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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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MrFiremouth
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Reged: 05/23/09

Loc: St.Louis Area USA
Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6
      #5102389 - 03/03/12 09:43 AM

I have a Celestron C6 refractor and it is about 100lbs to move around. I have not been using it because it takes time to set up and because the hand set does not align stars properly.

I am selling it for $600 with Gt mount. Once it sells I am going to replace it with either the LS6 or the Skyprodigy 6. My question is which one is better and why?

Thanks


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Griffin!
sage


Reged: 09/12/10

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: MrFiremouth]
      #5102573 - 03/03/12 11:36 AM

From what I can tell the Skyprodigy mount is basically a DS type mount/tripod with self-guiding added on. The LS mount and tripod seems to be more substantial, and you have the option of ACF, but it's also more expensive.

I haven't seen any reviews of the Skyprodigy scopes yet (I'll go search around again), but the LS series has been getting mostly positive reviews with the latest revision.

I think it comes down to what you're willing to spend.


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rmollise
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: Griffin!]
      #5102951 - 03/03/12 03:04 PM

Meade made the DS. The mount on the Sky Prodigy is an adaptation of Celestron's NS mounts, which are quite problem free compared to the poor DS.

The LS got off to a very shaky start, but seems better now. If you ask me, a NexStar 6 without the self-align stuff is a better, proven deal than either.

Edited by rmollise (03/03/12 03:08 PM)


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yweln
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Reged: 08/05/11

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: rmollise]
      #5103033 - 03/03/12 04:02 PM

The SkyProdigy telescopes are toys with autoguiding piggybacked onto them. They're the same kind of telescopes you'd find at Costco or WalMart.

The LSs are serious SCs. There's really no comparison.

Edited by yweln (03/03/12 04:03 PM)


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rmollise
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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: yweln]
      #5103054 - 03/03/12 04:13 PM

Quote:

The SkyProdigy telescopes are toys with autoguiding piggybacked onto them. They're the same kind of telescopes you'd find at Costco or WalMart.

The LSs are serious SCs. There's really no comparison.




Negative. Have a look at the 6-inch.


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yweln
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Reged: 08/05/11

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: rmollise]
      #5103126 - 03/03/12 05:01 PM

Quote:

Have a look at the 6-inch.




I have. Classic Meade optics. Decent telescope. What don't you like about it?
Especially in comparison with any of the SkyProdigys?

Edited by yweln (03/03/12 05:02 PM)


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Jay Wise
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Reged: 11/21/08

Loc: Near Williamsburg VA
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: yweln]
      #5103270 - 03/03/12 06:26 PM

My 6 month old 8" LS is a great trouble free scope. Well, at least so far. To watch it align itself is my idea of astronomy fun! I do recommend a good stable power supply. I use a Pyramid 5 amp transformer because I have a AC power supply at my observing area. I would forget flashlight batteries! Get a good 12 volt heavy duty marine style battery or a heavy duty car starting unit. The tripod was a bit shaky however. The 6" would probably be OK. I cured my "shaky" problem with a tripod from an older 12" LX. It is now the best SCT scope I have ever owned. If you go Meade I highly recommend the ACF version.

JayW


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rmollise
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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: yweln]
      #5103319 - 03/03/12 06:52 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Have a look at the 6-inch.




I have. Classic Meade optics. Decent telescope. What don't you like about it?
Especially in comparison with any of the SkyProdigys?




I am skittish about its performance, since so many people have had so many serious problems with it. I hope those are fixed now, but I am not willing to say that is the case, not yet.


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yweln
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Reged: 08/05/11

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: rmollise]
      #5103356 - 03/03/12 07:16 PM

From what I've heard, the early problems were with the GPS functions. The unit I looked at didn't have those problems. Aligned perfectly inside of two minutes, and an entire night of viewing without any hitches (this was three months ago).

So, do you recommend the SkyProdigy, or just not have heard issues about it?


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JustPlainBill
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Reged: 12/15/11

Loc: Hilo, HI
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: yweln]
      #5103376 - 03/03/12 07:30 PM

The SkyProdigy 6 uses the same OTA as the 6SE, just has a different paint job. You can ask a lot of people that own 6SEs if they like them (I love mine). I don't know about the tripod, it looks a little shaky to me.

