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SCT recomendations?

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#1 rhino

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:06 AM

i know its been asked but i dont see what i'm looking for right away.

i have been observing with a dob and i want to step into an 8" SCT. i want tracking, but i dont NEED go to, i mostly observe but i would like to do a little photo here and there. i will be transporting it out of the city and on dirt rds and i dont have a problem with set-up involving a wedge if thats going to be the better scope for me.

i seem to have access to many models from celestron and meade, including LX200, LX90, c-8, c-8 powerstar plus and the one i want to like the best because of the base and ease of set-up a celestar computerized, but i have read off things about it.

so, what are ya'lls thoughts?

thanks much

#2 rmollise

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:48 AM

What have you read about the Celestar? It's a perfectly serviceable older scope if well cared for. If you want to do imaging, do yourself a favor and get a modern go-to scope, a CG5 mounted C8 at least.

#3 rhino

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:35 PM

uncle rod,,, i know who you are and really happy you responded to my thread.

what ive read about the celestar is mostly about the legs and mount. convenient but not adjustable ect.
i like the simplicity of it since i will be transporting it alot. i also like the simple 9v clock drive.

the photo thing will be a very very small part of what i want to do, i understand a newt on a gem would be a better way to go for photos but i observe and the photo would just be something to play with.

i dont consider the go to a selling point by itself for me, but it is a big plus and a nice thing to have. if you think it'll make my viewing and playing with the photo thing that much better i'll go that route.

used scopes are expensive in my city,,, the celestar is 750, a c8+ is a grand and an 8" LX90 is also a grand. other than missing out on a few extras should i just get a new celestron nextstar 8?

#4 Kevdog

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:57 PM

I'm selling a Meade LT8 in Phoenix, AZ.

It's a good visual scope with Goto.

I've been able to take some pics with it, but that's definitely not its forte with the single arm. What it does have is portability. 39lbs complete makes it easy to tote around.

#5 jrbarnett

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:07 PM

You'll miss the wider field of view with a given eyepiece in the Dob, I suspect. Finding stuff with an SCT without GOTO is a little like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Figure your maximum TFOV will be around a degree with a C8. I'd say GOTO and tracking are both extremely beneficial even for visual use with an SCT.

Dirt road transport means mastering SCT collimation, so I'd also plan on getting Bob's Knobs to assist with that. Cool downs will be longer with the SCT than the Dob, so anything you can do to store the SCT closer to the ambient air temperature (i.e., not in an air conditioned house if you'll view in 90F night time weather) will help in that regard.

Also driven SCTs are not particularly easy to set up; especially compared to a solid tube Dob that is basically two main pieces and a simple alt-az configuration, so I wouldn't consider a move to an SCT a "convenience improvement" on the set-up time front. They are convenient on the transport front, though, by virtue of their folded design.

- Jim

#6 rhino

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:26 PM

saw your add kev, nice lookin scope but i'm not sold on a single arm mount for the money.

barnett, i wont miss the FOV, i'm keeping the dob, just adding a scope to my collection and an SCT is what i want next. cool downs not a problem, collimation? yeah i know, part of the fun right?

#7 David Pavlich

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:45 PM

I like Rod's suggestion. An 8" SC on a CG5 is a very nice combination and if you go the used route, you can have a terrific viewing setup and not a ton of money in it.

As an editorial comment, I had to laugh when I read Jim's comment about finding things with an SC. The first C14 I had, I set up but had NO finder for it. Yea, it's 14" of aperture, but it's also 3910mm of focal length and f11. Talk about your narrow FOV. I was so excited, I got it going anyway. A frustrating night, to say the least. Just trying to get the first alignment star (CGE) so that I could use the goto was an exercise in futility! I know my stars fairly well, but trying to sight along the OTA was a real joke.

David

#8 Arizona-Ken

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:12 AM

A C8 and a CG5 are a great combination! Easy on the pocketbook and extremely versatile.

Arizona Ken

#9 Brent Campbell

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:23 AM

+1 on Uncle Rods comments. I have a C8 Ultima and it has pluses and minuses.

