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Any success autoguiding an 8se?

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#51 AlexDJ30

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 02:14 AM

Lord i guess that celestron and many other companies do sell this stuff for people who may want to do it but you pay a price because the SE mount was not intended for this. I would love that celestron would put a new firmware to their SD handcontroll so polar aligmnents on the SE mounts would be easier and less problematic but maybe is not the controll but the actual way the SE mount are made (1 arm not very stable for DSO AP). Maybe celestron could remake the se mount to better quality so this problems are less in a degree.

Great Job Lord! but liukiei said if somebody wants to try al this on the SE mount maybe whe should put some rules to it.
1 - Go for a small OTA (C6, C5 to below)(use a focal recducer!!! is imagening tru this OTA's, if you are using the small refractor the reducer may or not be used)
2- Want autoguiding go for the smalles refractor ota you can get (SV 50mm, Borg 45 ED, WO 66mm SD)
3- DSLR cameras are nice, but heavy, i would use for guiding something like the nextimagen (I have it and its very light) and for main cam a ccd cam (DSI 1, 2 or 3)
4 - Tripod is OK, but if you want something more solid do a pier in your home (if you are taking pics on home), if you go to darksites had some weight to the tripod (so the wind and everything else have less impact on the tripod)

I think if people follow this recomendations they will get much better results Lord! (at least better tracking and bite more exposition times), I just wish the Polar aligment on the SE would be much better or well let say with less problems!

#52 Midnight Dan

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:38 AM

If it's not capable of/intended for AP, then why sell a wedge designed specifically for this mount and why put an autoguider port on the unit that only works in polar alignment mode?

Beo


Agreed. Seems kinda silly to me. On the other hand, the reasonably photo-capable CPC series does not have a dovetail mount to allow you to move the OTA back and forth to balance the load. They put photo features on the not so capable SE and leave them off of the CPC - go figure!

I actually put in a feature suggestion with Celestron to make a future version of the CPC with dual dovetails, one for each fork. Not only would that allow balancing, but it would also allow removal of the OTA to put it on a GEM. The second dovetail rail could then be used for a guidescope or other accessories. And, since the scope/mount could be separated into 2 lighter pieces, it would be easier for people with bad backs (like me) to transport and set up the scope.

-Dan

#53 a-l-e-x

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:32 PM

Thanks, guys. You gave me some nice suggestions. I have some ideas now as to how to go forward as far as keeping the load as light as possible on the mount.

Im going to use the Meade LPI for autoguiding (weighs much less than the star shoot 2)

and use the DSI-3 for imaging.

I just need to get a guidescope-- Im thinking of getting the asto tech 66ED-- but if thats too heavy, I could get the Stellarvue 50mm and use that as a guidescope.


I already have the nexstar 8se, so its probably not a good idea to also get the 6se just for AP; I'll just keep the load light in other places.

#54 a-l-e-x

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:33 PM

BTW, I have a table top 60mm refractor, is there any way I can use that as a guide scope? I dont know how I would attach it to the SE...

#55 Midnight Dan

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 10:54 PM

Alex:
Should be able to just buy some guide scope tube rings and mount it on the SE the same way Beo did.

-Dan

#56 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:23 PM

I just had to add another post before Tel had to add another post asking where everyone's been for the past 24 hours! =)

Alex, Orion has a nice rail and ring system for a pretty good price (part of the ST-80/StarShoot rig I bought). The only problem on the 8se is that the hole pattern's a bit screwy on the OTA. The objective side of the OTA has only a single hole opposite the mounting rail, while the rear cell has two holes to either side of the corresponding center line. Those holes on the rear cell are also a match for the piggy-back camera mount, although that mount could probably be modified to persuade it to go on the last remaining holes towards the bottom of the OTA.

