
The final image is the spiral galaxy M33 in Triangulum. Terry also has a full size version of M33 on his website.

The TMB-130’s 910mm focal length can cover the whole gamut of visual observing magnifications. With a TMB Optical 2.5mm Planetary Series eyepiece, it provides 364x for very high magnification observations of the Moon, planets, and binary stars. Even at that high a power, 71x per inch of aperture, the image holds up quite nicely in good seeing conditions. For wide field deep space viewing, using a 2” TeleVue Nagler eyepiece, the scope produces a huge 2.79° field at 29x.

This Telescope’s Optical and Mechanical Systems . . .

  • Apochromatic triplet ED refractor optics: 5.1” (130mm) aperture, 910mm focal length, f/7 air-spaced triplet lens using an FPL-53 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass element for a flat field and images that are free from spurious color (chromatic aberration). The lens cell is temperature-compensated for stable images during cool-down. The lens cell is also fully collimatable in the field so you can optimize your images for peak performance.

  • Multicoated optics: Fully multicoated on all surfaces with the latest antireflection materials for exceptionally high light transmission and excellent contrast. Light transmission is so high that the optics seem to virtually disappear when viewed from head on.

  • Retractable dew shield: Slows the formation of dew on the lens to extend your undisturbed observing time. Also improves visual and photographic contrast by shielding the lens from off-axis ambient light (the neighbor’s yard light, moonlight, etc.) For transport, the retractable lens shade keeps the overall length of the optical tube very manageable, at only 28.75” retracted and 34.5” extended. The dew shield has a knife-edge baffle built into its trim ring to improve contrast by blocking off-axis ambient light.

  • Feather Touch rack and pinion focuser: The Feather Touch precision-made #3545 focuser is the best refractor focuser available today, period. The fine-pitch brass rack and hardened stainless steel pinion gear are factory-matched and burnished to provide a very smooth engagement between the rack and the pinion. The drawtube glides on three stainless steel straps that mate with Teflon bearing surfaces to provide very tight yet extremely smooth motion. Using this type of design eliminates the need for grease between the drawtube and housing. A greaseless draw tube prevents the attraction of dirt that may eventually cause problems between these surfaces. The drawtube has machined internal baffles, finished in glare-resistant black, to reduce reflections and improve contrast.
    There are two coarse focusing knobs for focusing with either hand. The right knob also has a smaller concentric knob with a 10:1 ratio reduction gear for microfine focusing. Combined with the ultra-low backlash focuser design, this provides exceptionally precise focus control during visual observing or critical imaging. The focus knobs have ribbed gripping surfaces so they are easy to operate, even while wearing gloves or mittens in cold weather.

  • Focusing scale: The extra-long 110mm travel 3.5” diameter focuser drawtube has two laser-engraved scales (one on either side of the drawtube) 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 thumbscrew underneath the focuser body lets you lock in your photographic focus, in addition to letting you adjust the focuser’s internal brake.

  • Focuser brake: Because the focuser is so smooth in operation and moves so freely, it can only hold a limited amount of weight (generally about 1 lb.) without drifting out of focus when the focuser drawtube is not horizontal and has a significant vertical component. The focuser therefore contains an adjustable tension internal brake system to allow astrophotography and visual use with heavy eyepieces without the possibility of focus shift.
    The brake consists of a lever arrangement internal to the pinion block. Adjusting the thumbscrew on the pinion block causes the lever to press a friction pad onto the pinion. This increases the torque needed to turn the focus knobs. If the thumbscrew is turned all the way in (only 1 to 1½ turns), the pinion shaft and the drawtube are locked in position for long exposure astrophotography. Visually, partial tightening of the internal brake offers a virtually infinite range of braking force to accommodate various eyepiece and accessory weights.

  • Built-in camera angle adjuster: The focuser includes a built-in camera angle adjuster as standard equipment. It is not an optional extra-cost accessory, as it is with some other scopes. A locking ring on the body of the scope lets you rotate the entire focuser a full 360° to line up a camera in either a landscape or portrait orientation (or any orientation in between) without losing your focus. This also allows the positioning of objects for photography and makes the location of guide stars much easier. You can also use it to put a star diagonal and eyepiece into the most comfortable observing position, and temporarily lock the focuser in that position.
    The focuser body is locked in place with the focuser-locking ring that encircles the front of the focuser body. Turning this ring slightly counterclockwise unlocks the entire focuser assembly, allowing it to be rotated in either direction. Once the desired position is reached, the focuser assembly is locked in the new orientation by turning the focuser locking ring back slightly clockwise. The large diameter of the locking ring lets you clamp the focuser firmly at the desired angle without having to resort to excessive force to hold it in place. Three handles and finger grooves on the locking ring provide a good grip in cold or damp weather.

  • Eyepiece adapters: The focuser drawtube terminates in a 2” compression ring eyepiece/accessory adapter. A separate 1.25” compression ring eyepiece/star diagonal holder is also supplied that fits into the 2” adapter to let you use 1.25” accessories. The non-marring soft brass compression rings of both the 2” and 1.25” eyepiece holders won’t scratch the barrels of your expensive accessories or star diagonals, as ordinary thumbscrews can.

  • Large format astrophotography adapters: While the supplied 2” accessory adapter allows the use of most 2” barrel large format CCD cameras and 35mm photo adapters, some astrophotography enthusiasts prefer to use 92mm diameter Astro-Physics photo accessories. These can be accommodated by removing the 2” accessory adapter attached to the 3.5” focuser drawtube (it is held in place by three recessed hex-head screws) and adding an optional A-P accessory adapter. These are available directly from Starlight Instruments, the manufacturer of the Feather Touch focuser.

