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Newbie Seeks Advice re: Celestron SCT Mounts Off Tripod

beginner Celestron mount observatory tripod SCT
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#1 rlsten

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 09:26 AM

First post by a newbie who has spent the last few weeks researching remote "live" astronomy. I have found this forum to be incredibly informative and helpful, so thank you!

 

In terms of what I would like to observe, my honest answer would be anything and everything, including the planets, the moon, large objects like nebula, and galaxies. But I also would like to be able to look for satellites, comets, eclipses, and any other phenomena of interest. I plan on using an Intel NUC at the telescope, and a second computer in my house to access the NUC remotely to control the telescope and camera and from which to view the images on an HD screen. Although I will probably try my Canon 7D DSLR, I expect to move to specialized CMOS imagers from ZWO or Atik. I don't plan on doing any viewing at the telescope, nor do I foresee getting into traditional astrophotography. All of my observing will be from my property in Connecticut during the colder months when the leaves are down and skies are clearer.

 

Based on what I've learned here, the Celestron Evolution and CPC SCTs between 8" - 11" seem like a good choice due to their compatibility with Hyperstar and relative ease of use. I've also looked at the Meade LX200 ACF series between 8" - 12", but their incompatibility with the Hyperstar is a problem. Since I hope ultimately to put the scope in an automated observatory of some kind [probably a small, roll-off-roof type with room just for the scope and associated equipment, not human viewers, on a wheeled platform], I want to make sure that the scope I choose will work for that purpose.

 

So, the questions I have are: Can the Celestron Evolution and CPC alt azimuth mount scopes be used off the tripod and placed on a pier or other support in an observatory? If so, how is the mount affixed to the support? Or would I have to use, or be better off with, polar alignment with a wedge? [I would like to avoid German Equatorial Mounts.] I see that the Meade LX200s are available with just the mount and OTA, without the tripod, so I assume they can be used on a pier.  Is that right?

 

Thanks very much for your help!

 

Rod



#2 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 20 July 2019 - 11:30 AM

A suggestion: since you're at the beginning of the journey (welcome!), avoid starting with "permanent" things, like piers. You can observe quite fine with the mount on the tripod and there's plenty to learn and observe before getting to putting a pier. By the way, you may want to consult the Mounts forum since your question is closer to that forum's focus.

 

What I learned in time is not to treat my current opinions as final. I avoided GEMs for years since I didn't have much time for polar alignment as I don't have a fixed place to observe from. But the way SharpCap's polar alignment works has changed my opinion (it takes a few minutes for a very good alignment) and being limited in altitude with my Evo mount (above 60 degrees the cooled camera, bigger than the previous one, would hit the mount so I was losing the best part of the sky), I switched to a GEM and am very happy, I can see upwards as well and do light astrophotography. A year ago I was completely convinced I'd never buy one and that I'd never do AP. What happened with the latter is that with SharpCap you can save the individual subs, so why not use a cloudy night to get a better image out of it with PixInsight? And so it began :)


Edited by RazvanUnderStars, 20 July 2019 - 11:31 AM.

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#3 rlsten

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 09:24 AM

Hi! Thanks very much for your reply.  I completely agree with you about not thinking in terms of "permanent" at this stage.  I'm just trying to keep my long-term plans in mind in selecting which telescope to purchase.  To that end, I'm trying to figure out if the Celestron Evolution or CPC scope can be taken off the tripod and put on some kind of support in a shed-like structure [which would initially be mobile].  From the photos I've seen, it looks like the CPC base has "feet" which protrude from the bottom so I'm not sure it can stand on its own.  The Evo seems to have similar protrusions that would make it difficult for it to stand on its own.  Do you know if that is true?

 

May I ask which GEM mount you are using with your Evo?  Is it possible to set it up remotely via computer? 

 

Thanks again.

 

Rod



#4 saguaro

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 10:12 AM

Starizona sells a Nexstar pier adapter, which is what you’re looking for, but I don’t see it listed on their website so best to give them a call. https://starizona.com/

 

 

 



#5 RazvanUnderStars

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Posted 21 July 2019 - 10:25 AM

Hi Rod,

 

I have a Celestron CGX (I bought it to last many years from now on and support future OTAs, at some point I may want to go above 8"). Yes, you can operate it remotely over a USB cable or Wi-Fi (I use CPWI for mount control and SharpCap for imaging) like other Celestron mounts. In my case remotely is up to 10m (within the limit for USB) but that means a warm house/car during the Canadian winter, which previously was a no-observing season for me. 

