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Celestron Celestar 8 worth this much?

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#1 BobRoss

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:32 PM

I have the opportunity to pick up a Celestron Celestar 8 for $595 used. I'm gathering this is an older model (2001?) It looks to be in great condition and is advertised as "Complete Kit with case" but I'm not clear if that includes the tripod, I'll assume no.

Is that a decent price? Here is a review:

http://www.company7....ducts/sch4.html

I'm coming from a ETX-90RA and the motor is driving me nuts... Would this be a substantial upgrade?

been reading some reviews and although none seem "glowing" not much negative either.

Thank for any advise,
Bob

#2 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:39 PM

Bob:

It would certainly be a substantial upgrade. SCTs on Wedges like the Celestar can be quite awkward and are prone to vibration because the scope is hanging out there on the wedge.

My rule of thumb for SCTs is "When in Doubt, Ask Uncle Rod Mollise." My gut feeling is that this is overpriced and that you would be happier with a GOTO SCT.

Jon

#3 bdk

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 07:58 PM

I purchased a used Celestar 8 Standard from the classifieds here about a year ago. I paid about $425 for it, with the tripod/wedge combo "wedgepod" included. Celestar 8 Delux has a slew of upgrades especially in the mount and drive. The Celestar 8 drive is basic, put in a nine volt battery and turn it on, no PEC or anything, but If I do a rough polar alignment by eye and leave something in the eyepiece, its still there 20 minutes later without me doing anything and thats good enough for me.

#4 Jim T

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:11 AM

Bob,

I bought one of these used about 5+ yrs ago for $750, with digital setting circles (Push-to) that I don't use. I think they were about $2000 when new. For $2K these days you can get Go-To. I think that $595 for an 8" SCT on a mount that tracks is pretty decent, plus it sounds like you get a case to boot. That's notably more aperature than your ETX-90.

If you are thinking Astrophotography, I'd say don't get it. However, if you can handle a "slightly" heavy grab and go, want a "planetary scope" that is good for public outreach, this is a good one. Vibration pads are a good idea, especially if you set the mount on pavement.

The OTA is typically very good on this model. The wedgepod fork is a bit on the cheap side, but I agree with the last poster: with a rough polar alignment it tracks pretty well.

If you get this scope, do your back/neck a favor and get a 1x reflex finder, *along with* a right-angle 10x50 finder to nail it down. If you don't like star-hopping, and prefer to mash buttons, this is not your scope.

There is a Celestar 8 "Yahoo Group" you might look into if you buy the scope. I like mine - as a second scope, for outreach, and for planetary observing (which is most of my grab-n-go needs). I know my way around the sky pretty well though. Those that don't should consider sticking with go-to's.

I upgraded mine with adjustable "feet", vibration pads, a 9x50 straight-thru (ouch) finder, and a used Denkmeier 2" Powerswitch (diagonal,barlow,reducer).

#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 10:28 AM

Hi

The Celestar 8 was Celestron's entry level SCT. I believe they sold for under $1000 near the end but I did look in the Nov 1997 S&T and Woodland Hills had them for $1049.

Jon

#6 spaceboy62

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:03 PM

Offer them $450 or 500...see what happens.

#7 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:26 PM

Offer them $450 or 500...see what happens.


I think one needs to decide if they really want the scope first. An 8 inch SCT on a wedge, particuarly a lightweight wedge like the wedge pod, can be rather awkward to view through and is prone to vibration and wobble. Without Goto or digital setting circles, the relatively narrow field of makes Starhopping more difficult.

My first serious scope was an Orange Tube C-8 from the 70's/early 80's. It was a decent scope and I enjoyed using it but it's limitations were frustrating. When I finally realized that DOBs were not crude, cardboard junk and that they had a magic of their own, the C-8 sat in the corner...

About 5 years ago I was reminded of the some of the issues one faces with SCT on a Wedge... A fellow setup next to me with one and proceeded to haul out the blankets... This was so he could lie on the ground and hopefully see M51 which he had never seen. The position of the OTA was such that this was what he needed to do... He found M51 because I showed him were it was in my Newtonian.

So, when $450 buys a new 10 inch F/5 Dob, the first decision that needs to be made is whether one really wants an Celestar 8. If so, then consider evaluating it and if it looks like a good scope, make an offer.

Jon Isaacs

#8 uniondrone

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:29 PM

I recommend to post this on the SCT board to see the responses. Rod Mollise will almost certainly respond, as he frequently lurks there. :grin: My first impression is that it is not an unfair price if the scope is in very good optical and mechanical condition.

Uncle Rod has a free online guide to buying used SCTs, that I would highly recommend that you read.

