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Celestron CR 150 HD Refractor

  • F = 1200mm
  • Dia = 150mm
  • f8
  • mount EQ CG5

The first thing you notice about this scope is IT'S BIG. I also own a compact G5, the 5" SCT tube on a smaller EQ3 mount. I leave the G5 set up all the time. I can just walk up to it, tuck my shoulder under the head and carry it outside all set up, ready to roll in minutes. But still, it stays set up, weighs about 25 lbs. and fits through a doorway. The 150 is BIG. It won't fit through the door. It's heavy, 50 to 60 lbs.; can't carry this scope outside all set up. In fact it's a three-piece operation. First the tripod and head. Then carry out the 22 lbs. of counterweight and screw that in. Then cradle the scope in both arms and take it outside and lock it into the mount.

The next thing you'll notice about this scope is that one of your most important accessories is an ensolite pad. I spent two nights this past weekend looking at Gemini. Monoceros, Cancer and Leo. These are all pretty high overhead right now and you need to get down on the ground under this scope to see (even with a diagonal). Until I can do something to raise the scope a foot or two, the pad will have to do since the ground is pretty cold and hard. A few objects allowed for sitting on a low step stool. Nothing was viewed standing up or sitting on a barstool.

Also, until I can get some weight attached to the eye end, the tube mounts have the eye end pushed very far away from the head to reach balance. So it's nearly impossible to reach the RA and Dec dials while keeping your eye to the eyepiece.

Details, but all these are common comforts of operating a scope like the G5, which is a nice little compact world with some beautiful views to boot.

I agree the tripod is very shaky. The legs are the same as those on the mount for my G5, a much smaller and lighter setup. The tension on the focus dial was too tight. After the first night I loosened up the 4 small screws on the tension spring cover under the focus dial. Greatly improved, smoother and less effort the next night. The whole head assembly seems to operate pretty smoothly, not needing any adjustment in my opinion, (I've got the one with the tapered cover), and I'm not so adventurous as to take the whole head apart as I've seen on astronomyboy.com. But eventually I will need to do something about those legs.

The 150 provided me with some views in its first two nights that were outstanding. M37 and M46 never appeared as so many stars before. And 2903 in Leo jumped right out. 16Cnc AB at 0.9" split very nicely. Castor and Algeiba seemed wide with two distinct points. And for the first time I saw the F component of the Trapezium. So initial viewing rates right up there.

I have spent many nights comparing the views in the CR150 to the view in my G5. Although there is plenty of false color in the CR150 on bright objects, there is none at all on deep sky objects. The CR150 shows much greater depth and brings out the view better in those objects that are primarily faint, such as 7789 in Cas, or M46 in Puppis (including the embedded Planetary). I've spent many a night trying to see the galaxy cluster in Leo's neck with my G5, with no luck. Had no problem finding two of the components using the CR150 with a 14mm radian. Incidentally, I bought the 14mm radian after I had the opportunity to use an 8mm radian loaned by Cloudy Nights last September. The night I held a small star party for kids in my yard, we put the 8mm radian in the CR150 and viewed the double cluster. Although it made the field of view too small to see both clusters at once, many more faint stars showed up than I had ever seen before. These kids were seeing the best views of the double cluster that I had ever seen.

Although not something I do regularly, I have driven the power of this scope up way beyond what might be expected as a normal viewing power range. I often search out close doubles, 2" down to <1", and have done so many times with this scope using powers up in the 275x to 375x range. On doubles, it seems the scope handles the power well.

Notes from my star log

  • Wed. Mar. 28, 2001
  • 8:30 pm. clear and cold
  • 16Cnc
  • At 7.5m 160x I could easily see AB-C probably 5-10", but could not see AB split.
  • 5m (Ultima) 240x AB elongated, but too small to see.
  • 9.7x2 (SP4000) 247x AB is elongated like a figure eight.
  • 7.5x2 320x I could see A-B but they touch.
  • 9.7x3 371x (I put the barlow in front of the diagonal)
  • A-B splits with black space between them.
  • 5mx2 480x I could see the split, A-B no longer touch.

Other object of note that night was 3384.

  • w/18m (SWA) @ 60'fov could get both M96 and M95 in same fov.
  • Moved further north to find M105 and was surprised to see two objects.
  • The other was north following, that means it was 3384.
  • Very nice views tonight all seated on ensolite pad.
  • This night was a 10.

The Cr 150 HD is a large scope. Takes more time for setup and breakdown than a small SCT like the G5. It has some features that are annoying, such as the difficult reach to the RA and Dec knobs, and the need to sit on the ground to view. However, this is a quality piece of glass for the money, $799. Outfit this scope with quality glass at the eye end and you will find the views that this scope produces are stunning.

Beautiful views. Shaky legs. Big Scope. Makes you get down to the earth. But you won't be disappointed.

Clear Skies, and if not, Cloudy Nights.


I am an amateur astronomer from Cumberland, Rhode Island. I was off and on in this hobby for thirty years until several years ago when I began to practice in earnest. Three years ago, I began holding astronomy presentations for local children and their parents. In that time, I have held about 20 events and taught over 700 people many things about astronomy. Recently, I was invited to come into one of the local elementary schools and share my knowledge with all of the 5th grade students. I look forward to this opportunity. Cloudy Nights has helped encourage me to continue this effort of sharing my knowledge of astronomy. Thank you.

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