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Nexstar 102 GT

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#1 ja313

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 04:28 PM

Hi all, long time lurker first time poster,I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Celestron Nexstar 102 gt refractor that is currently being sold at Costco stores,I know that the general rule of thumb is to avoid department store telscopes but this one lookes like it could be the exception with the $200.00 price point it seems like it could be a pretty good deal. :question:

#2 MikeBOKC

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 04:44 PM

For that price it is probably an OK beginner scope. Decent aperture, but with likely chromatic aberration. Go to, but a pretty lightweight mount that will do some shaking. All in all a starter scope a cut or two above department store level.

#3 csrlice12

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 06:17 PM

Agree with Mike. I was in Costco Yesterday and saw the Nexstar102GT there. At F10 chromatic aberration won't be a serious problem, and this scope will be pretty forgiving of cheaper eyepieces. The mount is very light, and would need someway to stableize it such as putting a heavy weight hanging from the tripod. The mount was mostly plastic, so that can raise some concerns. However, If all I had was $200 and wanted GoTo, this would be the one I'd buy. All in all, the scope itself is pretty good, it's the mount/tripod that is the weak link here. But, for the money, not a bad buy.

#4 WaterMaster

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:54 PM

Hi Ja313, welcome in from the shadows. :cool:

I used my Celestron 80mm NexStar for years and the mount never gave me any trouble. It is pretty shaky but as mentioned, there are ways to firm it up some (I hung a 10 pound weight from the tripod).

It's really a pretty good deal for a starter scope with goto. :ubetcha:

#5 ja313

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 09:36 PM

Thank you all for the replies, after thinking this over and being that I already have a small scope (60mm refractor) on a shakey mount, I think I will save my $200.00 and put it towards an 8 or 10 inch Dob.

#6 ClusterHunter110

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:38 AM

Hm...now that I look on Costco's website, they have an Astromaster 90EQ (which was the first scope I wanted before I was really educated in Astronomy)...I'm seriously considering that, but I'm not sure. It's tempting me GREATLY. :lol:

#7 BigC

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:25 AM

The 102 doesn't apear when I search Costco for "telescope",although the 90Eq and 4 others do.

#8 howard929

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:26 AM

Thank you all for the replies, after thinking this over and being that I already have a small scope (60mm refractor) on a shakey mount, I think I will save my $200.00 and put it towards an 8 or 10 inch Dob.


Wise move.

#9 tnakazon

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 07:10 PM

A friend of mine alerted me to this scope at Costco a couple of days ago, so the next day after work, I went to the nearest store, bought an annual membership card ($55), then went ahead and purchased this scope.

Good news is that it has a 2" focuser (and comes with a 1.25" adapter). The not so good news is that the 5 eyepieces are of the 2-element variety, the same ones found in the Celestron FirstScope and its optional accessory kit (4 Huygens, 1 Ramsden eyepiece).

Haven't tested it yet, hoping that false color won't be much of a problem on the brighter objects, given its f/9.8 focal ratio.

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#10 Dennis_S253

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:42 PM

That would be a good first scope I would think. Like said, you may have to weight the tripot some. But still a 4" is nothing to sneeze at. Heck thats all I have used for years.

#11 tnakazon

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:46 PM

Same here - all of the observing I've been doing the past 2 years are with scopes around 4 inches in aperture. Shown here are my two workhorses - the 100mm Orion SkyScanner and the 114mm Orion Starblast 4.5 - both fast f/4.0 Newtonians.

Looking forward to seeing how the views through the slower NexStar 102GT f/9.8 achromat compare with these two, especially on the planets.

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#12 newtoskies

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 10:24 PM

Not too bad of a deal. Been thinking of getting a cheap beginner grabNgo scope.

Rob

#13 GOLGO13

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:17 AM

Looks and sounds like an OK starting scope. The eyepieces are old school 2 element designs...which is somewhat surprising. But at 200 bucks you can afford to get new eyepeices. I'm reading pretty positive reviews online.

The biggest complaints were the eyepeices being old designs (I would actually kind of like that...trying out older designed eyepeices)and the tripod being shaky. I think vibration pads or hanging wieghts on the tripod could help there.

I think it looks like one of the better department store telescopes. Most of them look unuseable...especially the Meade ones at Sams Club and such.

#14 KWB

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:50 AM

I absolutely love the fact this telescope can utilise 2 inch eyepieces. About time for an entry level scope. Using an inexpensive aftermarket eyepiece like a 30mm GSO Superview,a little over a 2.0° TFOV capability is possible.

Despite the other obvious limitations when talking about a $200.00 setup,IMO that is at least a big step in the right direction.

#15 csrlice12

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 10:54 AM

On another thread, somebody mentioned that this scope demands you use the tracking as it is not built for manually moving the scope. Is this true?

#16 KWB

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 11:10 AM

On another thread, somebody mentioned that this scope demands you use the tracking as it is not built for manually moving the scope. Is this true?

Not true. This telescope can manually be slewed in any direction. The GOTO feature doesn't need to be used.

