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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Sarkikos
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My First SCT: A C6! new
      #5637011 - 01/22/13 02:15 PM

Last night I ordered a C6 from High Point Scientific - along with a Bobs Knobs kit - for $403. After a discount from Celestron, it was like getting the Bobs Knobs for free. I've been in this hobby for over 40 years, but I've never owned an SCT. I've owned Newts, refractors and Maks, but never an SCT. The C6 will be my first.

I had been thinking about buying a C6 for over a year now. I kept putting it off, since I already have a 150mm Mak. However, the Mak is about 4 lbs heavier and takes about 1-1/2 hours to acclimate ... if it ever really does here in "wait a minute, the weather will change" Maryland. I might decide to sell the 150mm Mak. It is a nice Rumak, but I seldom use it.

I have a 90mm Mak I usually take out for grab-n-go, but I wanted something with more aperture that would still be easy to take out and quick to setup.

I had been concerned that the price might go up on the C6 or Celestron/Synta might stop selling them. I know it wouldn't make sense to end such a popular product, but I've seen sillier things happen in this hobby. I was also hoping that maybe the price would go down. But after a year of waiting, it didn't seem like that was going to happen. So finally I pulled the trigger last night for the C6. (Now watch for a price reduction! )

I already have a mount for the C6 - my Voyager Alt-Az. Judging from threads here on CN, the Voyager seems to be a good match. I have a CG4 GEM with tracking, but IME, GEMs are not so good for grab-n-go. They are heavier, larger, more cumbersome and more complicated to setup and use than comparable alt-az mounts. If I ever feel like tracking the Moon or planets, I can bring out the CG4. But I doubt if I ever will for the C6. IMO & IME, GEMs are not optimum for true grab-n-go.

I doubt if I will order an FF/FR for the C6. I've read through several threads on this topic, and so far have decided against it. Although the off-axis field will be improved, an FF/FR will reduce the sharpness on-axis. I intend to observe a variety of objects with the C6, including planets, Moon, DSO and double stars. I don't want to bring along another accessory I need to remove/replace when I switch to different objects during the same observing session. I want to keep the setup simple for grab-n-go.

For the time being I've also decided against installing a 2" visual back and adapter. The CA of the C6 is only 27mm. I don't want to introduce vignetting into the optical system. Also, a 2" diagonal and adapter will add weight and length to the scope, and might get hung up on the mount when I'm observing near zenith. If I change my mind, I already have those gizmos that I bought for the 150mm Mak.

In fact, I might just put my Baader Hyperion Zoom in the kit when I take out the C6. To maximize low-power "wide-field," I'll include my Orion Ultrascopic 35mm. Its field stop is 28.9mm, so vignetting will be minimal.

I'll probably replace the stock 6x30 straight-through finder. I'm considering mounting my ES 8x50 finderscope instead. It's a straight-through finder with an erect-image that is non-reversed. If I use this, I won't need a Telrad/Quikfinder/Red-Dot. I can combine the functions of a Telrad and optical finder in one unit. But it remains to be seen if the weight and size are compatible with the C6. Also, the ES finder has an Antares type mount, not a Synta. So I'll have to deal with that problem.

Mike


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t.r.
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Re: My First SCT new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5637066 - 01/22/13 02:41 PM

A lot riding on this C6! First impressions are everything afterall. But, I think you will be pleased Mike, although if your Mak was of good quality, I'm not sure how you will rate the C6 for planetary in comparison. Mine does well, it shows detail besting a fine Tak Sky 90 and a TMB 92L I had previously. I too replaced the finder with a simple red-dot reflex and the Hyperion zoom complimented the grab and go capability of the scope quite well. You will still have to wait for cool down...just put it out 30 minutes prior. Funny, I just picked up a C90 for Christmas and have swung the other way having fun with this little scope while the C6 sets idle. I can carry out either the C6 mounted on a CG4 or the C90 on an EQ-2, in one trip. So many scopes...so little time.

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Sarkikos
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Re: My First SCT new [Re: t.r.]
      #5637107 - 01/22/13 03:03 PM

Yes, I think what I really need is either more time or less scopes. My plan is to retire in a few years, so things should work out either way.

