NP127is: Imaging the Skies Over Tampa, FL!

M13 Globular Cluster in Hercules (crop) by Instagram user Jun Luo (xchaos360). All rights reserved. Used by permission. (Click image for full-frame). Considered the finest globular cluster visible from the Northern Hemisphere, M13 contains 100s-of -thousands of stars in a compact “ball” only 145-light-years across. The age of the stars in the cluster date to the formation of the universe.
Imaged with a Tele Vue NP127is APO (Nagler-Petzval) refractor equipped with ZWO ASI2600MC (color, CMOS, APC-C format) camera on Paramount MyT mount from driveway. Exposure time was 48-min using 16×180 sec subframes. Diffraction spikes were added with StarSpikes Pro 4 software.

If you follow the Tele Vue re-post (#RPTVO) hashtag on Instagram you’ll find many stunning images made with Tele Vue gear.  That’s how we found Jun Luo (aka: xchaos360) and his Tele Vue-NP127is images. He’s relatively new to astrophotography and has produced some very nice images. We had a conversation with Jun about his use of Tele Vue gear for imaging and what follows is what he told us.

The Orion Nebula by Instagram user Jun Luo (xchaos360). All rights reserved. Used by permission. The Orion Nebula (also M42 or NGC 1976) is the most easily visible and closest region of massive star formation to us. Scientists believe there are 700 stars at various stages of evolution within the nebulosity you see in the photo. The red color in the image is from ionized hydrogen that has been excited by giant stars that are being born in the nebula. The wisps and folds are shaped by stellar winds that form shock waves in the nebula’s gas clouds. “Orion Nebula is my introduction to astrophotography,” says Jun.
Imaged with a Tele Vue NP127is APO (Nagler-Petzval) refractor equipped with ZWO ASI2600MC (color, CMOS, APC-C format) camera on Paramount MyT mount from driveway. Exposure of 2.16-hours in Bortle 5/6 sky through Triad Ultra Narrowband Filter: 16×300 sec, 10×10 sec, and 16×180 sec.

How did you get started in astronomy and astrophotography?

My interest in astrophotography started a couple of years ago after attending a photography workshop in Banff, Canada.

I had always been interested in astronomy when I grew up. Mostly the moon and solar eclipses. My parents were geography teachers and they found a very simple refractor telescope for me to play with. My interest in astrophotography started a couple of years ago after attending a photography workshop in Banff, Canada. One of the teachers introduced an equatorial star tracker to us for a long exposure (in landscape astrophotography). I bought a simple tracker and pointed my mirrorless camera with a 600mm lens to the Orion Nebula. As people often say: “the rest is history”.

Why did you decide to start using the NP127is?

Tele Vue scopes are built in the US and Tele Vue has a stellar reputation for customer services.

Soon after my attempts at Orion Nebula, I realized the advantage of an imaging telescope over a telephoto camera lens. I bought a doublet refractor. It was a decent upgrade over the camera lens but something felt missing. I went through several other refractors, including some expensive Japanese scopes. I finally decided to invest in a premium imaging scope like the Tele Vue-NP127is after my own experience and reading all the reviews I could find. My main interests are in deep space objects photography, especially all kinds of nebulae. The Tele Vue-NP127is 660mm focal length is perfect for such targets. It does not require expensive adapters and reducers for various configurations. No flattener needed either. It is also important to me that Tele Vue scopes are built in the US and Tele Vue has a stellar reputation for customer services.

The Rosette Nebula by Instagram user Jun Luo (xchaos360). All rights reserved. Used by permission. Rosette Nebula (NGC-2237 or Caldwell 49) is an emission nebula in Monoceros. This rose-shaped, glowing emission nebula is a star-forming region. An open star cluster resides in the center – it was formed from material in the nebula. In turn, energy pumped out by these stars excites the gas in the nebula to glow. We can see the cluster clearly in the center because massive blue-white stars in the cluster have strong stellar winds that are sweeping dust clear of the area.
Imaged with a Tele Vue NP127is APO (Nagler-Petzval) refractor equipped with ZWO ASI2600MC (color, CMOS, APC-C format) camera on Paramount MyT mount from driveway. Exposure of 3.33-hours through Triad Ultra Narrowband Filter for 20 x 600 seconds.

What do you like most about the NP127is after you started using it?

There are many things that could go wrong during an imaging session but this scope was never one of them.

All the positive reviews of Tele Vue-NP127is I read are true! The scope feels substantive but not heavy at all. It is 7-lbs lighter than the Sky-Watcher Esprit 120 I had but the Tele Vue-NP127is has a bigger and way faster lens. After star testing using my astro cameras, all sensors up to ASP-C (largest I have so far) captured pinpoint stars edge to edge. With the large field corrector, I feel it also future proofs me if I move to a larger sensor later. The stock focuser is robust, smooth, and accurate. I installed an Optec ThirdLynx DirectSync motor and I was able to run autofocusing routines and achieve repeatable accurate focus almost every time. There are many things that could go wrong during an imaging session but this scope was never one of them. Like one of the reviewers said, the Tele Vue-NP127is simply disappeared into the background and perform reliably every night. I believe my time under the stars is precious. Tele Vue-NP127is is indeed a worthy investment as the “only scope” for imagers. 

