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Celestron NexStar 127SLT Mak

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#1 StarWare's

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 03:45 PM

This is on sale on Prime day for a decent price, looking to pick up my first telescope.

How good is this scope?

I'm in a 4/5 zone and I'm hoping to see the moon, planets, and DSO's if possible.

#2 petert913

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 04:04 PM

These scopes are good and the Nexstar go-to mount is really handy.   The Amazon price is over $100 off

regular list.  So thats a good deal !



#3 fcathell

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 04:09 PM

What exactly is "Prime Day" and do you have a link to this sale?  I'm just curious about the price.

 

I have had a 127 Mak (Orion version, but Synta also makes the Celestron, and Sky Watcher versions) for over 10 years and love it for lunar and planetary work. It is a bit slow optically for any large and/or diffuse deep sky objects, but it's fine for the brighter ones such as the Ring, Dumbell, Orion, Lagoon nebulas and star clusters. I've had bigger scopes in the past and the Mak got most of the use due to weight and ease of use. The optics in most of these Maks are usually very good to excellent.

 

Good luck!

 

Frank

Tucson, AZ


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#4 StarWare's

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 04:10 PM

Is it powerful enough to see clusters and nebulas and such? I keep seeing Dobsonians recommended, but the small and portability of the NexStar is enticing

#5 StarWare's

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 05:03 PM

I missed the sale apparently, still worth it for $400? Or should I revert back to looking at Dobsonians?

#6 petert913

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 05:06 PM

Prime Day is a once-per-year sale that Amazon has.  Offering uniquely low prices on selected items.

 

However !! The 127mm Nexstar scope and mount were showing at $329 this morning.  Now it is at $409.

Could the Prime Day deals be over already?



#7 StarWare's

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 05:07 PM

No I think that was a timed deal if I remember right, but I thought I had more time.

This year Prime Day is actually two days, today and tomorrow, according to the home page.

Edited by StarWare's, 15 July 2019 - 05:08 PM.


#8 rkelley8493

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 06:40 PM

This is on sale on Prime day for a decent price, looking to pick up my first telescope.

How good is this scope?

I'm in a 4/5 zone and I'm hoping to see the moon, planets, and DSO's if possible.

My first scope was a Meade 127 Mak-Cass [ETX125]. It works really well on lunar & planetary and is a great grab & go scope. You'll be able to see cloud belts on Jupiter & the Great Red Spot. Saturn will show some nice detail, very nice golden color and ring system are visible. Mars looks really good when it's at opposition, almost like the Blood Moon [rusty red color with dark regions]. 

A scope of this class isn't ideal for DSO, but you will still be able to see some of the brighter ones like the Great Orion Nebula, Bode's & Cigar Galaxies [M81 & M82], Andromeda [M31], and globular clusters [M13, M3, and others]. The very faint and diffuse DSO's will require a larger aperture to pull in enough light. Just don't expect to see images like the Hubble Space Telescope or bright & colorful nebulae. Most will look like gray clouds. Think of a pretty girl without makeup. All those images from long exposure photography require some artwork to make them look the way they do. But seeing the objects as what they are doesn't make them any less beautiful in my eyes. 


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#9 StarWare's

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 06:47 PM

My first scope was a Meade 127 Mak-Cass [ETX125]. It works really well on lunar & planetary and is a great grab & go scope. You'll be able to see cloud belts on Jupiter & the Great Red Spot. Saturn will show some nice detail, very nice golden color and ring system are visible. Mars looks really good when it's at opposition, almost like the Blood Moon [rusty red color with dark regions].
A scope of this class isn't ideal for DSO, but you will still be able to see some of the brighter ones like the Great Orion Nebula, Bode's & Cigar Galaxies [M81 & M82], Andromeda [M31], and globular clusters [M13, M3, and others]. The very faint and diffuse DSO's will require a larger aperture to pull in enough light. Just don't expect to see images like the Hubble Space Telescope or bright & colorful nebulae. Most will look like gray clouds. Think of a pretty girl without makeup. All those images from long exposure photography require some artwork to make them look the way they do. But seeing the objects as what they are doesn't make them any less beautiful in my eyes.


Thanks for your input, I definitely don't expect Hubble quality. We currently have a small table top Orion StarBlast (I think) from the library which is what really set the ball rolling to get my own scope. Would the 8" Dobs be a better option then since the aperture is larger?

I'm in talks to join my local astronomical society and they have loaner scopes to try out. I just don't know what's good and what's bad with refractor scopes vs reflector. Reflector scopes to me are easy to understand the ones that are better based on the diameter and length of the tube. Refractor on the other hand is a little more mysterious to me.

