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Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6

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#26 astrogeoguy

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 02:38 PM

I've had an LS-8 for about about 15 months now. Because of the onboard GPS, compass, and tilt meters, it has a distinct advantage over the older scopes. Lately, at star parties and public outreach events, I've been the first scope in operation. I let it run through it's setup in nearly broad daylight, then wait to visually spot the first object that appears in twilight. I slew to it, select it in the Autostar Objects menu, and sync on it - and we're good to go! Later, when it's dark, I might do a full align.

It's portable, but a bit prone to vibration, so I bungee the battery to the spreader and use a Meade zero image shift motor focuser.

Even after the occasional firmware error, it has continued to work until until I do a full reload (25 minutes from a 2Gb micro SD card which I always have with me.)

#27 ProAstroPD

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 05:50 PM

I've had an LS-8 for about about 15 months now. Because of the onboard GPS, compass, and tilt meters, it has a distinct advantage over the older scopes. Lately, at star parties and public outreach events, I've been the first scope in operation.


As a comparison - the SP without levelers, compasses and GPSes - you set it out and turn it on. Whereever in the world you are.

It begins moving about the night sky; 3-8+ minutes later it is done, aligned, no GPS setup, it is fast, after dozens of runs; and you can GOTO to your heart's content.

#28 Geo.

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 06:48 PM

I picked up an LS-8 or $500 from an owner who had just given up on trying to bring it back from the black screen of death. From what I've read the problem can be solved by upgrading the firmware. Researching that gets you any number of bizaar requirments like: no HDMicoSD memory can be used, memory must be formatted in FAT not in NTFS, etc. It starts to sound a little like witchcraft or working on old British cars...."whilst holding the spanner". Let you know how it works out. Meanwhile, the CGEM with the CN-16 GPS, one button align and the goto object is in the finder.

#29 boogieman

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 01:43 PM

Thank's for the info,i have a sky prodigy 6 and i love it the whole scope is on the light side and that's a plus for portability,I have a motorcycle gel cell battery that sits nicly in the tripod tray the extra weight make's it more stable. I own a meade etx-125,etx-90,and 12" lightbridge.
they are all great scopes and have their quirk's,The sky prodigy 6 does a great job aligning itself, All i have to do is level the tripod and push a button!. no pointing to polaris, no home position,no gps,My 6 yr old grandson could align this thing. This is definatly a great portable scope for traveling around with to star party's whatever, what a nice job celestron did. but the meade scope's are staying in my observatory. they all have their place and different use's.
go try one you will like it. the only problem is cord wrap thats all. seeya john

#30 TonyBegg

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Posted 15 August 2012 - 11:11 PM

Just joined CN so I could thank ProAstroPD for his posts on this thread. Bought a SkyProdigy 90mm Maksutov for friend's 8 year old daughter. Unfortunately lives in an apartment with balcony, light pollution and limited horizon so not so automatic a set up. Just bought the 70 mm refractor Sky Prodigy for myself (cheapest) with a view to seeing whether I can somehow adapt it to carry larger telescope (like an AT8RC ordered at same time). Maybe by looking at the communication between camera, computer and drive the signals could be used for a beefier mount. I think this technology really has its uses, and not just for beginners. I started to trim down and re-implement the Astronomy.net astrometric solver for the same purpose, but would like to experiment (apart from software I would need a camera and so forth) and ProAstroPD's post convinced me of that. I think that not just alignment but pointing would benefit from this "lost in space" technology. You could replace Digital Setting Circles with something that clips to your scope and just tells you what you are looking at. Light pollution gets in the way of alignment (when you cannot recognize stars because of glare). I would like to be able to drive to a dark site and just start observing - or even to a car park nearby with glare provided such a system can work in these conditions. In principle CCDs attached to lenses can see better than we can, and everyone knows that even in the most glare-prone situations when you look through your telescope you can see the stars. I think rapid deployment scopes have a place in what I call "guerrilla astronomy", useful for people that are tired from working all day and perhaps want to do a bit of real astronomy. Drive to dark site, be working in minutes, do some photometry or whatever, drive home. This is not toy technology. I witnessed the change from pre-GOTO (the Isaac Newton at Herstmonceux) to post-GOTO (Anglo Australian Telescope where Pat Wallace and John Straede developed TPoint and 3 arc second RMSE whole sky pointing) and the change in productivity (and the change from red lights to bright control rooms) was astounding. I see no problem with technology that makes things more time-effective, even though star hopping with a Dob keeps us closer to Sir William Herschel and other great observers (who could do it full time, in a fixed observatory, without light pollution and with a good horizon). Sorry for really long first post.

