Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


New owner thoughts

  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Spillyd


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 16 Dec 2013

Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:28 PM

Got my 8se a couple of weeks ago and after a couple weeks of waiting was finally able to play with it this last weekend in Joshua Tree. I've had a couple of super cheap scopes in the past but this is my first adult venture into astronomy and I thought I would share my experience, especially for those that are like me and looking to purchase.

Short version is: DO IT!!! Do it now and start enjoying!

I tortured myself over what to get and was very close to getting a 10" dob. I searched for used scopes all over and then was an inch away from buying a 1980's used 8" orange tube for $500. After this weekend I'm absolutely positive I made the right decision with the Nexstar.

On to my report and review: The desert was beautiful, perfectly clear, no wind and a nice chill. I knew the moon would be bright but figured I could at least look at that. I had already setup and tested the scope so I put it together very quickly. I travelled with the mount and tripod connected and figure I'll keep doing that unless someone tells me a reason not to. It was dusk and Venus was shining very bright so I decided to use that as my sighting point.
The Red Dot From ****-I had heard some terrible stories but my finder worked great. Used a 25mm lens (I got the pack with filters with my scope) and was sighted in no time. The adjustments on the finder are a bit awkward but with gentle touches it worked. To test I moved off Venus and then tried to find it again. First try and Venus was there in my view extremely bright and crescent shaped. I had never seen Venus before and to see it like a shining moon was awesome!

Other targets: the moon of course was amazing with the filters and different ep.s Super crisp and for some reason I loved the red filter. I spent most of my time looking at the moon and playing with ep.s
Jupiter was spectacular! 4 bright moons and I could see the bands. I played with it some but couldn't get it super clear. Not sure if I need more practice focusing or if it was just too bright. I was still more than pleased but hope for better views in the future.
Andromeda! I got greedy and my next target was Andromeda. To my surprise when I looked through the ep there it was a nice little fuzzy! I didn't want to expect to see it with such a bright night and inexperience. But the goto worked perfectly and I just needed to focus and adjust slightly to center. This made me so hopeful for future trips, knowing that the first time out everything worked!
Double cluster was amazing. Seeing them all so bright and clear I was almost emotional.
Didn't see mars or Saturn, but I know I have many more trips and much more to see.

Warnings from a newb: The scope worked perfect but I did not and I ran into some common problems. I read through this forum and many others before buying but didn't seem to catch these things. The great thing is this forum helped solve every one of my problems.
Alignment: I used skyalign all night and it worked great. However I made the idiot mistake of thinking I knew that we were in daylight savings time. I'm sure you all know we are in fact not in dst. This of course caused my first guided target seem to be under the earth. Easy fix after a moment of sheer panic and check online to learn the truth.
I used Venus and Jupiter as two of my alignment points. Wrong. Once I used fixed stars the tracking was much better. I was centered for over 30 minutes on some targets once I used stars.
OTA Placement: I got out of alignment several times looking near zenith because the ep. would hit the base. I now realize I can slide it up about another inch and that should be solved. It just felt right to place it where I did but it doesn't work well that way.
Power cord: HUGE WARNING!! In my lust to see new things I got the power cord from my celestron power pack get wrapped around the mount. Once it got caught it bent and fell out. It was dark and I couldn't tell what happened at first but I finally came to the sickening conclusion that I had just f'd up. The connector on the cord was bent and felt loose. I couldn't see the inside receptor on the mount. Luckily after plugging it back in it worked although not very well. Any bump of the cord would power me down. Upon getting home I inspected and the mount looks fine, but I need a new cigarette power cord for sure. No biggie as I have now read that the are not the best cords to begin with. Just hope the receptor is fine.

Last impressions: I want to thank CN and this forum specifically. You were a tremendous help while I was deciding and I know you'll continue to be going forward. I am so happy with my new baby and can't wait for some dark skies! Looking forward to being a part of the gang!

FYI: I'm already furiously researching ep.s and other goodies. It's terrible and I love it!