I would say to just get the 6SE, but I'm biased
IMHO, 'point at any 3 bright objects' is simple enough, but I guess watching an automated system would be more fun.


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yweln
member


Reged: 08/05/11

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: JustPlainBill]
      #5103397 - 03/03/12 07:43 PM

Quote:

The SkyProdigy 6 uses the same OTA as the 6SE, just has a different paint job.



yes, and on a very spindly tripod. I'd say look at the specs:
http://meade.com/ls
http://celestronsites.com/skyprodigy/


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rigel123
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Reged: 06/29/09

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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: MrFiremouth]
      #5103517 - 03/03/12 09:07 PM

I have had my ETX-LS6 for nearly 3 years now and mine was good right out of the box. I know others had some issues with the GPS alignment, but I never did. Optics are great, and I even did some imaging with it but have moved on to an GEM for imaging and use the LS6 for visual now. I have the ACF and views are crisp with nice contrast.

With the newer revisions in firmware it aligns quickly and gotos are very accurate. It's pretty nice to flip a switch and just let it do it's thing!


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MrFiremouth
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Reged: 05/23/09

Loc: St.Louis Area USA
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: rigel123]
      #5103754 - 03/03/12 11:24 PM

I was wanting the LS6 ACF, then I saw the Celestron and wondered if it would be worth getting? I have had problems with my GT mount and hand set, and I have the DS-2114 which is a good scope, but has smaller aperture. Star alignments can be a pain for me. To just go out and let the scope do it automatically is an awesome feature. I do a lot of outreach with my club and I waste a lot of time trying to get an alignment. I also had tracking issues with my C6 refractor. The views are stunning, but the scope mount is a pain. I am looking for something with more user friendly electronics for the out reach program.

I am also looking for the assembled weight of the Meade LS6 and LS8 with tripods. I need to know what I will be carrying out into the fields from the van in weight. If the LS8 isn't too heavy I might opt for it. I am saving money for them now and just need to sell my scope.


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donnie3
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Reged: 12/15/04

Loc: bartlesville oklahoma
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: MrFiremouth]
      #5103904 - 03/04/12 01:22 AM Attachment (60 downloads)

i will second uncle rods suggestion about buying a nexstar 6. i have one and love it!! the mount is light, the goto is accurate and easy to set up. i have it on a table top.

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rmollise
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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: yweln]
      #5104143 - 03/04/12 08:37 AM

Quote:

From what I've heard, the early problems were with the GPS functions. The unit I looked at didn't have those problems. Aligned perfectly inside of two minutes, and an entire night of viewing without any hitches (this was three months ago).

So, do you recommend the SkyProdigy, or just not have heard issues about it?




Take a stroll through the Yahoogroup archives of the LS group, and you'll see the problems were more extensive than just the GPS. As I said, those _might_ be all fixed now.

I recommend _neither_. The self align function is problematic for many folks. If the area where you observe doesn't have a clear view of the sky, you will likely find yourself aligning manually anyway. I think most folks would be happier with a semi-automatic telescope like the NexStar 6.


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rigel123
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Reged: 06/29/09

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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: MrFiremouth]
      #5104188 - 03/04/12 09:04 AM

Quote:

I am also looking for the assembled weight of the Meade LS6 and LS8 with tripods. I need to know what I will be carrying out into the fields from the van in weight. If the LS8 isn't too heavy I might opt for it. I am saving money for them now and just need to sell my scope.




The LS6 is 28lbs and the LS8 is 30lbs and the tripod is 9lbs
and the LS series have a carrying handle at the top of the mount. I ended up getting the case from JMI for mine so I could roll it out which is nice.


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MrFiremouth
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Reged: 05/23/09

Loc: St.Louis Area USA
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: rigel123]
      #5105233 - 03/04/12 05:50 PM

So the total weight of the LS8 with tripod is 39 lbs?

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rigel123
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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: MrFiremouth]
      #5107233 - 03/05/12 08:14 PM

That's what I come up with. I was always surprised the 8" was only 2 more lbs than the 6". It has a nice "beefy" feel (6"). I got an Orion case for the tripod so carrying that over one shoulder and the scope with the handle on the mount isn't too bad, but as I stated I got the JMI case for the scope and just roll it out when I'm going to use it.

