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New Owner Nexstar 8 SE Wish List?

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#1 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 12:29 PM

Hello All. First post on this site.

This week acquired a Nexstar 8 SE. Really excited going into this. As a child I wanted to be an astronomer. Guess all things come in time.

I have already started acquiring accessories to help the scope do all it can do.

Got the Celestron Eye Piece Kit - It is ok for the money.
Got the power adapters.
Got the power pack.
Got the f6.3 reducer/corrector - This is GREAT.
Got the Narrowband 1.25 0-III filter to see nebulas better, but have not tried it yet.

Thinking about getting a wedge and a ccd camera....in a few months. Need to learn some of the basics first on the 8 SE.
Would like to get a dew warmer. Got dewed out the other night. Had to use my wifes hair dryer to blow the dew off to keep going.

What else are great things to add? Do you have any favorites accessories? What would you avoid?

Planning to use this for a year and may move up to something bigger if results on the 8 SC merit additional investment. Interested in seeing planetary nebula, galaxies, dark sky objects. Not rich yet but can spend a little. Like the MEADE MAX2, but realistically might get a 1100 cpc in a year or two, which most stuff acquired here would be upward compatible.

Any help appreaciated. (BTW I am the owner of a significant fishing site and have answered maybe 3,000 questions before related to fishing, would appreaciate you guys sharing the love over here.)(Yes my spelling is junk.)

Hobby Astronomer.

#2 Midnight Dan

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 02:16 PM

Hi Hobby & Welcome to the forum!

Looks like you've got a good list of items to start with. Here's what I'd consider as necessities if you don't already have them:

Observing chair - worth it's weight! Many styles available. I use this one:
http://www.bhphotovi...sing_Stool_2...

Dew shield - you may not have needed it yet, but you will. Some people make their own. I like this one:
https://www.astronom...-flexible-bl...

The rest of these are more in the "nice to have" category, or at least they can be purchased later on:

Upgraded eyepieces - decent eyepieces aren't cheap, so you may want to buy one at a time, over time, as your budget allows. The ones I recommend are the Baader Hyperions (on sale now at http://tinyurl.com/3cmt2e for $109 each), or the Explore Scientific 82 series. If you'd rather get a quick upgrade to a set that are surprisingly good for the price, try this set:
http://agenaastro.co...epiece-set.html
You can also buy them one at a time for less than $40 each.

2" dielectric coated diagonal - at some point, you may want to get some eyepieces that provide wider views in a 2" size, in which case you'll want a 2" diagonal. It also provides a more stable mounting for heavier accessories like binoviewers etc.

Dew heater and straps - you may not need these if you are in a dry climate. The dew shield may suffice on its own. However, most of us end up needing active dew heaters. I recommend the DewBuster controller and Dew-Not heater straps.

-Dan

#3 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 04:31 PM

Thinking about getting a wedge and a ccd camera....in a few months.


If you want to get into astrophotography (AP) realize that there are two ways to go - planets and Deep Sky Objects (DSOs). The 8SE can take great pictures of planets right out of the box but is far from ideal for DSO imaging. The ideal scope for DSO imaging would have a heavy duty equatorial mount and an 80mm APO refractor.

The time involved in learning to get good pictures of planets is WAY less than what it takes to learn DSO imaging. Your friends and family will be equally impressed with your picture of Jupiter as your picture of Andromeda. You can do Jupiter the first night out and only a few hours of work on the computer. For Andromeda you will spend 50x more effort and 5x more money.

For this reason I would suggest getting the NexImage 5 (if you have a non-AMD notebook/laptop with Windows) and spend some time browsing the Solar System Imaging & Processing forum.

#4 Gary Z

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 05:12 PM

Conrats HobbieAstronomer! You are off to a great start.
As an owner of a Nexstar 8 SE for over a year now, I can tell you that you will be happy with the views of Saturn and Jupiter, solar, and lunar views out of the box. I now use two cameras: A Canon T3i DSLR and a Samsung SDC 435 Surveillance Camera. The latter camera does a better job capturing Jupiter and Saturn and solar. The Canon does a good job on all other objects. For any serious astrophotography, I recommend a different mount. A good equatorial mount will be beneficial for longer exposure settings. This will allow you to bring in better views of DSOs. I'm not saying it isn't possible to get a decent result with the stock mount using a wedge, but it really depends on the result you are trying to achieve.

Clear Skies!

#5 John Brooks

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 05:28 PM

While it is not necessary, I still prefer a good right angle, correct image, illuminated reticle finder scope.
Due to my crunchy neck from a bad motorcycle accident nearly 30 years ago, I'm not big on bending and twisting my head to odd angles to look through a red dot or straight-through finder.

And, I'll second Midnight Dan on everything he said. You'll want that chair and the AstroZap. Make sure you get the one he linked with the dovetail notch.

#6 UncleMossy

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 05:46 PM

Welcome to the NexStar club, I know you will enjoy your new acquisition.

I've had mine for two years now and this is what I think you should get for yourself.

An observing chair is a must in my opinion.