My main problem living in a condo here in red-zone suburbia, is that I need to do a bit of walking to get to any area to setup that will not completely frustrate me because of neighborhood glare or blocked skies. Up to now, my 90mm Mak on a 501HDV and tripod has been my favorite - and truest - grab-n-go scope. I think it might take me longer to find and put on all my cold weather clothes than it does to get this little scope mounted and ready to go out the door.

But as I said, I thirst for a bit more aperture, even for grab-n-go. If I can carry the C6 and a simple alt-az to some of the more favorable observing sites closeby in my neighborhood, I'll be happy.

Mike


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coutleef
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Reged: 02/21/08

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Re: My First SCT new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5637365 - 01/22/13 05:13 PM

good luck. i have the feeling a c6 is just what you were looking for in terms of portability. i use the baader zoom with my c8 and it is a good combination in winter

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Sarkikos
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Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Scotophobe Maryland, USA
Re: My First SCT new [Re: coutleef]
      #5637419 - 01/22/13 05:37 PM

I just received an email from HPS. My C6 has shipped! HPS is in the next state over, so it should arrive very soon.

Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: My First SCT new [Re: t.r.]
      #5637441 - 01/22/13 05:50 PM

t.r.,

Quote:

But, I think you will be pleased Mike, although if your Mak was of good quality, I'm not sure how you will rate the C6 for planetary in comparison. Mine does well, it shows detail besting a fine Tak Sky 90 and a TMB 92L I had previously.




Yes, the Mak is of good quality, but I'm seldom able to see that because it takes so long to acclimate. I don't have a deck or a yard where I can store the Mak or even set it out securely for cool-down. I could put it on my small front porch for a couple hours, but I don't really feel comfortable doing that. I doubt if anyone would pilfer it. However, it would be in the way of anyone coming in or out of the house. Not too good. This is not a good situation for scopes that require a long cool-down.

In fact, the person who sold me this 150mm Mak lived near DC, not far from here. He told me he was selling the Mak precisely because of the cool-down required!

If I do keep the 6" Mak, I'll probably only use it in the more moderate months. You might as well forget about it here in the winter. There's just too much of a change in temps from inside to outside. If I were to get another 6" or larger Mak, it better have vent holes and active cooling. Or I better relocate to a nice temperate locale ... Hawaii or the Phillipines, perhaps.


Mike


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coopman
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Re: My First SCT new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5637606 - 01/22/13 07:37 PM

Best wishes for you & the new C6. Mine is going out tonight to look at the moon & jupiter.

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Sarkikos
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Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Scotophobe Maryland, USA
Re: My First SCT new [Re: coopman]
      #5637701 - 01/22/13 08:42 PM

Sounds like fun! Probably much more fun down there than up here. The temps have fallen into the 'teens last few nights.




Mike


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coopman
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Re: My First SCT new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5637893 - 01/22/13 10:30 PM

Yes, it was in the 40s tonight and yet I still thought that it was cold. I'm sure that there are many here who wish that their low temp. was only in the 40s.

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Sarkikos
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Re: My First SCT new [Re: coopman]
      #5637900 - 01/22/13 10:34 PM

The 40's? That's nice daytime walking weather here. I just hope my new 6" SCT is better than my old 6" MCT at handling the low temps at night.


Mike


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azure1961p
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Reged: 01/17/09

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Re: My First SCT new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5637989 - 01/22/13 11:17 PM

Mike one of the clinchers for me on getting a C6 was Larry Carlinos review of his saying it was every bit as good as his Synta Mak of like sized aperture. I frankly don't kno how mine compares to a like sized Mak but I can tell you when Mars was tiny the scope never failed the magnification when the sky allowed it. I really have no qualms - its a tight little scope!!!!
Much better looking than its pix too and its pix look fine.

Pete


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azure1961p
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Reged: 01/17/09

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Re: My First SCT new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5637993 - 01/22/13 11:20 PM

Oh yeah - I never found over an hour was needed in winter .
The optics are thin enough I think its more temp friendly. Between 45 and 60 min and mines good to go.

Pete


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Rick Woods
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: My First SCT new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5638166 - 01/23/13 01:29 AM

Ah! So you've finally given in and come over to the centrally-obstructed side!
Mwahaha!


