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Nexstar 102 GT

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#151 svrider1000

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:32 AM

My opinion is if you are into this hobbie and can afford a 6 or 8SE then go for it. Even a 4 or 5 SE are nice because of the long focal length and short tubes and are much lighter than the bigger scopes. So they may get used more often. When I got my 8SE I used it less than most of my other scopes because how heavy it was. Just my honest opinion.

#152 GOLGO13

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

My opinion is if you are into this hobbie and can afford a 6 or 8SE then go for it. Even a 4 or 5 SE are nice because of the long focal length and short tubes and are much lighter than the bigger scopes. So they may get used more often. When I got my 8SE I used it less than most of my other scopes because how heavy it was. Just my honest opinion.


As svrider1000 points out, each person has their weight limits for scope setups. And or each person has their motivation limits for setting up a scope. A 8SE scope weighs 33 pounds all assembled. In telescope terms I'd call that a darn light scope. My 10 inch dob's OTA weighs about that much by itself.

Some scopes require a lot of assembly each time you want to observe...and that can cause a scope to stay in the closet sometimes.

Other times a huge heavy scope which needed a lot of steps to be assembled stays assembled in someone's garage or shed and just get's wheeled out. So it really depends on the situation. For instance, my 6 inch dob stay's assembled and sits in my closet. I can move it all at once outside (weighs 34 pounds). Whereas my 80mm refractor which I mount on my vixen porta mount is put away in it's soft case everytime. And the porta mount is stored away as well. It takes me 1 minute to get my 6 inch dob outside, whereas it takes me 10 minutes to get my 80mm outside. Little kids preclude me from keeping my 80mm setup.

All of these factors should be considered when deciding on a scope design/setup. Including the viewing position one will be in during observations. That being said, I didn't complain too much climbing a tall ladder to look through a 30 inch dob :bigshock:

#153 MikeBOKC

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:13 AM

Usul since cost is not a major factor for you, you might also take a look at the CPC 800. The dual fork mouny adds a lot more stability, and transport, setup and viewing positions are all very nice.

#154 Astrosetz

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

As the owner of many telescopes, I can tell you that the Nexstar 102GT is a very good scope for a beginner, but there are a few shortcomings. If you're at all handy, $40 at your local Home Depot and 90 minutes with a handheld drill and handheld jigsaw will yield replacement legs that will transform the scope (see astrosetz.wordpress.com). Get a 90-degree diagonal from eBay for $20 and you're good to go; the included eyepieces are actually not bad and quite usable. You'll have a wonderful 4" refractor on a stable mount and an eyepiece that will be at a comfortable level for adults as well as kids (the length of the tube and position when it's pointed skyward are actually advantageous here).

However, if you want to upgrade right away and are looking at SCTs, I'd suggest going to at least a 6SE. I have a Nexstar 5 in my collection; the view through the 102GT is superior in terms of sharpness, and there is barely any discernable difference in image brightness. A 8SE will be easy to use, light enough you can carry it outside assembled (if you're young and strong), and it's plenty stable for visual use. CPC 800 is another great choice, but at the expense of weight and cost. I used to tell people spending over $1,000 on a first telescope is foolish, no matter how much money you have. These days I push that limit a bit for the 8SE :)

#155 csrlice12

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:29 PM

5-year old daughter........

6" f8--Orion 6XTg. This is a scope that will give her (and you) fine views, is highly portable, is upgradeable, and will give you fine views for years to come. A 5 year old is normally right at the right height for just standing and looking thru a 6" XTg (worst casce scenereo is one of those cheap blue plastic step stools). As she grows, the scope can grow with her with better focusers, eyepieces, mirror, etc.... On the plus side, its fairly affordable, a highly rated scope, easy to use. As a goto, it will require you to initially do a two star alignment for her, but probably by the time she's seven, she'll be showing you how to do it better! Collimation is something else a dob requires, this is it's one "drawback"--However, a 6"f8 scope keeps its collimation well compared to larger scopes. A Cheshire & Collimation cap are all you will need to keep it collimated (pretty cheap)--and collimation is not hard to do. She'll probably be able to do that by age 7 too. People nowadays seem to feel young kids are incapable of understanding technical instructions--this is not true. How to collimate a scope and doing two star alignments, while they have a "technical" background, are easy to learn by doing--even for a 5-6 year olds--as long as you take the time to give repeated instructions over a period of time (months, not days)...Oh, and be prepared for a loooooootttttt of questions. Operating it---Its a GoTo---uses a hand-held--very primitive computer control--She probably already understands it better than you! :lol:

Please reconsider the Dob, neither you, nor your daughter, will regret it. Oh, and down the road, if you decide you all really like this hobby, the 6" makes a fine "pull it out into the back yard for a couple of hours" (just be sure you put it out an hour or two beforehand). I keep my dob stored in my shed.

