Well I made my list had a couple of two hour sessions with my new scope. The first night it took me about 45 minutes to learn to use the features and align the scope properly for the GoTo function. Initially, it was a bit of a comedy of errors that I’m sure you would chuckle at: Finderscope a bit loose after transporting, power cable kicked loose while walking around the scope, etc.
But after a proper two star alignment, the XT12G GoTo located objects in my 18mm 82 degree eyepiece about 2/3rds the time and the other times it was just outside the field of view. I was pleased with that.
I managed to locate M3, M4, M5, M57 (ring nebula), Epsilon Lyrae, M13, M51, Andomeda, M20 (trifid nebula), wild duck cluster, and of course Jupiter, Saturn, and a few other objects randomly panning. Oh and we managed to follow a satellite with the hand controller.
The biggest “wow” objects besides the planets (which were unfortunately only OK in my opinion due to being so low at 48 degrees latitude) were the globular clusters. They were awesome as no one, including myself, ever saw them as an actual massive collection of stars. The 12” clearly shows them. The ring nebula was cool and The whirlpool and Andromeda were up there but although we could make out some structure in M51, I would say I couldnt really see a spiral, more like a ring around the core with sone undefined structure to my untrained eye. The companion galaxies were very cool though.
I wasn’t successful in finding the Leo triplet nor the coma/Virgo but it wasn’t dark until 11:30 that far north.
What I loved about my equipment:
1) Scope optics seemed spectacular to me. Tack sharp and high contrast.
2) Easy to set up and I’d just eave it set up and dolly it out on a small plywood ramp each evening. It literally took only 1 minute to move it out and another 2 minutes load up the eyepieces in the rack and plug in. Entering time and alighning was probably 3-4 minutes after some practice.
3) my ES 82 degree eyepieces (8.8, 11, 18mm). So comfortable to use! No one had difficulties just walking up and seeing. I want a 30mm and perhaps a 6-7mm range eyepiece or barlow.
what wasn’t so good:
1) Red dot finder took some getting used to. I actually like it now as I can see the whole sky while locating
2) Altough the GoTo was pretty accurate, it still wasn’t great at tracking. Every 60 seconds I would still need to adjust with the hand controller. How can it find so well but not track better than that is confusing.
3). Weight and size are a bit of a challenge transporting in my Highlander, but zero issues once setup. It’s a bit of a two person scope to load in the car.
4) manual pointing the scope by pushing the tube is ok, but could be much smoother as you tend to have to push past the object so it can rebound about an eyepiece view width when you let go.
Thank you for all the help,
Edited by smiller, 06 July 2019 - 08:47 AM.