Beo

#57 Tel

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 06:37 AM

I just had to add another post before Tel had to add another post asking where everyone's been for the past 24 hours!
Beo


Well I know we're all now supposed to be economising, but honestly, --------- with POSTS - :question:

YOUR FORUM NEEDS YOU ! :waytogo:

Best regards, :)
Tel

#58 a-l-e-x

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:14 PM

Thanks guys. Do you think I should get the star shoot autoguider? None of the other cams I have (lpi, star shoot 2) has the modular connection that fits into the se mount base that the star shoot autoguider has.

#59 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:27 PM


YOUR FORUM NEEDS YOU ! :waytogo:

Best regards, :)
Tel


Alright, for those who are still sticking around and reading this thread, here's my latest processed shot from my Orion attempt of a couple weeks ago. Thanks to Tel for pointing me over to the Yahoo group that was going through a tutorial. The high pass filter worked great, but I'm sure there's still more to learn!

Beo

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2787229-Orion stack test 30%.jpg


#60 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 10:30 PM

Alex,

If you already have a good mono camera with a suitable mount, etc. then it may be cheaper to buy a USB guide adapter from Shoestring Astronomy vs. buying a new StarShoot. However, the Starshoot does a pretty good job and I have no complaints.

Beo

#61 Midnight Dan

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 11:02 PM

>> ...for those who are still sticking around...

I'm still with ya! And a beautiful shot it is! Nice job!

-Dan

#62 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 05:23 AM

Ok, when I pulled everything out this evening I took the digital bathroom scale and weighed the guide scope assembly as shown in my last pictures. The total thing including rear counterweight, Losmandy adapters, ST-80, and StarShoot was about 6.8 lbs. The DSLR body is about 1.8 lbs. I didn't pull the OTA to measure it seperately, but any one of you can do that on your own. However, it looks like the ADDITIONAL weight of my setup is about 9 lbs total.

As an update, I weighed the OTA with 2" dielectric diagonal and camera piggyback mount (no lense or other accessories) and it looks like about 13.8 lbs. Thus, the total loaded weight would be about 22.5 lbs, on the El axis, and that plus whatever the arm weighs on the AZ axis.

Beo

#63 a-l-e-x

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 09:05 AM

IMO Beo, you should send some of your results to Celestron with a list of recommendations.

When Celestron revamps their Nexstar line (as Meade is doing with its etx line), they should use worm gears and get rid of the drive inaccuracy, add PEC, include a built in wedge, perhaps even put in a built in reducer stronger than f/6.3 (hell, just give it built in Fastar), and keep the scope reasonably lightweight (8" sct complete set up at or under 50 lbs) while making the mount stronger, to accomodate guide scopes up to 80mm. And of course, they need to keep the built in autoguiding capabilities.

And then they can copyright the following name:

THE NEXSTAR ASTROGRAPH

And your scope will be the first prototype ;)

For our contributions in this thread, they should send each of us participants a free nexstar astrograph for testing purposes!

#64 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 09:46 AM

Thanks for the comments Alex. You'd think if companies like Celestron were really concerned with public opinion of their products that they'd already be following threads like this one. Unfortunately, I think there comes a point in the life of a company, especially in certain markets, where they get too big/slow to react to the desires of their customer base. They're doing good to get the next product out the door and it basically becomes a situation of "You'll buy it and like it!", or buy it and not like it but not have much you can do about it! Unfortunately that's the case with a lot of what I've bought from Celestron; neat concepts, poorly executed. :p

Beo

#65 a-l-e-x

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 10:38 AM

Sorry to hear that! :( Ive found that companies like Canon, Nikon and Olympus do seem to follow public threads (Ive seen officials from their sites post on dpreview.com for example) and Ive seen them incorporate user suggestions (the Canon astrophotography-friendly camera that came out awhile back, for example), but I guess Celestron has more of a monopoly (plus the digital camera market evolves much faster than the telescope market.)

#66 Midnight Dan

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 11:44 AM

Seems like the CPC line already comes reasonably close to what you're looking for. It doesn't have a built-in wedge, but from what I've read on CN regarding wedges, most of them are pretty useless until you get into the serious, $800, 45 pounds behemoths.

