focus, so we were pleased to see it well controlled. After a thrilling tour across the lunar landscape with our 26mm eyepiece, we added our 2x Barlow lens to view more detail. During moments when seeing conditions were good, the foor of the crater Plato was revealed as smooth, but with indications of small craters popping into view. Our Canon EOS 50D DSLR captured a nice view of the Moon, but it was a little on the small side at f/7. Swapping to our Altair Astro GPCAM2 290c colour camera, we captured several videos of the southern and northern hemispheres of the lunar landscape to produce crisp detailed images of the area covering Clavius and Tycho. The focuser held our various imaging cameras with no slippage and we were able to test plenty of accessories. Sadly, the best planets – Jupiter and Saturn – were too low along the ecliptic for us to view, but we did manage to see Mars, despite its small disk, and there was a polar cap and some subtle surface markings for us to enjoy.
We had to wait almost to the end of our review period for a night with no Moon and one of the clearest, darkest skies we’ve had recently for a deep-sky appraisal. Again, we took a visual tour of the night sky’s main delights, taking in wide-feld views of the Sword of Orion, using the Tele Vue Ethos 21mm eyepiece, with lots of nebulosity on show in the Orion Nebula. The Pleiades star cluster, M45, sparkled like diamonds on black velvet, with the Merope Nebula just viewable with averted vision. The Andromeda Galaxy, M31, was a little low down but we could see the faint disk stretching across a large part of the almost 3 ˚ wide feld of view and the companion galaxies were prominent.
Adding the DSLR camera we took images of the Sword of Orion and the Leo Triplet of galaxies. They showed reasonable colour correction, since imaging is always more demanding compared with visual, although we did note a little blurry chromatic aberration. Overall, however, the Ascent 102ED f/ 7 performed well and would make an excellent addition to your equipment collection.
A southern lunar landscape captured with the Ascent 102ED f/7 scope and a GPCAM2 290C camera. The stack has 2,000 frames The Leo Triplet of galaxies captured with the Ascent, 102, f/7 scope and an 0.8x focal reducer. The image is a stack of 21 frames, each 60-second exposures at ISO 800
A vivid view of the Sword of Orion captured with the Ascent 102 f/7 scope and a 0.8x focal reducer. The image is a stack of 13 frames, each 60-second exposures at ISO 400