The Traveler

The Traveler is an 105mm (4.1") apochromatic refractor made by Astro-Physics. Stars appear as pinpoints against a velvet black background. No extraneous color is detected on bright stars or the limb of the moon. The OTA is 19" long with the dew cap protracted and easily classifies as carry-on luggage.

At f/5.8, the Traveler is a rich-field instrument and provides stunning views of the North American Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, and open star clusters. With a 35mm Panoptic eyepiece, the entire Veil Nebula can be seen in one field. The scope also gives excellent high-power planetary images.

The small 4" aperture results in dimmer images compared to an 8" SCT. However, in side-by-side comparisons, I could not detect any extended objects (galaxies or nebulae) in an 8" SCT that were not visible in the Traveler. This may be due to a darker background sky in the Traveler. The increased contrast also results in more pleasing images.

I often use the Traveler with a Televue Gibraltar altazimuth mount. The scope and mount are usually kept assembled in the house and are carried out as a unit to the backyard. I modified the mounting plate to facilitate balancing the scope and attaching/removing the OTA. Look here to see the Traveler on the Gibraltar mount and to see the modified mounting plate.

I exclusively use a telrad finder (with a dew shield) for locating objects. I have the mini-NGC digital setting circles with the SkyTour encoders on the Gibraltar, but I never use them. My most used eyepiece is the Pentax XL 10.5 mm, which gives me about 60x and a 1.1° field. For higher power planetary viewing I use an Astro-Physics barlow with either the Pentax XL eyepieces or University Optic's orthos. For wide fields I use a Panoptic 27 mm, but it needs dark skies for best results.

I also have a Losmandy GM-8 mount for the Traveler (pictured above). It is much heavier than the Gibraltar mount and therefore more stable. Although it is possible to use the Gibraltar up to 200x, tracking and focusing become a chore with that mount. Therefore, I like to use the GM-8 for high power planetary viewing. The GM-8 also allows astrophotography. See my Deep Sky Images pages for some photographs taken with the Traveler on the GM-8. I have also gotten a few nice images of the planets.

As its name implies, the Traveler is relatively portable, and there is little excuse not to take it on vacation. Here is picture of Lynne ready to go on a trip with my, I mean our, Traveler. The OTA, diagonal, telrad, and barlow fit in the bag that came with the Traveler. A small airline travel bag is used to hold the Gibraltar head, binoculars, eyepieces (which are in a nylon camera bag), maps and miscellaneous observing gear. Both bags are carried on the airplane and stored in the overhead bin or under the seat. The Gibraltar tripod is in a Tenba tri-pac case and must be checked in as luggage. One person can easily manage all three bags. All that is missing is an observing chair and a battery for the anti-dew heaters.

 

Traveler page at Astro-Physics

Traveler page at Company Seven

 

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