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ProAstroPD
journeyman


Reged: 07/07/12

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: yweln]
      #5306942 - 07/07/12 03:25 PM

>QUOTE
The SkyProdigy telescopes are toys with autoguiding piggybacked onto them. They're the same kind of telescopes you'd find at Costco or WalMart.

The LSs are serious SCs. There's really no comparison.

--------------------
8" LX90-GPS
NexStar 5SE
ETX125
>UNQUOTE

Nothing could be further from fact, WRT Sky Prodigy. Cloudy Nights prides itself on objectivity - before you categorically snob a telescope, please consider owning or at least operating one for a spell to give it a fair shake. The staff here obtained two early on, to study the guide algorithm. Stand by for long-winded response <wink>....
Been an ATM/AA for about 44 years, scratch-built optics, mounts, gotos and robotic scopes and their electronics and systems. Bought the same, too. Eventually became a professional astronomer and observatory director in that time. I say that because, I have not only been involved with buying, making and operating goto and upper end avocational telescopes for many years, I am quite familiar with the astrometric methods used in a Sky Prodigy that we use in large professional instrumentation in the $ten-figure class. So I think I can speak with some accuracy on how the little Prodigy's work.
Contrary to the innuendo, this kind of sky alignment algorithm is not used in dimestore telescopes, but is a technique used in the orientation and navigation of billion dollar spaceborne intelligence systems, strategic aircraft, and special shipboard systems. That "ACN and ST" (Automated celnav & star-tracker) field is far, far more advanced than anything seen here on CN; and while the little Sky Prodigy is not so fancy either, its pointing heritage certainly does not put it anywhere near "dimestore" class. Having used one at length, I can say it does not deserve that slight.
While Sky Prodigy certainly is aimed at novices, that alone is important to an amateur astronomer -- most of whom want to perpetuate the hobby. I get countless PR appeals from newbies that they cannot align the telescope to then "goto", and along those lines, I am sure Celestron wanted to answer that key issue for novices. You can't maintain an avocation's people-base by intimidating entrants. But Sky Prodigy still is useful for more than just the rote beginner as we see it (and no we were not paid by Celestron LOL).
When my staff got ours a year ago to actually see how Celestron's code aligned the instrument the turned out surprisingly easy for us to use (our pro's know the night sky BTW) and reinvigorated an aesthetic appreciation for the sky. Like I said, we were comparing SP to advanced alignment systems -- specifically to understand the relationship of the StarSense algorithm to angles-only Kalman filtered algorithms . There even, Celestron did a quite good job -- especially for the price. We may look at "Autoalign" on Meades next, but they are really not in the same alignment league, relying on GPS, time of day, expected positions, etc, not star fields alone. Last year's news, Meade and Celestron (with somewhat similar SkyAlign, have tested those), can go arm-wrestle about who is on who's turf there; we wanted to focus on how the SP did its alignment.
We've tested a Sky Prodigy for a year... and it is no dimestore telescope. While optomechanically similar to its Nexstar brethren, and at least equal to that line of optics, the mount at or better than an SLT's beefiness, and it is much much easier to operate. Every time I could walk up and goto 30 objects in sequence across 2 pi-steradians -- and find them well centered, after every starsense alignment. I know the night sky well, but it sure is impressive to set the unit out, and go inside for a coffee, come out and watch it finish self location, then present itself for tracking. The 130 would be easy to backpack as well; did that. Optical collimation remains quite solid both using ole Techtron tools, and also cross checking in our optics lab on a Zygo interferometer-- after a year being roughly used.
BTW people here have hip-shot that the instrument is basically a" Nexstar with autoguiding piggybacked onto them". This is also false and very misleading; sounds like someone got confused with Meade's Starlock system.... Go read up on how the Sky Prodigy operates (and some nice videos and Youtubes out there too). I don't believe it's the best principle instrument for an advanced amateur... any more than I would put an advanced amateur on a robotic liquid helium cooled IR 2-meter with an echelle at the naysmith, a professional's tool... BUT, SP would be a great, quality beginner telescope to bridge a lack of sky knowledge and get an exhuberant youngster excited to keep looking at he sky. It's a great knockabout quickie scope too, can throw in the car or the pack (sort of) for some desert fun.
In fact it would come from a line more capable, and is IMO better than than the LS. And as an aside, I'd be careful about how one uses the term "serious SC" as amongst amateur telescopes, as _very few_ currently marketed SC's are indeed "serious" telescopes, from an expert point of view, either - Point being -- it's *all* a *point of view* - and such subjectivity should be avoided when fairly evaluating an instrument... SP is as optomechanically decent as most all other small Celestrons.
Finally, I know some AA's disdain making alignment and learning the sky 'too easy', as abjuring some rite of passage. To them I'd say don't dismiss this novel and simpler method for aligning a telescope, as some short circuit as to learning the sky, anymore than oldsters of yesteryear used to dismiss a 4 function calulator as cheating vs. a slide rule... I've actually seen little kids at open houses marvel at the auto-alignment, then start to spatially grasp the sky as the SP marched from object to object. It is the future, and hopefully the method will spread into upper end amateur instrumentation, like GOTO once did.
So, the technology under the Sky Prodigy's hood is actually advanced, and not dimestore-trivial, and so instead makes the alignment, goto and operation all the simpler -- time to pay attention to other things more important. Like your smartphone made life simpler (allegedly LOL). If you are satisfied with Nexstar and CG quality, the Prodigy easily equals or betters that, but is just alot easier to use. If you like GOTO this is the next step. Try one; I will probably buy my own 6" variant in fact, after our staff experience with the littler SP's (I do wish Celestron sold just the Starsence mount, sans OTA; I have a nice 6" R-C that would be just great riding on a Sky Prodigy arm!). FWIW.... again sorry so long - I just did not want a dimestore innuendo have people miss what a different experience for our staff the little SP's provided. Your mileage may vary.


