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Ode to joy of the SCT

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#26 gjanke

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 08:32 AM

Oh and the blinking planetary. I didn’t have high hopes for it considering the light pollution but in my opinion it is actually pretty bright and didn’t require averted vision. I’ve never actually seen anything with averted vision that I couldn’t see with direct vision and nothing different about this planetary.

NGC 6826 is absolutely one of my favorite DSOs. When I am at a star party it is one I turn to for the owe and awes from a crowd. While it can be seen with a smaller refractor the SCT is the goto for me on this heavenly object.


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#27 Astrojedi

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 09:31 AM

I have been observing for over 20 years. Many scopes have come and gone but I have always had a C8 (now a EdgeHD 8). That scope has been single handedly responsible for keeping me in the hobby when life became too busy or took me in different directions.

 

8” is the minimum aperture that satisfies me on deep-sky. But my C8s have done pretty well on lunar and planetary as well. In fact I sold my very sharp 120mm and 127mm APOs after the EdgeHD 8.  I think the key factor for good planetary performance is good seeing which is not uncommon here by the CA coast.


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#28 Skywatchr

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 10:44 AM

If planetary performance isn't great with your 8" SCT, its not going to be great with a refractor either. Under excellent seeing conditions, aperture always wins. Under average or mediocre seeing conditions, it could be a toss up if you've let your scope acclimate for an hour or so before using it. If conditions cant support 8" of aperture, it may support 80mm or 100mm of optics better, but then again, maybe not.
This season, planetary performance is a struggle, even with large instruments.
If your scope has been out for an hr, a small refractor will seldom out perform your C8 on Planets. Doing a side by side should confirm this.

...Ralph


 

That's why I made an off-axis mask for the SCT (and other reflectors). Not only does it reduce the aperture for the seeing conditions, it also eliminates the central obstruction to increase contrast. A simple piece of cardboard with a 3.5" hole works perfect on the C8. And the price is right. tongue2.gif


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#29 M11Mike

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 07:05 PM

Guys - how do you like the Ioptron AZ-Pro???

 

Thinking of getting one for my new scope.

 

M11Mike



#30 gjanke

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 07:12 PM

I have the Ioptron AZ-Pro paired with the 8" edge. I have a lot if trees around me so doing the three star alignment for the CGEM can be challenging. With the Ioptron its power and go. I drive it with sky-safari and its a lot of fun. It allows me to get the most out of my viewing sessions

#31 MrRoberts

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 07:24 PM

Love my AZM Pro. I will be adding my new Esprit 80mm to the counterweight side when I arrive in Tucson in 2 weeks.

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#32 gjanke

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Posted 30 September 2019 - 07:37 PM

Thats funny I have yet to fully remove the tripod legs plastic yet as well.

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#33 stevew

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Posted 01 October 2019 - 02:28 PM

About 10 years ago I purchased a C11 for my G11, and quickly realized that it was not a scope I was going to set up in the back yard for an hours viewing, so I purchased a used C8 Starbright OTA. I got lucky and received a C8 with smooth optics that show very similar diffraction patterns on both sides of focus.

I use it in Alt Az mode on a W.O. EZ Touch mount and it is a joy to use.

I believe the C8 is the sweet spot for SCT's. 

Of course every once in a while I think about selling it, and getting a C8 Edge only because of the way every one on CN raves about them, but I doubt if the enjoyment I would get from it would be worth the extra expense over my standard C8.

 

Steve


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#34 gjanke

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Posted 01 October 2019 - 08:36 PM

but I doubt if the enjoyment I would get from it would be worth the extra expense over my standard C8.

Steve,

Your right but then again it’s not much different than getting a new car, TV or new cell phone. Would it be an improvement? Yes it would but it’s not necessary however you most certainly would enjoy the improved seeing. In conjunction with the TV ethos and HD edge I found it worth spending the money but that’s just me.

Gerald
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#35 aa6ww

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Posted 01 October 2019 - 09:55 PM

The "snap" your talking about, only happens on nights of excellent seeing condtions, which this year, has been a big zero nights in California the summer when Jupiter and Saturn were suppose to be at their best. In less then perfect seeing, even in refractors, details are still soft. There is no "snap" in soft planet observing. 