EDIT: Reading a bit more of the above responses, Jon makes some very good points. It all depends on what you are looking for. In terms of price, ease of use, and ergonomics, it is hard to go wrong with a dobsonian-mounted reflector. I have an old Ultima 8 SCT and a C5+ both of which have served me well. I have to admit, though, that my dob has seen more use than the others combined since I bought it.

#9 spaceboy62

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:46 PM

I think one needs to decide if they really want the scope first.

So, when $450 buys a new 10 inch F/5 Dob, the first decision that needs to be made is whether one really wants an Celestar 8.


I totally agree. I'd much rather have an XT10 or Z10 if I'm spending $500. But that's me. I was assuming
he did want it, but was seeing if it was a good price.:question:
BTW, I just found it in an April 1998 Astronomy magazine ad. Orion was selling it at $1159.

#10 rdandrea

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 03:34 PM

I'm not going to go off-topic like others have and tell you to buy a dob. Although that's the standard answer to EVERY question asked in this forum, it has nothing to do with what you asked. You asked a very specific question.

Yes, I think it's too much. I would never pay more than half of retail for something used, unless it's collectible. The scope you're looking at is not a collector's item.

As someone else said, make a counteroffer in the $400-$500 range. That gets you below half of retail.

#11 spaceboy62

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:17 PM

I say buy a dob. ;)
:brick:
It's an interesting read about it on the Uncle Rod report. It starts on page 54.
Doesn't sound too bad, but the $400-500 range offer is fair. Personaly, I like 8" SCT's. They're easy to carry out & set-up. But if the polar-align is a pain...that's not fun.

#12 Ad Astra

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:37 PM

As long as the motor drive works, you should have a fine instrument. Celestron scopes from this era generally pretty descent optics. No, they don't track like a new Astro-Physics mount, but you can't even buy a AP tripod for $500. This is a really nice scope and should do you just fine for a long time to come.

The C-8 has lots of users (many friends waiting to meet you!)
Easy to get accessories
Variable focal ratios with reducer corrector, barlow, or hyperstar accessories will allow you to go from f/1.9 to f/20 for terrific flexibility
C-8/tripod combo is one of the most portable setups there are - great for visual use.

I think this sounds like a heck of a deal if all the optics and tracking work. If it includes accessories and eyepieces, it's even better.

Dan

#13 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:48 PM

I'm not going to go off-topic like others have and tell you to buy a dob. Although that's the standard answer to EVERY question asked in this forum, it has nothing to do with what you asked. You asked a very specific question.



Just to be clear:

I did not recommend the original poster buy a dob. What I did recommend was that the original poster be clear on what he is looking for and whether he really wants this particular scope. These sorts of scopes were popular back in the 70's and 80s when decent quality dobsonians were not so common but with the arrival of the much easier to use ALT-AZ mounted GOTO SCT and the good quality Dobs, they became a thing of the past.

I included the mention of the 10 inch Dob because it puts the price in context.

I also think it is important in the beginner to take a bigger view, answering the question in the narrowest possible manner to people who have never looked through an 8 inch SCT or maybe even ever looked through a telescope at all does no one any favors.

I googled Uncle Rod and Wedge Mounted SCTs... I think he repeats my comments, vibration, awkward viewing positions...

Rod Mollise's comments on Wedge Mounted SCTs

Jon

#14 uniondrone

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 04:58 PM

Yes, I think it's too much. I would never pay more than half of retail for something used, unless it's collectible. The scope you're looking at is not a collector's item.

As someone else said, make a counteroffer in the $400-$500 range. That gets you below half of retail.


If I find a telescope for sale for less than half of retail, I assume that there is something I am not being told about it. Unless something is obsolete or damaged, I would think that most people would try to sell for more than that. The scope in question is an older, relatively entry level scope, but if the optics and mechanics are very good, $600-ish is not unreasonable. You could make an offer of $500 to see if they bite. Be sure to kick the tires (so to speak). Uncle Rod has a used SCT checklist of things to look for in his free guide book.

Although I am not sure how good of a source this is, the telescope bluebook lists the average used sale price of this scope as $618 for the non-deluxe, non-computerized version. This is an average of 163 sales since 2001.

However, to the original poster: keep in mind Jon's words, be open to the available options. Are you interested in this SCT because it fits your budget? If so, a dob might also be a good choice for the same money. Are you into astrophotography and require tracking? If so, you could be happy with the used SCT for $600, but you could spend more on a more modern GoTo SCT and have more/better features.

#15 RussL

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 05:04 PM

I have that very scope. Mine is a 1999 model and sold for around $1100 with accessories. I have no issues at all with vibration for visual only. Also, for visual only polar alignment isn't necessary. I just set it down aiming generally north. My success depends on how lucky I get each time, but objects are mostly always in view for twenty minutes or more without adjustments. Mine also has no mirror shift when focusing as some do. I recommend a red dot finder for it. I have a 9x50, but it's straight through and hard to look through when aiming high. At least get one with a right angle viewer. The wedgepod is NOT rickety, but solidly made. I just hate to carry it all put together, even though the whole rig only weighs 39 lbs. Kinda awkward to pick up, IMO. The legs are NOT adjustable, which could be a problem if viewing from an incline, unless you don't mind a little drift in tracking. The drive motor is nice and smooth, and I particularly like that it uses just one 9v battery (good for about 50 hrs). Images are stunning, so the optics are good. I'd pay maybe $500 for a used one.

