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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Moey
super member


Reged: 01/23/08

Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new
      #5533269 - 11/22/12 01:41 AM

There have been so many clear nights during the week where I'd love to take something small out and take a quick look after a long day at work. So I've been contemplating purchasing a small sct as a grab'n'go to compliment my 14.5" dob. I must admit the Celestron Nexstar 6se and 8se are tempting. Any other ideas? I'll be mainly using it for looking at the moon+planets in my light polluted backyard. Not really interested in anything less than 5". Quick cooldown is obviously ideal (30min or less).

Thanks


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Dwight J
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/14/09

Loc: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Moey]
      #5533292 - 11/22/12 01:57 AM

The C6 would be my choice as the best combination of light grasp and size. It will be my next scope purchase for that reason,

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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
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Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? [Re: Moey]
      #5533300 - 11/22/12 02:19 AM

A 127 Mak kept in the freezer would be nice, well, for moon and planets - their niche. Not sure how fast a C6 will cool in whatever ambient conditions you trow at it. Despite their rep, I suspect Maks will not follow far behind, especially with some preparatory or active cooling...on either model. Even small refractors take about that long to offer pleasing views according to some testimony.

Celestron makes a 5" Mak with goto, if its grab and go then that implies no observing plan. But, the moon and planets are not hard to find. So, a simpler set up is fine. You won't have to add batteries or plug it in. Just plop and drop.

The C6 would also be a very good choice. Not sure an 8" is really grab and go. That's like grab and go anxiety complicated by aperture fever. With grab and go, some stuff has to be left behind. Otherwise, you could grab and go with a 16" Dob.

People rave over the C6, it's probably a better choice over a more serious 8" for grab and go and still giving pleasing views of the planets and luna. A 5" Mak excels in this arena, too, and if I'm right about cool down differences between the two, it would be a good grab and go option, as well. The simpler the set up, the better.

It seems to me, for grab and go, the C6 or 127 Mak would be fine considerations. If you can live with aperture fever. If your set on an SCT, then the C6 seems the best option. As always, it's your choice, but you asked for our two cents...


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Moey
super member


Reged: 01/23/08

Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #5533329 - 11/22/12 03:01 AM

Thanks guy for the feedback.

I'm not fussed bout wether its an Sct or Mak (should have rephrased the title).

Would the 6" sct be a better option than the 5" Mak? Or is the secondary obstruction on the 6" sct far greater than on the 5" Mak?


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Asbytec
Guy in a furry hat
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Reged: 08/08/07

Loc: La Union, PI
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Moey]
      #5533336 - 11/22/12 03:27 AM

Good question. The C6 is listed with a 37% obstruction and lists for ~$900.

http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/celestron-nexstar-6se.html
http://www.telescopes.com/telescopes/catadioptric-telescopes/celestronnexstar...

The 127 Mak does not seem to show one. My guess is, it will be very comparable percentage wise, smaller in real terms and a bit larger due to the effective aperture. It lists for ~$500.

http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/celestron-nexstar-127slt.html
http://www.telescopes.com/telescopes/catadioptric-telescopes/celestronnexstar...

But, you know, glancing at their respective mounts, the 6" appears more sturdy. It may not be, looks can be deceiving. But, possibly sturdier with an inch of aperture advantage, that's pretty convincing for the C6 over the 5" Mak.

The Mak coatings simply state "fully coated," not fully multi coated. I'm getting a bad feeling about this one. Shame, really. It hurts to see a Mak sold in a presumably weak package as if it's a low cost bird watching spotter...with goto. That may not the case, but it's the impression. Maybe read some reviews and see what others think.

The C6 coatings are StarBright XLT. That has a nice ring to it, like they really want to see it to you. They're probably better coatings, as well. Price wise, they are probably both worth what you pay, but I'd be more inclined to offer up the additional money for the C6.

I love the Mak design, my own is very good. And a simple grab and go with no batteries or extension cords. But I'm leaning toward the 6" SCT on this one.

Edited by Asbytec (11/22/12 03:47 AM)


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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Moey]
      #5533340 - 11/22/12 03:37 AM

I'd choose the C6 over the 5" Mak. There isn't a whole lot of difference weight wise and the C6 is the more versatile of the two. It has more aperture, and can be used for high mag work as well as 'wider' field work. The 6" scope can push towards 300x on nights of good seeing while the 5" scope will be limited to about 250x. On the other end, the C6 can yield around 1.3 to 1.5 deg true field of view with a smaller 2" eyepiece like the Panoptic 27mm while the 5" Mak will be limited to less than 1 deg TFOV and will not support the use of 2" eyepieces. A 6SE can be purchased for a little over $700 right now, while the Celestron 127 SLT goes for approx. $500, but is on a cheaper mount.

