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Celestron OMNI XLT 102 First Light

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#1 Rob55

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:23 PM

41600JAN13 44F, 25mm ep,
The telescope was in the foyer when I got home, two really big boxes. It took me a few minutes to get it together. I think the manual was excellent. The scope balanced easily with just the 7lb counter weight. I have no experience with stuff like this, but the mount seems extraordinarily substantial and smooth as silk. I set it up so it so with the eyepiece and diagonal at half focus it balances with the rear bolt head against the dovetail mount. This allows me to remove and replace the scope without having to re balance. The EQ setup was not intuitive as I assume the ALTAZ would be, but fooling around with it in the light of the living room I got use to it. When releasing the rings and taking the paper off I recommend loosing the bolts holding the rings to the dovetail mount. My rings were a little out of line. I was afraid tightening them would deform the tube. With the rings loosened on the mount I tightened the ring thumb screws on the tube snugly and then re tightened the bolts attaching the ring to the mount. I got moved outside by 1700. Polaris is hidden by the pines north of my house in Louisiana. I set the North side to north and the latitude to 31. There is a 7 story building with a light on top of it about a half mile from the house. I used it to line up the finder scope. The sky was 100% overcast. I set the scope to the South East in anticipation of Jupiter and waited for the sun to go down. At 1830 the South East was totally clouded over. Just to the North Capella, Castor and Pollux were stacked. I switched to Capella, my first light. As I brought the star into focus three meteors in formation crossed the lens from right to left or was it from right to left inverted, reversed? It was 1837. That was worth the price of admission. I’m hooked. I got a few glimpses of Jupiter and Betelgeuse through the clouds and pine branches. At 2000 I had about 20 minutes of solid cloud and quit for the night. So what should be my next ep, 10mm? Until the next time. Rob :)

#2 RAKing

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:16 AM

Congrats on your scope! I enjoyed my Omni XLT 102 for a few years and still have fond memories of the views.

Next eyepiece? It depends what you want to look at. If you are a planetary guy, then the higher power eyepieces are okay. If you like DSO, then lesser magnification and wider FOV is my suggestion.

You might also consider upgrading to a 2 inch diagonal. That will give you more options moving forward.

Enjoy!

Ron

#3 newtoskies

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

Great first light Rob. The XLT102 is the scope I will be getting soon, I hope. This first light and tips on the assembly is very helpful. I look forward to hearing more on this scope, she is a beauty eh.

#4 coopman

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:38 AM

Congrats on the new scope, Rob.

#5 csrlice12

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:20 AM

Congrats! Just got mine out last night too for the first time. Didn't have a lot of time (family stuff), but it's been setting there since Christms, and dang it, there were stars in the sky! The sun had just set, so the air wasn't the most stable, so I decided to view Jupiter (an approprite first light object imo, but then, if its in the sky, its appropriate). I also was taken by how easily the scope moved around on all its axis. I haven't installed the polar scope yet, so I aligned the N leg of the tripod up with a compass. Swung the OTA around, put Jupiter in the finder (which fell off after I mounted the scope to the mount, luckily it was grass underneath). I actually then realigned the finder using Jupiter (it was also easier to align the finder as it was easier to just sight down the scope then the dob is). First view of Jupiter and its 4 readily viewable moons. As much as I've joked around here about refractors and dobs; I AM A BELIEVER! The view with the 20mm just blew me away. I was seeing 4 bands with a 20mm, with my dob (which I did not have out last night), so far the best I'd done is three bands (*BLEEP* viewing weather though). Since I didn't have a lot of time, I also took out my ES82 11, 8.8, and 6.7mm. As expected, the 11mm threw up some fantastic views, four bands again, easily, nice sharp definition between the bands. For all it's flaring problems, I'm finding I really, really like the 8.8mm. Once Jupiter was in the FOV, the flaring (minor) dissappeared, and Jupiter just WOW, filled the FOV nicely. Let me tell you, while nudging the dob doesn't bother me, and the dob does "settle down" faster (<1 sec for the dob, about 2 sec for the XLT), I just could not believe the smoothness of using the knobs to move the scope. Once I had jupiter in the scope, apparently, I had it North aligned well enough as I only had to use the one knob to keep Jupiter in view...and using the knob did NOT result in any vibration, Jupiter remained sharp and clear while turning the knob. Lastly, I tried the 6.7mm, while I could still see 4 bands, the viewing just wasn't up to par for the 6.7. Overall, while a short night, was one of the funnest nights I've had in a while.....and as I said, as far as refractors go---I AM NOW A BELIEVER. Will the XLT replace my dob? No, but it will do things my dob won't, just like the dob will bring in fainter fuzzies the XLT couldn't. I'm enjoying them both.....nothing wrong with that, right?

