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Celestron C8 Registry

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#1026 RSX11M+

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 09:19 PM

Hi,

 

I am helping the people at Watoga State Park in Pocahontas County, WV get certified as a Dark Sky Preserve by the IDA.  As part of their obligation they must have educational/outreach activities at the park.  Someone donated an old C8 to them and I am refurbishing it.

 

The scope has been in a shed for most of the last 10 years.  It has fungus on the inside of the corrector plate and also on the primary which I will be cleaning off.  The donor said he got good views with the scope but he got it secondhand and doesn't know anything about its former life.  It runs off of a 9V battery and has a port for a hand controller (which is MIA), a receptacle labeled Dec, and a receptacle labeled 12VDC.

 

I'd like to register the scope here and also see if you can give me any info or background on the scope.  Thanks.

 

Here are a couple of pics:

 

attachicon.gifIMG_1523.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_1522.JPG

 

You appear to have a late 1990's Celestar 8, from the serial number we would guess circa 1996.

 

See if this Manual helps or looks familiar. Also ref [1, 2]

 

There were variations of this model, including a "Deluxe" - but I can't tell from your photos which version or accessories would be present. I can make out a tripod, some secondary holder covers (2?), a corrector cover, wedge and the customary steamer trunk case. I see no finder, but the OTA has some sort of provisions for piggy-back mount.

 

In this period, these scopes were transitioning to a more electronics dependent form, some with computerized mounts and pointing databases. (If you possess all the electronics for it)

 

OTA cleaning is not something I recommend, and certainly not until you have checked it out on a few familiar objects. Faithful disassembly and cleaning is possible, but a baseline of visual performance will go a long way to assuring it's been re-assembled and collimated correctly. Please seek a thorough understanding and help in another thread before proceeding with any disassembly into the OTA. This is not a trivial task. Mirrors were manufactured as a matched set and require their original orientation be maintained to a fine degree.

 

Community outreach is great to see, and I hope you find it rewarding. Dark skies are getting more and more scarce, so don't waste them, and enjoy while you can. Blessing of Park administration goes a long way to fostering this activity, as it requires access hours and provisions beyond the customary norm.

 

I think these forums can be of assistance to you in this endeavor. [of course you know all that - being no stranger here]

 

Good Luck, and thank you for the entry. Please post additional photos of included items, accessories and electronic components if you wish. These are often overlooked or misplaced as time passes and a visual record of them here will help others who come after.


Edited by RSX11M+, 26 July 2021 - 09:28 PM.

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#1027 ETXer

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 09:23 AM

I'd say it's "almost" a Celestar... the Celestar was introduced in 1995 (probably didn't see sales in stores until late '95/early '96) with a slight redesign of the fork/tube hubs and the drive base; the "conical" section under the fork mount was flattened. The serial number 89XXX was probably on the cusp of the introduction to the new model.

 

Having said that, there's always been a lot of variation between serial numbering vs. models that were actually marketed, so it's difficult to be definitive without gaining information from the original owner.



#1028 Special Ed

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 02:07 PM

Thanks for the responses, RSX and ETX--much appreciated.  The scope looks like the picture of the Celestar 8 (not deluxe) model in the manual you linked to and it only has one 9V battery--not two.

 

The tripod is very simple and does not have adjustable legs.  The finder was removed and lost by the donor.  I will provide more pictures of the tripod/wedge/scope assembly.

 

That's good advice to have a look before cleaning to get a benchmark read on the optics. I have cleaned corrector plates before (inside and out) and know about the critical steps but will review the procedures again and tread carefully.  I don't take cleaning SCT optics lightly and avoid doing it when possible but this scope has a lot of feathery looking fungus type growth on it.  tongue2.gif

 

Thanks again!



#1029 RAE33

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 01:29 PM

I purchased this C8 with a different kind of focuser.  I was told it might be an early model (1972).  I believe the serial number might be 54.  Any input would be appreciated.

 

 

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#1030 pierce

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 02:17 PM

I purchased this C8 with a different kind of focuser.  I was told it might be an early model (1972).  I believe the serial number might be 54.  Any input would be appreciated.

