There is a tradition at my local astronomy club that when one of us acquires a new piece of kit, that cloud and pestilence will descend  upon the rest of us for at least a month. Well I’m afraid that it’s my fault this time, as I have just acquired a new toy 🙂
150mm altairastro
Having decided I wanted something with a little more aperture and focal length than my TMB, my initial thought was to find a 100mm – 125mm APO or a quality doublet refractor. However, something of decent quality was going to be in the ‘silly money’ range, so the idea was put on hold for a bit. That was,  until a friend suggested I try his newly aquired Altair Astro 150mm f/9 R.C. I had seen and looked through it at one of our star parties this year, but never really thought about it as something that would fit my requirements – until now.
Already owning Altair Astro’s 254mm version, I was happy with the quality – well apart from the standard crappy focuser – so decided that being just shy of £400 the choice really was a ‘no brainer’. While not quite as desirable as a really nice APO, the 150mm aperture and 1370mm focal length provides a nice gap filler between the big R.C and the 80mm TMB. It also has the advantage of being really compact, making it a really nice travel scope.
The plan is to mount this permanently on my Alt/Az Sabre mount. This is usually parked in the house and comes out when it’s too windy to open up the observatory. Having just discovered the pleasures of manual star hopping, I’m hoping that coupled with my 10×60 finder scope, this combo should be ideal for this. The  Sabre mount will have no problem handling the weight and for star parties, this and the TMB mounted side by side, will mean less mucking around with eyepiece changes when looking at the Moon and some of the brighter Deep Sky objects we observe at these events.