Vintage Celestron SP-C102F Fluorite Apochromatic Refractor on Super Polaris mount

SKU: U2303-DP-CF-102F

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  • $1,749.95
  • Regular price $2,800.00

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Not Returnable Please note that used items are not returnable.

This is a vintage 102mm Fluorite apochromatic refractor in excellent condition.  Although labelled a Celestron, this is a rebranded Japanese Vixen.  It is on consignment from one of our customers who always takes excellent care of all of his equipment, and this one is no exception.  

It is approximately 30 years old, but the optics are as clean as a whistle.  There are some very minor scuffs on the tube, consistent with normal usage.  The Super Polaris mount is also in very good shape.  

The scope is designed for use on the included Super Polaris mount, meaning, the connecting screws between the scope rings and the mount are designed to fit each  other.   


ASTRONOMY, June 1990, pg.52, "ASTRONOMY Tests Four Medium-Aperture Refractors". The testers said, "The C102F is as color-free as any refractor we've ever seen...Optically the Celestron was tops..."

SKY & TELESCOPE, April 2004, pg. 124, "Daytime Telescoping Testing" by Ernie Pfannenschmidt. The data showed that the C102F had a Chromatic aberration of 0.015 percent whereas the other four OTAs tested were between 0.019-0.057 percent. The same C102 along with two other OTAs tested had no visual color.

Also in both Phillip S. Harrington's, STAR WARE 2nd edition on pg. 110, and 3rd edition pg. 180, he listed "10 of the Best Telescopes of Yesteryear," (from ratings sent in by his readers) and the C102F was among them.

In the text portion of his first edition of STAR WARE, on page 63, Mr. Harrington states: "As good as the C102 is, the C102F is in an entirely different class. Though it costs considerably more than the C102, the higher price is offset by the instrument's exceptional quality. Contrast, false color supression, and sharpness are all extraordinary. The images produced by the C102F are amoung the best of any 4-inch aprochromat sold today." (1994)

Also, THE BACKYARD ASTROMONOMER'S GUIDE, revised edition, by Terence Dickinson & Alan Dyer, on page 60, under "Great Telescopes of the Past," rated the "Celestron/Vixen Flourite Apo Refractors... as ...supersharp..., and are amoung the finest small-aperture refractors ever made." (2002)

Another reviewer on the internet said, "Superb scope for the money, almost no false color, superb color correction, good spherical correction."  

We do not have the shipping boxes for this, so this is for in-store pickup only.  



  • SP-C102F f/8.8 102mm fluorite apochromatic 
  • 900mm Focal Length
  • Smooth single-speed 1.25” R&P focuser
  • Two rings, vixen style dovetail, original 6x30 finder included

Exquisite! Awesome! Such words are no strangers to owners of the Vixen 102FL refractors. The 102FL is among the most expensive and difficult telescopes to produce - the Apochromat refractor. These apochromatic telescopes were introduced in the early 1980's in order to provide the finest optical imaging performance for the serious amateur astronomer. While the same lens was sold at higher cost in a heavier optical tube marketed by another company, the 102FL has been distributed through the years by Vixen of Japan. Comparison reviews of 4 inch Apos by amateurs and publications consistently rated the 102FL in first place, or among the top two or three. And although the 1990's produced faster refractors (such as those f5 to f6 models we offer by Astro-Physics and by TeleVue), few people will be able to see any difference in the quality of view at similar magnifications between the 102 Fluorite Apo and other first rate refractors. And most people will appreciate the relatively light weight construction, affordability, and ready availability of the 102FL. The 102FL is versatile as not only as a wonderful first telescope, but as a second quick and easy to use telescope, or finder/guide telescope on a larger telescope.

Pure Calcium Fluorite The air spaced doublet objective lens of the 102FL is designed to provide precise optical color correction. The 102FL's objective incorporates a crown element made of pure Calcium Fluorite grown under laboratory conditions. Colors of the spectrum have differing wavelengths, to see this consider how in a normal optical glass prism the red and blue rays are bent at slightly different angles as they pass through. This dispersion results in color fringing manifested usually as a slight violet halo around objects that contrast one against the other, and an overall lack of sharpness. In camera normal and wide-angle lenses this is imperceptible or can be corrected with other techniques, but telescopic lenses magnify the variation in focus between red and blue light rays. Camera lens making companies (Carl Zeiss, Nikon, and Canon) were among those who pioneered the Extra-Low Dispersion glasses, and the Fluorite crystal technologies to solve this problem. This crystal material provides reduced chromatic aberration in portions of the spectrum from the D (yellow), through C (red), F ( blue) and G (purple) Fraunhofer lines. The transmitted wavelength from 0.125 to 10 microns is twice that of BK-7 - Borosilicate Crown glass.

Also this lens design permits the construction of a more compact and improved alternative to traditional Achromatic f11-f15 refracting telescope designs. It makes possible performance that is better than conventional Crown glass and ED Fluorocrown glass alternatives; and in fact the 102FL can only be rivaled or bested by a few Apos which incorporate a triplet Fluorite lens, or the latest generation SD Fluorocrown glasses. Very few companies in the world have been able to consistently manufacture high performance Calcium Fluorite lenses, but a subsidiary of Canon has proven this technology for use by Vixen and by other reputable Apo makers. A controlled optical bench star test will show zone free symmetrical diffraction patterns in and out of focus, with crisp hard diffraction rings.