 

some more pictures, showing the fork castings and base, the corrector and secondary adjustments might be interesting.

 

I'm gonna say 50-50, that helical(?) focuser is aftermarket.   does it move the prism mount in and out ?   I see the apparently sliced off shaft from the original focuser.



#1031 RAE33

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 02:26 PM

More pics

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#1032 CCD-Freak

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 03:22 PM

Some of the very early C8s had an axial focuser and yours looks to be one of those.. (^8


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#1033 Kasmos

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Posted 19 August 2021 - 11:02 PM

I purchased this C8 with a different kind of focuser.  I was told it might be an early model (1972).  I believe the serial number might be 54.  Any input would be appreciated.

The C8 came out in 1970 and something like only the first 135 had that type of focuser. You are very lucky to find one!


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#1034 dlicheri

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 04:11 PM

A handbook publishing date can be helpful, but from other reports of ownership in this serial number range we would guess your scope to have been made in the year 2000.

 

This should be a good candidate for a first dip in the astrophotography pool. 

 

Good luck, and thanks for registering.

you are pretty close. Published in 97 and scope dated to 12th July 1999 ...



#1035 RSX11M+

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Posted 20 August 2021 - 04:50 PM

I purchased this C8 with a different kind of focuser.  I was told it might be an early model (1972).  I believe the serial number might be 54.  Any input would be appreciated.

 

 

More pics

 

 

Congratulations! - You have serial number 54. (-didn't see a pic of that) Not only is it Tricolor but "Axial Foxcus" as well.

 

It is definitely among the first 100 or so scopes produced (we think 135). Note that it is not one of the very first few, which had holes in the rear cell and smaller RA knobs (precise quantity unknown) but we are certain of at least 3.

 

These 135 had that focuser built in. It is so rare that it's understandable even most Celestron aficionados have never seen one in the flesh.

 

 

It appears to have been accessorized with commercial ring clamps and a finder - not original.

 

Manufacturing date can be pretty closely determined by examining the stamped printing on drive motors under the base for a date suffix. I would expect 1970 (9-70). For reference, Serial number "1" has motors dated "6-70".

 

These Axial units have not been produced since 1971, but may have been originally SOLD well after.  

 

 

Please treat it as a cherished artifact, it is highly collectible - especially in original "unrestored" condition.


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#1036 Slonneck

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Posted 26 August 2021 - 11:04 PM

Hey Folks!
  I’ve popped in and out of CN for years, but stay out of social media as a rule.  My first of several scopes was a consumer grade Jason 518 4.5” reflector, (a solid first.). I saw the rings of Saturn and tracked it successfully across the sky, and been hooked since.
  Flash forward 20 some years, I now have a C8.  I finally found someone with a nice old wedge and he let me know there’s a registry…so, here I am!  It’s in beautiful shape, still has the sticker on the finder scope and came in the footlocker.  Serial number is clear and puts it in 1978, however, feels like we’re missing a number, I’ll leave it to the experts.
Serial No. 3893    8

 

A784CB11 E48E 43B8 AAF6 1A218B4F54F2
Album: C8
8 images
0 comments

A784CB11 E48E 43B8 AAF6 1A218B4F54F2
Album: C8
8 images
0 comments


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#1037 deepwoods1

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Posted 26 August 2021 - 11:22 PM

And your has “Special Coatings” as well! Serial number is just space challenged. Appears to be third quarter of ‘78.


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#1038 RAE33

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Posted 27 August 2021 - 12:56 AM

Serial number is 54 1970.
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#1039 RSX11M+

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Posted 27 August 2021 - 03:49 AM

Hey Folks!
  I’ve popped in and out of CN for years, but stay out of social media as a rule.  My first of several scopes was a consumer grade Jason 518 4.5” reflector, (a solid first.). I saw the rings of Saturn and tracked it successfully across the sky, and been hooked since.
  Flash forward 20 some years, I now have a C8.  I finally found someone with a nice old wedge and he let me know there’s a registry…so, here I am!  It’s in beautiful shape, still has the sticker on the finder scope and came in the footlocker.  Serial number is clear and puts it in 1978, however, feels like we’re missing a number, I’ll leave it to the experts.
Serial No. 3893    8

 

That serial number was produced during a transitional period. During this time Celestron seems to have been undergoing turmoil and scopes produced in the time span 1977-1979 often violated the usual date-code method of serial numbering. We've heard of managerial and financial upheavals that effected production and may have negatively impacted optical quality. The situation was remedied soon after a corporate shakeup by the return of original management and with the aid of the founder. 

