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Celestron 9.25 CPC
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During the past two years, I have been volunteering at Bryce National Park and have assisted with several evening star-gazing programs. There have been times when we have had in excess of 200 visitors eager to look through the telescopes. Although the park uses an assortment of reflectors, refractors, and compound telescopes, it is the Schmidt-Cassegrains that are the workhorses for the astronomy program. Telescopes for group star-gazing need to be durable, good for viewing all types of objects and preferably equiped with Go-To capability. The Celestron CPC telescopes certainly fit the bill.
I purchased my 9.25" CPC after doing extensive research. This particular scope seems to have a dedicated following, as the mirror is configured differently from other Schmidt-Cassegrain scopes. Astro-photographers seem to prefer the 9.25 format, claiming that it gives a flatter field of view. However, I cannot substantiate these claims, since I use my scope exclusively for visual work. The reason I purchased this scope is because I wanted an all-purpose excellent performer.
So how does this scope stack up as an all-purpose telescope? First of all, it is an excellent scope to use for star-gazing with large groups. The scope is big and heavy, but it can be set up and aligned in 10-15 minutes. Once the scope is properly aligned, it can track objects for at least a couple of hours. The better the alignment and accuracy of leveling the tripod, the better the tracking will be. I have found that this scope, coupled with a low or medium power wide-field eyepiece, is perfect for group star-gazing. This is an F10 scope, so an expensive eyepiece isn't necessary to provide nice views.
Aligning the telescope is really very easy. However, it is necessary to level the tripod. There is a built-in bubble on the tripod, so this is relatively easy to achieve. There are several choices for aligning, and I usually use the two-star auto alignment. First, I align one star and then enter the name of a second star. The scope slews to the second star, and then I center the second star in the eyepiece. That's all! The GoTo is a snap and works great! My CPC has a GPS system, which makes the process even easier.
Of course, the most important consideration of any telescope is the performance of its optics. Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to compare the 9.25 with Schmidt-Cassegrain scopes of different aperatures. In my opinion, the 9.25 seems just a little sharper than other Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. The 9.25 is an excellent performer on a variety of deep-sky objects, especially open and globular clusters, nebulae and double-stars. I've also gotten very good views of the planets through this scope.
This telescope is an excellent all-around performer, and I highly recommend it for visual astronomy. However, the 9.25CPC is not equiped for time-exposure photography. It is necessary to purchase a special wedge for the tripod in order to do astro-photography. If your main interest is astro-photography, you might consider the Celestron 9.25 on a German equatorial mount.
- Leslie DeLong likes this