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Celestron Comet Catcher Needs Pod.

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#1 Presto731

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 07:44 PM

Hey all... been a while since I’ve been here but I’ve recently been gifted a Celestron comet catcher, the 5.5 inch model (in super sweet burnt orange!)

However, it is only the tube assembly. No tripod or eyepieces. Looking for some inexpensive recommendations to acquire both that would be best for my new toy.

Tried to do some googling for tripods but came up empty pretty much. Saw there was some eyepiece concerns back in the day but not sure if the newer model plossels have caught up by now.

I have a couple of pre teens about to be stuck at home all summer and this will help ease that lockdown I hope. Any help for both is greatly appreciated.

Edited by Presto731, 13 July 2020 - 07:46 PM.


#2 markb

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 08:13 PM

I assume you did not get rings, which is a solvable problem.

 

I have a faint recollection that it has a tripod mount base attached to the tube, but I have no clue what your balance would be like, and using photo tripods can be disappointing.

 

It's been years since I sold mine, and I do remember complaints about not being able to find rings, however, I believe if you measure the tube diameter you'll be just slightly short of an easily accessible ring diameter that will work fine with felt padding. Agena or Orion, I think.

 

Wish I could remember the numbers, however, it's been years.

 

You'll have to be careful with your dovetail length, make sure you can balance the tube properly.

 

The sled focuser can be converted to a baader clicklock or some other upgraded visual back, as the threads in the sled focuser are the standard 36.4 mm Vixen threads, and adapters are available to take it up to T2.

 

I used mine on a T head zero friction alt-az. The tube is probably too long for the Vixen Porta style mounts, and too heavy for the Porta itself.

 

I used it on a long discontinued Williams eztouch, clone of a AYOSwiss, and a Sergio Bonilla. 

 

I mount either on a surveyor's tripod with swapped center bolt (pitch matched).

 

Any properly sized GEM mount will work fine also.

 

I guess you could use it on a photo tripod, but I would look for a cg3 through cg5 size mount, at the very minimum. As always, buy as much mount as you can afford.

 

Eyepieces will entirely depend on your pocketbook and your expected use. My plossls are now used Televue, but I usually prefer wide fields, tons of choices. Always a great bang for the buck choice is the Baader Q Turret box set, with 3 orthos, a plossl, turret and 2-position Barlow for $250 at AgenaAstro.

 

They're great scopes, and the orange tubes are supposed to be better optically than the black tubes. my black tube was fine, but had some discoloration around the edges of the secondary that, fortunately, washed right off with a bit of soap and water with a distilled water rinse. Cleaning, of course, is never recommended, but the secondary was compromised.

 

Your maximum field in 1.25 will be with a 20 degree 82mm, but 18mm and 24 mm APM UFFs at 65-70 degrees should compliment the scope nicely.

 

Enjoy.


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#3 tjay

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Posted 13 July 2020 - 10:25 PM

The Agena 6.3" rings fit my black tube Comet Catcher with just a little felt.

Sent from my SM-T720 using Tapatalk
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#4 Presto731

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 07:15 AM

I do have a laser collimator should work out ok. Thanks for the quick notes!

#5 *skyguy*

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 11:23 AM

I have my Comet Catcher attached to a Meade Eclipse View mini-dob mount that's on a Celestron SLT tripod. It's a very solid system and weighs in at around 19 pounds. It's perfect for a Grab and Go setup. 

 

The Meade Eclipse View mount is available from Telescope Warehouse on eBay for $34.95 USD:

 

https://www.ebay.com...353.m2749.l2649

 

Since the Eclipse View mount is a "table top" dob, it can be used without a tripod.

 

The photo tripod adapter on the Comet Catcher is really inadequate to properly hold this scope while observing. You'll need something more solid.

