Pushing a 4″ refractor to it’s limits.


Swadlincote 29/10/17 Vixen 102 SP.

After months of barging through faint clusters , deep sky and sub 1.5″ separations , I thought of going with the 102 f10. Finding out what it can do gave a session full of surprise and little wonders. At max I got up to x218 , but usually kicked around x44-x100.

4″ long ota gives colour , contrast , easy focussing and sharp views . It’s the most of efficient optical systemS. If you like your diffraction discs like marbles , it’s all going here ! Against the 150 frac,it’s more interesting to open sub 2″separations and get those dim contrasting companions. A bright moon and a fair amount of light glow , but a wonderfully chill still night and it’s all go !

Kicking off with an old favourite , Miriam,η Persei (SAO 23655) and a lovely orange and blue.
Σ162 ( also in Andromeda) SAO 37536 and this lovely triangular triple showed up at x150.
θ ,theta Persei split at x100 (SAO 38288), a delicate +10companion here.
Σ425 gave a clean 2″ separation at x180 (SAO 56613), a lovely pair of twins.
ΟΣ59, a slightly uneven , but wider 2.7″ split here. (SAO 39031). Really chuffed to see what 4″ can do.

Now a few old favourites,
ζ ,Zeta Persei (SAO 56799), yellow and blue , a mini Rigel. Challenging as the intrusive primary glare focussed in an out and I wasn’t certain. Returning with my sketch board ,I looked again. A clean marble of the primary with a clear speck (+2.9
and +9.2). Same thing with primary glare happened with the nearby
ε Persei, (SAO 56840) narrower , with a +2.9 and +8.9, lovely lemon and blue colours here. Wait for them to appear , revisit , these things come with a big of care !
Σ483 gave a wonderfully open split at 1.6″,the separation here is increasing from the often quoted 1.3″. Clean separation shows good seeing and super 30 + year old Vixen optics.

Over to Andromeda. Just a touch of peanuts with 36 Andromedae. Ho 197 showed a right angled triple here at x50.
Es 2725 showed up in a lovely field with the obviously orange 8 Andromedae and the white 11 Andromedae.
Σ3004 gave a wide pair. The +6.3 primary and the delicate +10.1 make a lovely view.
I tried kappa , but the Moon had bleached out the lovely multiple view. Colour and the delights of Almach and Alpheratz before moving on.

Up to Cassiopeia and the best view of iota yet , open up just three lovely marbly points. Not as bright as β Monocerotis, but lovelier.
Inside and to the top (frac view) of the cluster IC1848, a few doubles here, but it was a surprise to open up Σ306 at 2″(SAO 12470) there is a third fainter component here.
γ Cassiopiaea and a no show, such a violent star !
ψ (Psi) was full of colour and a delightful show (SAO 11751).

Very pleased to have pushed the scope, the 23mm Panoptic gave tremendous wide views. In most cases ,it was easy to pick out binaries. The 5.5mm Meade uwa swept up the finest of splits.

Well aided by a huge brass focussing wheel crafted by a good friend. This greatly eased fine r&p focussing , I am loathe to change anything much on older gear !
Time to get out there and pick up some wonderful colour and detail of multiples,under clear skies ! Nick.

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