Problem is, adding a wedge and reducer would just increase the cost. And many folks would prefer to just do visual so they don't need those items. I guess this seems like more of a "bundle" than a model. Take a CPC 800, bundle it with a wedge and a reducer and sell it as a package at a reduced cost from the individual items. That way visual folks could still buy it at the unbundled price and not be saddled with extra stuff they don't want.

To me, one of the big limitations of the CPC is that it doesn't have a dovetail mount. This means you can't adjust fore/aft balancing, and you can't easily move the OTA to a GEM mount if you want to do serious AP. Plus, since it's permanently fixed to the mount, you have a heavier package that limits its usefulness for some of us old folks with bad backs (me!). If you could separate the two pieces, it would be easier to set up, and people could handle larger scopes.

I wrote a note to Celestron suggesting that they use a dual-dovetail system on their CPC so that it would still work with the dual-fork. If you removed it for use on a GEM, the second dovetail would be perfect for mounting a guidescope or other accessories.

They responded saying they thought it was a good idea and would send it along to their engineering department. So it does seem like they listen to their customers and are willing to take input.

-Dan

#67 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 12:38 PM

Dan makes a good point in that the typical customer desire is to do/get more at the same price point. While I bought my 8se as basically a higher end entry level scope, the frustration for me is not so much that it's realy a viewing only scope that I probably shouldn't have bought to begin with, but rather than I naively bought all these accessories from Celestron to try to turn it into something it's not. The money that I've spent buying the 8se, wedge, add-on knobs, etc. to try to make this into something that would do what I want would have been much better spent on a CGE based scope to begin with (given that the CGEM wasn't available last summer!). Now if I buy a CGE or CGEM I still have a mismatched configuration as the 8se OTA isn't very well suited for adaptation to those mounts.

Beo

#68 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 01:08 PM

And since this thread just keeps going, I might as well give you something else to look at. Here's the latest version of my M42 effort.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 2817689-Orion stack redo 30%.jpg


#69 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 01:17 PM

And here's the result of my piggyback setup. This was actually cropped down to leave 1600x1200 resolution. The full sized pic includes the three stars of Orion's belt as well as both "feet".

Beo

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  • 2817706-Orion Wide Updated 1600x1200b.jpg


#70 mclewis1

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 01:30 PM

When Celestron revamps their Nexstar line (as Meade is doing with its etx line), they should use worm gears and get rid of the drive inaccuracy, add PEC, include a built in wedge, perhaps even put in a built in reducer stronger than f/6.3 (hell, just give it built in Fastar), and keep the scope reasonably lightweight (8" sct complete set up at or under 50 lbs) while making the mount stronger, to accomodate guide scopes up to 80mm. And of course, they need to keep the built in autoguiding capabilities.


They already have this scope ... it's called a C8-SGT. Add a Hyperstar and the ADM side by side mounting setup and it addresses all of your concerns ... and at only $2400 ($1700 without the Hyperstar).


I'm frankly baffled by the recent comments in this thread. Complaints about the capabilities of the SE series for AP, poor wedges, mounting holes that don't line to support dovetail rails, etc. Well folks the SEs were not designed for AP, the fact that you can get some done is a tribute to the versatility of the product and your own perseverance but I don't think you should knock Celestron.

Celestron produced the SE to be an effective visual goto scope, light weight enough for easy grab and go, and most importantly at a price point that would be accessible to a wide variety of folks starting off in amateur astronomy. Want other features and functions? Then have a look at the CPC or Advanced Series or even the CGE series. Lots of options, lots of different capabilities at a variety of price points. Don't blame Celestron because you chose the SE and want it to do a whole variety of different things it wasn't really designed for. That's like buying a Chevy Aveo and then complaining to the dealer that while it gets great gas mileage it doesn't tow a trailer very well.

Autoguide ports and wedges and such are carryovers from other scope families. The marketing folks at Celestron likely wanted them to continue on the SE to look good in a paper comparison. You can debate whether this was smart choice or not but it doesn't change the fundamentals of the SE family, lightweight low cost alt az goto for visual use.

