WO FLT 110MM TMB and Polluted Sites
By Howard Lazarus
When I started out in astronomy about 20 years ago there were several sites in the New York area that were fairly good for those long cool nights. Naturally, I got involved in the quest for the best equipment for I always sought to get the best views....the most dramatic views of those objects that my fellow astronomers often marveled at.
Equipment often took first place over the real purpose of the hobby, the study of the skies. What I did and so many of us do is start collecting equipment.
I had the Meade LX 200 Classic, the Meade LX 200 GPS 7" Mak and if that was not enough I purchased and used the Astro Physics 130MM with their 600 GOTO mount. No that was not good enough for when I moved down to Boynton Beach Florida I installed a steel pier (cemented into the ground) to be used with the AP mount and 130MM scope.
GOTO mounts and the larger apature scopes have their place but to me, I was exhausted with the weight of the setup, with the wires hanging everywhere, with making sure all batteries were fully charged and of course setting up the observing chair which was too often in the wrong position due to the changing positions of the goto scope to seek out different objects!
Two years ago I just sold everything and decided to give the hobby a rest. I started to seek out a way to really enjoy the night skies. I wanted a first class refractor (those are the scopes I favored) and a simple but reliable mount... without wires all over the place and if possible NO batteries.
After careful research I found what was for me the perfect scope and mount setup. I purchased the William Optic FLT 110MM TMB scope. This 4.33" scope is a real winner. The pebble white finish with gold trim makes the scope highly attractive and the weight is just 14 LBS and is easy for me to handle.
The 4" rotating focuser and the rotating camera adjustment was just the thing to avoid those sometimes strange and back breaking positions us amateurs sometimes get into.
The 3 element air spaced objective designed by Thomas Back snapped those stars into pin point objects that gave one the ability to seek out and enjoy splitting double stars with ease.
Focusing was a joy for this 770MM focal length scope using the Crayford focuser and the buttery smooth focusing knob placed objects especially, planets and moon in stunning view. At this focal length magnification was more than ample!!
Even though I live in a highly light polluted area I have taken out my FLT 110MM on to my driveway for a viewing sessions. I am often pleased that this 4.33" scope has marvelous light grasping ability to the extent that I view several nebulae objects in clear and detailed view. That to me is a sign of the quality of optics one can expect from the WO FLT 110.
My setup is now very neat. I use a Discmount DM4 Alt/Azi mount with a simple tripod and the Sky Commander DSC. No battery...no wires...5 minutes setup and no heavy weights to carry and tolerate.
I have owned impressive equipment in the past but, for those of us that are tired of traveling to sites, with heavy equipment and wish to seek out the joy of getting out there this f/7 scope will deliver excellent visual and photographic results. Placing the WO FLT 110 on to a great Alt/Az mount namely the DM 4 is a good way to proceed and really enjoy the hobby almost hassle free!
The WO FLT 110MM F/7 TMB scope is a fine instrument and cost is $2798 which I consider a good buy at that price and the Discmount (which is expensive, but, quality and function is unsurpassed) is about $2000.
Yes the setup does total out to about $5000.00 but, divide that by the greatly increased number of times you will use the scope and mount and the many hours of enjoyment you will reap, in my view, this investment is worth every dollar!
Clear skies to all and get out there.
Boynton Beach, Florida