So I'm about 89% toward getting a Celestron Nexstar 5SE for a first go-to telescope. To start with, I'm planning to get a mount/OTA carry case, tripod case, eyepiece case, Farpoint desiccants (including the dessicant focuser cap), Solar filter, dew shield, dew heater, and power supply (I already have a HelioPod Solar finder). Later planning to add a reticle eyepiece, Barlows, SkySync GPS, DSLR camera/T-adapter/T-ring, a piggyback adapter, and then perhaps a Funstar (alas Starizona doesn't make a Hyperstar for the C5). Much later might add a guidescope, astrowebcam, and perhaps a second faster OTA such as a short-tube refractor for deep-sky imaging on the 5SE mount (or I could just use a fast guidescope for imaging with a webcam, and then use the C5 with a reducer for guiding the guidescope). I will have to add a finder shoe though to the OTA to add a guidescope.
I have seen some interesting posts on Cloudy Nights about the so-called C5 Freestar. Apparently the C5 is the only OTA where it is fitted so that you can attach a camera directly in front, without needing a Funstar or a Hyperstar. Obviously it gets even worse results than the Funstar, but it's free to use and might be fun to play with to see what comes out before investing in a Funstar. How easy, safe, or practical is it to remove the secondary mirror on a C5? Also, what are Bob knobs, and do I need to add them?
Anything else I should get? Any other tips or tricks for the 5SE or the C5? Are the Farpoint desiccants worth the expense? Do I need to get a laser collimator?
I am well-aware of the limitations of the mount for long-exposure imaging and not really interested or willing to try anything over a minute or so at most in exposure time with the built-in wedge. My primary interest in adding a guidescope to a C5 is actually for planetary video astronomy, to autoguide on planets at high magnification, such as for the upcoming Mercury transit. It should be noted that the mount itself is free, since the MSRP of the C5 alone is more than the MSRP of the 5SE. So I can buy the 5SE for planetary imaging and still get a better mount in the future (such as an AVX or a Sirius) for deep-sky imaging, and will actually have saved money.
>>I have seen some interesting posts on Cloudy Nights about the so-called C5 Freestar.
That's the C6 Freestar:
>>Apparently the C5 is the only OTA where it is fitted so that you can attach
>>a camera directly in front, without needing a Funstar or a Hyperstar.
On the C6, the fastar/hyperstar threads are the same size and pitch as standard SCT threads, so you can remove the secondary and attach a standard SCT visual back.
>>Obviously it gets even worse results than the Funstar,
Why is this obvious? The Funstar contains no optics. All it is is a machined piece of metal that screws to the hyperstar threads and allows you to attach a camera. I don't see why there would be any difference, provided both can achieve focus.
>>How easy, safe, or practical is it to remove the secondary mirror on a C5?
Removing the secondary and installing a fastar/hyperstar module isn't as scary as it sounds, and is quite easy. Practical? Well, if you are thinking about hanging a DSLR off a Funstar, your going to have a massive central obstruction. Starizona doesn't recommend using a DSLR with hyperstar on SCTs smaller than a C9.25. I've never seen any results from a funstar/freestar setup that even tempted me to try it. IMO, the cost of a Funstar is much better applied toward either a used Meade F/3.3 reducer, or an ST80, ED80 or some other shorter focal length scope.
>>Autoguiding for solar system video astronomy
Why? Lunar, solar, and planetary exposures are short. If you start to drift off axis, just make a small correction like you would visually. An additional problem is that I believe most autoguide systems are designed for equatorially mounted scopes (corrections are made in RA and DEC, and primarily in RA).
>>10 lbs of payload
I was unhappy with the visual performance of the 4/5SE mount with a 5" Mak (7-8 pounts). You are asking a lot out of a mount that was never intended to be an astrophotography platform.
>>It should be noted that the mount itself is free, since the MSRP of the C5 alone is more than the MSRP of the 5SE.
First of all, the C5 that is sold standalone is the spotting scope version that comes with a lifetime warranty. The 5SE does not come with a warranty. Second of all, the street price of the C5 spotting scope is $475 vs the $599 sale price for the 5SE.
As far as other accessories, I'd look into Backyard EOS if you really want to do astrophotography with a Canon DSLR. I'd also recommend anti-vibration pads.
Edited by jallbery, 24 November 2018 - 06:01 PM.