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SDTopensied
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Reged: 04/25/11

Loc: Atlanta
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: ProAstroPD]
      #5307518 - 07/07/12 11:20 PM

My personal observations, having used both...

The SkyProdigy 6 is "over mounted" in my opinion. The altitude clutches handle the 90 mm Mak just fine, but the 6" is a bit too wobbly for my taste. The alignment process is an automated derivative of the SkyAlign process (which I love!) as far as I can tell. I like the new handset. The keys are not nearly as mushy as the previous version. The new version is the one with the Celestron logo on the lower leftmost key. Optically, both are equal as far as I can tell. The Celestron
OTA exhibits less image shift while focusing than the Meade.

The tripod and mount are sturdier on the Meade. Additionally, the Meade uses worm gears, while the Celestron uses spur gears. A well trained and backlash adjusted Meade mount will be more accurate in tracking and gotos than the Celestron. I like the way the AutoStar handset feels better than the new Celestron handset. I also like the AutoStar scripting language that lets me write my own tours. I don't like the fact that you have to use a third party application to upload those tours because the AutoStar Updater from Meade scrambles them on upload to the 497EP.

My two cents...go with the LT6 or the 6SE. The LT6 will save you some money over the LS6 and give you the same goto and tracking functionality. The 6SE will give you a better mount and more stable tripod than you'll get with the Sky Prodigy.

By the way, you can't judge a product by activity on the yahoo boards. No one ever goes to a tech board to talk about how problem free their scope is. Every scope has its issues, and the Celestron and Meade scopes are no exception. These goto mounts are not kitchen appliances, rather they are complex robotic instruments. All have issues and all require some amount of tinkering to work just right.

-Steve

Edited by SDTopensied (07/07/12 11:31 PM)


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SDTopensied
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Loc: Atlanta
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: MrFiremouth]
      #5307538 - 07/07/12 11:37 PM

The Meade LS8 is a big scope, and over mounted in my opinion. The 6" is about as big of an OTA as the mount will handle without excessive shaking and wobbling. I feel the same way about the Celestron 8SE.

-Steve


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Rat
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Reged: 10/13/06

Loc: USA
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: SDTopensied]
      #5307595 - 07/08/12 12:26 AM

How are the 6 inch Meade optics...I haven't heard much about them.

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rmollise
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Reged: 07/06/07

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: SDTopensied]
      #5307922 - 07/08/12 09:20 AM

I've never found the Meade more accurate in go-to than the Celestron. In fact, the Celestron usually pulls ahead a little bit in that department. Both do well, however.

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ProAstroPD
journeyman


Reged: 07/07/12

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: SDTopensied]
      #5308576 - 07/08/12 04:38 PM

Nice observations Steve, thanks! I had wondered if the 6" mount was a rebuild or the same mount used with the 90 and the 130... Sounds like the latter and if so I'd agree that unless they really lightened up the 6" OTA, the same smaller SP arm is not going to like pushing a bigger OTA around, agreed.