Pluses:
1) I use a 9v battery for operating the mount. No power tank needed
2) The mount is rock stable although it does vibrate when bumped
3) Tracking

Minuses....Weight, no GOTO, and setup time. The forks and the OTA are heavy. Adding DSC's for the Ultima is expensive, using digital planetariums like SKEYE as a poor mans "push to" is an option.

I'm a purely visual guy, so my Ultima's days for astro photography are probably over. I use my fork mounted SCT essentially as a tracking DOB which it does very well at.

If I want to get into photography it won't be with that scope. Too hard to handle because of the weight of the mount.

#10 rmollise

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:38 AM

Minuses....Weight, no GOTO, and setup time. The forks and the OTA are heavy. Adding DSC's for the Ultima is expensive, using digital planetariums like SKEYE as a poor mans "push to" is an option.

I'm a purely visual guy, so my Ultima's days for astro photography are probably over. I use my fork mounted SCT essentially as a tracking DOB which it does very well at.

If I want to get into photography it won't be with that scope. Too hard to handle because of the weight of the mount.


Yep. Had my Ultima out for a public outreach star gaze the other night and--dang--forgot how heavy she, and especially that wedge and tripod are! I've got a Sky Commander computer, so I've thought of adding encoders to her...but...the CG5 is just so much easier for broken down old hillbilly me to manage.

:lol:

#11 Steve Cobb

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:22 PM

Your comment sure rings a bell. I have a relatively new C-14. At a recent star party, I found the finder was not lined up with the scope so I had to find the first star for the mount alignment by pointing the tube at Vega. It only took about two hours and I finally had to use Jupiter which was so bright it spilled over the field of view so I had in effect a much broader FOV. Once I had Jupiter, I had to have help lining up the finder while I drove the scope desperately trying to keep Jupiter in view. Like I said, about two hours. I had folks at the star party whom I had specially invited. They won't respond to my e-mails now.

#12 rhino

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:41 PM

well, thought i made up my mind on a LX90,,, but now you all are convincing me i need a tube and cg mount,,, thanks alot guys, making me even more un-confident now

i like this combo

http://www.celestron...c8-sgt-xlt.html

#13 rmollise

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:29 PM

Frankly, I'd be hesitant to buy an LX90 right now...

#14 rhino

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:39 PM

well even more reason to get a tube and eq mount i guess.

why hesitant on it?

#15 Brent Campbell

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:07 AM

Why don't you get a CG-5 with a small wide field (80 - 100 mm) refractor for astro photography? I know its the SCT thread but the refractor would have much less focal length (wider field of View) and be much smaller (and more stable) on the CG-5 than the average SCT. If you want to step up to more aperture later and buy the SCT the refractor would be easy to resell for no loss providing you bought it used.

Its just the idea of different scopes for different jobs. If you were doing planetary imaging a good C8 on a CG-5 would be what I would start with. The refractor will have the following advantages: 1) less cool down time 2) collimation issues can be non-existent depending on the scope, 3) The light OTA would not stress the mount.

This would not be the ultimate imaging rig but it would allow you to get started and it would simplify some things.

I would look for something like the Orion Ed80 APO or similar. You also mentioned that it s hard to find scopes. I find that cool scopes come in waves on all the sites, with times of nothing available then suddenly there are twenty of them. You just have to have patience and know what you are looking for.

I just looked at the buy/sell and prices seem high and availability low right now. Almost every refractor in the buy/sell has been sold out! Just before Christmas you might find a wave of scopes available because of individuals wanting to dump their scopes for cash, after Christmas people are dumping older scopes because they got something newer. For one thing, don't settle for something that you don't want, its easier to buy than sell! Watch all the venues where scopes are sold and get a good feel for the market. You can take as much as 30 % off the cost of gear if you know when and what to purchase.

