Celestron XLT102 AZ arrived at approx. 6:15 this evening. After 2 mile nightly walk, supper and "some assembly" that was required, I headed out about 9-ish to give the beast a quick test run. No grand expectations since I had not even figured out the finder scope and was not really ready for prime time. No chair, street lights shining bright, accessory tray not even attached. Only the 25x Plossl eyepiece that came with the scope. But at least the Tampa suburban sky was cooperating with at least a few stars, and the moon not yet up. So here goes nothin!
Just hoping to find SOMETHING in the field of view, I decided to go for Jupiter since it was the brightest body up there and seemed to line up with my stellarium sky. I was not expecting much since the lights of Tampa are to the south, right where Jupiter was perched. Took a few minutes, and I actually did give the finder scope a try, and suddenly, there was a bright blurry ball in the eyepiece. Hey, this finder scope thing is a pretty slick idea!
Then I started focusing. ...Oops! Wrong way. Reversed and slowly turned as the ball got smaller and smaller and smaller, and suddenly, there it was! Jupiter with 4 gleaming moons just hanging out there in my backyard.
Bolstered by that beautiful sight, I decided to give Saturn a shot, again not expecting much. But after a while I did manage to zero in. It might have been wishful thinking but I do believe it showed up slightly oval, with one moon quite a way to the right, and just the hint of rings visible. Is that possible or was I imagining that I could see it?
Any way you slice it, I'm a happy girl. It was more than I was hoping to see on my first try. What a thrill!
Thanks to all for the advice and gobs of information on this site that have helped me get back to the starry skies.
Tomorrow, my Barlow 2X and my 10X Plossl eyepiece arrive. Can't wait to give those crazy planets another look!
Once I get more time with the scope I will be back with a more detailed report, and maybe some more questions.
One thing I haven't figured out is how to get the up and down gross movement of the OTA. It swivels very easily but I had to use the AZ slow mo up and down nob to raise and lower. Is that the way it works or am I missing something?
Thanks again! I will be dreaming of stars at work tomorrow.