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#1 Erik638

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 09:44 AM

Hey Guys,

Looking for advice, suggestions & thoughts.

A little about me. Probably a common story. I'm 35 year old father of a 5 year old that wants a telescope. I know nothing of Astronomy except I've always wanted a good telescope. I want to use this experience as something we can do together. Since I know very little to nothing I figure it would be fun to observe something then google/read about it afterwards. My son is into science, dinosaurs & very tech savvy. He has been asking about planters, stars, space for the last year. Anything, we can do together that I think we both will enjoy I try to encourage. Bonus, that I always wanted one myself. I want something big enough where what we are observing is interesting.

I have been reading a lot over the last couple of months about different telescopes. Things that are important to me in a telescope are ease of use as well as ease of finding things to observe. I know I won't have Hubble telescope views but want to see more then a speck through the telescope. Portability is also important. I am going to try to use the scope at our house but there are lots of trees and don't know if this will work with goto auto aligning telescopes. A short trip less then a mile to a park with ball fields will take care of the tree problem if it is a problem. I've been reading about light pollution and that is a concern b/c I am about 20min outside of NYC.

I am leaning towards a Celestron Skyprodigy 6. I have not found a ton of info on skyprodigy specifically the 6 so I wanted to know if anyone had any experience with it. I also wanted general feedback about a 6inch SCT and what you could see with It. Would a 8 se be that much stronger with regards to observing. I know I am paying a premium for the starsence/skyprodigy technology but am good with that if it helps makes things easier. I am also good with buying a bigger scope down the road if when we feel that we know more about the sky and want more apperture.

Thanks,

Erik

#2 REC

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:19 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

For a goto scope, you will need some room in the sky for the scope to align it's self. The type you mention usually needs two stars to align after he finds it's position from the GPS satellites. If you have a lot of trees blocking the sky in all directions, it could be an issue. Not sure about the ball park if there is a lot of glaring lights shining into the built-in camera that could effect alignment.

As far as the 6" SCT, they are very good and will show you a lot of interesting objects. The computer has a lot of "tours" built into the memory and will have you observing in no time. As far as light gathering power, an 8" scope will be able to get a little deeper because of increase in aperture. Celestron Prodigy tops out at 6" aperture. If you want to go bigger, look at the Meade version that has 6&8" choices. It is called "Light Switch" and also only need you to turn on the power and it does everything else.

There are many other types of scopes that others will comment on, so happy reading:)

Have fun with your new hobby!

Bob

#3 MikeBOKC

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:15 AM

The Skyprodigy and Meade LS technologies really don't add that much convenience . . . just a couple of alignment steps really. The Nexstar alignment system is easy to learn and master and will take you perhaps three extra minutes at the beginning of a session. As to aperture, if cost is not a major factor, I would recommend the 8 inch Nexstar SE over the 6 . . . that's about 50% more light gathering power and would make a sigificant difference in what you can easily see, especially in light polluted in-town skies. For a child that young, and since you will be using it with him, I would suggest getting a scope he can grow into with your guidance, rather than settling for something too small and simple at the outset.

#4 Paco_Grande

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:43 PM

One thing you can do right away is this: check out Brian Cox's series, "Wonders of the Universe."

http://www.bbc.co.uk.../episodes/guide

The episodes can be found on Youtube also. Get his book of the same name. There is more to the sky than just stars and planets. :D

Pick up a copy of "Turn Left at Orion", and get a nice planisphere.

#5 Erik638

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:18 PM

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the replies. I have been looking at the 8 se as well. What scares me is I will get it and not be able to get it aligned. I keep reading post after post of people having issues. When I google the skyprodigy 6 I am not seeing as many problems with alignment. That might be due to the fact there are not nearly as many people have them so there are less negative posts about them. That is one of the main resons I am leaning towards the skyprodigy 6. I come from a photography background a bit and know how important aperture is in photography so can undterstand that 50% more light gathering power can be a very good thing. But if I can not find anything it won't be very useful.

#6 Paco_Grande

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:17 PM

There's a new guy around here who recently bought the SkyProdigy 6 and he seems to love it. A fully computerized goto like that won't be the first choice by the vast majority of people here, but that doesn't mean it's not the perfect scope for you and your son. Only you can decide. The 6" scope itself is superb, you can't make a mistake with a 6" SCT.

Have you considered a DOB, an 8" perhaps? Lots of value there, and a different experience for sure than the SkyProdigy.

Regardless, you and your son will have a great time!

#7 GOLGO13

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 04:43 PM

Suggest asking some questions in the Nexstar forums here on CN. I don't usually hear about issues with alignment on the SE scopes, but I have not had one for awhile.

The difference between 8 and 6 is not huge, but it should be noticeable. I alway kind of felt the SE mount would be able to handle the 6 inch SCT better than the 8 inch, but I understand the weight of both tubes are pretty close.

