I purchased a new Astro-Physics 130mm f/6 StarFire EDF APO refractor through Company 7 in March 1995. Astro-Physics, Inc. is world reknowned for its premium quality refractors and uncompromising German equatorial mounts, so I was fortunate to get an order in the first production run of the newly designed 130mm f/6 APO refractor.
The the fast f/6 focal ratio and flat field of the AP130 make it ideal for astrophotography but it is also an exceptional telescope for visual observing. Its advanced optical design produces superb color correction of spherical and chromatic aberrations so the AP130 can be used at high magnification as well as low power with no residual color. The fast optics are perfect for deep-sky observing and imaging, but this instrument also delivers exceptional view of the Sun, Moon and planets, even at high powers.
I still remember that the best view of Jupiter I've ever seen was through the AP130. After an evening of deep-sky imaging, I decided to do a little visual observing before packing up. The seeing was very stable and Jupiter had just risen above above the trees in my yard. When I first brought the planet into focus in an 8.8mm (85x) Meade eyepiece, I thought there was a dust speck on the eyepiece because of the black spot on Jupiter. On closer inspection, I realized this was the shadow a Gallilean moon on Jupiter's cloud deck. I can't recall now which moon it was but the shadow was so sharp and distinct that it looked like a bullet hole shot through Jupiter. I then noticed the remarkable wealth of detail in the cloud belts and the subtle colors. All this in a 5-inch telescope!
The AP130 was the first instrument installed in Bifrost Astronomical Observatory in December 2009. First Light in the new observatory took place through the AP130 on the evening of Jan. 1, 2010. In attendance were eclipse chasing friends Greg and Vicki Buchwald, Dave and Jean Kodama, and my wife Pat. During a short ceremony comemorated with champagne, the observatory was christened Bifrost Astronomical Observatory, the name honoring the fabled Rainbow Bridge Bifrost (Wikipedia) from Norse mythology that links Earth (Midgard) to Heaven (Asgard).
The first imaging project embarked upon was the production a complete sequence of the Moon's Phases at 1-day intervals. The AP130 was used along with a Nikon D90 DSLR (12 megapixels). The image quality of this combination hints at the high resolution capabilities of the AP130.
The tables below gives the techincal specifications and eyepiece data for the AP130.
|AP130 StarFire EDF Refractor Specifications|
|Clear Aperture:||130mm (5.12")|
|Focal Length:||780mm (30.7")|
|Resolution:||0.87 arc seconds|
|Color Correction:||Less than 0.01% focus variation from 405nm to 706nm|
|Coatings:||Multi-layer, overall transmission >97% in peak visual wavelengths|
|Tube Assembly:||White, 5.5" aluminum tube, baffled, flat black interior, engraved push-pull lens cell|
|Focuser Type:||2.7" I.D. Astro-Physics rack & pinion focuser, 4.5" travel; 2" and 1.25" adapters; 2.5" extension|
|Telescope Length:||724mm (28.5") with dewcap fully retracted|
|Weight (with dewcap):||15 lbs. (6.8kg)|
|Carrying-Case:||Wood case with grey vinyl covering and foam-lined interior|
|Case Outside Dimensions:||31" x 9" x9" (79cm x 23cm x 23cm)|
|Case Weight:||14 lbs. (6.4kg)|
|35mm Prime-Focus Field:||1.7 x 2.4 degrees @ f6|
|35mm Telecompressor Field:||2.3 x 3.3 degrees @ f4.5|
|35mm Field with 2x Barlow:||0.9 x 1.2 degrees @ f12|
|6 x 7cm Prime Focus Field:||4.4 x 5.1 degrees @ f6|
|Plössl Eyepiece Data for AP130 StarFire EDF Refractor|
|Wide Angle Eyepiece Data for AP130 StarFire EDF Refractor|