#6 Mike4242

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:03 PM

Congrats on the new scope! My Omni 102 sees a lot of use for lunar and planetary viewing and I enjoy the scope a lot -- it gives very sharp an contrasty views. Jovian moon transit and the GRS are easy targets for the Omni 102. Last spring when Mars was at opposition my Omni 102 gave better views than my XT10i on some nights. Also, IMO, the CG-4 mount is perfect for the Omni 102 and in general an underrated mount. And as csrlice mentioned, turning just one knob to track a planet at high power is much nicer than nudging a dob.

As far as eyepieces go, I've had good results with the ES 82 eyepieces. My highest power eyepiece is a Meade 5000 HD-60 4.5mm which is about the limit of the Omni 102. The HD-60 works really well on nights of good seeing and gives nice contrasty views. On nights of average seeing my 6.7mm ES 82 is about the maximum useful magnification.

Also, a 2" diagonal is worthy upgrade to the Omni 102. I got a 2" Astro-Tech dielectric for mine. It's $119 at Astronomics, which is a very good deal for this diagonal. Looks like they're currently out of stock though.

Astro-Tech 2" Dielectric

#7 Rob55

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:00 PM

Wow! Thanks for all of the complements and encouragement. It's raining here now, but should clear up next week. I was disappointed not to see Jupiter's moons, but I was looking through significant clouds when I got a glimpse. Now I have to decide on developing my 1.25" ep collection or springing for the 2" diagonal and starting over. I guess I have to develop a signature now. Does anyone use a Orion ST 80 as a finder scope? It would give me somthing to do with my 1.24" diagonal.

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#8 Mike4242

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:56 PM

The 2" diagonal comes with a 1.25" adapter so you can still use your 1.25" eyepieces. It will give you the capability to use both 2" and 1.25" eyepieces. :jump:

#9 Mike4242

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 07:00 PM

Here's a pic of a 2" eyepiece in my Omni 102:

Posted Image

#10 Gary Riley

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:39 PM

Congratulations Rob!

You will enjoy the 4 inch XLT. I have the same setup except I have an Orion 2 inch Crayford style 2 speed focuser, 2 inch Orion Dielectric diagonal and an Orion 9x50 RACI finder scope on it.

I, too, enjoy the smoothness of its movements on the CG-4 mount. I generally use Baader Hyperions in it and they work very well in it IMO. It compliments my 12 inch dob nicely. Its strong points are lunar, major planets, double stars, and open clusters, again IMHO.

Enjoy!
Gary

#11 newtoskies

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:57 AM

Man some great pics of the 102. Now I REALLY want one. I was thinking an 8x40 RACI in place of the supplied finder and I see it can be done.

#12 Rob55

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 05:22 PM

Gary: Sounds like you think the 2" diagonal and eyepieces are worth the investment.

#13 Gary Riley

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:21 AM

Sure do!

Gary

#14 csrlice12

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:34 AM

+1 on the 2" diagonal. Got the Orion 2" Dielectric and it performs great in the 102XLT. Haven't tried my 2" eyepieces in it yet (too much weight difference between my 2" and 1.25" eyepieces), but plan on it soon. Definitely have to replace that finder scope though. Oddly though, I did note with my ES82 6.7mm I had a lot of field curvature? Whatever it was, the stars appeared pin-point, but kind of curved around near the outer 10% of the FOV as it exited the FOV. Just assuming it was FC from being a 4" scope with a high power wide-field. The view was sharp all the way across the FOV.

#15 Mike4242

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:51 AM

Oddly though, I did note with my ES82 6.7mm I had a lot of field curvature?


I've noticed the same thing with mine.

#16 coopman

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:55 AM

The weight & CG shift when going from 1.25" accessories to 2" accessories & heavy EPs might be enough to tax the CG4 some. At the very least, I would expect the dampening time to increase.

