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Nexstar 6SE First Light....Finally

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#1 jturie


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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:39 PM

Nearly a month after ordering my Christmas present, and over 35 years of armchair astronomy, tonight was finally clear enough to run her through her paces.

My first discovery was that the included red-dot finder ain't so great. I tried to align it during the day, but I couldn't adjust the azimuth and altitude wheels enough to get the dot to point where the scope was pointing. Best I could do was about 1/4 of the finder FOV high right. Looks like an 8X50 is in my near future (and the money outflow starts....). Oh well, hope it was good enough.

We had visited friends, so I could not get going until about 10pm. Set up on my concrete pool deck, plugged in the AC adapter, and got ready to align. Did an Auto 2 star. Picked Sirius, and centered it in the finder. Looked in the eyepiece (stock 25MM Celestron Plossl) and....not there. Plinked around a little, and found it about 1/2 FOV low left. Next star: Betelgeuse. Scope slews and just catches it in the eyepiece FOV. Got it centered...and...failed alignment message. Did this two more times before I figured that these stars were too close. Switched to Aldebaran for my second star..and success.

Now for the big moment. Picked Jupiter...scope slews...and BAM: absolutely centered in the eyepiece! All four moons spread out nicely, and I was able to discern the two main equatorial belts quite easily. Didn't see the Red Spot, but I had no clue if it was even visible at the time. Very nice, very clear.

Slipped in my Vixen NPL 15 to goose the power (100X), and was rewarded with a fantastic view. Picked out hints of a third belt here and there. Note that I did NOT allow enough time for the scope to cool down--maybe 20 minutes--yet I was really pleased with the views.

Next, to the nearly full moon. Again, perfectly centered. After blinking out the spots out of my eyes, I screwed in my 13% moon filter and got a much better view, although still pretty dazzling.

So, now it was time to play around. Checked out some DSOs--Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, Double Cluster. The first two were entirely unimpressive, but given the nearly full moon, I was not surprised. Slewing to the Double Cluster, the scope just missed it in the FOV. Again, probably not unexpected since my two alignment stars were quite a bit to the east. Next time I will snag two stars farther apart. Once I found it, the DC looked pretty at low power...just barely captured in the 25MM FOV.

One last try on Jupiter with my 2X GSO Barlow. Looked nice at 12.5, but wasn't happening at 7.5 (200X). All in all, I was very happy with my first attempt, and I'm looking forward to many nights with this fine scope, and can't wait for a dark window to see how she fares on DSOs.

#2 WarmWeatherGuy



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Posted 29 December 2012 - 12:37 AM

There are parts of the base of the red dot finder (RDF) that are screwed down. If you loosen the screws you can move (wiggle) the base part and then re-tighten the screws. This may make it so you can then align the RDF using the wheels the way it was meant to be.

#3 Herr Ointment

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 03:30 AM

Sounds like the shakedown cruise went pretty well...you'll have a good handle on the finer points of operation after a few more sessions.

Regarding Jupiter, the moons and the GRS....there's a terrific piece of freeware HERE. Scroll down about 3/4 of the page for the download link. Jupiter graphics in real time or any time or date or speed or angle you could possibly conceive.

Enjoy your new Nexstar 6SE!

#4 Peter9



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Posted 29 December 2012 - 05:22 AM

Hi juries,

Enjoyed reading your first light report. It seems to have gone well. With the scope properly cooled down and good seeing, things can only get better. Objects such as Jupiter and the Orion Nebula need time spent / revisiting to get the best out of them. Aligning the scope will become second nature after a while.

Enjoy your 6se.

Regards. Peter.

#5 Arctic_Eddie



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Posted 29 December 2012 - 06:36 AM

Here's a good replacement for the RDF. Be sure to select the SCTFURB base piece.


#6 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 08:52 AM

loosen the mounting screws on the RDF...and shim it front or rear with a piece of an old playing card.. This is not a very unusual problem and it no big deal...
Your scope is a GoTo scope so you honestly only need to use a finder scope to locate you two or 3 alignment stars after that you have no real use for any finder...

A simple 40 dollar Telrad is at least in my opinion a better choice IF you wish to replace the RDF...

I say this even though I still have an 8 (or 9) RACI finder on my scope ...along with a laser.. I removed the Telrad (and honestly could have also removed the RACI because I use the laser 99 percent of the time.).

The ONLY reason I did not remove the RACI finder is that I "may" want to use it as a very small very low power telescope in its own right...

A telrad on a 4 inch raiser base works well for me with my 8i

Bob G

#7 Maverick199


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Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:08 AM

Congratulations on a fine scope! :jump: For Planetary viewing, seeing conditions play a role. At times I have it fixed with the C6 and 6.7mm ES and able to bring into focus and at time the focus goes fuzzy. Keep at it and you will get glimpses of detail as the transparency changes.

#8 hopskipson



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Posted 29 December 2012 - 09:17 AM

Nice report Jack. Glad to here you had success your first night out. I never had a problem with the RDF but you have gotten some sound advice for adjusting the mount. Good luck with the scope and please give us follow up reports.


#9 CelestronDaddy



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Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:18 AM

Jack - Nice report! Glad you were finally able to get out and have a look! Keep fiddling with the RDF and you will get it to work. I was able to get mine just about dead on. Congrats .... Tony

#10 Midnight Dan

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:39 AM

Hi Jack:

Thanks for the report and congratulations on what sounds like a very successful 1st night!


#11 jturie


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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:33 PM

So I took her out for another spin a couple of nights ago. Subtitle to this session: "Gentlemen, start your wallets".

Seeing was a little bit better, although my direction of view is dead SE, right toward Philly's light dome 30 miles away. No moon issues. I actually gave the scope a good hour to cool down, and the results were measurably better.

Quick auto two star align, and then to Jupiter. Just off the FOV, so I need to be more careful. Later, I re-aligned with better results. Definitely need to fiddle with my finder to try to get it lined up. "Buy" list item #1: a better finder.

Jupiter was even better--four bands visible at 100X, periods of super nice seeing. Probably spent 20-30 minutes looking at the big guy. Max power w/barlow wasn't happening again, but it was almost there.

Did the Sky Tour this time, which was a lot of fun. Orion Nebula still kind of muddy, although got some hints of stucture at 100X. QUESTION: would a nebula filter help? Would a focal reducer brighten things up?

Double cluster is just gorgeous--can't wait to get a quality low power EP. Item #2: ES82 eyepiece. Looked for a few other open clusters, but wasn't sure if I saw them due to my not-so-hot alignment. I need to take notes. The Pleiades were nice, but I need that aforementioned low-power EP to really appreciate it.

Looked for several Messier galaxies, but other than Andromeda, didn't see a thing. I guess I need to hit a darker location.

Finished by checking out a couple of double-stars (again...must take notes). The 6SE shone bigtime here! It was fun picking them out. Along with planetary viewing, I think I'm going to like hunting the multiples.

Gave up when I couldn't feel my toes after about 90 minutes. No dew anywhere--the Astrozap Dewshield is indispensable. However...definite purchase Item #3: observing chair! The old back was not a happy camper.

This weekend is shaping up to be the best viewing potential since I bought the scope. I've just re-aligned my finder and got it really close, so that should help with the initial alignment. I hope everyone has clear skies and can get out.

#12 WarmWeatherGuy



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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

For your auto two star align you want to make sure that your first star is not too high or too low, something between 25° and 50° elevation would be good. To make sure the star is perfectly centered in the eyepiece you can defocus the star a lot or get an eyepiece that has reticles.

Use Precise Goto to find dim hard-to-find objects. It is described in your manual and this video on YouTube.

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