BTW used SkyAlign alot, and SkyProdigy does not use an algorithm much like SkyAlign, though it takes the nice simpicity of SkyAlign matching "geometries", and advances alignment procedure in the generalest sense. Roughly, SkyAlign takes the stars (you don't have to know what the selected bright stars are) and fits their geometry in a pattern to a catalog in memory. It needs a time and location assist (GPS, user or the like).

By contrast, SP takes spaced, entire images of the celestial sphere, the matches the image patterns of the field, to the astrometrically defined fields in memory, to ID both where it is, and where it is pointed. The comparison of starfields requires no position or time assist in fact... Celestron does not elaborate alot, but what they DO say is here:
http://www.celestron.com/ajax/category-description.php?store_code=astronomy&attr_id=135

A litle over-glitzey, the Youtube here (again, target = newbie but with at least Nexstar quality), gives a rather simplistic show of what happens in an SP:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=lnt-P5Tze80

The CPU-intensive image correlation in a SP is like Skyalign in the vaguest sense; in the sense that all alignment procedures let the observer compare multiple star geometries and thier interrelations to determine the pointing. But to that end SkyAlign is much more like an automated version of two-star alignments where you know the stars targeted. Really Sky Prodigy is a wholly different technique and process -- all "under the hood" to the observer...

Of course you can use the other Celestron alignment methods from a SP mount, if you somehow want to...


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Jb32828
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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: ProAstroPD]
      #5309014 - 07/08/12 09:41 PM

I got to use a skyprodigy 102 a few weeks ago. Let me say going in that having owned the Nexstar SLT 80, I had some pretty serious doubts. I absolutely hated my Nexstar, it spent more time in the shop than under the stars, and after the third failure went into the trash. So lets be honest I was completely biased against this scope having what looked like the SLT mount and tripod with some little camera. I really thought it was Celestrons idea of a joke when it first came out.

I could not have been more wrong.

The tripod is still the same tripod. Lets get that out of the way up front. So yes, it has the wobbles...however, the 102 refractor being a short tube has a very compact center of gravity and the wobbles dampen quickly. The wobbles inside the mount though are gone, so they must have made improvements to the mount build.

So I am watchng my neighbor with his new toy, and I certainly wasnt gonna begrudge him. I was of course going to humor him, even if it went badly. He turns the thing on, presses a button, and the scope starts slewing around and making noise and small movements and I'm thinking to myself this is a quite funny show...then the guy says OK, whatcha wanna see? And I say, ahhh, how bout M13? Since he had only looked at moon and planets up till then I had to show him how to punch up a messier object on the handbox, but darned if that thing didnt slew to M13 and throw it right in the center of his 15mm plossl. His response was "Hey are all those stars?" and now ya have a guy who was happy as a clam spending 7 C notes on a scope to look at Saturn, Mars and the moon, who just found out about the messier catalog, furiously downloading goSkyWatch on his iPad, marveling at a globular cluster and couldn't believe he had a telescope that could find that and M57 automagically.

So, for the people who have the money to afford these as their first scopes, Celestron has absolutely smacked this one over thre green monster in left field and into the street. Guarantee ya this guys gets hooked (his first look through a scope was looking at Mars through my 12" dob in the driveway) and will buy a better rig eventually - because he absolutely cannot get frustrated with this scope. As long as the electronics hold up and give the buyers two good years out of these things, they will get upgrade customers out of it.

You are hearing this story by the way from someone heavily biased against Meade and Celestron mounts. Wouldn't touch em with your money. Still won't, but happy to see a guy invest 700 bucks and be ecstatic about his purchase.


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astrogeoguy
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Reged: 07/02/11

Loc: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: Jb32828]
      #5310017 - 07/09/12 03:38 PM

I've had an LS-8 for about about 15 months now. Because of the onboard GPS, compass, and tilt meters, it has a distinct advantage over the older scopes. Lately, at star parties and public outreach events, I've been the first scope in operation. I let it run through it's setup in nearly broad daylight, then wait to visually spot the first object that appears in twilight. I slew to it, select it in the Autostar Objects menu, and sync on it - and we're good to go! Later, when it's dark, I might do a full align.

