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Best Intermediate GoTo

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#1 psaman

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

Greetings All,
While I do not consider myself a true beginner, I have been out of amateur astronomy long enough to realize I am not at all up to speed. I have an old orange tube Celestron C8 and a Celestron C5+. Both are old school and that is fine, but I am interested in jumping into the 21st century and want to buy an intermediate GoTo model , that I can set up relatively quickly and use with the grand kids on camping trips.
I am wondering who makes the best, in the opinion of the users here. I realize that's like asking who makes the best car, Ford or Chevy; but I need all the info I can get from experienced users. I have gone to Meade, Orion and Celestron websites, but you expect them to say they are the best, so I need practical help in deciding. My limits are max tube diameter 8" and in the $1500 to $2000 range. I use to do web cam photography with my old tubes and would like to be able to continue that. Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. :help:

#2 rdandrea

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:11 PM

Nexstar 8 SE. On sale now, leaving you $400-$900 for eyepieces. Alternatively, you can buy a CG-5 ASGT and mount your old orange tube on it for a lot less money.

#3 csrlice12

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:15 PM

Agree with using your current scopes and getting a new mount...

#4 psaman

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:26 PM

Thanks rdandrea and csrlice12; a new mount was not something I considered; I like being able to use my old tubes. The coatings on the old C8 are probably long gone, but the images are still pretty decent.

#5 rdandrea

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:29 PM

Used CG-5 mounts show up often. Check the CN Classifieds or S&S Mounts. You want the GoTo version, of course.

#6 Mike4242

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

I'm going to agree with the others here. Get a new CG-5 ASGT and use one of the scopes you already have on it.

#7 psaman

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:14 PM

On the Celestron site it shows a CG-5 only, is this the same as CG-5 ASGT?

#8 Mike4242

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:25 PM

Yep, that would be it.

#9 MikeBOKC

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:27 PM

The CG5 mount is a versatile and proven one. I am guessing your old C8 is in a fork mount on a wedge. All you would need to do is get a dovetail to attach to it and remove it from the forks and mount it on the CG5. You might also look at the ioptron IEQ30, which is comparable in price and capability. Even with a new mount you could set up your C8 for about $900.

#10 psaman

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:46 PM

Thanks Mike4242. MikeBOKC, you are correct in your assessment of my C8. I actually installed JMI encoders on it about 12 years ago and also got a Sky Vector II to go with it. I downloaded the CG-5's owners manual from the website and was just looking at that. I was considering getting dovetails for both tubes, just because. I will look at the IEQ30 also, for comparison.

#11 Doc Bob

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:40 PM

I agree - you have a couple of nice scopes . . . so get a nice mount that you can use for both. The CG-5 should hold you . . . unless you get a case of unrelenting aperture fever - then you might have to move up to a beefier mount!!

Good viewing,
Bob

#12 psaman

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:01 PM

Thanks Doc Bob. Yes, my dream has always been for a 12 or 14 inch OTA that I would set up permanently inside my own dome. Maybe in the future... :question:

#13 Skyshooter

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 08:16 PM

I really like my Losmandy GM8. You might check out the Losmandy website and search the "mounts" section on the forum for other info. OPT now has a double rewards sale. They are pricier than a CG5 for sure but do hold their resale value well. It's a bump up in quality.

Cheers,
Ed

#14 psaman

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:35 PM

Ordered my CG-5 from High Point Scientific today, can't wait for it to get here!! :jump:

#15 lamplight

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:23 PM

Exellent. I have a new one too for my refractor and it's nice.

#16 psaman

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:11 PM

Received email telling me it is packed and on it's way! Impressed with High Point so far.

#17 rdandrea

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:53 PM

High Point is a wonderful vendor to deal with. I bought my Lunt 35 from them. I could have ordered it directly from Lunt and saved a week (AZ is closer to CO than NJ is) but I like to support brick-and-mortar stores.

#18 S.Boerner

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:46 PM

Stirring up the pot a bit. If you really like your C8 consider turning it into a push to with Dave Ek's digital setting circles. You can find the directions on his page at: http://eksfiles.net/...etting-circles/ It ran me $120 and they work well for me. I use a combination of Dave's DSCs, my laptop, ASCOM (free), Stellarium (free), and Stellarium Scope (free) to find and push my old C8 to any object that Stellarium can find.

#19 RTLR 12

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:08 PM

Congratulations on the new mount. The CG-5 is a great mount. I really like my CG-5s. Quick to set up, easy to use, and very accurate. Let us know when you get it and show us some pics.

Stan

#20 Kevdog

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:07 PM

I picked up a used C11 NexStar GPS for $1800 and I got the wedge for $150 used as well.

Might satisfy both needs going that route... goto and larger aperture.

It looks much much better on Jupiter than my 8" tube. I saw one of the moons hovering over Jupiter last night and could clear see the shadow in the C11, while I struggled in my Meade LT8.

Edit: Whoops, guess I'm too late!

#21 psaman

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:12 PM

I have an 8" limit because I want to use it on camping trips and 11" would be unmanageable for me. Now an 11' ota at home would be nice! ;)

#22 Kevdog

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:14 PM

The C11 I got is the carbon fiber tube so it's lighter. I'm taking my C11 camping for sure :D Maybe this weekend if the weather is going to hold up. (I'm in Arizona, so it's still reasonably warm now).

#23 psaman

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:19 PM

Well if the tubes are lighter now, a bigger tube may be in my future. I have to be able to leave it stored in our travel trailer, for ease of transport. Anyway, look forward to getting the CG-5 soon and getting back into the game. It's warm here in south Texas, but I envy your dark skies there. :refractor:

#24 panhard

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:26 PM

Nice choice in scopes. :grin:






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