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First light and first impressions of an Orion XT10i...

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#1 Pcbessa

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 08:45 PM

This is my first light report on the Orion XT10i!

 

After a couple of weeks of deciding between a Celestron SE8 or an Orion XT8i, I decided and bought for an Orion XT10i. Two days ago I received the Orion XT10i and the first impression was becoming scared about the size of the tube and how I would handle and carry it. Even before ordering, I spend days thinking about how to transport it. Luckly I ordered the Orion bag too.

 

BUILDING THE TELESCOPE

Building it, was relatively straightforward, though the process took about 3 hours and at some points it was slightly challenging, especially when assembling the azimuth circuit and the ground baseplate and top baseplate.

 

Then, a few days of cloudy weather. Collimation was easy with the cap, but I quickly realised the need for a more precise tool, like a Cheshire.

 

TRANSPORTING THE TELESCOPE

Finally, carrying the OTA is actually not that difficult when placed inside the Orion bag for the XT10i. The bag is very practical to carry the OTA for let's say 2 minutes. The bag goes strapped into the shoulder. The bag is also padded and excellent if I bump the OTA into the entrance door for example.

 

Without the bag, it is difficult to handle the tube as it is large and thick, and I can only handle it confortably for a few seconds (without the bag). So I found the bag to be a must! Nonetheless I will also install handle straps into the OTA itself, to facilitate the process of removing the OTA from the base and placing it inside the bag. I found removing the OTA and putting it back, to a bit ackward but I think with practice one gets used to it!

 

The base is easy to carry for 2 minutes by hand. As you probably know it, the two parts (OTA and base) must be carried separated. This is clearly a telescope to be set up within 3 min walk (ideally 1min walk) from your storage place.

The telescope does not take much place if stored assembled and vertically.

One needs to be careful about not damaging the primary mirror, from the bottom, or from the top.

 

FIRST LIGHT:

The finderscope is good, and the eyepieces are also fine.

The finderscope needs to be taped so it does not slide and fall back to the floor, if the OTA is placed vertically.

Also I quickly realised the need to cool the OTA for about 1h, as after 30min, seeing was still not that great.

 

The light capturingability of this scope is amazing!

 

I live in dark skies (Bortle 4), but the weather was not the best, partly cloudy, ocasionally fast moving clouds, sometimes hazy by high clouds, seeing was not that great (at times bad), and a full moon just rising. The Milky way was invisible at naked eye, but you could see all stars of Ursa Minor, despite the bright moon.

 

Despite that, I could see M1 and M76 easily (these are supposedly the faintest Messier objects). M76 Little Dumbell was spectacular, with the two lobes easily seen. The Eskimo nebula was easy, nice and relatively bright, but better with averted vision. This was when the moon was low, when the full moon rose, they were more difficult to spot.

 

I could barely see M101, M51 and M33. Quite disappointed by those. M33 was low on the sky, whilst M101 and M51 were a bit near the moon. So I see that they require a good dark night.

 

M81 and M82 looked spectacular however! I could see dark ridge on M82. Also in M31. Even with the full moon! And even then I could glimpse a few other galaxies on the other side of the sky, for instance NGC404 near Beta Andromeda, and a couple galaxies but only barely and with averted vision in Abell 426. That's a scope going down to magnitude 12. But remember I live in Bortle 4 skies and I spent an hour looking for those faints. 

 

The Orion nebula looked spectacular too, with great detail and a hint of blueish color. But I could not see any other reflection nebula nearby (or just barely), and neither the Rosette (there was just a hint of it around the central cluster). I guess one needs dark skies without a full moon, or ideally a UHC or OIII filter. The Pleiades seemed to have a haze around them, but I could not be sure either.

 

Clusters appeared spectacular in the full moon. Like M36, M37, M45, and many other NGCs...

I did not see any globular cluster, as there seems to be almost none at this time of the year in the sky.

 

The Intelliscope ability to find my objects is awesome! Very grateful for that.

it allows me to find objects just within seconds, and the whole system is easy to use.

I could browse nebulas, clusters and galaxies around a part of the sky, or just type any NGC I want, and get there quickly.

For instance at one point in the night, I just saw ten open clusters in Monoceros, one after the other, by using that function.

 

Then I can glimpse many dozen objects per session! And I only spend time star hoping in difficult objects like Abell galaxies.