#17 coutleef

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

+1 on the 2" diagonal. Got the Orion 2" Dielectric and it performs great in the 102XLT. Haven't tried my 2" eyepieces in it yet (too much weight difference between my 2" and 1.25" eyepieces), but plan on it soon. Definitely have to replace that finder scope though. Oddly though, I did note with my ES82 6.7mm I had a lot of field curvature? Whatever it was, the stars appeared pin-point, but kind of curved around near the outer 10% of the FOV as it exited the FOV. Just assuming it was FC from being a 4" scope with a high power wide-field. The view was sharp all the way across the FOV.


that is strange as i owned a f/6 scope with field curvature that was always more visible at low powers rather than higher mags. you should not have a lot of FC with a f/9 scope at over 100x.

lets ser what the experts have to say on this

#18 csrlice12

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:51 PM

Really not certain what it was, but it was only in the 6.7 ES82. The stars just curved off the edge of the FOV (i.e. didn't go straight off the edge, looked almost like it "climbed up out of" of the eyepiece. It was really strange, first thing that crossed my mind was "coma", then I remembered it was a refractor. Like I said, everything was sharp to the edge, even as it "climbed out of" the eyepiece at the edge. The 6.7 has worked fine with my Dob, no problems. Doubtful it's scope collimation as I bought the scope from the local dealer, and they put it together and collimated it. I've dealt with these people quite a bit, and they are very knowlegeable and helpful, so I very much doubt its the scope.

#19 coopman

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:43 PM

Sounds like it is a trait of that particular eyepiece only. Maybe you could ask if others have noticed this effect on the eyepieces forum & see if it is common.

#20 Rob55

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:00 PM

Busy Week. Last Sunday night, 6JAN13 was crystal clear, 44 degrees F, no wind.I set up at 1955. Polaris is below the horizon, but the clear night helped me set up better. The mount tracked flawlessly. I spent the first few minutes with Capella. She is bright, at a comfortable altitude and far enough East to fit in a gap in the pine trees. Orion and Jupiter were still in the trees so I turned to Gemini. I do not know the degree seperation between the twins, but that is the field ov view of my scope with the 20mm EP. I cannot see both of them with out shifting my eye around, but they are both there just starting to deform on the edge of the view. After a few minutes playing with Castor and Pollux, wishing for a shorter EP Jupiter drifted above the Pines. I saw the moons of Jupiter for the first time, beautiful! I have got to get a diagonal finder, what a pain in the neck.Is the celestron 6x30 diagonal adequate? I have no problem finding things in my straight one.With the crystal clear condition I noticed the time the scope took to settle when focusing. At 40x it took about 15 seconds to settle. I detected no vibration turning the knob to track. Agian I want more magnification. Jupiter tracked from bottom to top right in the middle of the lense. A nudge of the knob kept everything centered perfectly. Jupiter was at near zenith. I was on my knees with a serious krink in my neck. Shoving the tube up a few more inches in the rings makes the 2" diagonal more attractive. I bought 1.25" 6.3mm and 13mm eps on the bay for less than $30 and free shipping. They should be here next week.

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#21 Rob55

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:15 PM

Mike

What is your finder?

#22 Mike4242

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:15 AM

Mike

What is your finder?


It's an Orion 9x50 RACI finder. I also use a Rigel Quickfinder because sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly where you're pointed with a right angle finder. I use the Rigel to center on a bright star and then use the 9x50 and a chart to hop from that point.

#23 newtoskies

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

Great report. I got my 102 on Friday and now the new scope curse is in full effect...waiting to use the scope is killing me. I'll be ordering the RACI finder for sure now.
How do you mount a Telrad on the 102 ?

#24 beatlejuice

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:17 PM

How do you mount a Telrad on the 102 ?


This is how I do it.

Eric

#25 soliari

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

I also recently purchased a OMNI XLT 102 and as luck would have it first light was also Jupiter on a clear New Mexico night. Since then we've seen M42 and squeezed most of M45 into the FOV.

I opted for the celestron 8-24 wide field zoom EP, which works wonderfully. I too am deciding on new eyepieces and from what I can gather it seems like some people have experienced on being able to magnify to 160 or so ... which is about a 6mm EP. Has anyone else noticed this with the XLT102? Or has anyone used a 5mm EP with it? This matters to me because if 160x is the limit then I'll opt for a 6mm & 32mm Plossl. Otherwise I think I'll go for a quality barlow and a 32mm Plossl.

Thoughts? Ideas?






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