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Vixen Sphinx for AP w/ ED80 and C6 SCT?

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#1 Taylor

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 03:24 AM

I currently have my Nexstar 8" GPS, in my sig as my main scope. I have a pretty busy life and don't find much time to use the beast with all the extra stuff for astrophotography.
By the time it is set up with the tripod, wedge, Nexstar 8", and ED80 piggyback with computer cabling ready to go, the sucker weighs about 115-120 lbs and takes quite a bit of time. Also, all that gear in their plastic cases takes up the entire rear of my Xterra, thats a lot of space for one setup.

I'm considering ditching such an involved setup and getting something like the Vixen Sphinx to use with my Orion ED80 and Celestron 6" SCT, depending on what I want to image that night.
The Sphinx is attractive to me as it is lightweight, 20lbs fully assembled, easy to use, can be autoguided, plugs into my Macbook Pro's ethernet port for control, freeing up my 2 USB ports. I have read some people don't like the Starbook, but for a quick look doing visual it looks like a winner for me, and when doing AP I'll be connected via the Macbook on The Sky 6 Pro, so it won't make a difference.

The setup I'm envisioning is the Sphinx mount, either of my OTAs, Orion OAG for guiding using the DSI-C and a GPUSB, and using my Canon 10D for the primary imaging camera. To me this looks like an awesome lightweight setup that is quick to toss up and start taking pictures. Or with my 6" SCT doing some visual observing. I may save up like $450 and buy a used 8" SCT off AMart one day if I miss the aperture, time will tell on that one.

What do you guys think of this for a quick, easy, imaging setup?
I looked at mounts like the Atlas EQ-G, but it weighs as much as the base Nexstar GPS and defeats the purpose. The GM-8, but it costs more than I want to spend with GoTo and I prefer the integrated motors on the Sphinx (also read some AP reviews of the GM-8 and for the price its not better than the autoguided PEC Sphinx). Previously had an LXD75 and will not be purchasing another Chinese made mount that requires extra tuning and work to get it to function as an adequate AP mount.

#2 iluxo

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 06:57 AM

I have an SXW and while it is OK for visual with a 7" f/15 Mak, it is not OK for astrophography. The same will be true with a 8" SCT.

You might find it adequate for AP with say an 80mm f/7 refractor, but it is not suitable for AP with anything bigger/longer/heavier.

The old rule that the diameter of the worm wheels should be at least 50" of the apertue of the scope applies, IMHO and in this respect the Sphinx is far too flimsy to do AP with an 8".

You really need a Losmandy G-11 or similar.

#3 Taylor

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 07:41 AM

I'm really only planning on doing AP with it on the ED80 and the C6 SCT. The C6 is 10 lbs. and short, so it does not exhibit much torque.

Lets not discuss G-11's, SXD's, stuff of that price range and size (or EQ-G size as well), because that is not happening.

The 8" SCT I mentioned would be for strictly visual observing.

#4 adamsp123

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 09:45 AM

I have had a meade 10" SNT at 29lbs on the basic sphinx with HAL tripod AND used it for AP unguided 1 min subs no worries, it is an incredible mount, I got myself an Atlux now for AP but the Sphinx I am keeping as a most excellent grab and go.
With HAL tripod, for stabilty do not extend legs, use a pillar, and make sure "vigorously" the legs are at maximum spread then it is real steady.

#5 sctchun

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 10:01 PM

Hi Taylor,

I do AP on my Sphinx with the Meade 80mm with great results. I'm able to get 10 minute guided shots using the Orion Starshoot Autoguider.

I'm currently waiting for my new AT 8" F4 newt to arrive.

Steven

#6 Taylor

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 08:24 AM

Hi Taylor,

I do AP on my Sphinx with the Meade 80mm with great results. I'm able to get 10 minute guided shots using the Orion Starshoot Autoguider.

I'm currently waiting for my new AT 8" F4 newt to arrive.

Steven


Steven,
What is your guiding setup for that?
Do you use an off axis guider? Or a smaller scope piggybacked? What is your main imager?

Thanks,
Taylor

#7 Jeroen

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 01:40 PM

Adam,

Just wondering, how does your Atlux perform ? What is the maximum load capacity for AP ?

Jeroen

#8 sctchun

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 01:48 PM

Hi Taylor,

I use a Mini Borg 50mm mounted on finderscope rings mounted on the rings for my 80mm. My main imager is a unmodified Canon XTi.

Steven

#9 adamsp123

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 03:19 PM

According to the data the Atlux can manage 22Kgs or nearly 50lbs now judging by the fact that the basic sphinx could handle my 29lbs of SNT properly balanced with 2.5x standard weights I would say these are conservative numbers.
I haven't had chance to use the Atlux much due to the weather but the couple of times I have had it going it is excellent. With the SNT on board it tracks and slews without effort and I will be adding a C80ED guidescope side by side mounted and I don't think it will struggle at all with that on it but THAT would overload the sphinx.
I bought both the Sphinx and Atlux secondhand because as new they are a bit pricey and anyone on a tight budget should go for the EQ6 PRO which is very capable.....but I love the starbook and the build quality of the Vixen kit is very good if as I say pricey, and it is pretty light in weight a good plus in my books. The Sphinx plus tripod is very easy to lift the Atlux is heavier but not beyond me by any means and I am no Mr Universe!
Hope that helps

#10 Taylor

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 07:17 AM

Well I went ahead and purchased the Sphinx mount to use with the 80ED.
Now I'm trying to decide if I want to purchase or build a 50mm guidescope for my setup.
Hopefully I will have some AP results to post up from the Sphinx and 80ED within the next couple weeks.

#11 amys

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 10:16 AM

Please let us know how you like it.

#12 Renae Gage

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 12:32 AM

Some pics of your set up and/or some AP results would be greatly appreciated!

#13 adamsp123

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 09:25 AM

Pic of my SNT 10" with canon attached on Vixen sphinx with HAL tripod and extension pillar.

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#14 adamsp123

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 09:54 AM

With above setup, maybe even that night 20 x 30 sec subs unguided.

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#15 sctchun

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 08:49 PM

Hi Eric,

Sorry, I don't have a picture of my setup, but using the setup I mentioned in an earlier post, I took this experimential 10 min guided shot of Omega Centauri with my Canon XTi and an Astro Tech Field Flattener.

Steven

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#16 Renae Gage

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 09:29 PM

Outstanding shot!






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