  • Finderscope mounting point: No finderscope is supplied, but two mounting holes are provided on the upper left side of the focuser body for mounting an optional finderscope, such as the Astro-Tech #ATF illuminated multiple reticle non-magnifying finder.

  • Mounting rings: No mounting rings are supplied with the 142mm diameter optical tube. Optional split felt-lined TMB 142mm mounting rings are available for mounting the scope on a suitable equatorial mount, such as a Celestron CGEM or a Losmandy G11, using an appropriate optional dovetail.

  • Shipping/storage case: The TMB-130 comes standard with a foam-lined aluminum-frame hard case for transportation and general protection purposes. The case weighs 14 pounds and measures 10” x 10.5” x 33”. It has four locking latches and a spring-loaded carrying handle that automatically folds down into a recess in the case when not being used.
    TMB Optical 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 TMB Optical has in the quality of their products, the TMB-130 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.
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).

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.

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.

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
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.
The weight of this product.
18.7 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.
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. 
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.  
Planetary Observation:
Binary and Star Cluster Observation:
Galaxy and Nebula Observation:
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.
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. 
Planetary Photography:
Star Cluster / Nebula / Galaxy Photography:
1 year
There are currently no Cloudy Nights reviews associated with this product

User Ratings/Reviews from our Customers (
Overall Product Rating: AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics(5.00)   # of Ratings: 1   (Only registered customers can rate)

(Only registered customers can rate)

5 - Great (100.00%) (1 user)
4 - Good (0.00%) (0 users)
3 - OK (0.00%) (0 users)
2 - Bad (0.00%) (0 users)
1 - Very Bad (0.00%) (0 users)
0% 50% 100%
astronomics image

Sort Ratings: 

  Show these ratings: ALLGreatGoodOKBadVery Bad

loading request
Showing comments 1-1 of 1
1. James on 5/15/2013, said: AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics
I had been searching for the perfect refractor that would serve me both visually and for imaging for over a year and have been through several models in the 5" range. Nothing I have used so far can compare to the TMB130SS both in terms of optical quality and mechanical performance. This telescope showed the most beautiful star test I have seen to date and the focuser is like a dream come true. You really get what you pay for here. True, it is more expensive than your average Asia sourced 127 or 130mm APO, but the difference is quite noticeable. The TMB130 has absolutely no false color that I see, either visually or photographically. I can now say that have finallly found what I have been looking for!
Was this comment helpful? Yes No   (23 people found this comment helpful, 1 did not)
Showing comments 1-1 of 1
General Accessories
Tube Rings (1)
142mm tube rings for TMB-130 refractor, pair
by TMB
Visual Accessories
Eyepieces (4)
20mm 2" Nagler Type 5 Demo
by TeleVue
3.5mm Nagler Type 6
by TeleVue
$265.00 On Sale 
13mm Nagler Type 6
by TeleVue
$265.00 On Sale 
7mm Nagler Type 6
by TeleVue
$265.00 On Sale 
Photographic Accessories
Tele-Compressors (Photo/Visual) (1)
2" Field flattener for imaging with Astro-Tech and TMB refractors
by Astro-Tech
  • Collimatable lens cell
  • Retractable lens shade
  • Dual-speed 3.5" rack and pinion focuser with 92mm (medium format photographic) thread termination
  • 2”, and 1.25” eyepiece/accessory adapters with brass compression rings
  • Dust covers
  • Hard case.
TMB130 manual 1029 KB
No videos have been associated with this product.
There are currently no formulas associated with this product
TMB-130 Signature Series 130mm f/7 ED triplet apochromatic refractor optical tube

Click icon(s) below & hover image above for zoom

TMB-130 Signature Series 130mm f/7 ED triplet apochromatic refractor optical tubeImage showing how the glass in the objective lens seem almost to disappear due to the exceptionally high light transmission of the antireflection multicoatings.Image showing the scope with dew shield trim ring removed and dew shield retracted to expose one of three pairs of collimation screws.Close-up of the Feather Touch focuser, showing the 1.25" accessory adapter.Close-up of the Feather Touch focuser showing the focuser rotation handles, the 2Terry Hancock TMB130SS image of M31.Terry Hancock TMB130SS image of Veil Nebula.Terry Hancock TMB130SS image of M13.Terry Hancock TMB130SS image of M33 in Triangulum.Terry Hancock TMB130SS image of the Pleiades.
Wait List
 AstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomicsAstronomics (Average: 5.00 | Users: 1)  Only registered users can submit ratings - Register Here
Our Product #: TMB130
Manufacturer Product #: TMB130
Price: $3,999.00  FREE ground shipping - Click for more info
Congratulations. Your order qualifies for free ground shipping within the 48 contiguous United States.

 E-mail this product to a friend E-mail this product to a friend

Your Email:  
Your Friend's Email:  
Confirm Friend's Email:  

  200 characters or less

An email containing a link to this product has been sent to the email address you provided.

Clear Skies!

 Have a question? Do you have a question about this product?
 Found a better price? Found a lower price? Click to let us know... or call 800-422-7876 before you buy.

If you’ve found a lower delivered price on this product, let us know about it below. We’ll do our best to meet or beat that price and will get back to you within one business day with our best offer. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to give you a better deal.

Your Name:  
From Who:  
Context:  Magazine AdOnline
Website Address:  
Cut and paste the web address into the box above
Your Email:  
Confirm Email:  

We’ll do our best to meet or beat that price and will get back to you within one business day with our best offer. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to give you a better deal.

Clear skies,

This TMB-130 Signature Series apochromatic refractor is one of the finest optical instruments, both optically, and mechanically, that TMB Optical has ever designed – with the best price to performance of any apo refractor on the market, bar none. It's a Sky & Telescope Hot Product for 2007 . . .

. . . our 37th year