Any good books on telescopes themselves?
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#10 rkelley8493

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 07:02 PM

Thanks for your input, I definitely don't expect Hubble quality. We currently have a small table top Orion StarBlast (I think) from the library which is what really set the ball rolling to get my own scope. Would the 8" Dobs be a better option then since the aperture is larger?

I'm in talks to join my local astronomical society and they have loaner scopes to try out. I just don't know what's good and what's bad with refractor scopes vs reflector. Reflector scopes to me are easy to understand the ones that are better based on the diameter and length of the tube. Refractor on the other hand is a little more mysterious to me.

Any good books on telescopes themselves?

I'm sure there are good books, but I can't think of any that I can recommend. I'm no expert, more of an advanced intermediate and still learning.

No one scope is better/worse than the other. Just depends on what you wish to accomplish. An 8" Dob would be good if you don't live in heavy light pollution and only plan on moving the scope from your house to your back porch. Also good if you want to see more of those faint fuzzies. A reflector [including Cassegrains] won't have any issues with chromatic aberration like an achromatic refractor would. Apochromatic refractors fix that issue, but they are the most expensive per inch of aperture of any scope. 

Think of it like this. Refractors are like sport cars, Dobsonians & large reflectors are like mini-vans or Suburbans, Cassegrains are like SUVs. It all depends on what your needs are which one would better suit you.

Getting into your local astronomy society would be a great learning community to join. Then you can try out different scopes and see which is more to your liking. 



#11 StarWare's

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Posted 15 July 2019 - 07:19 PM

That actually makes perfect sense. The light pollution in my area isn't terrible, I'm borderline 4/5 on the Bortle scale. Thanks for the info. I would say about 80% of the time would just be used in my backyard as I have a wide open area where I can see a lot of sky, but we'd also like to be able to take it on road trips if were going to be in an area with even less light pollution.

Edited by StarWare's, 15 July 2019 - 07:22 PM.

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#12 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:12 PM

A few comments. Starblast labeled scopes tend to be low power instruments. The 5" computerized Maksutov does low power badly, but is decent for medium to high powered views.

 

Where does a Dobsonian fit in? It lacks computerized slewing, mostly, but tends to run cheaper, gather more light, and be simpler to set up. The one complication is collimation. You need decent collimation tools for a Dob. The faster the focal ratio, the more critical collimation is. A 6", f8 Dob will be easier to set up, and will be more forgiving of collimation that is slightly off. It will do well on a variety of targets. In a pinch, some models can be carried outside in one piece.

 

The 8", f6 Dob will offer brighter images, and more detail at high magnifications. It will also do low power better, since it typically accepts 2" eyepieces. You will have more reach when it comes to dim targets. It is harder to collimate well, though quite a few people have figured out how to do it. ;) It weighs more, and will likely require a separate trip for the mount and the scope.



#13 StarWare's

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 03:31 PM

A few comments. Starblast labeled scopes tend to be low power instruments. The 5" computerized Maksutov does low power badly, but is decent for medium to high powered views.

 

Where does a Dobsonian fit in? It lacks computerized slewing, mostly, but tends to run cheaper, gather more light, and be simpler to set up. The one complication is collimation. You need decent collimation tools for a Dob. The faster the focal ratio, the more critical collimation is. A 6", f8 Dob will be easier to set up, and will be more forgiving of collimation that is slightly off. It will do well on a variety of targets. In a pinch, some models can be carried outside in one piece.

 

The 8", f6 Dob will offer brighter images, and more detail at high magnifications. It will also do low power better, since it typically accepts 2" eyepieces. You will have more reach when it comes to dim targets. It is harder to collimate well, though quite a few people have figured out how to do it. wink.gif It weighs more, and will likely require a separate trip for the mount and the scope.

So this may be an obvious answer that I'm just not seeing since I have extremely limited exposure to viewing and using a scope, but where does low power fit in to the grand scheme of things?  We've been using the Starblast for viewing the moon (quickly understood why I've seen moon filters :) ), Jupiter, Saturn, and found a double star.  It only came with one eye piece that's 17mm so I'm assuming that's low power, and I kept wishing we had a shorter eye piece to get closer to what I've seen.

 

If I would be missing out on things by having one that doesn't do low power well, then based on your last statement regarding 8" dobs that's probably what I'm going to shoot for picking up as a first scope.  Collimating the mirrors doesn't scare me much, with the right the right tooling it should be doable.  After all I have experience aligning and calibrating aerospace navigation systems :).

 

I'm sure it looks like I'm chasing my tail, but I'm just gathering all the info I can before making a decision (I'm definitely overly analytical before making a purchase that large).  I've contacted my local astronomical society and they have a few different sizes of dobs and one 8" Schmidt Cassegrain in their loaner program, so I'm going to get out and meet some of the folks in the group and try some of those.



#14 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 06:23 PM

... where does low power fit in to the grand scheme of things?