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Sarkikos
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Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Scotophobe Maryland, USA
Re: My First SCT new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5638317 - 01/23/13 07:06 AM

You talkin' ta me? Or Pete? Those Newts have CO's, too! It's just that the SCTs are even more centrally obstructed...

8" f/6 Newt: 19% CO
10" f/4.8 Newt: 23% CO
5" f/5 Newt: 29% CO
150mm f/12 Mak: 31% CO
150mm f/10 SCT: 37% CO?


Mike


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Sarkikos
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Re: My First SCT new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5638418 - 01/23/13 08:45 AM

After the C6 arrives, I should do a comparo on the 6" Mak vs the 6" SCT. I could mount both scopes side-by-side on my Orion SkyView AZ. It would be a nice challenge to mix-and-match eyepieces and Barlows to achieve a fair comparison between the two on various objects. I'd hate to sell either one of them without comparing them first in the field.

The difficult part will be finding the time and opportunity. It should be a night of good seeing and transparency. And I should allow the Mak - and the SCT - enough time for a good cool-down. I really should do the comparo at my dark site, not only to have a darker sky, but for more privacy so I can take my time and focus on the comparisons. Unless, of course, that happens to be the night another astronomy club chooses to have their star party! I'll have to watch out for that.


Mike


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MRNUTTY
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Reged: 11/22/11

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Re: My First SCT new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5639257 - 01/23/13 05:10 PM

Wow, it took you this long to get one? :-) I love mine. Is the most used scope I have. Six inch is also the most common aperture I have; SCT, Mak, and the SCT. I've been teetering on an AT6RC to complete the collection :-) ... Nah!

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Sarkikos
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Re: My First SCT new [Re: MRNUTTY]
      #5639464 - 01/23/13 07:34 PM

Yep. I've been interested in amateur astronomy since about 1970, so it took me 43 years to finally get an SCT. For the C6 specifically, I waited about a year before I pulled the trigger. This will be my last telescope acquisition for awhile.

Now I go back to DIY projects, managing a herd of eyepieces, and observing!


Mike


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azure1961p
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Re: My First SCT new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5639558 - 01/23/13 08:55 PM

Bob don't read too too much into the large CO ON THE 6" sct. Dennis Diciccos review had revealed the actual effective aperture of the iOptron Mak was something like 143mm yielding, get this : a 41% CO!!!!! IOptron actually had the true size if their CO posted but they pulled it quick an no phone calls from me repeatedly EVER gave a value on this number. I used Dennis review and other info I sleuthed together and finally thru my hands up at the thought of 1. Ever owning a cope with a co that huge 2. Never doing business with a company so utterly evasive with the simplest factual specs requested.

Believe me Mike the CO in your sct is a non issue. I have 16% on my reflector but I adore my c6 too. It's a great performer.

I am seriously interested in your comparisons.

Pete


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aa6ww
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Reged: 10/23/11

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Re: My First SCT: A C6! [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5639795 - 01/23/13 11:45 PM

Quote:

Last night I ordered a C6 from High Point Scientific - along with a Bobs Knobs kit - for $403. After a discount from Celestron, it was like getting the Bobs Knobs for free. I've been in this hobby for over 40 years, but I've never owned an SCT. I've owned Newts, refractors and Maks, but never an SCT. The C6 will be my first.



I had been thinking about buying a C6 for over a year now. I kept putting it off, since I already have a 150mm Mak. However, the Mak is about 4 lbs heavier and takes about 1-1/2 hours to acclimate ... if it ever really does here in "wait a minute, the weather will change" Maryland. I might decide to sell the 150mm Mak. It is a nice Rumak, but I seldom use it.

I have a 90mm Mak I usually take out for grab-n-go, but I wanted something with more aperture that would still be easy to take out and quick to setup.