#31 MrFiremouth

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:38 PM

Well guys I pulled the trigger on the LS8. It was $2k new and super expensive for me but all the reviews I found were good and I hate doing star alignments. So I got the scope a few months back and love it!

I throw one switch and it does its thing and I am good to see any thing in the catalog that is above the horizon. I would say that the best new option the manufacturers of telescopes with GOTO could make is eliminate targets that are not above the horizon from the options screen until they are viewable.

I am a hit at star parties and outreach events. My max magnification on planets and moon is with a 2.5 televue powermate and an 8mm TMB eyepiece. There is a lot of atmospheric bouncing at the high magnifications and focusing can take some time.

Sometimes an alignment won't take and I have to try again by turning the switch on and off, but it usually always takes the second time.

As for dead center in the eyepiece, things are usually a bit to the upper right corner of the eyepiece but I still find them.

I hated the reliability of the GOTO of my GT5 mount with my C6 refractor. If I made any errors I was star hopping and it drove me nuts. I did enjoy the views of the C6 though.

Now if only we could get rid of light pollution.....

#32 BigC

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 10:02 AM

I too bought the SkyProdigy 70 with the idea of using the mount on bigger scopes.An 8" SCT is too much,but a 6" is fine.A 8" R-C will likely be too heavy also.

You do know the auto alignment can now be bought as an accessory to most Celestron goto mounts? It is $329 or more !An AVX mount and StarSe3nse would be about $1K but would probably do what you want.

#33 REC

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 01:25 PM

Fun scope and sure is nice flipping the switch and taking the tours. I like the on for the constellations. Besides identifying the names of the stars it is the DSO's in each that saves me a lot of time. As for top magnification, usually around 200ish depending on the seeing.

Clear skies!

Bob

#34 astrogeoguy

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 03:45 PM

MrFiremouth, you might get more accurate GOTOs if you perform a Finder Calibrate.

#35 TonyBegg

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 09:19 PM

Thanks BigC. I was an early adopter of the StarSense. I have had some problems with it though. Early on it did the fully automatic alignment OK, modulo some problems with adjusting for cone error (that I had not had to do with the Sky Prodigy). I found it much more difficult to manually StarSense align than the Sky Prodigy (on my limited horizon patio). Last time I used it at an elementary school star party fully automatic it hung (repeatedly) when it was "acquiring image" for the 3rd star, having solved the first two each time. I had to revert to the finder scope and the NexStar+ hand control and then somehow the mount was totally out of whack, driving into the limits on the calibration stars. What are you looking at mister? became kinda embarrassing when the kids with 8 inch Dobs were all showing objects and I was still at square one. When I got home I found a cone error of 10 degrees! I reset to factory settings and started from scratch with the NexStar+ and have shelved the StarSense until I hear of a firmware upgrade. Disappointing. I still think a more useful device would be something on all the time that clips to a Dobsonian or whatever and just does a lost-in-space plate solve at whatever it is pointing at to act like a digital setting circle without encoders (using the stars as encoders).

#36 azure1961p

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:17 PM

i will second uncle rods suggestion about buying a nexstar 6. i have one and love it!! the mount is light, the goto is accurate and easy to set up. i have it on a table top.


+1 on what Rod and you say . My Nexstar 6SE IS dynamite in every aspect. I've always or so often it seems always, had heard of awful Meade electronics I stay clear away. This Meade you mention may be nice but if it ain't it can be quite simply awful. They have a horrendous QC track record Ive never seen in Celestron. In the end the folks with the good Meades love em and the ones with the issues - well ever issues.


Pete






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