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.
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.
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.