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First telescope - NexStar Evolution 9.25" :-)

Celestron beginner cassegrain astrophotography accessories
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#1 JerseyBoy

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:10 AM

Hello everyone! :-) 
 
I am JerseyBoy from the island of Jersey, UK. I do not have telescope yet, but I will have soon! My first telescope will be the Evolution 9.25".
 
Being in Jersey means no UK 20% VAT, instead we have a 5% GST. So looking at UK prices for an Evolution 9.25" I see they are around £2000, yet in the USA they are selling for around $2000, with the exchange rate at £1 = $1.7 and taking into account the shipping cost and VAT they should still be several hundred pounds cheaper than they are in the UK.
 
So I went hunting for a USA seller that would ship internationally and I found one. The cost of the telescope is $2099, plus shipping at $337, plus GST at 5% makes a total of $2557.80. At an exchange rate of 1.65 from my bank it will cost me £1550.18. A pretty good price methinks :-) 
 
You might wonder why I am going for this as my first telescope I work in a bank looking after the computer systems, technology for me always has to be leading edge, I also buy things that will keep me ahead of the curve for years. This scope with its app, which I have already downloaded to my tablet, is great for me as I can start using my telescopeas soon as I have set it up, I can learn along the way. I am used to having to learn new systems at work in a very short time, so I think I will pick up Astronomy quickly too.
 
I did 84 hours of overtime last month (yes really!) so am treating myself to the Evolution 9.25". I am looking to buy the set of eyepieces and filters at the same time as it's only $127 for this Celestron set:
 
Five Plossl Eyepieces: 6mm, 8mm, 13mm, 17mm, 32mm
2.0x Barlow Lens
Six Wratten Planetary Filters
Neutral Density Moon Filter
Aluminum Carry Case
 
I will need a dew shield as I am right next to the beach. Does anyone have any suggestions as to anything else I might want to buy at the same time as the telescope?
 
I have been looking at Canon DSLR's and the 700D comes out top for me after comparing all models in a spreadsheet, then reading comparison reviews on the Web. So I am looking at buying one of those for some astrophotography and video, it takes a 128gb memory card so plenty of room for long 1080p video. 


#2 Dadadee

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 08:34 AM

Hello JD,

 

Like you, I believe the Celestron Evolution line w,ill be a nice product.  I should get mine real soon.

 

however, I have concerns with your choice of eyepieces.  Plossls are a great type of eyepieces.  But there is a but.  Their eye relief is about 2/3 of theire focal lenght.  The 32 mm will have an eye relief of about 20mm.  No problem there, even if you wear glasses to look in the eyepuece.  But after that it gets rougher.  17mm will be around 12mm of eye relief.  Still bearable.  But the three others will be tough to use.

 

for the eyepieces, I would look for other options.

 

a Barlow is a always nuce.  So is a lunar filter when the moon is full or close to it.  I like those color filters to look at planets.  80a is by far, my favorite.

 

ben


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#3 Jon_Doh

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 09:00 AM

Congratulations on your new telescope.  You've picked a good one!  Take a look at the Explore Scientific line of eyepieces.  They are a good value and deliver quality views.  Their 68 and 82 degree series will give you nice wide field views.  They also make a high quality barlow.  I've used them in an SCT and they work great.


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#4 JerseyBoy

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 01:52 PM

Hi all,

 

Thanks for the advice ;-) 

 

I had some similar replies on another forum so now I am looking at a 2x Barlow plus an 8-24 zoom to go with the telescopes 13mm and 40mm lenses. Once I get used to different lengths with the zoom, I can then look at some decent fixed length lenses. 

 

I do wear glasses, they are for computer and reading, so I will need to see how it goes with the lenses.

 

Filters are cheap enough that I might as well just buy them.



#5 JerseyBoy

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 04:17 PM

I find this a useful calculator  :)

 

http://www.csgnetwork.com/telefov.html



#6 JerseyBoy

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 05:09 AM

Regarding my plan to purchase a Canon 700D I found this which may be of interest to astrophotographers. 

 

http://www.jtwastron...s/ultimate.html



#7 Peter9

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 06:11 AM

I wear glasses, but always remove them when observing. Give it a try.

 

Take care.  Peter.


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#8 budman1961

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 06:55 AM

Doesn't that put your warranty in jeopardy?  With cars, it used to be called gray-market, and the warranties were worthless here.  You might check to see what happens if you have any warranty problems, who fixes it.

 

Andy


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#9 mclewis1

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 12:21 PM

Those ULT cameras appear to have a combination warranty (donor camera and JWT's additions). It would be interesting to get more details about the warranty (how it's fulfilled, terms and conditions, etc.).

 

For about $2500USD/1500GBP you seem to get a heck of a camera, it appears to be an interesting competitor to traditional CCD imagers.

 

But if I was going to spend that kind of money I would also be looking seriously at ATIK, QSI, Starlight Xpress, SBIG, QHY, etc. (and maybe even the Mallincam Universe)


Edited by mclewis1, 07 August 2014 - 12:21 PM.