It's portable, but a bit prone to vibration, so I bungee the battery to the spreader and use a Meade zero image shift motor focuser.

Even after the occasional firmware error, it has continued to work until until I do a full reload (25 minutes from a 2Gb micro SD card which I always have with me.)


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ProAstroPD
journeyman


Reged: 07/07/12

Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: astrogeoguy]
      #5310307 - 07/09/12 06:50 PM

Quote:

I've had an LS-8 for about about 15 months now. Because of the onboard GPS, compass, and tilt meters, it has a distinct advantage over the older scopes. Lately, at star parties and public outreach events, I've been the first scope in operation.




As a comparison - the SP without levelers, compasses and GPSes - you set it out and turn it on. Whereever in the world you are.

It begins moving about the night sky; 3-8+ minutes later it is done, aligned, no GPS setup, it is fast, after dozens of runs; and you can GOTO to your heart's content.


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Geo.
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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: ProAstroPD]
      #5313273 - 07/11/12 07:48 PM

I picked up an LS-8 or $500 from an owner who had just given up on trying to bring it back from the black screen of death. From what I've read the problem can be solved by upgrading the firmware. Researching that gets you any number of bizaar requirments like: no HDMicoSD memory can be used, memory must be formatted in FAT not in NTFS, etc. It starts to sound a little like witchcraft or working on old British cars...."whilst holding the spanner". Let you know how it works out. Meanwhile, the CGEM with the CN-16 GPS, one button align and the goto object is in the finder.

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boogieman
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Reged: 09/20/11

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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: ProAstroPD]
      #5364843 - 08/12/12 02:43 PM

Thank's for the info,i have a sky prodigy 6 and i love it the whole scope is on the light side and that's a plus for portability,I have a motorcycle gel cell battery that sits nicly in the tripod tray the extra weight make's it more stable. I own a meade etx-125,etx-90,and 12" lightbridge.
they are all great scopes and have their quirk's,The sky prodigy 6 does a great job aligning itself, All i have to do is level the tripod and push a button!. no pointing to polaris, no home position,no gps,My 6 yr old grandson could align this thing. This is definatly a great portable scope for traveling around with to star party's whatever, what a nice job celestron did. but the meade scope's are staying in my observatory. they all have their place and different use's.
go try one you will like it. the only problem is cord wrap thats all. seeya john


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TonyBegg
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Reged: 08/13/12

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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: boogieman]
      #5370921 - 08/16/12 12:11 AM

Just joined CN so I could thank ProAstroPD for his posts on this thread. Bought a SkyProdigy 90mm Maksutov for friend's 8 year old daughter. Unfortunately lives in an apartment with balcony, light pollution and limited horizon so not so automatic a set up. Just bought the 70 mm refractor Sky Prodigy for myself (cheapest) with a view to seeing whether I can somehow adapt it to carry larger telescope (like an AT8RC ordered at same time). Maybe by looking at the communication between camera, computer and drive the signals could be used for a beefier mount. I think this technology really has its uses, and not just for beginners. I started to trim down and re-implement the Astronomy.net astrometric solver for the same purpose, but would like to experiment (apart from software I would need a camera and so forth) and ProAstroPD's post convinced me of that. I think that not just alignment but pointing would benefit from this "lost in space" technology. You could replace Digital Setting Circles with something that clips to your scope and just tells you what you are looking at. Light pollution gets in the way of alignment (when you cannot recognize stars because of glare). I would like to be able to drive to a dark site and just start observing - or even to a car park nearby with glare provided such a system can work in these conditions. In principle CCDs attached to lenses can see better than we can, and everyone knows that even in the most glare-prone situations when you look through your telescope you can see the stars. I think rapid deployment scopes have a place in what I call "guerrilla astronomy", useful for people that are tired from working all day and perhaps want to do a bit of real astronomy. Drive to dark site, be working in minutes, do some photometry or whatever, drive home. This is not toy technology. I witnessed the change from pre-GOTO (the Isaac Newton at Herstmonceux) to post-GOTO (Anglo Australian Telescope where Pat Wallace and John Straede developed TPoint and 3 arc second RMSE whole sky pointing) and the change in productivity (and the change from red lights to bright control rooms) was astounding. I see no problem with technology that makes things more time-effective, even though star hopping with a Dob keeps us closer to Sir William Herschel and other great observers (who could do it full time, in a fixed observatory, without light pollution and with a good horizon). Sorry for really long first post.

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MrFiremouth
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Reged: 05/23/09

Loc: St.Louis Area USA
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: TonyBegg]
      #6147650 - 10/19/13 11:38 PM

Well guys I pulled the trigger on the LS8. It was $2k new and super expensive for me but all the reviews I found were good and I hate doing star alignments. So I got the scope a few months back and love it!

I throw one switch and it does its thing and I am good to see any thing in the catalog that is above the horizon. I would say that the best new option the manufacturers of telescopes with GOTO could make is eliminate targets that are not above the horizon from the options screen until they are viewable.

I am a hit at star parties and outreach events. My max magnification on planets and moon is with a 2.5 televue powermate and an 8mm TMB eyepiece. There is a lot of atmospheric bouncing at the high magnifications and focusing can take some time.

Sometimes an alignment won't take and I have to try again by turning the switch on and off, but it usually always takes the second time.

As for dead center in the eyepiece, things are usually a bit to the upper right corner of the eyepiece but I still find them.

I hated the reliability of the GOTO of my GT5 mount with my C6 refractor. If I made any errors I was star hopping and it drove me nuts. I did enjoy the views of the C6 though.

Now if only we could get rid of light pollution.....


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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 09/29/10

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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: TonyBegg]
      #6148205 - 10/20/13 11:02 AM

I too bought the SkyProdigy 70 with the idea of using the mount on bigger scopes.An 8" SCT is too much,but a 6" is fine.A 8" R-C will likely be too heavy also.

You do know the auto alignment can now be bought as an accessory to most Celestron goto mounts? It is $329 or more !An AVX mount and StarSe3nse would be about $1K but would probably do what you want.


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REC
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Reged: 10/20/10

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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: MrFiremouth]
      #6148512 - 10/20/13 02:25 PM

Fun scope and sure is nice flipping the switch and taking the tours. I like the on for the constellations. Besides identifying the names of the stars it is the DSO's in each that saves me a lot of time. As for top magnification, usually around 200ish depending on the seeing.

Clear skies!

Bob


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astrogeoguy
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Reged: 07/02/11

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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: REC]
      #6150201 - 10/21/13 04:45 PM

MrFiremouth, you might get more accurate GOTOs if you perform a Finder Calibrate.

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TonyBegg
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Reged: 08/13/12

Loc: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: BigC]
      #6189490 - 11/11/13 09:19 PM

Thanks BigC. I was an early adopter of the StarSense. I have had some problems with it though. Early on it did the fully automatic alignment OK, modulo some problems with adjusting for cone error (that I had not had to do with the Sky Prodigy). I found it much more difficult to manually StarSense align than the Sky Prodigy (on my limited horizon patio). Last time I used it at an elementary school star party fully automatic it hung (repeatedly) when it was "acquiring image" for the 3rd star, having solved the first two each time. I had to revert to the finder scope and the NexStar+ hand control and then somehow the mount was totally out of whack, driving into the limits on the calibration stars. What are you looking at mister? became kinda embarrassing when the kids with 8 inch Dobs were all showing objects and I was still at square one. When I got home I found a cone error of 10 degrees! I reset to factory settings and started from scratch with the NexStar+ and have shelved the StarSense until I hear of a firmware upgrade. Disappointing. I still think a more useful device would be something on all the time that clips to a Dobsonian or whatever and just does a lost-in-space plate solve at whatever it is pointing at to act like a digital setting circle without encoders (using the stars as encoders).

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azure1961p
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Reged: 01/17/09

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Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 new [Re: donnie3]
      #6189604 - 11/11/13 10:17 PM

Quote:

i will second uncle rods suggestion about buying a nexstar 6. i have one and love it!! the mount is light, the goto is accurate and easy to set up. i have it on a table top.




+1 on what Rod and you say . My Nexstar 6SE IS dynamite in every aspect. I've always or so often it seems always, had heard of awful Meade electronics I stay clear away. This Meade you mention may be nice but if it ain't it can be quite simply awful. They have a horrendous QC track record Ive never seen in Celestron. In the end the folks with the good Meades love em and the ones with the issues - well ever issues.


Pete


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