Whilst the system is accurate to find many objects, you would still need a detailed star chart for faint objects, such as some planetary nebulas or in galaxy clusters. Sky Safari Plus would be probably my best bet.

 

I also quickly realise that I could get a better eyepiece than the 10mm, and also for planetary observation. Mars appeared small, but seeing was also not great (some turbulence). This scope clearly shines with DSOs rather than planets.

 

I tested the scope on Castor and a couple other double stars, and it worked fine. Even with the collimation done by my first time ever, the resolution was fine.

 

ACESSORIES

I need a red flashlight and armchair! I ordered some handle straps for the tube. I need an UHC nebula filter! Also I need a Cheshire and in the long-term I would buy a couple better eyepieces. I need something to protect the bottom of the OTA where the primary mirror is exposed. I will buy some flocking ultrablack material for the tube inside. And I will install Sky Safari Plus on my smartphone.

 

 

Overall it was a great first night!!!


Edited by Pcbessa, 20 February 2019 - 08:53 PM.

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#2 NorthernlatAK

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 09:15 PM

Congrats on the scope and first light! Wait until the moon is gone and you'll be floored.
I don't use the 10mm that comes with it. Keep an eye on the classifieds for ep.
M3 rises late at your altitude I believe, as does m13. Maybe try before dawn. Once Virgo is up check out all the plentiful galaxies from there to Ursa major. Better with no moon but that is a worthy target in itself with that scope.
I was pleasantly surprised in the optical quality and intelliscope feature as well. I'm able to push my xt8i to 400× on the moon and 290× on Uranus when seeing allows.

#3 Jond105

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 09:26 PM

Congrats on the new scope. It's always a shame when we can't get first light on a clear, moonless night, so at least we make the best of what we get. Sounds like it was a good thing you picked up that Orion bag as well.

Edited by Jond105, 20 February 2019 - 09:26 PM.


#4 SeattleScott

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Posted 20 February 2019 - 11:34 PM

Rosette nebula is more of an Astrophotography target. Even a UHC won’t do much with 8” of aperture for that one. Just enjoy the cluster and move on. The Merope nebula is the haze you saw around Pleiades. UHC is an important pick up but more for summer. For now maybe get another eyepiece or two.

Scott

#5 Pcbessa

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 04:12 AM

How about nebulas in Orion or Perseu? Anything else that is improved with a filter?

I saw also the faint reflection nebulas near m42 and also m78.

#6 seasparky89

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 11:45 AM

Of all my scopes, I find my XT10i to be the most useful.  I never am disappointed with the views, and coupled with my eq platform, it is great at star parties, especially at high powers.  Just be careful in moving the base (I grip the upper and lower parts together to keep stress off the relatively narrow az bolt.  Also, be very careful in lowering the OTA onto the mount; the alt encoder assembly is very vulnerable.  A final tip, keep the base dry.  I use a home made wooden platform (either with or without the eq platform), and for 5 years now, the base is in perfect shape.  Just keep the base off wet grass, etc.  Congrats on your new scope.  

 

Stan



#7 AJ

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 12:11 PM

I need something to protect the bottom of the OTA where the primary mirror is exposed.

I also like to have the bottom of the tube protected from dust, moisture, etc.  And I don't like hard plastic dust caps, so my hard caps are stored away. I use fabric dust covers, top and bottom, on all 3 of my Dobs.  I bought them from R-Sky.

http://r-sky.org/en/...cts/dust-covers

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#8 Astro-Master

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 02:25 PM

How about nebulas in Orion or Perseu? Anything else that is improved with a filter?

I saw also the faint reflection nebulas near m42 and also m78.

From your Bottle 2-4 skies you should be able to see  the Rosette neb. with a UHC filter.  Its not real bright like m 42, but its visible.  I've seen it in my 6" Mak-Newt from Bortle 4 skies with no filter.

Thor's Helmet NGC 2359 in Canis Major is a good target with a UHC or OIII filter, but don't expect it to look like a photo.  Don't give up, as you gain experience you'll see more than at first.

Good luck with your new scope, its much better than my first scope.  Just enjoy the views and think about how far and long the light has been traveling to reach your eye.

 

Bruce



#9 Pcbessa

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 07:29 PM

Thanks everyone,

 

I just had the second night with the scope, and I discovered some Abell galaxies.

So far Abell 262 in Andromeda and Abell 426 in Perseu are the easiest.

