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Celestron Omni XLT 102 as a first telescope?

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#1 Thoroza

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:37 AM

I'm new here and am considering getting a first telescope. I am looking at the Celestron Omni XLT 102 Refractor. Is this a good telescope for someone wanting to move beyond naked eye astronomy? I don't have the greatest skies here in Portland, Oregon, but better locations aren't too far of a drive. Also, are there any eyepieces/filters/other accessories that I should get with it? I found an accessory kit here: http://www.optcorp.c...t.aspx?pid=8295 . Does it look like a good buy?

Thanks

#2 camvan

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:41 AM

it's an excellent scope! very good optics, a proven mount...but for the same price you could have a 6" or 8" Dobsonian and then there is the number 1 rule to listen to..."aperture rules!". besides that, the altaz mount a Dob comes with, while simplistic is very functional and among the easiest to use.

it's what we started with (8" SkyWatcher Dobsonian) and we love it! :D

edit - I forgot my manners! welcome to CloudyNights :grin:

#3 Keith

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:52 AM

I like the 102 f10 achromats as starter scopes, 4" is enough aperture for a refractor to give decent views of solar system objects, double stars and brighter deep space objects. The false color is not objectionally bad, and can be reduced further with filters. The mount is nice with the dovetail connection and improved steel tripod legs. The $99 dual axis drive is a good accessory, and the $69 kit is a good starter set for EPs. If you get into wide field viewing, you could later upgrade to a 2" diagonal and get 1 or 2 low power 2" eyepieces, such as the 40mm and 25mm WO SWAN's, which work excellent at f10 and are reasonably priced. It is good to learn how EQ mounts work, and the tracking is nice for high power planet viewing.

You will most likely want an 8" or 10" dob when you get farther into the hobby, and a 4" refractor goes well as a 2nd scope along with a light bucket.

Keith

#4 Patrick

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 06:41 AM

Hi Thoroza and welcome to CloudyNights!

You will probably get a wide variety of answers and suggestions to your questions. Telescopes are kinda like shoes, one size doesn't fit all, so be patient with some of the responses you may get.

In order to understand some of the responses you're going to get it will be helpful to know a few basic concepts and terms, like aperture, focal ratio, focal length, and mounts, etc. A simple google search on 'telescope basics' can yield a treasure trove of info.

But to answer your question, yes, the Omni XLT 102 is a good scope and a good value...but whether it's the right scope for you is a more difficult question to answer. A lot depends on what you want to do with it.

More than likely you will want a scope that will let you see a variety of objects including the moon and planets, plus the brighter deepsky objects. In this case, the Omni XLT 102 may not be the best choice for you in the price range you're looking at. For example, a simple 6" Dobsonian Telescope acually costs less, but is a great all around performer on a wide range of objects and certainly can give you better views than the Omni 102 refractor.

Patrick

#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 09:23 AM

As Patrick pointed out, there are many options. The XLT-102 is a reasonable choice I think. Achromatic refractors provide sharp lower powered views with some false color at higher magnfications. 4 inches is a reasonable amount of aperture though more is better. EQ mounts are nice for tracking but are not as intuitive to use. It is a nice scope.

Pricewise the competition is probably the 8 inch DOB which will show signifcantly more because it collects 4 times as much light and has twice the resolution. It has it's own issues, collimation and cooldown.

If you decide to go with the 4 inch Celestron refractor, I suggest looking at this one. It is the previous model of the XLT-102 and several vendors are closing them out at a very good price. As far as I can see, the only important difference is the tripod, the newer scope does have a better tripod but the old tripod is adequate. At $249 it's real value.

Jon

Celestron C4-R for $249

#6 Patrick

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 10:31 AM

If you decide to go with the 4 inch Celestron refractor, I suggest looking at this one. It is the previous model of the XLT-102 and several vendors are closing them out at a very good price. As far as I can see, the only important difference is the tripod, the newer scope does have a better tripod but the old tripod is adequate. At $249 it's real value.

Jon

Celestron C4-R for $249



That is an excellent deal, Jon. At f/10 rather than f/6.5 the false color will not be nearly as bad either. Those scopes were normally $400+.

Patrick

#7 w orchid

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 10:46 AM

Nothing beats a Dob for simplicity, ease of use and price. The refractor will have C.A. which is a turn off. In addition the XLT mount will need drives,polar scope and a adjustable chair.

#8 o1d_dude

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 10:51 AM

Here's a photo of my new CR-4 that shows what $245 buys:

Posted Image

The concrete squares of the patio are 4'x4' so you can an idea of just big a 4" scope is.

The CR-4 was the first commercial telescope I purchased and also my first refractor. I opted for the dual axis drive package ($99) and a polar finder scope ($45) so with shipping ($30) I paid about $420.

This is a recent photo of the moon I took simply by holding my digital camera up to the eyepiece.

Posted Image

For more information about the CR-4 check this humungous thread in the Refractors Forum: clickety-click

Where are my manners? Welcome to Cloudy Nights!

#9 Dylan Gladstone

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 10:53 AM

I thought the Omni XLT was also f/10?

At any rate, the CR-4 has one more advantage besides price, it's lighter than the Omni XLT. Only 7 lbs lighter, but if you're carting the scope around a lot, it might make a difference...

#10 jonnyastro

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 11:29 AM

Nothing beats a Dob for simplicity, ease of use and price. The refractor will have C.A. which is a turn off. In addition the XLT mount will need drives,polar scope and a adjustable chair.


Sorry to disagree, but this scope will NEED none of these items.

#11 Thoroza

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 12:03 PM

Thanks for all the advice. I looked at the dobs, but they look a little bulky for my taste. Also, I don't have tons of storage room as a college student. Is the main difference between the CR-4 and Omni XLT the mount?