 

The 6.3" Mounting Rings  (already mentioned) with a Vixen/Celestron/Synta Dovetail bar will give you the versatility to put your scope on just about any equatorial or AltAz mount available. I also have 6.3" mounting rings (with extra felt) and the same Vixen dovetail bar on my CC scope. I switch my Comet Catcher between the Dob mount and a small goto equatorial mount (GEM) alll the time

 

Rings:

https://agenaastro.c...e-ring-6-3.html

 

Dovetail:

https://agenaastro.c...plate-2661.html

 

Since coma is well corrected in this scope, to get the best visual performance you need to use an eyepiece that's corrected for astigmatism when used with  "fast" scopes. My favorite eyepiece is a 16mm Nagler that is corrected for eyepiece astigmatism down to around f4.  It shows a 2.6º FOV at 32X with sharp stars almost to the edge. Picking the correct eyepiece is essential to getting the most from a Comet Catcher.

 

Comet_Catcher_Dob.jpg

 

 


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#6 tjay

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 11:44 AM

here is mine on the Nexstar 6/8SE mount, with the Agena 6.3" rings:

 

Comet Catcher
 

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#7 Presto731

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 06:41 PM

Very good info and great pics thank you! I’m excited to get going.
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#8 telesonic

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Posted 14 July 2020 - 09:27 PM

The Dob base or the 6/8SE setups look great. Personally, I wouldn't bother trying to use a rinky dink photo tripod with the Comet Catcher.... even though the scope does have a 1/4 20 plate intended for that purpose. Rings and a V series dovetail bar really are the way to go here, IMHO.

 

 

For eyepieces, Plossl's will work decent. From comments here, I splurged and bought a 19mm Panoptic for mine -  it's a fantastic EP! It's very well corrected for faster scopes like this, and gives very very nice views. Since these scopes are so fast... they do tend to be hard on eyepieces... and also, don't crank up the mags too far - it's more of a low / medium power sweeper. At least that's what mine gets used for. All the other great tips you got I agree with them, and I use a helical focuser on mine too.... which was a great upgrade in itself.

 

Best of luck on your CC! Mine is a heck of a FUN scope for casual cruising around.

 

Comet Catcher
 
 
Cheers,
T

 

 

 

 


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#9 Eddgie

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 02:05 PM

Super light, inexpensive, and enough height range for anyone. There are a ton of different ones and this link is not a specific recommendation for a particular one, just a link to show you what I am talking about. 

 

https://www.amazon.c...0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

 

Now this would not be my top recommendation for planetary observing, but the Comet Catcher is not a telescope well suited to high power observing. For the kinds of things the Comet Catcher excels at, this tripod is all you need.

 

Note.. If you go this route, make sure that the fluid head tripod has a counterbalance.  This is just a spring inside.  You point mount the scope and set the tension of the coil spring so that when the scope is pointing up at maybe a 45 degree angle, it does not cascade back.

 

This will raise the comet catcher high enough for a 6" person to reach the eyepiece without uncomfortable bending over, or with the legs lowered to one of the lowest settings, I will give kid friendly eyepiece heights.

 

The long handle makes panning around easier.

 

You simply mount the Comet Catcher on the 1/4-20 pad, so no rings to buy. 

These tripods fold up to a package not much larger than the Comet Catcher.

 

There is a little learning curve on the friction clutch (it has both alt and az, but you really only need to worry about Alt) and the counterbalance spring (sometimes it might require a little tweaking but the counterbalance does not have to be perfect.. That is what the clutch is for).

 

Not saying this is the best thing you can do, just saying it is inexpensive, works decently well, and can accommodate observers from small to large.  Clamp a laser finder on the Comet Catcher and away you go.

 

Orange Comet Catcher.jpg

 

This is one of the most grab and go setups you can ever imagine.  Not really suitable for high powers, but there is plenty out there that it is well suited for.  

 

And the fluid head tripod is well suited for terrestrial use with binoculars or spotting scopes. It will fit in an backpack so going afield with it for an afternoon is very feasible.   


Edited by Eddgie, 15 July 2020 - 02:11 PM.

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#10 Presto731

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 04:05 PM

Wow thank you super good info thank you!! I actually have some old meade goto mounts for a 114DS I might be able to just fashion myself something out of all of those.

Out of curiosity... you mentioned what is “built for” observing wise, any good targets you would recommend for it.

#11 markb

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 04:52 PM

Ewww, not a DS114 mount! Had two, awful mechanicals. Even being free didn't help me use them.