#16 spaceboy62

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 06:12 PM

RussL
Could it be re-mounted on a different wedge?

#17 uniondrone

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 06:36 PM


I think that all (or at least many) of the Celestron SCTs from that time period use the same bolt size, thread, and pattern for attaching the mount base to the wedge. For example, I can put my C5+ on the wedge and tripod assembly for my Ultima, which by the way makes for an absurdly solid set up. Not sure how useful this is to the original poster, however.

#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:11 PM

I think that all (or at least many) of the Celestron SCTs from that time period use the same bolt size, thread, and pattern for attaching the mount base to the wedge. For example, I can put my C5+ on the wedge and tripod assembly for my Ultima, which by the way makes for an absurdly solid set up. Not sure how useful this is to the original poster, however.


If I am not mistaken, the Celestar uses a WedgePod, the tripod and the wedge are integrated into one piece, that was a cost saving measure. So in order to replace the wedge, it is necessary to also replace the tripod.

Jon

#19 Ad Astra

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 07:49 PM


I think that all (or at least many) of the Celestron SCTs from that time period use the same bolt size, thread, and pattern for attaching the mount base to the wedge. For example, I can put my C5+ on the wedge and tripod assembly for my Ultima, which by the way makes for an absurdly solid set up. Not sure how useful this is to the original poster, however.


If I am not mistaken, the Celestar uses a WedgePod, the tripod and the wedge are integrated into one piece, that was a cost saving measure. So in order to replace the wedge, it is necessary to also replace the tripod.

Jon


Quite right. You can remove the 'wedge' (two cast aluminum pieces) and be left with a tripod topped by a flat tray. I'm trying to make a binocular parallelogram mount out of one.

Just another stalled ATM project right now, though!

Dan

#20 KWB

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 03:16 AM

In 1997 I purchased this setup and was gullible enough to pay $1,200 for it from a local camera/telescope retailer. After 2 weeks of side by side comparison with a Celestron 8 inch F/6 Starhopper,I sold the Celestar 8 for $750 in an add in the local newspaper. The feature I liked least about the SCT was having to lug it oudoors. The Dobsonian was much easier for this user to deal with and reached thermal equalisation much more quickly.

#21 rmollise

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 05:57 AM

I have the opportunity to pick up a Celestron Celestar 8 for $595 used. I'm gathering this is an older model (2001?) It looks to be in great condition and is advertised as "Complete Kit with case" but I'm not clear if that includes the tripod, I'll assume no.

Is that a decent price? Here is a review:

http://www.company7....ducts/sch4.html

I'm coming from a ETX-90RA and the motor is driving me nuts... Would this be a substantial upgrade?

been reading some reviews and although none seem "glowing" not much negative either.

Thank for any advise,
Bob


This is an OK, but hardly great price. This was an entry level telescope when it was sold, going for around 1K. I would certainly not give this much for it without a tripod/wedge. The optics on this telescope are the same as on any other Celestron SCT of the day and should be good when collimated.

#22 uniondrone

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 10:38 AM

If I am not mistaken, the Celestar uses a WedgePod, the tripod and the wedge are integrated into one piece, that was a cost saving measure. So in order to replace the wedge, it is necessary to also replace the tripod.


Quite right. You can remove the 'wedge' (two cast aluminum pieces) and be left with a tripod topped by a flat tray. I'm trying to make a binocular parallelogram mount out of one.


I stand corrected. :grin: A cost-saving measure, eh?

#23 BobRoss

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 07:37 PM

Wow! Thank you for all the responses! In light of this thread I think I'm going to pass. I'm reading up on some goto dobs that might be better suited for me.

Just out of curiosity, what would be an absolute steal for this scope? 300-400?

#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:18 PM

Just out of curiosity, what would be an absolute steal for this scope? 300-400?



I might even buy it for $300 though I have passed on similar SCTs for less.

Jon

#25 RussL

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:46 PM

If I am not mistaken, the Celestar uses a WedgePod, the tripod and the wedge are integrated into one piece, that was a cost saving measure. So in order to replace the wedge, it is necessary to also replace the tripod.


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Quote:
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Quite right. You can remove the 'wedge' (two cast aluminum pieces) and be left with a tripod topped by a flat tray. I'm trying to make a binocular parallelogram mount out of one.


In fact, my wedge and tripod are an inseparable, one-piece casting.


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