 

Likewise, motor dates too - tended to be plus or minus a year, and may not provide the usual date resolution.

 

Looking at your scope's features - I think 1978 is as good a guess as we can make, though it may be as late as 1979. It is Die-cast, and is assembled with Phillips screws and Hex-head bolts (?) rather than the Allen-head fasteners used in other epochs of production. Your RA drive base has a 3-prong power chord receptacle located in the bottom (not the side), the focus knob is of the "longer" type, and the objective cover is plastic and not spun aluminum - taken together, these characteristics are appropriate to the aforementioned period.

 

I would be curious to know how you would assess it's optical performance?

 

Thank you for the registry entry and photos. Your scope is among the last 4 registry entries we have before the serial number changeover to the 8xxxxx series.


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#1040 Slonneck

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Posted 27 August 2021 - 06:16 PM

That serial number was produced during a transitional period. During this time Celestron seems to have been undergoing turmoil and scopes produced in the time span 1977-1979 often violated the usual date-code method of serial numbering. We've heard of managerial and financial upheavals that effected production and may have negatively impacted optical quality. The situation was remedied soon after a corporate shakeup by the return of original management and with the aid of the founder. 

 

Likewise, motor dates too - tended to be plus or minus a year, and may not provide the usual date resolution.

 

Looking at your scope's features - I think 1978 is as good a guess as we can make, though it may be as late as 1979. It is Die-cast, and is assembled with Phillips screws and Hex-head bolts (?) rather than the Allen-head fasteners used in other epochs of production. Your RA drive base has a 3-prong power chord receptacle located in the bottom (not the side), the focus knob is of the "longer" type, and the objective cover is plastic and not spun aluminum - taken together, these characteristics are appropriate to the aforementioned period.

 

I would be curious to know how you would assess it's optical performance?

 

Thank you for the registry entry and photos. Your scope is among the last 4 registry entries we have before the serial number changeover to the 8xxxxx series.

Thanks for the analysis!  This meshes well with what I expected based on the few documents that were tucked away in the footlocker.

in answer to your question about optical quality, you have to realize that my frame of reference is pretty thin.  Before the C8, the best scope I had used was a C5.  That said, craters on the moon are crisp and sharp, and terrestrial use is spectacular.  Once the wedge comes in and I’m able to track I’ll try it on something more, and will let you all know—hopefully with some images.

 

Either way, it’s the best scope I’ve ever owned, and I love it.

Sean


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#1041 RSX11M+

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 12:26 AM

Thanks for the analysis!  This meshes well with what I expected based on the few documents that were tucked away in the footlocker.

in answer to your question about optical quality, you have to realize that my frame of reference is pretty thin.  Before the C8, the best scope I had used was a C5.  That said, craters on the moon are crisp and sharp, and terrestrial use is spectacular.  Once the wedge comes in and I’m able to track I’ll try it on something more, and will let you all know—hopefully with some images.

 

Either way, it’s the best scope I’ve ever owned, and I love it.

Sean

Celestron - still making satisfied customers with products made 42+ years ago - incredible.

 

Thanks for that assessment, and I would appreciate a reference lunar photo when the chance presents itself. We like the registry to be a resource that informs - and the performance, especially during these stress times of history, can help members and contributors judge the maintenance needs of their own equipment.

 

We often find owners of these C8s pleasantly surprised by the images they produce. There are frequently photos to back this up, though I caution that this isn't a place to over-do it. The moderators like us to stay on topic, and this thread isn't intended for protracted debugging or off-topic interaction.

 

Thank you again for registering, it's great to hear participants enjoying these vintage instruments and caring for their future.


