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Les Wilson
newbie


Reged: 03/03/13

Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE
      #5712270 - 03/04/13 10:48 AM

Hello all! I have been researching the Celestron 8SE for a few months now and am about ready to finalize my decision and pay the piper. Anyway, after reading extensively about this scope here on CN and other forums, I have 3 questions that I would like to ask.
(1) The price seems to be fixed at the $1,199.00 mark with all of the vendors that carry this scope. Does if ever go on sale and if so where?
(2) Not having owned a GoTo scope (my other scope is a Z12 Dob modded with setting circles and digital inclinometer for Push To), can you use this scope in a Push To manner using star hopping and not using the electrical motors to move the scope? My interest is in logging Messier objects and such where Go-To is not allowed for the award given for viewing the objects.
(3) From what I have read, a dew shield will be necessary at a minimum and more likely a dew controller/heater. Not a problem given I am a DIY'er but from experience, do owners of this scope find that a heater installed on the outside of the front of the OTA is sufficent? If so, I am thinking that the nichrome wire would be more effective than a chained resistor based heater element. Other users thoughts/experiences here would be most appreciated.

By the way, this is going to be my "grab and go" and for use at home in a red zone. I leave the dob at my cottage in Coinjock and only get down there on weekends. With 6.3 mag skies, its my dark site but I want something to use at home and for outreach.

Thanks for reading this tome and I greatly appreciate any insight that more experienced members of might be able to provide.

Les


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jturie
super member
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Reged: 11/19/12

Loc: Valley Forge, PA
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Les Wilson]
      #5712300 - 03/04/13 11:10 AM

Les, welcome to CN! I have recently purchased a 6SE as my first scope and really like it. You are making an excellent choice with the 8SE.

First of all, the only sale I saw was around Thanksgiving, but it went on for a while. Others can chime in here--maybe Celestron runs a sale during the year.

Unfortunately, you need to slew the scope electrically (well, you can manually move it in altitude, but that's it). Just promise not to use goto in your Messier program and they'll probably OK it. Some of those objects might be tough in a red zone anyway.

I have an Astrozap dewshield made for the 6SE and it is a thing of beauty. I have not experienced any dew issues, but then again I haven't been exposed to the summer muggies yet.

You might want to check the CN classifieds. 8SEs always show up at really good prices (there's a new one there now). I've purchased several items and have had great dealings with great people.

Good luck, and again-welcome!


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Skip
Starlifter Driver
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Les Wilson]
      #5712356 - 03/04/13 11:44 AM

Quote:

can you use this scope in a Push To manner using star hopping and not using the electrical motors to move the scope?




To add to what Jack wrote. You could use it as a non-goto with the direction buttons like Jack said. But I have tried it that way and found it extremely clumsy. You would have to manipulate the direction buttons up/down and left/right, a little jab in the desired direction in the az mode, and then adjust a bit in the alt mode, back to the az mode, etc. Just EXTEMELY clumsy and not very accurate. It would probably be OK for the brighter Messiers but I believe you would find the dimmer ones would be quite difficult.

Also, whether it would be allowed or not will depend on the "overseers". Usually you are on your honor to do the marathon without electronic support. The ones I've attended, I've used both my 10" dob in star-hop mode and my 6SE in goto mode. But there were awards for both go-to and star-hop. I only got 67 before I crashed so it didn't matter.

You might be better off to take the dob to the marathon, depending on how strictly the rules are enforced. BTW I also use my 6SE for most public outreach events. The tracking helps when you have a queque lined up waiting to look through your scope.

Good luck.


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Skip]
      #5712679 - 03/04/13 02:46 PM

Hi Les & Welcome to the forum!

1) The price does come down at times, and when it does it is usually the same for all retailers. The sales are normally driven by Celestron, so it will be something like $100 off no matter where you buy it. These sales occur pretty regularly every year around Christmas time. I've also seen sales occur mid year or early summer, but they are infrequent and you really can't count on them.

2) Like Jack & Skip said, you can't really push it manually. But you definitely can use the handset buttons to move the OTA without using goto. I don't find it to be as clumsy as Skip does, but it is certainly not as swift or easy as a dob.

3) If you plan on making your own dew heater, I'd post a question in the equipment forum. You'll find lots of people who have done that and can provide their experience as well as diagrams and photos. I purchased a ready-made dew heater strap of the Dew-Not brand. The heater straps are really not that expensive. Its the controller that costs a lot. If you can make your own controller, you can save some money.

-Dan


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butsam
super member


Reged: 12/28/12

Loc: Ohio
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5713073 - 03/04/13 06:25 PM

If you don't already have it, and want to buy new, might I recommend the telescope bundle that includes a Power Tank and Eyepiece/Filter kit?