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#10 JerseyBoy

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 03:28 PM

Mark, I make that a bit less ;-) 

 

€1500 = £1209 = $1995



#11 JerseyBoy

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 03:38 PM

High humidity here in Jersey, will sure need a heated dew filter!

 

http://www.weatherba...er.php3?s=59830



#12 mclewis1

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 07:38 PM

Mark, I make that a bit less ;-) 

 

€1500 = £1209 = $1995

You're right, I was reading pounds instead of euros.   :doah:



#13 JerseyBoy

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Posted 08 August 2014 - 03:20 AM

It works out at £1209 for 18 megapixels, the cheapest colour ccd from Starlight is £1270 with just 1.5 megapixels. 6 megapixels colour Starlight will set you back £2099. The biggest Starlight colour is 10 megapixels at £2525. So with the Canon you are getting a lot of pixels for the money.
 
Having not used either as only just starting in this game, I wouldn't know if the smaller ccd would outperform the Canon for quality, but with 18mp vs 1.5mp my money is on the Canon.
 
It would be interesting to read a comparison review of the Canon vs a ccd, so I will have a poke around on the Web to see what I can find.


#14 mclewis1

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 02:26 PM

I would strongly advise against buying a particular camera based on the price vs. number of pixels the sensor has.

 

In general before you consider the number of pixels ... 

 

1) You want to know about noise, or more specifically the lack of it.

2) You want as much sensitivity as possible without adversely affecting #1

3) You want a smooth sensor, without obvious defects

4) You want to match the size of the sensor (not the number of pixels but that actual width/height of the pixel area) to the focal length of your scope to figure out the fov ... this is a general guideline (more about class of chip size vs. mms from one to another) and will determine what type of objects you will be shooting (very large objects, large, medium, and small objects).

5) You want to match the pixel size to the focal length of your scope, this will determine the resolution ... for most DSOs this won't matter much but it will be something to consider if you are also considering using the camera at long focal lengths for planetary imaging.

 

The accuracy of your mount (and autoguider) will also have an effect on resolution, and many imagers also consider seeing conditions vs. pixel size. There are also a ton of other things to consider ... but the number of megapixels usually isn't one of them.


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#15 JerseyBoy

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 05:17 PM

Thanks Mark :-) 

 

Seems there is a lot for me to consider before I buy a camera. I am not in a hurry to get into astrophotography, I was just looking for ways to get half decent images to keep, maybe post on forums or Facebook if the quality was good enough, I'm not looking to win any prizes, so maybe I will end up with a DSLR or a low cost CCD/CMOS made for telescopes. 



#16 JerseyBoy

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 05:30 PM

I live next to the sea, my front balcony overlooks the beach, I do have a side balcony that’s out of any wind coming from the sea. I could also use the telescope from indoors with open windows.

 

I have seen some mentions that salt in the sea air might damage the telescope. There is an old closed thread on here about it. I have also watched some mirror cleaning videos as someone said clean the telescope after being in a salty place. I can also only use the telescope when it's low tide and low wind, but that would restrict my usage as I also need clear skies.

 

After thinking about this I went looking for a dust screen, to see if there is anything I can fit to the front of the telescope (I have found rear mounted dust screens) to prevent salt damage. All I have found so far is the front mounted solar filters.

 

Does anyone know of a 9.25" front mounted clear glass screen that I could fit to the telescope whenever I use it at home?

 

Maybe very thin cling film would work, applied after the telescope has reached a stable temperature outside? (cap off, cling film quickly on)



#17 mclewis1

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 02:10 PM

Don't worry too much about the camera selection issues ... just don't make a decision based on one criteria (or a very limited #). If you're just starting out I would consider something much cheaper to gain experience with ... then later on go after a camera that will really fit with what you want to to do.

 

Spend some time getting used to your new telescope, gaining experience with visual work. You'll become comfortable with your scope and it's operations and your conditions. You'll get an appreciation of how much time you're willing to spend out at the scope, the differences in the various types of deep space objects (DSOs) and which ones you like to observe (and possibly also image later on). Then you'll be able to make good choices about cameras and other accessories.

 

If you resist the initial temptation of "featuring up" your scope you'll keep things simpler which will allow you to concentrate on the core of simple observational astronomy.

 

Get a flexible dew shield, and a comfortable chair. With a good sky atlas or app plan your observing time (this really helps you to learn the sky in some detail). Practice getting good at setting up and preparing your scope for viewing and then just enjoy things.


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#18 JerseyBoy

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 04:26 PM

Hi Mark,

 

Thanks for the advice, appreciated  :)

 

Since my previous post I have spent several hours learning more about the scope, magnification limits and eyepiece targets for different objects, averted vision, dark adaption etc. I read through the info on the Starizona site (and a few others), very useful.