Those new SkyProdigy scopes (as well as the Meade ones) seem to not have a lot of folks using them yet. The SE scopes have a lot of people using them. So I agree it would be hard to know if they are good or not. I can say the SE scopes are usually quite well reviewed. Especially as being a good value "go to" scope. They are also light weight and reasonably portable. A good choice for showing a few things to your young son. Suggest a good adjustable chair as well, so your son can be comfortable looking into the eyepiece.

#8 Locoman

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:13 PM

I recently got the Nexstar SLT mount and my first time aligning it doing the three star alignment was dead on. The only time I had trouble aligning it was when I accidently entered the wrong date and entered 2022 instead of 2012. Other than that it has been easy do alignment's and getting it going.

#9 MikeBOKC

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:56 PM

Thye Celestrron auto two star alignment procedure using Polaris for the first star and allowing the scope to choose the second one is really very simple. All you need to do it aim the thing, enter the basic date/time/location data and do a few simple commands and you will be up and running. Don't be put off by that . . . most modern cars are actually more technically challenging to start and drive.

#10 BigMatt

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:23 PM

Hi Erik, this should not be construed as a knock on the skyprodigy, I haven't seen one, and I'm sure the automated setup is very cool. Also, this post may not add much to what the others have said, but I think I was in almost your exact situation two weeks ago.

I had never looked through a telescope before I got my 8se last week. I failed to get the alignment working the first night, but there was only a small patch of sky visible (maybe 20 degrees) due to clouds, so (wild speculation alert) the skyprodigy likely would have had trouble that night as well.

Every night since I've been able to get the scope setup first try, taking no more than 5 minutes. From what I've read, the skyprodigy takes several minutes to align itself as well. I've since "graduated" to using auto two-star align, which takes about 1 minute to do. I can assure you that the alignment setup is not difficult and becomes second nature.

I'm also smack in the middle of a bad light dome (DFW for me), and I'm amazed at what I can see with the 8 inch scope, although I cannot speak for the difference in a 6 inch. I expected the experience from my back yard to be rather underwhelming and I'd need to head to a darker site for serious viewing, but I've been out every night since getting the scope.

Just the experience of one observer who looked at the same two scopes and went the other direction...

Matt

#11 mjt24073

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:49 PM

As others have mentioned, the skyprodigy may not be very helpful if you have a limited horizon. I live on a wooded lot, and find all goto scopes to be frustrating, and have gravitated to using mostly non-goto scopes. However, you can usually pick your own alignment stars if the scope is having trouble finding them on its own. A decent star atlas or monthly sky chart is very helpful in that case, so you can identify a few bright stars by name.

Mike

#12 Erik638

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:21 PM

Hey Guys,

Thanks for all the feed back. I am truly starting to second guess my original thinking with the sky prodigy 6 in favor of the 8SE. I think 8SE is about just 100.00 dollars more. I will do some more research and reading to help make up my mind. If anyone else has anything else to add I am open to listening.

If I get the 8SE I am going to need the ac adapter & power tank. What are people's thoughts on the celestron accessory pack w/EP's & filters? Would you just buy fewer higher quality EP's & filters and skip the accessory pack? Telescope.com has a bundle (that includes all of the above) for 1,189.98 plus 10 dollars off and free shipping.

I also need a chair......

For transportation and storage any cheap suggestions?

and to think when I started looking my budget was 200.00. I can see this getting out of control....lol

#13 MikeBOKC

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 08:40 AM

For transportation and storage of an 8SE tube you can just get one of those rubberized plastic stroage bins in the right depth and line it with some towels of pieces of foam from a fabric store -- a simple and easy solution.

I use a drummer's throne from a music store for an observing chair. The key is to have smoething adjustable in height.

The various eyepiece kits are ok, but I would just use the 25mm eyepiece that coems with the scope to get acquainted and maybe get a 9-10mm plossl for higher magnification. Then start shopping for extra eyepieces as you go along. Filters are not that necessary . . . lots of people get y without them just fine.

Be sure to get a red lens flashlight to preserve dark adaption and find your way around. A simple but necessary accessory.

I think the power cord coems with the scope and mount. If not just order the Celestron 12v cord and get a jumo start battery with a 12v connection. You will not want to try to run on the internal batteries for long as once they start losing juice they will render your mount a bit unpredictable.

The 8SE is a fine choice, good aperture, easy portabiliity and setup and a lifetime scope for many.

#14 Paco_Grande

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 01:04 PM

No to the accessory EP kit. Better to pick a few higher quality EPs and forget the filters.

If goto is a sure thing for you, the 8SE is a great choice. But the 6SE is no slouch either. It's easy to let the budget get away in this hobby. The larger aperture is nice but you won't know the difference between the 6 and 8 if you've never seen the 8. :lol: Anyway, if you can manage the budget, the 8 is the bee's knees. Else get the 6SE and spend the rest of the difference on EPs, power pack and a chair.

Here's a review comparing both optical tubes:

http://www.scoperevi...om/page1aa.html

#15 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:36 PM

NO way would I send the extra money to get a Celestron SkyProdogy or a Meade Light Switch scope over a Celestron 6/8 SE or a Meade 6/8 LT scope... self aligning sounds like the bees knees but because the regular Se and LT models are also very easy to align and in about 5 minutes why spend serious hard earned money to save 5 minutes..