I had been concerned that the price might go up on the C6 or Celestron/Synta might stop selling them. I know it wouldn't make sense to end such a popular product, but I've seen sillier things happen in this hobby. I was also hoping that maybe the price would go down. But after a year of waiting, it didn't seem like that was going to happen. So finally I pulled the trigger last night for the C6. (Now watch for a price reduction! )

I already have a mount for the C6 - my Voyager Alt-Az. Judging from threads here on CN, the Voyager seems to be a good match. I have a CG4 GEM with tracking, but IME, GEMs are not so good for grab-n-go. They are heavier, larger, more cumbersome and more complicated to setup and use than comparable alt-az mounts. If I ever feel like tracking the Moon or planets, I can bring out the CG4. But I doubt if I ever will for the C6. IMO & IME, GEMs are not optimum for true grab-n-go.

I doubt if I will order an FF/FR for the C6. I've read through several threads on this topic, and so far have decided against it. Although the off-axis field will be improved, an FF/FR will reduce the sharpness on-axis. I intend to observe a variety of objects with the C6, including planets, Moon, DSO and double stars. I don't want to bring along another accessory I need to remove/replace when I switch to different objects during the same observing session. I want to keep the setup simple for grab-n-go.

For the time being I've also decided against installing a 2" visual back and adapter. The CA of the C6 is only 27mm. I don't want to introduce vignetting into the optical system. Also, a 2" diagonal and adapter will add weight and length to the scope, and might get hung up on the mount when I'm observing near zenith. If I change my mind, I already have those gizmos that I bought for the 150mm Mak.

In fact, I might just put my Baader Hyperion Zoom in the kit when I take out the C6. To maximize low-power "wide-field," I'll include my Orion Ultrascopic 35mm. Its field stop is 28.9mm, so vignetting will be minimal.

I'll probably replace the stock 6x30 straight-through finder. I'm considering mounting my ES 8x50 finderscope instead. It's a straight-through finder with an erect-image that is non-reversed. If I use this, I won't need a Telrad/Quikfinder/Red-Dot. I can combine the functions of a Telrad and optical finder in one unit. But it remains to be seen if the weight and size are compatible with the C6. Also, the ES finder has an Antares type mount, not a Synta. So I'll have to deal with that problem.

Mike




They are nice scopes but I wouldn't use the bobs knobs on them. Those are really for Newts which need constant alignment. Most SCT's never ever need collimation since they are rock solid from the factory. Once you install the bobs knobs on them, you will always find yourself adjusting them. This is a false positive and leads people to believe these types of scopes needs bobs knobs to Collimate.
Call Celestron and talk to one of their techs. Bobs knobs are making them a fortune on collimation.
People that use them are always "chasing their tails" on collimation. People that have never had them almost always never have collimation issues, especially on the smaller scopes like your C6.
The C6 is a nice little scope. Problem with SCT's is that people get too anxious and think their scopes need collimation when they just need more time to acclimate to the outside conditions.
You will probably never need to Collimate a small SCT ever.

...Ralph

Edited by aa6ww (01/23/13 11:55 PM)


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Sarkikos
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Re: My First SCT: A C6! [Re: aa6ww]
      #5640103 - 01/24/13 07:09 AM

Ralph,

I appreciate the concern, but I'm entering the SCT World from Newt Town. We Newtonians are pros at collimating - or we ought to be! IME, many amateurs choose an SCT as their first scope, not only because most of them come with GOTO, but because they've heard SCTs seldom need collimation ... and they've heard all the horror stories about how difficult it is to collimate a Newt. I've been collimating Newts since 1970. SCTs have only three collimation screws? Eh... Nothing to it.

But I will delay installing Bobs Knobs at least until I've had a chance to take the C6 out for a star test. I've read several threads in this forum with pro and con opinions about the Knobs. So far I'm leaning heavily toward the pro side.

I've also seen that amateurs coming from SCT World to Newt Town assume that the best and primary method of collimation is by manipulating the collimation screws during a star test. For Newts this is certainly not the case. I've never collimated a Newt by star testing. We have instruments to handle that! I reserve star testing for actually testing the optical quality of telescopes, not for collimating them. Good instruments will always give me a closer collimation than a star test. When I set up at a dark site, I collimate the Newt before the sun even sets.

A Cheshire/sight-tube followed by autocollimator are my tools of choice. I'll be looking into what tools are available to check and set collimation on SCTs. I don't like having to wait for a clear night with good seeing to collimate a telescope.


Mike


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