 

Smaller Nexstar mounts, returned/checked good, show up on ebay. Really too light, they may still meet your goals if you balance carefully. Fully computer controlled, and should take a astro-gadget.com StarBT bluetooth adapter for seamless hookup to SkySafari Plus (SkySafari needs the plus addon). Bluetooth is android only, otherwise get wifi.

 

Figure out what eyepieces you have or will get and use the Java calculator at http://www.wilmslowa...re/formulae.htm

 

The 1st calculator will convert your focal length, eyepiece focal length, and 'apparent' field (plossls often 55 degrees, Naglers 82 degrees, etc) to get your field of view, compare to charts for what is in a given field.

 

Far easier is to get the phone app SkySafari or computer program Stellarium, and find where they have a similar calculator built in that overlays the displays, which are zoomable, to learn your way around. A cicle should define the true field of view once set up.

 

Apologies if I misdescribed the feature, I believe both have it, but I never use it myself.

 

The scope is worth at least a usable mount, and really merits a good one. A NexStar for a larger refractor or any SCT would work well.


Edited by markb, 15 July 2020 - 04:54 PM.


#12 Presto731

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 05:35 PM

So funny you had three... took Meade three tries to get me a working one. I also bought one local so I have three of them in various states lol.

I will probably not even mess with them they were pretty awful.

#13 Presto731

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Posted 15 July 2020 - 09:52 PM

Ewww, not a DS114 mount! Had two, awful mechanicals. Even being free didn't help me use them.

 

Smaller Nexstar mounts, returned/checked good, show up on ebay. Really too light, they may still meet your goals if you balance carefully. Fully computer controlled, and should take a astro-gadget.com StarBT bluetooth adapter for seamless hookup to SkySafari Plus (SkySafari needs the plus addon). Bluetooth is android only, otherwise get wifi.

 

Figure out what eyepieces you have or will get and use the Java calculator at http://www.wilmslowa...re/formulae.htm

 

The 1st calculator will convert your focal length, eyepiece focal length, and 'apparent' field (plossls often 55 degrees, Naglers 82 degrees, etc) to get your field of view, compare to charts for what is in a given field.

 

Far easier is to get the phone app SkySafari or computer program Stellarium, and find where they have a similar calculator built in that overlays the displays, which are zoomable, to learn your way around. A cicle should define the true field of view once set up.

 

Apologies if I misdescribed the feature, I believe both have it, but I never use it myself.

 

The scope is worth at least a usable mount, and really merits a good one. A NexStar for a larger refractor or any SCT would work well.

It came with an Celestron ortho 18mm. I’m rebuilding my scope collection I unloaded when my kids were toddlers to which they now wanna see all this stuff I used to show them haha. I manage a thrift store which is where I picked up the orange monster. I get an abundance of Camera tripods so maybe I will have one already. I’m not looking to get too much into this one, I’m about to pull the trigger in a Celestron 130 to get everyone back in business here. The comet catcher will become the backup. 
 

While my iPhone generation children might not appreciate the wife field of the catcher I sure do and intend to use it often. The last scope I had when they were kids was an orion xt10 so I want to be able to do some planetary viewing and maybe some shutter snapping as my daughter has a photo bug. 

Since I’m still a player for the comet catcher, any eyepiece thoughts? 

 

Shout out to everyone for the quick and detailed help, you all rock. I forgot why I hung out here when my computer was he size of a Buick hahaa!


Edited by Presto731, 15 July 2020 - 10:02 PM.

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#14 rutherfordt

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 01:55 PM

The 18mm Ortho that came with a Comet Catcher that I used to have did not impress me-- the center was OK, but not toward the edges.  I found that the scope performed much better using a more modern design-- I found that a Plössl worked pretty well-- didn't need to be an expensive one (I think I was using an Orion Highlight) and got decent perfomance.



#15 lphilpot

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 04:19 PM

Here's another approach, albeit requiring a little work. But it works great. Full thread: https://www.cloudyni...nt-on-a-tripod/

 

The only significant thing I've added / changed since this photo is an adjustable-friction strap over the top of the near side altitude bearing to provide compensation for different weight eyepieces.

 

west_side.jpg


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