For this scope, which is prone to dewing, I would recommend a dew heater and shield.
The shield will also work to keep out stray light.

If your observing close to home you can get an adapter to plug into the main power instead of the power tank.

A 2" diagonal will also open up possibilities for you.
If you do put on a 2" you will also need to do some sort of rail extension to gain enough clearance at the base.
Many extension options are discussed in this thread here, rail extension options.

There are also products available that will allow you to control your scope wirelessly from a tablet or smartphone.
I use SkyFi with an iPad running the planetarium program SkySafari and I can't imagine observing without it.
If you're new to astronomy, then a program like this will teach you so much, even when the scope isn't out, that will make your observing time much more productive and enjoyable.

Oh, and a moon filter.

Cheers
Jim

#7 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 07:14 PM

Thanks for the great tips and ideas. I am looking forwards to this journey. This first set up is going to be for learning. As far as DSOs I am just going to try to find what is out there realizing there will be another $5g investment required to do so something more serious. Just want to learn the sky and what is out there. Nexstar telescope seems just perfect to get started.

Prior hobby was land based shark fishing. If you type shark fishing in google, this first site you will probably see is Tx-Sharkfishing.com. That is my site. The front page has some video of me catching a 12 foot tiger off the beach. But I am 48 years old with a two year old and another one the way, so I want to try something else that is equally exciting, like looking at the universe through a telescope with 2013 technology. Hobbies are fun and I like catching big fish, but fishing messageboards are a headache and I would like to be only a posting member on a forum again.

I really appreciate everyones kind advice and look forward to hearing from the rest of the other great minds here.

Guess you guys are going to make me spend more money. Glad it will be spent well. Nothing like spending money on bad gear (learned that in fishing)

Going to central Mexico on vacation this week. Altitude is some 2,500 meters above sea level where our tiny home is. And we are some 100 miles north of Mexico City in a valley with a low population level. Hope I can get some really dark sky, so the 8 SE should really perform.

Thanks,

Hobby Astronomer.

#8 panhard

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 11:15 PM

Welcome to the forums. :band: :grouphug: :grouphug: :whee: :whee: :thewave:

#9 Cliff U.

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:53 AM

Not wanting to hijack this thread, and in the same boat as Hobby Astronomer. First scope 8SE! I have a couple questions,and a suggestion to add to this list.

Find a good carrying case! After reading suggestions of others, I bought a lightweight suitcase set from Costco. It allows me to pack the both the optical tube and mount together in the large case. I can also break both down using the small and medium case.

I have two questions:

Are there any differences (quality, performance)in the dew shield Midnight Dan mentioned, compared to the Celestron brand dew shield?

Would like to know more about the f6.3 reducer/corrector, but will start a separate thread.

#10 Midnight Dan

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 09:46 AM

Hi Cliff & Welcome to the forum!

Not sure about the Celestron, but the Astrozap is very well made, has flocking on the interior to further reduce reflections, and has a notch cut in the edge to fit around the dovetail on the SE models which makes it more secure on the end of the tube. I've been very happy with it and, while more expensive, I think it's worth the money.

As for actually reducing the tendency for dew to form, I would guess they both perform about the same.

-Dan

#11 Hobby Astronomer

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 11:17 AM

The f6.3 reducer/corrector is awesome. Seems to double the size of the view and make it easier to attempt a star align. It was about $100 US. I spend over half of my time with this on and with a 32 mm eyepiece to be able to see a broader view. Having some problems with the star align, so this is actually my work around until I get the star align fixed.

Next thing that is interesting was the O-III filter I purchased. Orion did pop out a little more as promised. May purchase some more nebula filters.

Hobby Astronomer.

#12 hamdul

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 12:47 PM

Hobby Astronomer.
If you're looking for an Astro Zap Shield I happen to have a new one that I have for sale. If you're interested Let me know by private message. Almost forgot, the price is $30.00 plus Postage.
Fred

#13 munchmeister

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 05:46 PM

StarSense alignment accessory.

#14 Tel

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 07:31 PM

Sorry Doug, but I disagree with your suggestion.

I fail continually to understand why anyone would want to invest in something that costs ca.$300 : ($450+ over here in the UK and no doubt the same in mainland Europe): when, with a little instruction and self tuition, this series of 'scopes can be successfully manually aligned by any operator/owner in under 10 minutes at no cost at all. :shrug:

Best regards,
Tel

#15 omcbman

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 08:29 PM

I totally agree with Tel on this i was going to buy a gps device for my 8se becuase of the alignment problems i was having.And all it was going to do was tell me my location and time in which i already knew lol.But anyway after alittle practice and some small tweaks alignment became rather easy.

#16 hawk

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Posted 26 December 2013 - 10:08 PM

I could almost see the point of StarSense --- except that SkyAlign comes built in to the 8SE! It's like the smarts of StarSense, but you point the scope at three bright objects yourself instead of having it find them. With SkyAlign, it's dead simple to align these modern NexStar scopes without knowing the name of a single star. Pretty awesome. (And the StarSense accessory is just so expensive....)