I'm one of the very few who actually like to recommend those eyepiece kits...I find them a very inexpensive EDUCATIONAL TOOL >>> The eyepieces are serviceable and definitely not junk..Toss in a moon filter and a 2x barlow and a small but very usable case all for about 15 bucks a piece how can you loose...

After a few months you seem to have used a 15 mm eyepiece more then the others then you can start thinking of replacing that one eyepiece with a new one with a larger FOV etc..

I'm however willing to put my money on the table betting that after a year or two all the inclu ded eyepieces will have been replaced... no big deal..

ON the NEED for a CHAIR ...You can bet the farm on that..I personally value my chair (StarDust) MORE then I do any single one of my eyepieces (most of which cost close to $300 bucks.. You simply see more and see for a longer period of time with a Good chair...

Toss in a 40 buck dew shield and an external battery and you will be all set for an all night session...

Get an 8 Se or 8 inch Meade LT
I prefer Celestron BUT you may be a Ford Guy..

Bob G.

#16 Erik638

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:41 PM

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the continued suggestions. I am definetly rethinking the skyprodigy. Not one person has recomended it over the 8se. I guess bigger aperture & sturdy tripod of 8se wins out. If I go for a SE I would probably go for the 8inch over the 6inch. The difference in price is less of a issuse then the portability issuses. From what I can tell the 8 is only a few pounds heavier and a few inches bigger. Does not seem like that big of a deal. With my tree issuse I can see myself going down to the local park by my house to observe.

One of the things that drew me to the SCT's is I think it would be easier for my 5 year old son to use/observe compared to some others. That being said I'm 6'6 so a good chair is a must so my back does not break so thanks for the recommendations on chairs.

I'm thinking if EP's are anything like photography lenses the kit ones suck. But with that said the accessory kit is so cheap it might be worth to get and replace as I use and see what I like best as Bob said.

I'm in Northern NJ and it is cold here currently. Is a dew shield nessesary or could that wait till warmer months?

My son caught me looking at telescopes online and asked if that is like the one Santa will bring us? He go so excited.

#17 jerry32

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:43 AM

Hi,
I have a Skyprodigy 6 myself just bought a few weeks back. First of all im not very familiar with the skys but this scope Self align is pretty good. Of al lthe times ive used it only once has it ligned up right on the center. The rest of the times its very close. The views are great even though i live in the city. If you want ease of use this would be it. However after messing around with its alignment features i was able to do a 2 star alignment with ease. Since it is so easy to do a 2 star alignement id recomend to definetly go with the 8SE. If you choose the Skyprodigy 6 you wont regret it either.

#18 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 04:29 PM

The general opinion MOST of us old guys have about GoTo scopes is if the object appears "SOMEWHERE" in the FOV of a 25 mm or so eyepiece the GoTo is good enough even for non governmental work...

IF an 8Se is set up correctly and balanced correctly teh gotos all should land somewhere in the center 20 percent of the eyepiece all night long plus it should stay there for a few hours...

I stand by my comment on the Eyepiece Kit...the one powered eyepiece however can only be used to do the final step when collimating the scope..The filters are useless

If you were inthe UK I;d suggest the Revelation kit as all the included eyepieces match an 8 inch Sct and are usable to view with on any normal night...

Good luck
Bob G.

#19 faltered

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:14 PM

I agree, no way would I spend the money on the Skyprodigy or Lightswtich telescopes. It really is SIMPLE to align a telescope. I'm sure for some, the Skyprodigy/Lightswitch is a great choice - but I would say put your money into the SE series and get more scope and less technology for your money.

Aligning an SE telescope is amazingly simple.

#20 faltered

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 05:15 PM

Oh, and yes.... get the 8SE. Its just a fantastic telescope.

#21 Erik638

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

Hey Guys

Thanks everyone for the help here. Pretty sure I've made my decision. Will update when I pull the trigger.

One more quick question. How important is a dew shield in the Northeast in the winter? Is this something that is typically used in the summer?

#22 REC

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 01:26 PM

Get one anyway as they also make a good "lens hood" and keep stray light from hitting the front corrector lens.

#23 Erik638

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:38 PM

Hey Guys,

I just want to thank each and everyone of you who took the time to reply to my post and offer suggestions, advice & comments. All of you helped push me in what I think was ultimately a better decision and more bang for my buck. I pulled the trigger on the the 8 SE bundle. I received a extra discount so I think the celestron power station, AC adapter, filter kit, celestron EP kit where less then a 100.00 additional. For basically the same cost as a sky prodigy 6 I am getting more aperture & a sturdier tripod. Over the course of the next year i will see what EP's I use most and replace with higher quality ones. I am super excited. Come Christmas morning so will my son.

I still need to purchase a dew shield, chair & some type of storage container.

Anyway, thanks!!!!!!

#24 Paco_Grande

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:50 PM

Sweet! :waytogo: :whee: :banjodance: :rockon:






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