 

 

...Ralph 

 

 

 

DSOs are more forgiving and don't require the snap for the fine detailed viewing of the planets like you get with refractors. I had my 76 out as well and on the horizon and setting Saturn looked terrible in the SCXT however with the 76 not true. Looked pretty good and was able to see more detail than the SCT. Now the 76 had M13 looking like a eraser smudge while the 8" showed individual stars

Ralph in theory I would agree with the statement but with the variables of the skies the scopes play differently to each of the designs strengths. So I am going again stick by my statement and say the planets didn't look all that great in the SCT. I did have a refractor out and it looked pretty good during the same viewing session.



#36 luxo II

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Posted 02 October 2019 - 08:32 PM

... even in refractors, details are still soft. There is no "snap" in soft planet observing. 

I'd say the scope(s) you're using is/are a bit "soft", and there are better to be had.

 

Both my MK91 and APM mak focus with a very precise "snap" on Jupiter or Saturn at magnifications 200X-300X even in quite ordinary seeing. In very good the magnifications can be extended to 600-750X. But these scopes are not consumer-grade optics, and are as rare as unicorns.

 

Even an Intes M715 (can be found secondhand) will comfortably do 450X.


Edited by luxo II, 02 October 2019 - 08:35 PM.

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#37 gjanke

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Posted 04 October 2019 - 05:24 AM

The "snap" your talking about, only happens on nights of excellent seeing condtions, 

 

 

...Ralph 

Just speaking for myself. I have never ever really seen any of the SCTs snap into focus. Yes they were collimated and great optics (some of them) The snap really is isn't a trait that the SCT has....its more of "focus in, focus out...wait there it is"



#38 bbqediguana

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Posted 04 October 2019 - 07:12 AM

Just speaking for myself. I have never ever really seen any of the SCTs snap into focus. Yes they were collimated and great optics (some of them) The snap really is isn't a trait that the SCT has....its more of "focus in, focus out...wait there it is"

Personally, I experience snap focus on my Meade 2080 pretty much all the time unless the seeing is horrible. I have a helical focuser on my diagonal similar to what you can configure a Baader T-2 with:

 

https://agenaastro.c...1-2456005k.html

 

So, I get rough focus with by shifting the primary mirror with the stock focuser (albeit tuned up with a Peterson EZ Focus kit and a Scopestuff Fine Focus knob) and then I use the helical focuser on my diagonal and it always snaps into focus - it is very evident. The only time it isn't is when I am using too much magnification for the sky conditions in which case I won't get sharp focus anyway.

 

The key, as you said, is proper collimation plus proper cooling and in my case some better focusing mechanisms.

 

Cheers!

 

Rick



#39 markb

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Posted 04 October 2019 - 10:37 AM

The key, as you said, is proper collimation plus proper cooling and in my case some better focusing mechanisms.


Absolutely true.

I would add, however, that it assumes a correctly assembled SCT with coincident mechanical and optical axes. I resolved opto-mechanical alignment of an 8" SCT, misassembled at the Meade plant; rear cell installed tilted and then epoxied in place, and therefore baffle tube at a large angle to the optical axis, and an eccentrically glued secondary to boot (!), that was utterly useless, and am finishing my C11, disassembled and rotationally misaligned by the original (and nondisclosing) owner. It appears the rotational clocking of SCT optics is more (or entirely) to get the optics and mechanics totally coincident, and not to offset any errors. The difference in a realigned, formerly soft or unsharp, SCT
Is massive. Not kidding. And I still am refining my 'repair' procedure.

I think maks, with their unitized corrector and secondary, permanently perfectly concentric, enjoy a great reputation, in PART, to eliminating the corrector/plastic secondary housing in an oversized perforation/secondary puck/secondary mirror/primary alignment issue.

Celestron addressed some of these issues in the Edge HD redesign, more noticable if you are reading the white paper with those problems in mind.

'Soft' SCT? It might be the optics, but I believe the aforesaid issues are, generally, more likely to be at fault, and resolvable. Almost certainly.

Unless you have a Halley's Comet rush job with zones, or one of those darn rough corrector Dynamaxes or B&L SCTs!
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#40 Nippon

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Posted 04 October 2019 - 12:19 PM

Nice those raving experiences with C8 Edge...but my C8 XLT is not a dog either...tongue2.gif

I agree with the praise of the Edge 8 but I had an C8XLT in the form of an 8SE and still have an orange tube C8 from the 70s. All of them are very sharp and give very good planetary views. The Edge has a nice sharp edge of field especially with wide AFOV eyepieces that the standard SCTs do not although my orange tube with the f/6.3 reducer/corrector has a pretty nice edge of field. Not as good as the Edge but way better than it is without it. The reducer/corrector is a really nice accessory and I leave it on even observing planets since in my comparison with and without the sharpness seems the same. I just have to use shorter focal length eyepieces to get the same magnifications.