#12 Patrick

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 12:09 PM

I thought the Omni XLT was also f/10?



Sorry, you're right. I was thinking of the short tube version.

Patrick

#13 Patrick

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 12:11 PM

Is the main difference between the CR-4 and Omni XLT the mount?



Yes, the Omni mount is Celestron's latest low price mount. It's actually quite good.

Patrick

#14 firestar

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 12:22 PM

Welcome to cloudy nights!
Both the refractors listed make great first scopes.
The dob actually takes up less space than a gem mounted refractor,it fits nicely in a corner,and is easier to carry outdoors.
The dob is more comfortable to view through and more stable,and gives larger views.
I would try to attend an event and look through some scopes to see what you like once you actually use a gem and dob.

#15 o1d_dude

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 12:41 PM

Thoroza, are you getting a sense of the two competing schools of thought here? That's why there are two separate forums here on Cloudy Nights (Refractors, Reflectors) and a healthy rivalry between the two.

Typically, refractor folks like to look at the Moon, the planets, and Solar System objects in general while the reflector crowd studies the faint fuzzy objects of deep space. That's not to say that one cannot do both with either flavor of scope or that you should limit yourself to one type of scope or the other. It's your choice here.

The CR-4 or XLT 102 are great refractor choices in the same way that an 8" dob is a great reflector choice and there are many from which to choose. Both have strengths and weaknesses.

If you have not already done so, the advice to attend a star party and look through as many scopes as you can before comitting to a purchase is the voice of experience speaking.

As to storage, both refractors and the 8" dob will probably take up similar amounts of space in your dorm room but the edge might go to a refractor as none of the elements are as bulky as the tube or base of the dob.

Your choice.

#16 Stelios

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 12:51 PM

The C4R suggested is a fantastic buy for the money. If you don't like it, I predict you'll be able to sell it for very close to what you bought it.

A refractor is a great first scope, because it lets you get started with observing without the need for understanding things such as cooling and collimation. It is also more intuitive to point to, and learn, the sky.

The only thing you'll need to get used to is the equatorial mount. OTOH the mount makes it easier to track objects.

While the C4R supplies last, only a true fanatic would prefer a different scope as a beginner's scope in that price range.

And no, I'm not selling it ;)

#17 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:02 PM

>>>Typically, refractor folks like to look at the Moon, the planets, and Solar System objects in general while the reflector crowd studies the faint fuzzy objects of deep space. That's not to say that one cannot do both with either flavor of scope or that you should limit yourself to one type of scope or the other. It's your choice here.
-----

I have to disagree here. Refractors give nice views but I own both refractors and reflectors and if I want the best possible planetary views, I will choose a larger reflector because it offers greater resolution and contrast so I can see the faint planetary details more easily.

I want to be realistic here, my own experience of owning and comparing a C4-R to a 6 or 8 inch Newtonian is that as the Newtonian is cooling, the refractor will provide more pleasing views but that once the Newtonian is equilibrated, it will provide more detailed views.

This is not to say that a 4 inch F/10 refractor doesn't provide nice planetary views, they do and it is less of a hassle, collimation and cooldown are non-issues.

But many planetary observers, particularly ones who live where the seeing is good, use Newtonians of one type or another.

Jon

#18 Dave Hederich

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 03:33 PM

Just remember that reflectors and refractors are not religions to be taken on faith, but two similar tools, each with its own set of quantifiable advantages and disadvantages.

People who don't know you obviously cannot tell you which is best for you. It's best if you take the time to compare all the pros and cons of each, and decide for yourself which best suits your needs.

For example, if you are not the type of person who has the time or patience to periodically collimate a scope or wait for it to cool down before viewing, the refractor will be less demanding of your time. Other points favor reflectors in general and dobs specifically.

The reason that the C4-R is lighter than the Omni XLT 102 is primarily because the C4-R mount has aluminum legs while the XLT 102's are made of steel. The advantage of lighter weight with the aluminum legs is offset by the greater stability of the steel legs (less shaking). This is another one of those trade-offs where there is no perfect solution for all people.

If you focus on what's most important to you, you will do just fine in selecting the best scope for you.

#19 o1d_dude

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 05:03 PM

Good discussion here with a lot of points being made for both camps.

As Jon indicates, he owns both types of scope as do I. BTW, he was the one who steered me in the direction of the CR-4. Prior to that, I was totally a reflector fanboy.

LOL!!

Edit: I think Dave was another one who recommended the CR-4 to me as well.

#20 letimotif

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 06:37 PM

Hi T,

Welcome to CN! Clever you to have found this site before you dropped some bucks on equipment. I wish it had been around when I was young. Of course, when I was young electricity and running water would've been nice, too.

I won't add to the discussion on equipment. I think everyone before me's done a fine job already. I will echo "Old Dude's" suggestion that you attend one of your local astronomy club's star parties, or at least check in with them. Often clubs have loaners for members to try out, and there's nothing that takes the place of hands on experience (the great folks here being the closest to an exception that I know).

Here's a couple of websites that might be of help. Rose City is the biggest club in the Northwest and the other site might have some places you can go, too.

http://www.rca-omsi.org

http://www.stargazin...astroclubs.html

Best of luck. Check back here often when you have questions, and here's wishing you clear skies when you want 'em.

#21 nightcrawler

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 10:50 PM

I own the Omni XLT 150 Reflector and think it is an excellent scope for the price. I am sure the refractor you are looking at in the same line is of equal excellent quality for the price. That discontinued model looks like a great value, too. I think just about any Celestron/Orion scope will be a good value. However, as everyone here states, you need to decide what is important to you. If you only want aperture, get a Dob. If you want to get into astrophotography, get a GEM scope (realizing that not all mounts are created equal, but even the CG4 should be good enough for starter work. That's my eventual plan, anyways.).


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