Patrick

Edited by Patrick (11/22/12 03:49 AM)


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berobertsmd
super member


Reged: 09/28/09

Loc: Brandon, Mississippi
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Patrick]
      #5533388 - 11/22/12 05:37 AM

If you're considering a C6, you might want to look at a NexStar 6SE, especially if you want to have go-to ability as well. They are on sale by Celeston thru 12/31 list @ $719. I have a NexStar 8SE, that I use for grab and go, because I wanted 8" and go-to, etc. I have a CPC 9.25 I wasn't ever using, mainly because of it's size, but do like the Celestron Hand Control, programming, and features, which, less the GPS, are the same on the NexStar series. The NexStar is a quick set up and is easy to transport. There is a separate NexStar forum on CN where you can get great advice about any questions you might have. One problem, NexStar's eat AA batteries, so plan on using a separate power source, which is 1 more item to grab. I use a rechargable auto battery jump box that has a 12V outlet. Plenty of power for scope, dew heaters, or whatever; about $60. The NexStar comes with a red dot view finder. I added a Telrad. If interested, Celestron has just offered an accessory, Sky Q Link($99). It is a small module that plugs into your NexStar base, allowing you to control the scope with either your IPhone or IPad. I haven't seen any "feedback" on it yet. You mentioned "cool down time". I keep my NexStar inside, so if I think I might want to observe, I'll sometimes go ahead and put the OTA outside. I would think the C6 would cool quicker. There are a lot of C6 users on the NexStar forum who could give you info about that. Good luck in your search!

Bruce


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rmollise
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: berobertsmd]
      #5533505 - 11/22/12 08:16 AM

Depends on your concept of "grab 'n go". When I use a CAT for that purpose, it is a C90 Mak, not an SCT.

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Kon Dealer
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/05/11

Loc: Cambridge UK
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5533651 - 11/22/12 10:07 AM

I use a C6 with an Antares f/6.3 reducer permanently in place.
Gives quite good widefield views (as well) and is very portable.
Cool down is the only issue- about an hour so you have to plan ahead.


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Kon Dealer
professor emeritus


Reged: 01/05/11

Loc: Cambridge UK
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5533652 - 11/22/12 10:07 AM

I use a C6 with an Antares f/6.3 reducer permanently in place.
Gives quite good widefield views (as well) and is very portable.
Cool down is the only issue- about an hour so you have to plan ahead.


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Pinbout
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/22/10

Loc: nj
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Moey]
      #5533786 - 11/22/12 11:28 AM

I got a used 8in lx200 unmounted [~350], I added the dovetail and put it on a medium duty photo tripod with a alt/az mount [dsv-1]. added the finder shoe for the 8x50 finder and also change the visual back to 2in so I can you my es 35 70°. makes a world of difference.



I can pickup the kit and carry it upstairs from the basement with one hand.



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mayidunk
Don't Ask...
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Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Betwixt & Between...
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Kon Dealer]
      #5533793 - 11/22/12 11:31 AM

Forgive me, for I fear I'm about to sin in the eyes of all here...



Anyway, IMO the best grab 'n go scope is a small refractor, as it allows you to start viewing almost immediately. Unlike a newt/sct/mak you don't have to wait for it to cool down, it's lighter than a newt/sct/mak, you won't forget the dew shield as they're usually attached (same with the newt), and you never have to collimate it (most of them, anyway, but even then they usually never need tweaking once they're dialed in).

Using a small refractor as a grab 'n go will allow you to make the most of whatever limited time you might have for viewing. That being said, if you must have a CAT, then a 90mm MAK would give you the sharpest views, but the C5 is no slouch either. Neither is the C6, except that it's pretty big and heavy in comparison, and so pushes the limits all the way around for use as a grab 'n go scope. But the major drawback they all share is that they all need to cool down before they can give their best views! If you have less than a half-hour or so to view, why even bother?

I currently have a 90mm MAK, and a C6 that I had thought would make good grab 'n go scopes. I've since replaced them both with an 80mm Stellarvue doublet, as neither of them are very practical for that purpose.

As in all things, YMMV. Good luck!



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Pinbout
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Reged: 02/22/10

Loc: nj
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5533803 - 11/22/12 11:37 AM

Quote:

Forgive me, for I fear I'm about to sin in the eyes of all here...








I have a bigger sin...


What is this cool down I keep reading about.

What you actually setup and don't observe.


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Sarkikos
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Suburban Maryland, USA
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: rmollise]
      #5533810 - 11/22/12 11:43 AM

Quote:

Depends on your concept of "grab 'n go". When I use a CAT for that purpose, it is a C90 Mak, not an SCT.