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#41 psyhiker

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Posted 04 October 2019 - 06:47 PM

bought my first scope in 1987, a Meade LX3 8".  Still have it, but now observe with my C11", but that old LX3 never disappointed.  It doesn't have that weird silver backing on the secondary, so I don't have that problem, but the drive still works and the OTA always gave me great views.  I have been thru some great adventures with that LX3, including nights out over the years with four girlfriends and one wife.  Still have the wife and the LX3!  


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#42 Nippon

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 12:42 AM

" with four girlfriends and one wife." Hopefully not at the same time:) If so I'd be surprised you survived:)



#43 gjanke

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 06:14 AM

including nights out over the years with four girlfriends and one wife.  Still have the wife and the LX3!


Sorry folks I believe we have just met the most intelligent member of CN. I solved many issues with the hobbies throughout the years. However I have never, and mean never, have been able to get one, let alone, 5 females to take an interest in this hobby.

Please us tell how did you do that? After 20 years I have gotten my daughters and even my wife to peak through the eyepiece but that's it and my friends it usually under duress.

Edited by gjanke, 05 October 2019 - 11:50 AM.

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#44 Nippon

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 10:58 AM

Sorry folks I believe we have just met the most intelligent member of CN. I solved many issues with the hobbies throughout the years. However I have never, and mean never, have been able to get one, let alone, 5 females to take an interest in this hobby.

Please us tell how did you do that? After 20 years I have gotten my daughters and even my wife to peak through the eyepiece but that's its and my friends it usually under duress.

Ditto for me. 


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#45 Terra Nova

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 11:12 AM

Darn it guys !  Now I have to sell my C8 for pennies on the dollar and buy an Edge.....immediately !!  waytogo.gif

I’m happy to keep my good ol’ 1977! wink.gif

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#46 psyhiker

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 12:45 PM

Sorry folks I believe we have just met the most intelligent member of CN. I solved many issues with the hobbies throughout the years. However I have never, and mean never, have been able to get one, let alone, 5 females to take an interest in this hobby.

Please us tell how did you do that? After 20 years I have gotten my daughters and even my wife to peak through the eyepiece but that's it and my friends it usually under duress.

Didn't mean to show off at all: it is just that thru the years, I would take my significant others (serial significant others, not ever at the same time: that would be a disaster!) out to Joshua Tree or where ever here in So. Cal., always a cool date, at least early in the dating...  Don't know if any of the g-friends kept in the hobby, and the wife really just tolerates it, just like I tolerate going to craft fairs with her...


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#47 Nippon

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 01:17 PM

I’m happy to keep my good ol’ 1977! wink.gif

Hi Terra. I have the exact same C8 but I did the unforgivable sin of putting the OTA on a GEM 


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#48 gjanke

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Posted 05 October 2019 - 01:37 PM

Didn't mean to show off at all: it is just that thru the years, I would take my significant others (serial significant others, not ever at the same time: that would be a disaster!) out to Joshua Tree or where ever here in So. Cal., always a cool date, at least early in the dating...  Don't know if any of the g-friends kept in the hobby, and the wife really just tolerates it, just like I tolerate going to craft fairs with her...


To be sure, but then, invariable my club mates would cry out " hey I see Uranus" and the rest of the star party would chuckle and repeat, " yes I see Uranus". Then I would laugh and she would give me an incredulous look and retire to the car to read. Never to return, never be part of my heavenly hobby again.
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#49 coopman

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 06:05 PM

I'm having a blast with my C8 Edge/Evo mount combo in my light polluted skies.  I am seeing many objects that would have had a hard time finding otherwise.  This is my first experience with go-to and I am loving it.  My refractors are not getting out much these days.   


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#50 gjanke

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 09:02 PM

I'm having a blast with my C8 Edge/Evo mount combo in my light polluted skies.  I am seeing many objects that would have had a hard time finding otherwise.


Let me first say if you’re new to the hobby you got to learn to star hop. Decades into this hobby I right there with you, I have my edge paired to an ioptron alt az and it is a joy. just the ability to punch into my phone using skyfari a object is so awesome. The 8 is the perfect size. Cools quickly and present enough light to see detail in a lot of DSOs.

Edited by gjanke, 20 October 2019 - 09:03 PM.

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