Sweep the summer Milky Way at low power from a dark site, and you will see where it fits in. There are also certain deepsky objects that do better at low power: Big ones. Think North America Nebula, the Scutum or Sagittarius star clouds, or chains of galaxies, that sort of thing.



#15 StarWare's

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 07:26 PM

Got it, thanks for the information. So would you say a 8" dob truly is the best place to start rather than the Celestron I mentioned first?

 

I really appreciate the knowledge and experience you all have shared. 



#16 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:30 PM

An 8" Dob will tend to grow with you for a while.



#17 whizbang

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 10:27 PM

The right telescope for you is the one you will use.

 

The 8 inch DOB and 127mm SLT Mak are both good scopes.  I started with an 8 inch DOB.  A month ago, I bought the 127mm Skywatcher Mak.  Identical to the Mak you are considering.

 

Astronomy cuts two ways, moon, and no moon.  When the moon's out, look at the moon or split some double stars.  When it's dark, chase the faint fuzzies.

 

The DOB will do much better on faint fuzzies.  The Mak will "go-to" if you don't want to learn the sky.  Both are good.

 

I got my Mak and use it on the Evolution mount when the moon is out.  It is an easier set up, gab and go option.


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#18 rkelley8493

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:46 AM

Got it, thanks for the information. So would you say a 8" dob truly is the best place to start rather than the Celestron I mentioned first?

 

I really appreciate the knowledge and experience you all have shared. 

If you aren't familiar with locating objects, go for the go-to Mak. If you are familiar with star hopping and chasing down objects, go for the Dob. 

A few things the Mak has going for it, high magnification yield, easy transport, no frequent collimation needed, good sharpness & contrast. A few things it doesn't have, large aperture, need for a power source [go-to's eat up batteries], and the planets aren't always in the night sky.

The Dob is a good year-round scope. It has enough aperture to see most of the faint fuzzies which are all over the night sky, BUT you'd have to hunt them down. 

Pros & cons for each one, so weigh your options for which one better suits your needs.



#19 Cajundaddy

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 01:21 AM

Both the Mak and the Dob are good scopes.  The Mak excels at small bright objects like planets, clusters, double stars, and bright DSOs.  The Dob excels at wide field views, and more faint DSOs.  Both can cover the same territory but each has it's strengths due to native focal ratio.

 

For backyard planetary views I appreciate the Mak's long focal length and tracking SLT mount.  For dark sky sites I prefer more wide field views of an 8" while chasing faint galaxies and diffuse nebula.  Clearly you need both scopes.  ;) 


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#20 rkelley8493

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:16 PM

Both the Mak and the Dob are good scopes.  The Mak excels at small bright objects like planets, clusters, double stars, and bright DSOs.  The Dob excels at wide field views, and more faint DSOs.  Both can cover the same territory but each has it's strengths due to native focal ratio.

 

For backyard planetary views I appreciate the Mak's long focal length and tracking SLT mount.  For dark sky sites I prefer more wide field views of an 8" while chasing faint galaxies and diffuse nebula.  Clearly you need both scopes.  wink.gif

That's actually how I started out. I got a Mak [ETX-125] as my first "real" scope, and it was great for the planets, moon, Orion Nebula, M13 Globular Cluster, and other bright DSO's. But after the planets disappeared behind the sun, I was left wanting more aperture on all the dim DSO's so I got a 10" Dob. Seeing wide field lower power was eye opening. Low power seems counter intuitive with seeing distant space objects, but "low power" is synonymous with "wide field". Most of the deep sky objects take up a lot of room in the sky. The Pleiades, Double Cluster, and Andromeda are all several times the size of the full moon. Wide field is very useful when viewing those open clusters and large nebulae [the Rosette for example]. 



#21 Peter Besenbruch

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 10:43 PM

A few points here. A Dobsonian whether 6" or 8" will do better at both low and high power than a 5" Maksutov; it will also do better at any magnification in between. An 8" Dobsonian will just make the differences painfully obvious. An 8" Dob with GOTO will help with finding things, and it will track, just like the Nexstar Mak.



#22 StarWare's

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 06:24 AM

Thank you all for such great responses, I think we may be leaning towards an 8" dob at the moment. I had the chance to use an Orion 8" and was thoroughly pleased with the views. The question I now have is on brands. Would you say the sub $500 dobs are basically all the same optically? Are the price differences purely based on what accessories are included?

I'm looking specifically at the Sky Watcher 8" classic and the Apertura AD8. The Apertura comes with a cooling fan and laser collimator that the Sky Watcher doesn't have (but I found laser collimator for less than the $70 difference between the two).

#23 mrsjeff

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 07:40 AM

I think the Apertura also has a 2-speed focuser, which is not insignificant to me.


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