Who is Vixen? Vixen is the company who manufactures the optical tube, GP and GP-DX mount, and many accessories. In the U.S.A. their products are usually distributed through third parties. Vixen was founded as a wholesale distributor of optical goods in Japan in October 1949 by the present Chairman, Mr. Kosuke Tuchida. The automated manufacturing of the optical tube mechanical components and of the optional Vixen Great Polaris mount by Vixen Development and Manufacturing Co., Ltd. allow this telescope and suitable mounts to be priced most attractively. As when introduced, the 102FL remains a best value 4" Apochromatic refractor. Vixen made Fluorite Apos were for a time available in 70mm, 80mm, 90mm and 102mm but now only the 80mm and 102mm models remain in production. In all of our years of selling the Vixen Apos (for a time distributed by Celestron), Company Seven has never experienced any instance of less than praise from the owners of these lenses. Anyone who demands better performance or versatility will have to be able to pay the extra $1,000 or more to obtain it.

Incidentally Vixen was named after a reindeer in Clement Clark Moore's famous 1822 ballad: "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer!, and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!"

What does it do? The Apochromatic refractor has been the traditional top choice of visual astronomers. The combination of thermal stability, best view per pound of telescope, clear high contrast images, and apparent brightness can surpass more expensive designs such as the 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.


The degree of lens perfection in the 102FL is so good that there is barely any perceptible false color even when observing at high magnifications on the brightest stars such as Vega. False color is not likely to be seen on the Moon, or planets including a very bright Venus! And the lens is very well corrected for spherical aberration providing views of . This telescope provides stunning lunar and planetary observing; it can clearly reveal changing features on several planets through out observing seasons. You may imagine you are seeing details on the moon as if you were in orbit - even though the smallest object you could see with this telescope will actually be about 4 kilometers in diameter! Star clusters may appear three dimensional, with stars floating as intense diamonds against a black velour background. Those who like to play "telescope testing" are likely to be pleasantly surprised at the Airy disk and diffraction ring patterns appearing distinct and nearly symmetrical in and out of focus, with no signs of zones or roughness - tell tale signs of patient and professional lens making.

Aside from brilliant performance at higher magnifications, the telescope is quite at home sweeping the Milky Way, or Comet hunting. This is an easily manageable telescope with the unobstructed 101.9mm light gathering power and fields of view to recognize many of the popular deep sky objects. Tease subtle details out of coy deep-sky denizens: Galaxies, Star Clusters, Nebulae, Planetary Nebulae, etc.. Try a TeleVue 31mm Nagler Type 5 at 43x showing 2.64 degrees - more area than the 35mm Panoptic with a view akin to looking out of a port hole! The combination of field of view and light gathering power will make hunting the large deep sky objects very rewarding, even more so with optional light pollution rejection filters.


Features of the Vixen 102 FL Fluorite Apochromat Refractor:


  • Lightweight, yet precise mechanical construction of metal and aluminum.
  • Focuser draw tube includes reducer to accept furnished 1.25" (31.7mm) accessories
  • Focuser tension adjusting/locking screw permits the user to secure focus with heavy loads attached (such as a film or CCD camera) so that focus will not accidentally change over the course of an exposure or viewing session
  • Adjustable Objective Cell: Push-Pull design
  • Optics very smoothly hand finished
  • Clamping Tube Mounting Rings allow easy installation or balancing of OTA
  • Achromatic 6x 30 Finder, 8 Degree Field of View
  • Quick Release Bracket for Finder
  • Dew Shield - thread on and easily removed, 6-7/16" (163mm) long
  • Lens Cover with 45mm Solar Aperture Stop
  • Illustrated instruction manual
  • Five year Limited Warranty


Clear aperture: 101.9mm (4")
Focal length: 902mm (35.5")
Resolution (visual): 1.14 arc seconds
Resolution (photo): 0.73 arc seconds
Coatings: Multi-layer on Flint
Light Gathering Power: about 190X that of unaided eye
Visual Magnitude Limit: About 12.3
Magnification range: 16x to 400x
Tube assembly construction: Painted finish, aluminum tube; fully baffled, collimate able Push-Pull cell construction
Tube assembly length: 38.2 Inches (970mm)
Tube assembly diameter: 4.53 Inches (115mm)
Focuser type: 2 inch rack and pinion
Focuser Travel: 3.125 inches
Telescope length with 1.25" diagonal: 100.3cm (39.5") with dew cap
Weight with diagonal: 7.9 lbs. (3.6 kg)
35mm prime-focus field: 2.22 x 1.5 x 2.7 degrees @ f8.9
35mm field with Focal Reducer: 3.59 x 2.46 x 4.39 degrees (vignetted) @ f5.5
35mm field with 2x Barlow: 1.1 x 0.8 x 1.4 degrees @ f17.4