#17 Sorny

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 12:37 AM

5-10 minutes saved each time I observe means $330 is paid for in short order by increased viewing time. I can have the scope aligned and tracking before I've even finished setting up the table or inserted the binotron into the diagonal.

That said, auto 2-star works fine, and skyalign mostly works.

#18 Peter9

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 05:12 AM

I have to agree with Tel. I can see no sense, star or otherwise, in paying so much for something that only saves minutes at best. And what's so wrong with aligning the SE series anyway, I find it quite a fun thing to do.

Regards. Peter.

#19 munchmeister

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 03:22 PM

Each to his own. I applaud all you folks who study the star charts, align your own scopes and balance your checkbook every week. Really, I do. But I have a StarSense so that I, and the family and friends I want to show things to, can be looking at the sky, 5 minutes after somebody says, 'hey Doug, what does Orion look like in your scope..." Now, of course, I can plant the 8SE and slew to Orion this time of year, or Jupiter, WITHOUT alignment and answer that question. But I'd rather plant the tripod, get StarSense aligning, while I can be inside with family and friends, perhaps checking out Stellarium on the big screen, etc., then getting them out in the freezing cold to see those things. Quickly, easily, without even having to center a star in the eyepiece. BAM! Fast. Is two star that easy/ quick? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe your sky has fewer trees or your skies brighter than mine.

Again, I applaud all who have learned to align. I wanted fast. I spent $1200 on this thing, in addition to many wasted dollars on other things getting here. I know what I want and I bought it and am very happy with it. I scoured this site and others before I bought, as I do with every purchase I have ever made. So, when somebody says 'hey, what should I buy for my 8SE' I tell 'em what I bought. That's all. I have no illusions that my purchases will have much if any impact upon anyone who happens along this forum. But when I start looking to spend my hard earned cash, I want opinions, differing ones, with the whys and wherefores of the purchase. I like to read why somebody buys something. I know I can align the thing. So why buy a Starsense? Well, you just had to egg me on. I'm old. I'm lazy. I have the $300. I like gadgets. I like telescopes. I like my kids and grandkids and I want to show them the stars... I know the sky and I know how impatient everyone is. I participate in outreach events. Sad, but true but folks want a quick look and then they move on. But I still want to show the sky to anyone who wants to see it, when I can, however I can. You cannot force someone to learn. But if you can turn them on with a quick view of Jupiter or Saturn or the Ring or Orion, or the prominences of our Sun... they will educate themselves. Worked for me.

Thanks for egging me on, gents. :bow:

Just my $.02. Worth even less, but my view, just the same. This was an answer to the OP, who asked, what else can I buy for my 8SE. This is just one answer.

#20 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 05:42 PM

Hey Munchmeister...

Don't let us get on your case... its your money and you can spend it anyway you want...on anything you want ... anytime you want...

I'm just too darn cheap but I guess just about as lazy since I can handle 2-3 minutes to do a two star alignment ...LOL CLEAR SKIES

Bob G.

#21 maugi88

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 06:18 PM

Get a dew shield with a heat tape in it. Most nights you wont need to plug it in.

The first thing I would address is the Dew problem.

The other gizmos and gadgets can speed things up. But dew really slowwwwwwwwsssssss things down. If you want that other stuff later, get it by all means.

Have fun with your new scope.

#22 munchmeister

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 10:23 PM

Hey Munchmeister...

Don't let us get on your case... its your money and you can spend it anyway you want...on anything you want ... anytime you want...

I'm just too darn cheap but I guess just about as lazy since I can handle 2-3 minutes to do a two star alignment ...LOL CLEAR SKIES

Bob G.


Gee, Bob, thanks for giving me permission... :slapping:

Wanna race? :smarty:

#23 mikerxer

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 11:07 PM

What about this setup?

Heated shield

And the controller:

Controller

#24 mikerxer

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 11:49 PM

Actually, my signature, below, is "fibbing" somewhat >>> I used to own a Celestron C-11 on a Losmandy G-11 equatorial mount. I sold it some time ago. It certainly Was Not a "grab-and-go" telescope, however, once set up (not a quick process) it performed great! I have the NexStar 8 SE coming from Astronomics (currently on sale for $200 off)!! I still have a couple of TeleVue eyepieces from my C-11 days and can't wait to get back into this wonderful hobby! Based upon what has been said, the NexStar WILL be a grab and go scope. I used the reducer/corrector lens on my C-11 and it was fantastic! SUGGESTION: Get the book (or Kindle edition) of "Star Ware" (4th edition) by Phil Harrington. It'll teach you what's best AND not so "best" as far as equipment is concerned, as well as much more. It's easy to read and it's fun. Phil has written for Astronomy Magazine, etc. Anyway, waiting for the new scope is like driving to Disneyland -- the anticipation is as much fun as actually receiving my new NexStar 8 SE! I'll keep listening for the doorbell upon its arrival...Thanks for reading the above!!

#25 sonny.barile

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Posted 28 December 2013 - 12:41 AM

mikerxer Did you get the package that comes with a weeks worth of clouds?






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