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#1042 RSX11M+

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 12:39 AM

Serial number is 54 1970.

I will take this as acceptance of our previous conclusions. (?)

 

I meant to ask a favor - please provide the detail of wire color on each motor in SN 54's base. Information via photo attachment or verbal description will do. It's a lingering issue I'm attempting to track, especially with the first generation of these scopes.

 

 

In fact, I invite anyone reading this - who owns an Axial Focus model to please post that same information.

 

 

Thank you all. I will explain, if and when, we reach an understanding of enough evidence.



#1043 breizhatao

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 04:25 AM

Hello friends
I registered on your site because I find it very interesting and very informative, but also to ask you if it was possible to find and buy a celestron 8 from the 1980s in the USA, I am French and we find very little of these tubes at home, and the people here who have celestrons do not sell them.


Edited by mdowns, 28 August 2021 - 05:45 AM.


#1044 pierce

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 05:50 AM

Hello friends
I registered on your site because I find it very interesting and very informative, but also to ask you if it was possible to find and buy a celestron 8 from the 1980s in the USA, I am French and we find very little of these tubes at home, and the people here who have celestrons do not sell them.

 

not many of these are for sale.  



#1045 wrvond

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 11:56 AM

Hello friends
I registered on your site because I find it very interesting and very informative, but also to ask you if it was possible to find and buy a celestron 8 from the 1980s in the USA, I am French and we find very little of these tubes at home, and the people here who have celestrons do not sell them.

Subscribe to Astromart and post a wanted ad.

 

https://astromart.com/



#1046 deepwoods1

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Posted 28 August 2021 - 04:56 PM

Or you could post an ad HERE!


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#1047 DogWatch

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 01:05 AM

Hi everyone!

Feeling very lucky.  Just got home from picking up my new (to me) baby.  Purchased from original owner who purchased it in '80-'81 (he's digging up original receipt for me) in Chicago.  He used it for a month until he couldn't take the cold and packed it up for the winter.  40 years and 3 moves without opening the trunk and he decided it was time to sell.  Pristine all around, in and out...yay. 

So, another one for the registry: serial #815028 and motor dates are 10/80.  Thanks

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#1048 RSX11M+

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 05:36 AM

Hi everyone!

Feeling very lucky.  Just got home from picking up my new (to me) baby.  Purchased from original owner who purchased it in '80-'81 (he's digging up original receipt for me) in Chicago.  He used it for a month until he couldn't take the cold and packed it up for the winter.  40 years and 3 moves without opening the trunk and he decided it was time to sell.  Pristine all around, in and out...yay. 

So, another one for the registry: serial #815028 and motor dates are 10/80.  Thanks

 

Quite a find, and a unique story. From appearance it is low low mileage.

 

At first glance, all looks correct for the period. The only thing which struck me as not having seen before was the 3 knobs holding the wedge to the tripod. Did you get a power chord?

 

I wish I had advice for motors that have not been run in 40 years, as it's certain that if it were possible to lubricate them, they would last better than use after being dry so long. Also that the lubes of bearings and gears in the base too would be helpful. Gentle exercise of the focus knob between extremes should be sufficient for the main focus.  You may find the DEC knob stiff. If so, clean with alcohol and re-lube with a drop of fine oil.

 

Hopefully you got some eyepieces to begin with. 

 

Best of luck, Thanks for registering.



#1049 apfever

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 06:04 AM

The three knobs holding the wedge to the tripod are flowerette caps pressed onto socket head bolts (allen bolts).  Edmund used these quite a bit on their scopes, and I've seen them on other scopes that looked factory. I haven't seen them on these Celestrons as factory.  There is one good thing, the flowerettes have 6 serrations which is era correct.  New flowerettes have 7 serrations.  Other than the 6 or 7 bumps, the old and new are identical from textured center to reveal along the edge. The only way new ones would stand out is a side by side look. Most likely no one would ever know of a substitution from old to new if full sets were replaced. 



#1050 CHASLX200

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Posted 01 September 2021 - 06:19 AM

Seems they crack off with age . I had many break off.




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