 

If you want to use the Evolution alt-az mount and have StarSense, you can operate it completely remotely including the alignment. You'll need a motorized focuser (for Celestron OTAs there is one, also controllable through software).  You set up the equipment and then run inside :-) 

 

With the GEM, polar alignment still requires you to be near the scope to operate the knobs - StarSense still works for sky alignment, but PA requires you being there. Trade-offs.

 

As for the base, yes, it has the protrusions that fit into the tripod. Attached is a photo of my 8" Evo's base. 

 

 

base.jpg

 



#6 rlsten

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 07:38 AM

Starizona sells a Nexstar pier adapter, which is what you’re looking for, but I don’t see it listed on their website so best to give them a call. https://starizona.com/

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I will check out what Starizona has. Now that I know what to look for, I see that Dan's Piers makes adapters for Celestron scopes and Pier-Tech also has them for CPC Mounts, although they may be designed to work only with their own piers. 

 

Hi Rod,

 

I have a Celestron CGX (I bought it to last many years from now on and support future OTAs, at some point I may want to go above 8"). Yes, you can operate it remotely over a USB cable or Wi-Fi (I use CPWI for mount control and SharpCap for imaging) like other Celestron mounts. In my case remotely is up to 10m (within the limit for USB) but that means a warm house/car during the Canadian winter, which previously was a no-observing season for me. 

 

If you want to use the Evolution alt-az mount and have StarSense, you can operate it completely remotely including the alignment. You'll need a motorized focuser (for Celestron OTAs there is one, also controllable through software).  You set up the equipment and then run inside :-) 

 

With the GEM, polar alignment still requires you to be near the scope to operate the knobs - StarSense still works for sky alignment, but PA requires you being there. Trade-offs.

 

As for the base, yes, it has the protrusions that fit into the tripod. Attached is a photo of my 8" Evo's base. 

 

 

I see the advantages of the CGX mount, especially in terms of being able to move the scope above 60 degrees and use different OTAs. But not having to go out in the cold to align the scope weighs heavily in favor of alt-azimuth mounts. I will definitely have to think about this some more!



#7 rlsten

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:29 AM

Just to follow-up: I was able to get a CPC/Evolution Pier adapter from Starizona. Now I am looking for a height adjustable pier for a roll-off-roof observatory.

 

Thanks again for your help,


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#8 Karthik

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 05:25 AM

Hi Rod, I am in a similar situation as you are, starting off from scratch, and planning to build an observatory for EAA. Did you consider looking at the RASA 8? 



#9 Todd1561

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 06:03 AM

I might be a little late with this suggestion since it sounds liked you already bought the adapter and possibly even the evo scope. But since you’re doing a permanent pier you could do a GEM and just do the PA once and leave it. Since it’s not physically moving the alignment should stay set, assuming you have a solid pier. This is one of the main reasons people create observatories. This way you get all the advantages of a GEM without the hassle.

#10 rlsten

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:42 PM

Hi Rod, I am in a similar situation as you are, starting off from scratch, and planning to build an observatory for EAA. Did you consider looking at the RASA 8? 

Yes, I did look at the RASA 8. But mostly based on comments from other threads on CN discussing the RASA, it seemed that while it was an excellent scope in all regards, the limitation to F/2 meant that it might not be as versatile as I was looking for. In addition to DSOs, I am also interested in planets and other solar system objects, for which a longer focal length would be an advantage. Since the Hyperstar gets me to F/2, I thought the Evolution EdgeHD would, for me at least, cover more of the bases.



#11 rlsten

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:49 PM

I might be a little late with this suggestion since it sounds liked you already bought the adapter and possibly even the evo scope. But since you’re doing a permanent pier you could do a GEM and just do the PA once and leave it. Since it’s not physically moving the alignment should stay set, assuming you have a solid pier. This is one of the main reasons people create observatories. This way you get all the advantages of a GEM without the hassle.

Thanks for the suggestion. I did consider a GEM mount, but I ultimately decided that I needed to keep things as simple as possible just starting out. The pier is not really going to be permanent, at least not at the start, but instead will probably be some kind of lifting column in a semi-mobile ROR observatory. Since I have a lot of obstructions (trees, buildings, etc.) in my backyard, I will probably be moving the observatory to different spots to determine the best viewing location. If and when I find a good spot, and assuming I get the hang of all this stuff, I will be in a better position to graduate to a GEM mount.




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