#156 waso29

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:23 AM

OPT is offering the 102gt ota for a little over a ben frank.
It's a good time for newbies. so many choices at bargain basement prices.

#157 Astraforce Paul

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:22 PM

csrlice, the 6XTg sounds fascinating. However, I couldn't find a 6" go-to on the Orion site.

Or, did you mean the 6i, push-to?

Curious...

#158 csrlice12

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:04 PM

I believe orion also makes the 6" in a goto model. The "PushTo" is the Intelliscope. You provide the motor power for it.

Wow, just checked the site and it shows the XTg starting at 8" now. Give it a couple of years though, and the answer would be the 8XTg.

#159 bherv

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:00 AM

OPT is offering the 102gt ota for a little over a ben frank.
It's a good time for newbies. so many choices at bargain basement prices.

I just ordered one yesterday. Will make a good grab and go scope when mounted on my Vixen Portamount. Already have a 2" diagonal and eyepieces so no extra investment needed.
Barry

#160 BigC

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:06 PM

OPT is offering the 102gt ota for a little over a ben frank.
It's a good time for newbies. so many choices at bargain basement prices.


Personally I think it a much better buy to spend TWO ben franklins and get the goto mount,hand controller and the simple but usuable eyepiece set.MY complete set was $189 shipped;no way would I pay $100 plus shipping just for the main optical tube!

But I suppose one could make some money buying the complete packages and parting them out.......

#161 BigC

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:32 PM

Hello everyoe, I am a newbie, and after phone apps allowed me to start identifying a few things in the night sky, my wife gave me a 102GT this Christmas. I am now in a pickle. Normally, with a new hobby I'm interested in, I literally spend years researching it, haunting online forums, starting with basic equipment, and then picking the nicest equipment that I can afford (which thankfully, as a 40yr old doctor, is a lot).

So after my first views through the 102 GT, I was amazed to see a few bands on Jupiter and 5 moons. But I was disappointed that I had to nearly lie flat on my driveway to see it, and even then, it was as if it were mounted to my clothes dryer.

So, as with every other hobby I have loved, I will put in my time and faithfully go to my local Astronomy club meetings, I will read articles online for hundreds of hours, read Night Watch (etc.) and subscribe to Sky and Telescope, and I will figure this hobby out. (It took me three years to buy an espresso machine). I have heard every argument on the benefits of "putting in your dues" by the Sages of all of these hobbies, starting with entry-level equipment so that you can learn and appreciate the skills that you are developing. I have heard that someone who puts in their time can produce results with lesser gear that a newbie with expensive gear cannot.

But, for once in my life, I am questioning whether "don't jump in so quick" is a bad idea, and I shouldn't just return this scope and purchase one that I don't have to contort myself to view through, or tie weights to stabilize, buy new EP's, a 90° diagonal, a new stand and power source, and then eventually replace with a nicer scope in a year or so. HOWEVER, it seems that most of you really LOVE this telescope. So that totally confuses me.

I want portability, comfortable viewing, ease of use (to allow my 5yr old daughter to enjoy), and probably Go To capability. A Dobsonian seems too bulky for my interest at this point. Wouldn't I get a lot more bang out of a Nexstar 6SE or 8SE (or equivalent SCT), and couldn't I enjoy this for a much longer period without upgrading?
Thanks for any advice!

It happens that the 102 is currently really a bargain in terms of portabilty,goto, and a 4" refractor of good quality.It is not the sturdiest mount,and all long refractors can require awkward observer position when looking above the horizon.

The kind of scope best for a 5 year old and a 40 year old are going to be different.

I say for yourself get the 8SE ,or IF you think you'll want to do astrophotos,get the new Celestron AVX mount with a 8" sct package.If portability is more important then a 6SE will still show very impressive views.Call astronomics and talk with them.If you really don't mind spending a lot more money then go for the C11 on an EQ mount because the 11" will get you another magnitude of objects.You could spend a lifetime and never see everything an 11" scope will pick up. And get a scope dolly assuming it willb e stored in the garage or patio room between sessions.