#16 Brent Campbell

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:17 AM

i like this combo

http://www.celestron...c8-sgt-xlt.html


That's an awesome combo but pricey brand new. Still I would pay $1500.00 for that (the cost of the C8 with the CG5 brand new) rather than $750.00 for a used fork mount. The two year warranty has got to be worth something! If I were spending your money :lol: I would choose between the small refractor on a CG-5 or this combo. Or buy both! :question:

#17 rmollise

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:41 AM

Post deleted by rmollise

#18 rmollise

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:43 AM

well even more reason to get a tube and eq mount i guess.

why hesitant on it?


Meade does not seem to be having many good days of late. That said, the Meade LX90 has always been one of my favorite SCTS.



#19 bsim

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 09:04 AM


i like this combo

http://www.celestron...c8-sgt-xlt.html


That's an awesome combo but pricey brand new. Still I would pay $1500.00 for that (the cost of the C8 with the CG5 brand new) rather than $750.00 for a used fork mount.


Buy it used. That's what I did. On Astromart, I purchased a used C8 with great optics for $400. On Craigslist, I traded my Astrotech Voyager plus $125 for a used CG-5 GT.

The C8 and CG-5 GT combo is excellent. I love the compact size, tracking, and goto capability. In Uncle Rod's Choosing and Using a New CAT, he called it a portable observatory. I do not disagree with that statement. And this is from someone who primarily loves reflectors. I even added a C6 to the stable. Heck, thinking about the C8 gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling :whee:

#20 Kevdog

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 04:02 PM

There's an LX90 8" for sale locally here in Phoenix for $800.

If you want to do casual, short exposure pics, it should be good enough. If you want to do longer exposures then you can still put it on a wedge (which there was one for sale locally here for $250 + tripod).

#21 rhino

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:28 PM

all great comments guys, thanks. i will be buying used, just liked the celestron as an example of what i want. i have exhausted the local crags,, and flag and tucson, i am still leaning to a few years old LX90, but i sure am liking the eq mount idea. wedge is great and doable for a fork mount go to scope for me. for refractors there is a meade LDX75 EMC 5" that i like the looks of, decisions decisions.

thanks a bunch, i guess i just need to decide if i want to stick with what i really want (sct) or figure out if something else will suit me better.

#22 Eric38

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:09 PM

This is something I Frankensteined together. I bought a C8 on a basic wedgepod circa 1989. The tripod and mount were marginal even new. My next bits were the Celestar deluxe mount and wedge. These can be adjusted ALT AZ with decent precision using control knobs. Got the Advanced Astro Master controler and encoders. So now I have a tracking platform with 4 preset speeds and a push to system that has M, NGC and Star data bases. This is a very early AAM v1.38 but an original variant made for JMI. Found that in the hidded setup menu. I called and talked to Tom at JMI today and found out quite a bit of interesting info on this item. Anyway, just wanted to share with you about my setup as what you described at the beginning of the thread is very much like what I have scrapped together. First light tonight, weather permitting.

Attached Files



#23 Robert70

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:53 PM

My 2004 8in. LX90 LNT w/UHTC is still going strong. Easy set up, great views. I made a few upgrades, finder scope, dew shield, diagonal, eye pieces and next is a feather touch focuser. I am a visual observer only. My LX90 has a glossy smooth coated OTA. I got it before Meade moved to Mexico. BTW, I have not had to collimate this SCT since the day I got it. Probably needs it, but to close to call.

#24 Bill Friend

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:09 AM

I bought a used C8 Celestar Dlx and picked up a used Celestar wedgepod. For spur of the moment observing, I can pick up the OTA/Fork/Wedgepod all together and walk out into yard from my house. It's only a tad heavier than the basic Celestar but you get a better mount/drive. I use the heavy duty wedge and tripod when I want to image.

#25 Bill Friend

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 11:34 AM

Oh, one issue with the Celestar Dlx is the potential for board failure. I believe there's a former Celestron employee out there somewhere who offers replacement boards/parts or fixes them, though my information is certainly dated (~8 yrs). A basic Celestar is simple/reliable (spur gear drive) for visual observing. I prefer a fork over an EQ mount as a matter of comfort, but agree with others that it's the way to go if you plan to image.






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