From the first cluster, which is quite spread out, I could see NGC708, NGC679 and 687, all around magnitude 12.5.

From the second cluster, I could see the trio of NGC1275, 1272 and 1278 quite nicely, despite being faint.

I may give the Stephan quartet a try tomorrow.

 

I finally saw M101 and M51 but due to the moon proximity they still do not look spectacular. I need to wait a few days until the moon is out.

 

I had a splendid view of NGC891, an edge-one galaxy. And saw the nebula NGC604 in M33, which was actually very bright, the main galaxy is nice, but only bright when the sky is dark. I think there is a lot of objects to see on its arms (no I didn't see any arms).

 

I could see clearly the dark lane on M31, towards M110. And oh the satellites NGC185 and 147 were visible very easily.

 

Some needs I identified:

 

I saw a few planetary nebulas so far, but emission nebulas, the only one I could clearly observe is M42. So the XT10i has not shine yet with nebulas. Perhaps I really need to get the filter first.

 

I noticed that instead of getting a red flashlight to see star charts, I would opt to install Sky Safari Plus to search for faint galaxies and see faint star fields. Not sure whether going for the Plus or for the Pro.

 

Also I need to find a way to record everything I see. Otherwise its hard to remember all objects I saw after one session. They are so many!

 

On the negative side I did note a few things:

 - a couple of occasions where the azimuth was not reading right away, but it was only rarely. I must be more careful with both circuits. Is it possible to tape the altitude circuit to the base, so that it does not lean forward (it does when the OTA is removed and then when I need to re-insert the OTA, sometimes the OTA touches it, which I should obviously avoid)

-  the 10mm eyepiece has a short exit pupil, so its not as confortable as the 25mm eyepiece, though the view is much darker for galaxies. And I would need a wide angle 10mm ish eyepiece too.

- I noticed that the views today were at times not that sharp. Obviously I could see some coma towards the edges, but I think this was something else, either dew in the primary mirror or a need for better collimation.

 

Keeping the base dry has been easy. I just use a plastic cover under the base.


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#10 zleonis

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:04 AM

Thanks everyone,

...

 

I saw a few planetary nebulas so far, but emission nebulas, the only one I could clearly observe is M42. So the XT10i has not shine yet with nebulas. Perhaps I really need to get the filter first.

 

I noticed that instead of getting a red flashlight to see star charts, I would opt to install Sky Safari Plus to search for faint galaxies and see faint star fields. Not sure whether going for the Plus or for the Pro.

 

Also I need to find a way to record everything I see. Otherwise its hard to remember all objects I saw after one session. They are so many!

 

...

Great report! Sounds like you put a lot of thought into what to target and had great results. I have a UHC filter which helps with emission nebulae in the sense that they go from invisible to visible with difficulty (with the important qualification that I've never used it at a dark site (the best has been Bortle 5-6?).

 

I have Sky Safari Plus and it's terrific. It shows stars down to 12th magnitude, and any DSO that's remotely visible through an 8" telescope. I also like Sky Safari for logging observations. If you don't like typing notes on a tablet or phone, the speech to text utilities can work in a pinch, or at least well enough to let you clean it up later. If I were to consider an upgrade to Pro, it'd be for the high resolution moon map (Plus works fine, for lunar observing, but the map can be hard to read.)

 

A word on planets, I wouldn't count the XT10 out for planets yet. I had great views of Saturn and Jupiter this past summer in an 8" dob, and even saw a few features on Mars after the dust settled. Mars is less than 6" now, so it's hard to see much. By comparison Jupiter's diameter at opposition is around 50", Saturn+rings about the same. 


Edited by zleonis, 22 February 2019 - 10:04 AM.


#11 AJ

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 12:21 PM

 

I noticed that instead of getting a red flashlight to see star charts, I would opt to install Sky Safari Plus to search for faint galaxies and see faint star fields. Not sure whether going for the Plus or for the Pro.

SkySafari is a superb program, and you really can't go wrong either way in choosing between Plus and Pro for visual observing.  Years ago when I upgraded from SS4 Plus to SS5 Pro, I found that Pro was overkill even for my largest scope (XT10i). Any DSO within visual reach of a 10-inch scope is in the Plus version. And, the vast databases of the Pro version took a huge amount of memory on my phone and tablet.  So when SkySafari 6 came out, I opted to get the Plus version.  No regrets!




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