#17 csrlice12

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 12:17 PM

Thanks. I looked at this scope as a quick grabngo, but believe I'll just wait till Xmas and go for the Omni 102XLT instead....

but, since you can use it manually, that makes it a better deal...

#18 tnakazon

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 09:29 PM

On another thread, somebody mentioned that this scope demands you use the tracking as it is not built for manually moving the scope. Is this true?

Not true. This telescope can manually be slewed in any direction. The GOTO feature doesn't need to be used.

The GOTO feature does not need to be used on this scope, but you still need to use the automatic tracking system to slew the scope across the sky. The scope can be moved manually (by hand) up-and-down, but not left-to-right.

So if you don't want to use an external power source, best to use another mount for it, such as the Vixen Portamount or Skywatcher AZ4 alt-azimuth mount.

#19 BigC

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 01:02 AM

On another thread, somebody mentioned that this scope demands you use the tracking as it is not built for manually moving the scope. Is this true?

Not true. This telescope can manually be slewed in any direction. The GOTO feature doesn't need to be used.

I don't think so.Nexstar scopes typically can be moved up/down by hand but it more a safety feature for the motor than for observing.There are no clutch knobs to loosen.

The MEADE 102 GOTO refractor mount is different and the user can loosen the large knob on the bottom of the base for azimuth and the large knob on the arm for altitude,and then use the scope without batteries or electric and of course no tracking when manual.

One could buy the set,either one, and just use the OTA on a different mount.Then keep or sell the GOTO mount as desired.

#20 howard929

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 08:18 AM

On another thread, somebody mentioned that this scope demands you use the tracking as it is not built for manually moving the scope. Is this true?


I have one of those (102 SLT) and have yet to find a way to manually move it side to side. Loosening the nut doesn't help since the two sections meet with a plastic gear on each side. Go-TO isn't required to move it but without a power source for the hand controller, it's a paper weight.

#21 Dave Hederich

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 11:55 AM

I have a NexStar 60GT mount I'm adapting to carry my 102mm mak, and in the instruction manual it says:

In case of a loss of power, the optical tube can be moved by hand.

I've tried it, and it can be manually moved either up and down or side to side.

However, in the 102GT manual, it says:

In case of a loss of power, the optical tube can be moved up and down by hand.

Odd that they would change that, as the mounts look virtually identical.

#22 csrlice12

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:39 PM

That is a severe drawback if you ask me. Wonder why they made it this way? No doubt to save a couple of bucks, but you should at least be able to move ANY scope manually, if you can't, stay away, unless you like buying lots of batteries or being FULLY dependent upon power.

Also saw the 90mm on the EQ2 mount online for the same price...between the two, I'd go for the 90mm, believe it has a 1000mm f/l as well.

#23 BigC

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:48 PM

While the Meade DS mount can be used manually,and I have, the design is primarily aimed at Goto operation.It takes careful adjustment of the big knob tightness to get smooth manual motion without floppiness.

I find it is less aggravating to simply have two scopes :one manual and one computer-controlled.Just use the one that best serves the purpose at the time. Of course this means finding real good deals so one can afford two scopes.I really like my old Meade DS 90 white tube 90mm refractor AND my Celestron Firstscope 90 EQ !

#24 svrider1000

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 12:55 PM

Hi,

I just sold my XT10i and ETX80AT. I wanted an 102mm or larger refractor so I went to Costco yesterday and bought the Nextstar 102 GT to test out.

I got rid of my f/4.7 dob because I wanted more magnification and go to rather than push to. My ETX80AT was very fast at f/5 I believe and had super wide views also.

Here is a quick personal review from last night which was the first and only time I have used this scope so far.

I am very happy with the 102 GT so far and do not miss my Dob or EXT80 yet. So far I am seeing much more magnified views of objects that I was not able to see very well in the past with my existing eyepieces.

The go to was on the money after aligning it with the moon. The scope can be removed quickly and stored very easily.


Scope is much much quieter than my EXT and 80 GT scopes.

The Moon and Jupiter had no color issues since it is a slower refractor.

I saw the Andromeda galaxy last night better than I have in any of my other scopes.

Cons - The scope vibrates a lot but hopefully I can fix this. Also the scope is very light but super long I need to buy a really low stool or chair because even with the legs fully extended there are times I had to duck down and kneel really low to the ground to view some objects.

Comes with a battery power source that is external but I can live with that.

Works great with my right angle finder scope and regular eye pieces but with my Hyperion it is too heavy for the motor. So I have to use one or the other but not both. Maybe I will sell the RAFS and get a Telrad which I think will be lighter and can be placed higher up on the scope.


I loved the price of $199 and this is all the scope I need for my small back yard and somewhat light polluted area and until I can afford a nice 8 to 11 inch SCT. Also I may put it on a CG4 mount if I can find one at a reasonable price but if I can stabilize the current stand I may not be in a rush.

#25 csrlice12

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 01:31 PM

You'd be able to push mag better on that 10XTi then that 4". You would want a refractor for a wider FOV. Truthfully, a 4" refractor makes a good complimentary scope to a 10' Dob as its probably gonna give better contrast on planets and brighter objects. However, That Dob will see much fainter objects then that 4" refractor would even dream of.






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