For your 5 year-old I suggest the Orion Starblast 4.5" ;it is simple ,gives great wide views,needs no batteries or complicated setup.

For a child old enough to understand and use the computerized scopes but still small in stature ,the iOptrons seem very nice.My ioptron R80 GPS is very light and its goto is very good.

#162 cbourbeau32

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:09 PM

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread. Since beginning to read this thread I have been searching for a GT102. I finally found one today on Ebay. It is new, but the box had been opened and I got it for $150 including shipping. I'll get back on here and post my two cents worth about it once I receive it and have a chance to play with it some. Thanks again, Charlie

#163 buddyjesus

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:36 PM

GL with the new scope.

#164 Widespread

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 09:11 AM

[...]If you're at all handy, $40 at your local Home Depot and 90 minutes with a handheld drill and handheld jigsaw will yield replacement legs that will transform the scope (see astrosetz.wordpress.com).[...]


I like the simplicity of your design. I assume the spreader is made from the 24"x24"x1" piece, but what are the finished dimensions of the spreader?

Best,
David

#165 BigC

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:13 PM

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this thread. Since beginning to read this thread I have been searching for a GT102. I finally found one today on Ebay. It is new, but the box had been opened and I got it for $150 including shipping. I'll get back on here and post my two cents worth about it once I receive it and have a chance to play with it some. Thanks again, Charlie


Sounds good.

And you even beat my total cost for a 102 of the same condition by almost $40!
Try to explore the Taurus and Orion before they disapear for the season,and the summer Sagittarius season will show you several nice nebula and great clusters.

#166 BluewaterObserva

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 02:36 PM

We just picked one of these up on ebay with upgraded finder and upgraded eye pieces for $125.

From time to time our observatory donates telescopes and optics to deserving youth from not so well off families.

This seems like an optimal donation scope for a budding sciences oriented teenager.

#167 Astrosetz

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 07:53 AM

Hi David,

I'll be posting detail drawings and an update on the project this weekend -- I'll post here once that's up.

#168 cbourbeau32

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 09:04 PM

Well the scope came today but the sky is cloudy so I guess it will be tomorrow night before she sees first light. I put it together and everything seems to function well. As someone stated here (or elsewhere) the scope looks pretty impressive when assembled. Can't wait for first light. I'll post again once I have a look at something besides a stop sign two blocks away.

Thanks, Charlie

#169 cbourbeau32

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 07:16 AM

Well I had taken the scope out a couple of times to be sure everthing worked correctly and I can say I really like the Skyalign very well. I was a little concerned at first with the views as I was only able to view Jupiter the first few nights out and it was fuzzy at most powers, but it must have been poor viewing because last night when the moon was finally up enough to view it gave good views on all powers up to 125x and decent at 250x and Jupiter looked much better at all powers as well. I'm looking foward to new lenses. What brand of plossl gets the most recommendations on here?

Thanks, Charlie

#170 BigC

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 09:10 AM

In my case,Meade SuperPlossl has a slight edge over Celestron Plossl.

For anyone who can't afford a new set of plossls, even MEADE MA or Celestron SMA ,and generic Kellners are a big improvement over the eyepieces shipped with the Costco Celestron 102.I think it would have been better of Celestron and Costco to have included the 25 and 10mm SMA eyepieces instead.

#171 BigC

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 09:18 AM

Currently, both the Celestron (Costco model)102 and the Meade DS-102 can be found online at or very close to $200 ,some with shipping included.

#172 cbourbeau32

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:57 AM

Regarding powering this unit. Has anyone tried snipping the wire just short of the battery holder and connecting these ends to a 12volt lead acid battery off of Ebay? Would this work?

#173 Widespread

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:35 PM

Hi David,

I'll be posting detail drawings and an update on the project this weekend -- I'll post here once that's up.


Merci beaucoups. :bow:

#174 BigC

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:57 PM

Certainly a 12v lead acid will work.

At home I prefer the AC power pack even if it does mean a long cord.

Better yet just get a jumpstarst pack and the appropiate cord.

#175 Astrosetz

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:20 PM

Ok, some things in my personal life have caused my planned blog update to move to the back burner, but I should have it up THIS weekend :)






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