I agree with your idea of grab-n-go. I can take out my 90mm Mak on sturdy head and tripod in one hand, accessory bag and stool in the other. One trip out, one trip in. Everything's ready to go. No set up. That's grab-n-go! Anything else is something else.

Mike


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Jared
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Reged: 10/11/05

Loc: Piedmont, California, U.S.
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: mayidunk]
      #5533850 - 11/22/12 12:16 PM

I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with Bob on this one. While a 6" SCT or 5" Mak is great as a portable scope, for quick observing after work I much prefer my 80mm refractor to my 5" SCT. Cooling and contrast are the reasons.

Last night was a perfect example. I took out both my 80mm refractor and my C5 into e front yard after dinner--first clear night in a week, and it turned out that the seeing was very good. The inside temperature was 68F and the outside was 54F so a moderate delta. After 40 minutes the C5 was still showing obvious tube currents, so I took off the diagonal and positioned it aperture down to aid in cooling. Twenty minutes later, the tube currents had finally disappeared so I compared the views through the two scopes.

The C5 had a slight advantage in brightness, but it was surprisingly small. At the same magnification in both scopes--160x--the 80mm was providing higher contrast on Jupiter and the resolution was equivalent, there were no details I could find in the C5 view that I couldn't also find in the 80mm views. The C5 had a clear advantage in exit pupil size--fewer floaters--so would likely support a bit more magnification, but Jupiter was still fairly low in the sky at 8:00pm so I didn't push it.

Obviously, each scope has its advantages and disadvantages. I'm not trying to suggest the views were better through the 80mm on Jupiter than through the C5. Frankly, for critical planetary viewing I wouldn't want either one. I'd rather have my 5" refractor or an even larger reflector. However, the one hour cooling time required for even a moderate temperature delta on the 5" SCT is a serious problem when you are talking about quick, after work observing sessions. For that purpose in particular I'd take a small refractor over a slightly larger closed tube Cassegrain.


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Eric63
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/16/12

Loc: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5533858 - 11/22/12 12:20 PM

I have a 127Mak on an AZ4. I keep it in an unheated garage and it is ready to go within 15 to 20 minutes or so when I take it out. During that time I usually mount my 102 short tube refractor and enjoy the wide field views. The 5 inch Mak is simply amazing on the moon and bright DSO objects. Can’t comment about planetary yet because I have yet to test it on a night of excellent seeing. With average seeing I can make out the belts and polar regions but not much detail yet in the belts.

Eric


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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Eric63]
      #5533931 - 11/22/12 01:05 PM

Due to obsessive bargain hunting I have a choice of refractors ,reflectors, and cats.

But if I am really wanting instant gratifaction and simplicity the 4.5" az-el reflector is great.Weighs very little and has brighter view than small refractor.Also have 4.5" Dob which is very nice but is heavier due to base and needs something to set it own if you don't want to sit on the ground.


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Dwight J
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 05/14/09

Loc: Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Eric63]
      #5533975 - 11/22/12 01:34 PM

Small refractors are too small to provide satisfying views for me and approach the C6 in weight. I will be replacing a 4.5" Starblast with a C6 as my G&G as 4.5" just isn't enough to cover all I may want to look at. Don't get me wrong with the Starblast - it has great low power, wide field views but so-so on solar system objects. If kept in an unheated garage or shed, cool down is none to minimal. I keep a C 11 in a shed and cool down is never an issue. I guess it depends on what you are looking at. Binos work well for low power, wide field viewing and are tough to beat for G&G but not for the planets. No one scope does it all but a C 6 comes close IMHO.

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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: Dwight J]
      #5533985 - 11/22/12 01:43 PM

I would say that it depends a lot on the mount that you want to use it on. Obviously, a C6 weighs a lot less than a C8, but if you plan on a mount that can handle it, I think that the C8 is the best choice since it is large enough to take in a lot of light while not too large to haul around or require a large mount. If cool-down is an issue, then go with the Edge HD.

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t.r.
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Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Ideal Grab'N'Go SCT? new [Re: EFT]
      #5534223 - 11/22/12 05:09 PM Attachment (81 downloads)

C6 comes closest to the ideal grab-n-go. I've had 80SS, 80ED, 90Mak, 90Tak, 90 Megrez, 92L TMB, C5 and C8 all looking to fill this role. The refractor argument is bunk. I live in upstate NY...none colder or with larger temp deltas or greater Jet Stream issues. The scope that delivers the right amount of detail for the amount of grab-n-go effort is indeed the C6. It trumped every one of the smaller refractors listed. Here's mine on a driven EQ3 mount that I carry out in one trip.

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