#2 RTLR 12



  • *****
  • Posts: 4846
  • Joined: 04 Dec 2008
  • Loc: The Great Pacific NorthWest

Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:34 PM

Welcome to the "Addiction"! It just gets better from here on out. I just love going to J-Tree. It's so hard to pick out constellations out there, because there are just so many stars in the sky. Great report.


#3 Midnight Dan

Midnight Dan

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 12280
  • Joined: 23 Jan 2008
  • Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortle 4.5)

Posted 17 December 2013 - 10:11 PM

H Spillyd and welcome to the forum!

Thanks for the first light report! Sounds like an inspiring first night out!

For the power jack, if you look into it, you'll see that the central pin is split down the middle. If you *gently* pry the two halves apart a little with a sharp knife or small screwdriver, it will make better contact with the plug.


#4 Tel



  • *****
  • Posts: 9938
  • Joined: 31 Mar 2006
  • Loc: Wallingford England

Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:36 AM

Hi Spillyd,

Also a very warm welcome to CN and to this forum ! :bow::bow:

One or two additional words of warning though, with regard to power cords.

In the knowledge that the jack plug end fitting should ideally have an internal diameter of 2.1 mm and an external of 5.5mm, (noting that internal diameters of 2.4mm are more commonly available but which however, will give a loose fitting at the mount pin), look towards obtaining a cord with a fixed jack plug of the correct dimensions rather than one adapted to accept variably sized, interchangeable end fittings.

The reason for this ? Should the interchangeable end fitting and the end attached to the cord become detached from each other, it is possible, (particularly in limited light), that in putting the two back together again, they may be replaced the wrong way round causing polarity reversal which, in turn, will fry the mount's electronics.

Thus, an invaluable accessory to your equipment is always possession of an inexpensive multi-meter.

Wishing you many a happy hour under the stars with your 8SE. :waytogo:

Best regards,

#5 Peter9  Happy Birthday!



  • *****
  • Posts: 4960
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Yorkshire - Born & Bred

Posted 18 December 2013 - 12:52 PM

Hi Spillyd and welcome to the forum.

Thanks for your report. It makes interesting reading. Pleased you had such a good night.

Regards. Peter.

#6 Spillyd


    Lift Off

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: 16 Dec 2013

Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:22 PM

Thank you all for the warm welcome and the additional info regarding the power cord! You may have saved me a ton of grief. I'll be very careful about checking the diameter of the connector. I felt like such an idiot when I realized what I had done. I haven't seen any other posts with that particular problem but I can't be the only one dumb enough to do it. :foreheadslap:
Doesn't look like I'll get another chance to play until sometime in January and I'm jonesing already. If my wife didn't love living in LA so much I would probably be looking for a house in the country already so I could use it more often.

#7 Greyhaven



  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 2866
  • Joined: 11 May 2004
  • Loc: 16 miles south of the Buckfield Mall

Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:54 PM

It's great to be owned by new scope. Feed me Seymour!
Be Well

#8 Doug Michel

Doug Michel

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 273
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2011
  • Loc: Lincoln, NE

Posted 19 December 2013 - 12:06 PM

I would suggest that you have the OTA and mount kept together instead of the mount and tripod. Several of us have learned the hard way that you increase your chances to drop the OTA when installing on the mount, and the less times you do this the better.

#9 hawk


    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 239
  • Joined: 12 Mar 2013

Posted 19 December 2013 - 12:19 PM

I'd agree. It also simplifies the balance/backslash issues -- you won't have to worry about re-adjusting either one if you leave the OTA on the mount.

#10 pedxing



  • *****
  • Posts: 1180
  • Joined: 03 Nov 2009

Posted 24 December 2013 - 11:03 AM

The way I deal with the intermittent power connection on the SE (even an undamaged plug can be dodgy when wiggled) is to keep a rubber band around the hand controller (which also helps keep the HC from falling off when moving the mount) and running the power cord under the rubber band from above.

This provides just enough strain relief to keep the power connection stable. Nothing worse than losing your alignment just because the power cord got jiggled.

Any time you have a cable connected to the moving bits, be it power, usb, dew heater or whatever, you need to be conscious of the potential for cable wrap. But I guess you already learned that lesson the hard way... :crazy:

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics