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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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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: 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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Reged: 08/01/10

Loc: Orlando, FL USA
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.
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 10/01/08

Loc: Upstate NY
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
newbie


Reged: 09/20/11

Loc: new york state
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
member


Reged: 08/13/12

Loc: Santa Fe, NM, USA
Re: Meade LS6 VS. Celestron Sky Prodigy 6 [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

Loc: SE Indiana
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
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/20/10

Loc: NC
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

Loc: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
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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