The Jellyfish Nebula by Instagram user Jun Luo (xchaos360). All rights reserved. Used by permission. This wide field Jellyfish Nebula (IC 443) image (right) includes the IC 444 nebula (left) that appears to “holds back” the jellyfish by a tenuous connection. Located in the constellation Gemini (the Twins), the star Eta Geminorum (Propus) to the right of the Jellyfish and represents a star in the foot of Castor.
Imaged with a Tele Vue NP127is APO (Nagler-Petzval) refractor equipped with ZWO ASI2600MC (color, CMOS, APC-C format) camera on Paramount MyT mount from driveway. Exposure of 4.33-hours through Triad Ultra Narrowband Filter for 26 x 600 seconds.

Meet the Tele Vue-NP127is!
Tele Vue-NP127is: 127mm aperture, f/5.2, flat-field APO (Nagler-Petzval) Refractor.
This 5″, fast f/5.2 scope is a Nagler-Petzval APO refractor (4-elements in 2-groups) based on our heritage of making exemplary wide field and planetary visual scopes. This scope comes with added features to make imaging easier and more flexible: it has a large 2.4″ rear aperture to cover 50-mm diagonal chips and a lockable tilting end-ring to compensate for any tilt induced by the accessory train. The included FocusMate dual-speed 10:1 focuser allows for fine-focus and accepts the optional motorized FDF-2004 Focusmate Driver for vibration-free, variable-speed, electronic motor control. For automated focusing, it is compatible with Starlight Instruments Focus Boss II system.
 
Sky & Telescope’s review of this versatile photo/visual scope raves that “if you expect better from a 5-inch, f/5 refractor, you probably haven’t been living on this planet.” They also reported, “no focus shift when switching between standard red, green, and blue filters used for conventional tricolor imaging — a tribute to the TV-NP127is’s superb color correction.”
 
The focuser is built to carry 12-lbs / 5.4-kg of payload, so it can handle most any filter-wheel / camera combinations or the heaviest Tele Vue eyepiece with ease. With a 4° maximum visual field of view, using our optional 55mm Plössl or 41mm Panoptic, this scope can act as its own finder. The OTA has a captive, sliding, metal dew shield, and screw-on metal lens cover. It comes in a custom-designed hard-shell carry case with room for all standard accessories.
 
“There’s no such thing as an all-purpose optical system for astrophotography, but if you’re looking for a 5-inch f/5.2 refractor that can cover today’s 37-mm-square CCDs, then you’ll be hard-pressed to do better than the TV-NP127is,” is how Sky & Telescope concluded their review.

Where do you do your imaging from?

I set up and tear down every night. All my images taken so far are from my driveway in the suburbs north of Tampa, Florida. It’s about Bortle 5/6 sky with plenty of street lights. The relative lightweight, without compromising any of the mechanical and optical qualities, is definitely one of the reasons I decided on the Tele Vue NP127is. It’s easy to set it up every night. Currently, my Tele Vue-NP127is sits on top of a Paramount MyT mount. It balances perfectly on both axes. I put a PrimaLuce Lab computer on top of the scope and control everything inside the house (to get away from the Florida humidity and bugs). This year I had mostly paired the Tele Vue-NP127is with the new ZWO ASI2600MC Pro camera. The images this combo captured had been bright and full of details.

Did you observe, sketch, or image with Tele Vue gear? We’ll like your social media post on that if you tag it #televue and the gear used. Example:
#televue #NP127is #ethos #jupiter

 
Instagram users! Do you want your Tele Vue images re-posted on Tele Vue Optics’ Instagram account? Use this hashtag for consideration:
#RPTVO

 

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (July 5th)
People in the Americas, western Europe, and Africa will see the third of four Lunar Eclipses this year. All are “penumbral” which means the Moon will pass through the dim outer shadow cast by the Earth. This slow-moving event will peak at 04:29:51 UT as the Moon passes through the edges of Earth’s shadow causing its northern hemisphere to darken slightly. 
Lunar Eclipse maps and data courtesy of Fred Espenak and Jean Meeus, “Five Millennium Catalog of Lunar Eclipses: -1999 to +3000” (NASA/TP-2009-214173). Dark areas see nothing, and shaded areas will see part of the event. “TD” differs from “UT” by slightly over a minute. See Key to Lunar Eclipse Figures.
The best way to prove to your friends an eclipse took place at all is with a time-lapse video showing the Moon “dipping its toes” in the Earth’s shadow. A smartphone with a time-lapse app makes it easy to do this. To reasonably enlarge the size of the Moon, you’ll need to image through your telescope with the smartphone. We recommend using the sturdy clamp-arms of Tele Vue’s FoneMate connected to a compatible low-power Tele Vue eyepiece. A tracking mount for your scope will help keep the Moon in view during the time-lapse.
 
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