 

I downloaded the app that comes with the Evolution series and have been using it. Today was the first partially clear sky so I had a go with the software and checked out the targets I could see. I also wanted to know what time the full moon would rise here, so I used the fast forward in the app to see it was around 20:15 here, although I knew there was a hill in my way so I went to take a look around 20:25 and there it was  :)

 

Something else has joined my buy list, not featuring up, just Celestron vibration suppression pads  ;)



#19 JerseyBoy

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:21 PM

Hi everyone :-) 

 

So I emailed Astrozap regarding my salty air issue, this was the reply from Joe:

 

"You may want to look into getting some Baader Turbo Film. It's clear film and you will need to make a cell for it for your telescope."

 

He also provided an EBay link, but not sure if is against the rules to post that here so I have left it out.

 

Salty air issue looks solved :-) 



#20 John Huntley

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 04:40 PM

I live next to the sea, my front balcony overlooks the beach, I do have a side balcony that’s out of any wind coming from the sea. I could also use the telescope from indoors with open windows......

 

 

 

Do you have access to a garden or a field ?

 

Viewing / imaging from indoors or from a balcony might not let the scope perform at it's best.



#21 JerseyBoy

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 02:53 AM

Hi John,

 

There is a small patch of garden across the road that belongs to the apartments, but that is literally right next to the beach, the only things between it and the beach are the sea wall and footpath. That would mean being even closer to the sea! Maybe the Baader Turbo Film would make using it there a possibility. I would likely buy a case to put everything in, then I already have a small sack trolley to get it all across the road quickly (cars always stop to let people cross the road here and it is a 20mph zone).

 

Why do you think the scope may not perform at its best from a balcony? It is a strong balcony made from concrete lintels, ceramic tiled on top. Because it is so solid I am getting the vibration suppression pads in case there is any vibration coming from the road as big vehicles pass by, not that there should be many of those at the time of night I will be viewing.

 

Only 9 days to pay day, then I will order my scope and accessories :-)


Edited by JerseyBoy, 14 August 2014 - 02:57 AM.


#22 John Huntley

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 04:02 AM

I was thinking of both vibrations and warm air emitting from the brickwork of the building and nearby heated rooms. Buildings, concrete and tarmac absorb heat during the day and then radiate them back into the air at night. The most thermally stable observing surface seems to be grass.

 

I have a set of the Celestron anti-vibration pads and they help dampen vibrations but don't prevent them starting in the 1st place. At high magnifications vibrations are also magnified of course.  

 

On the other hand, if that's the viewing circumstances you have then I'm sure something will be possible. I'm sure others manage with similar.



#23 JerseyBoy

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 05:15 AM

Hi John,

 

From inside with a large open window I can see that heat will be flowing out of the window, so in direct line of the scope.

 

The balcony is about 20 feet by 9 feet and ceramic tiled. Underneath is just the downstairs apartments patio area, also ceramic tiled. Once the sun dissapears over the hill at about 8:30pm the tiles get cold very quickly, so I think by the time the sky is clear enough for viewing, about midnight or after, the heat will be 95% gone from the structure.

 

I also have a smaller balcony on the side of the apartment that faces west, this is out of the wind from the sea and further away from the road. Underneath it is the front door step, so no room heat to worry about.

 

I will try all of these areas and see if I get any heat issues ;-)

 

Thanks :-)



#24 JerseyBoy

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 12:24 PM

Hi All,

I placed my order just now, basically I have gone for it with the 2" setup  :) 

This is what I got and how much it cost from Grovers. Gotta love the prices and the no-VAT of Jersey (I will have to pay 5% GST on arrival, much less than the 20% UK VAT).

Evolution 9.25"                                                                                                                          £1699.00
Baader Hyperion Mk-III 8-24 zoom and 2.25x Baader Hyperion Barlow set                                  £249.95
Celestron eyepiece filter set 2" (21, 80a, 15, polarising)                                                               £39.95
Celestron VSP - vibration suppression pads                                                                                 £49.95
Baader Turbo Film (clear)                                                                                                             £25.95
Celestron 93527 Diagonal Mirror 50.8mm XLT - SCT fit                                                              £159.95
Baader Neodymium & IR Cut filter 2"                                                                                             £85.95
Baader OIII filter (8NM HBW) visual 2"                                                                                         £109.95

TOTAL                                                                                                                                       £2420.65
Minus VAT                                                                                                                                   £403.44
TOTAL Ex-VAT                                                                                                                          £2017.21

 

The savings over the price some other UK retailers are charging, plus the VAT saving has paid for all my accessories :cool:


Edited by JerseyBoy, 22 August 2014 - 12:29 PM.


#25 JerseyBoy

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 04:33 PM

Looks like I made a good choice picking the Evolution  :)

 

"The fantastic Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 Telescope  has just scored 5 Stars in the BBC Sky at Night Magazine Review in Septembers issue 112."

 

Links to the review on this page  :cool:

 

http://www.tringastr...lution-8-review







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