Also, I am not sure about every site but I know if you use the online chat function to talk to someone at opticsplanet.com, they can usually offer you an extra 5-10% off the listed price...just ask them.

opticsplanet.com currently lists the package with power tank and a basic (but very useful) eyepiece/filter kit for $1250...and you may be able to get that knocked down another $125 by simply using the online chat.

I recently got my NexStar 8SE (at Christmas), and love it! I just wish this winter weren't so cloudy...but it's my fault! lol I know you won't be disappointed Right now you can still get Jupiter pretty good, and in about a month and a half, Saturn will be at its yearly opposition!


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gtstricky
journeyman


Reged: 01/30/13

Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: butsam]
      #5713436 - 03/04/13 09:50 PM

If you can stomach the risk look at used, I got mine on eBay about a month ago. Great deal.

Here is a current listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Celestron-NexStar-8SE-Telescope-/251238891116?pt=US_T...


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Thanatos78621
member


Reged: 05/09/12

Loc: Elgin, TX
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: gtstricky]
      #5713855 - 03/05/13 04:48 AM

Unless you've already bought one, I'd recommend checking the 'lightly used' market. I bought a barely used 8SE early last year for about $850 with a power tank, I just had to drive 6 hours round trip to pick it up. They are great telescopes and the only reason I sold it was because I got a killer deal on a Nexstar 11 GPS.

I'm actually considering getting an NS8GPS as a second telescope just to have something slightly smaller to pack with me for trips. The NS11GPS is great but really doesn't fit into my car that well (not if I want a passenger that is).


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UncleMossy
super member


Reged: 02/08/12

Loc: Downtown Toronto
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Les Wilson]
      #5715140 - 03/05/13 07:09 PM

Welcome welcome.

I think you will enjoy this scope.
It's big enough and small enough at the same time.

Here is a link to a thread from someone who's built a nichrome wire dew heater.

Nichrome wire heater.

It looks like a good project.

Cheers
Jim


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Les Wilson
newbie


Reged: 03/03/13

Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: UncleMossy]
      #5715962 - 03/06/13 08:37 AM

Many thanks for the information and suggestions, they are most appreciated. I downloaded the manual and read it carefully but a few things concerning mainly the alignment process are fuzzy but I am sure I can figure it out. I have ordered the scope as a package deal from Adorama and feel like I got a good deal. For $1,200.20, I am getting the scope and tripod, Celestron Sky Maps, Celestron Night Vision Flashlight, Celestron Moon Filter, Adorama Lens Cleaning Kit, Celestron Foamex Dew Shield, Celestron Car Battery Adapter, Celestron 1.25" UHC/LPR Filter, and Free Shipping. I don't need the flashlight, maps, moon filter, or lens cleaning kit but they will make good give-aways for fellow stargazers that might find a need for them. In fact, my order shipped the same day as I placed it and according to UPS, should be here tomorrow. Guess what I will be doing this weekend?

I looked at the DIY heater element for the corrector and am concerned about the way in which the nichrome wire was placed in direct contact with the cardboard "washers" that go in back of the retainer. Over a period of time, would not the heat from the wire at least dry out the cardboard or at worst, singe or catch fire? I would be interested to see what others think about this solution given it would certainly be the better option when considering the heater strap on the outside of the tube.

As to the spotting scope that comes with the SE8, it looks to be one of the first things to replace. From reading, it seems that a RACI finder is in order. I have one on my Z12 but am not sure if it will fit in the the dovetail on the SE8. Is the dove tail a standard one or am I going to have to look at something compatible with this particular scope?

Again, thanks to all that contributed to furthering my knowledge of the SE8 and helping me firm up my decision.

Best Regards,
Les Wilson


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Les Wilson]
      #5716003 - 03/06/13 09:11 AM

Hi Les:

Can't help with the nichrome wire issue. As for the red dot finder that comes with the scope, it is on an odd-ball base. It's kind of a reverse dovetail with the dovetail part on the base, and the dovetail seat on the bottom of the finder.

So, if you want to use a finder with a standard synta-style dovetail base, you'll need to get something like this:
http://www.scopestuff.com/ss_rdpb.htm
The RDPS model works well with the 8SE screw holes.

-Dan


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WaterMasterAdministrator
Moat Keeper
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Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Southeast Idaho, USA
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5716032 - 03/06/13 09:24 AM

Quote:

Guess what I will be doing this weekend?




Cursing the clouds!

Welcome to Cloudy Nights, Les.


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Les Wilson
newbie


Reged: 03/03/13

Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5718404 - 03/07/13 01:04 PM

Thanks WaterMaster but you are probably right, the new telescope curse will prove it's validity this weekend I am sure.