Wish lists are great but remember that every change to a scope changes the "manufacturability" of the scope and increases the price. Every dollar of cost added to a scope will likely become $10 to $50 or more in the selling price.

#71 mclewis1

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 01:43 PM

Now if I buy a CGE or CGEM I still have a mismatched configuration as the 8se OTA isn't very well suited for adaptation to those mounts. Beo


The 8SE OTA will work well with either the CGEM or CGE mounts ... you have a few choices.

1) one way - remove the existing vixen compatible dovetail and get the appropriate Losmandy D plate and radius blocks for the scope. The radius blocks mount to the existing bolts where the vixen rail came from.

2) versatile - don't touch the 8SE OTA, simply get a vixen to Losmandy D adapter saddle from ADM for $100 link to ADM LOS-VIX

3) most versatile - get Anthony at ADM to make you up a custom side by side mounting setup, one where the cross bar is the Losmandy D compatible (to mount in the CGEM/CGE saddles) and with vixen compatible saddles on the ends. This way you can leave the side by side mounting system in the larger mount, slide in the 8SE ota and a refractor beside it when necessary. With no changes required to either ota.

#72 mclewis1

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 02:31 PM

By the way Beo ... those are really nice shots of M42.

#73 rick rian

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 02:54 PM

Mark speaks the truth, I know this. :bow:

I have the Losmandy GM-8 tripod and mount and the Losmandy bracket to attach to my 8i OTA. It's a slick setup and works nicely. I must admit I haven't tried imaging yet, but I do have a good platform for when I do get started.

Ditto on the kudos to beo's images ... very nice indeed! :waytogo:

#74 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 05:38 PM

Mark,

But to use your analogy, if my Chevy dealer was selling the Aveo with a hitch on it and the trailer alongside, I'd be understandably annoyed when it couldn't haul the loaded trailer that was implied by selling the product to begin with!

Hey, I'm already admitting that I should have done more homework about where I wanted to end up before I ever bought the 8se. However, by selling the products they do, Celestron implies that the 8se is designed for this purpose. And maybe it is, just barely.

Beo

#75 Lord Beowulf

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:15 PM

1) one way - remove the existing vixen compatible dovetail and get the appropriate Losmandy D plate and radius blocks for the scope. The radius blocks mount to the existing bolts where the vixen rail came from.


Since I want to maintain the NexStar se mount for grab-n-go operation, this isn't a viable option.

2) versatile - don't touch the 8SE OTA, simply get a vixen to Losmandy D adapter saddle from ADM for $100 link to ADM LOS-VIX


This is probably the most obvious option, but means that I still have to mount my guide scope opposite the Vixen dovetail. For about the same cost (if not less) I can put a Losmandy dovetail on the other side of the OTA and use the Vixen dovetail as an easy way to mount my guide scope OTA using the Vixen mounting clamps I bought from Losmandy. The biggest disadvantage to either of these concepts is I lose the mounting holes for my camera piggyback. I can probably adapt that to mount off center on the remaining two mounting holes on the rear cell, but it's not in an ideal location. I'm also still not happy about the single screw in the front, two in the back, hole pattern for mounting the second rail. I can't tell if that's the same for the existing Vixen rail, but it seems a bit weak.

3) most versatile - get Anthony at ADM to make you up a custom side by side mounting setup, one where the cross bar is the Losmandy D compatible (to mount in the CGEM/CGE saddles) and with vixen compatible saddles on the ends. This way you can leave the side by side mounting system in the larger mount, slide in the 8SE ota and a refractor beside it when necessary. With no changes required to either ota.


Losmandy already makes something like this and that was what I'v been considering most seriously. I'm not sure how that would compare to what ADM would charge, especially if he had to customize. I'm also not exactly sure how you balance that though since the 8" OTA is going to weigh a lot more than the guide scope. Of course since the CG will always be between the two tubes, I guess as long as the cross rail clamps don't block the main rail, then it shouldn't be a problem to slide it as needed.

Beo


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