Anyway, just checked UPS and it's "out for delivery" Yipee. Anticipating getting it set up and at least powered up to look at the clouds rolling in, I have a question for you more knowledgeable/experienced Celestron users. Of all of the alignment procedure possibilities, which one do you use the most and find to be the most accurate? Have you settled on one method or the other and find that you use only that method or have you memorized multiple alignment procedures and use them for different situations?

Thanks again for the input, it's greatly appreciated.

Les Wilson


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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Les Wilson]
      #5719164 - 03/07/13 07:35 PM

Hi Les:

You betcha! Use the Atuo 2-Star.

As for accuracy, any of the techniques using 2 or 3 stars will be equally accurate and it doesn't even matter if the mount is level when you start. The one-star or solar system techniques are less accurate and rely on the mount being carefully leveled.

The SkyAlign (3-star) is convenient, but for some people it seems to fail frequently.

-Dan


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sanlopez
sage


Reged: 12/03/07

Loc: 35.9606° N, 83.9208° W
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5719266 - 03/07/13 08:19 PM

Use auto-2 star, and make star#1 Polaris. After you align it in the viewfinder and the eyepiece, pick whatever star the hand controller choosds. Then the telescope will automatically slew to it. Having your stars way out of focus helps center them easier

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Les Wilson
newbie


Reged: 03/03/13

Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Midnight Dan]
      #5719273 - 03/07/13 08:23 PM

Update: It's Here! :-)
Ok, for a 12" dob, this guy is small! I am so used to lugging that pressed board base and 14" diameter tube around that I might just have to add some weight to the assembled telescope to just feel at home! For a 59 year old in pretty good shape, I feel like I could put this baby in my pocket and walk to my dark sky site 40 miles away lol

Anyway, overall first impressions upon unpacking are mostly positive:
Packing: Heavy cardboard outer box, heavy cardboard inner box with....you got it, 4 more individual component boxes for the parts. Enough cardboard to construct my own observatory! The pliable, reusable soft expanded foam is a nice touch and will last for quite a while for storage until I can build a custom case for the OTA and controller head.
OTA - a thing of beauty! Very asthetically pleasing and the combination of black and orange finishes is eye-catching.
Tripod - Hmmm, I am going to wait on passing judgement here given my experience with medium and heavy duty camera tripods. The SE8 tripod seems a bit underwhelming and I am hoping against hope this is not the "weak link".
Controller Head - Wow, expected plastic to be the order of the day and imagine my surprise when I lifted it out of it's protective packing - it's heavy! Metal seems to make up the majority of the housing and I guess it was designed to be something of a counterweight to the OTA. Anyway, very sturdy construction with durability in mind.
Red-Dot Finder: First item to go, Celestron should be ashamed of themselves for even putting this in same box with a scope of this magnitude. For the pricepoint of the scope, I realize some corners had to be cut but I think (know) that a better option exists that could have been included. Just my humble opinion, take it for what it's worth.
25 mm eyepiece - Standard fare but was surprised to see that it did not come with a rubber eye cup. What's up with that?
Documentation, software, and other accessories - Well packaged and looks to again be standard fare. The software will get a workout later but having Stellarium, Sky Safari Pro, SkyEye on my 10' Android tablet, I will probably find that the included Celestron program not up to par.

In conclusion, can't wait to get this scope out and put it thru it paces. I know the views might not be quite what my dob provides but if I can master the alignment/go-to capability of this scope, I will have found a friend for life.

Les


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sanlopez
sage


Reged: 12/03/07

Loc: 35.9606° N, 83.9208° W
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: Les Wilson]
      #5719285 - 03/07/13 08:32 PM

The celestron software comes with a program that allows you to control the telescope via a laptop. It is very useful, since it allows you to create custom observing sessions in advance

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Midnight Dan
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Hilton, NY, Yellow Zone (Bortl...
Re: Pulling The Trigger On A 8SE new [Re: sanlopez]
      #5719326 - 03/07/13 08:50 PM

Quote:

Tripod - Hmmm, I am going to wait on passing judgement here given my experience with medium and heavy duty camera tripods. The SE8 tripod seems a bit underwhelming and I am hoping against hope this is not the "weak link".




Unfortunately, I think you'll find it is. If you're used to a dob, then you're used to a very stable base. Tripods of any kind are not going to be as stable as what you're used to. But this one in particular is aligned well with the 8SE's design goal of "Lightweight & Portable". And of course, portability is the enemy of stability. It's a tradeoff.

There are some things you'll be able to do to improve things. Use the tripod at the shortest height that is comfortable for you. An observing stool helps here. Anti-vibration pads are a good addition and cut down on vibrations by about 50%. And you can hang a weight (like a power tank) from the spreader to make things a bit more rigid.

-Dan


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