Dear Cloudy Nights Veterans,
I recently inherited the following mid-80's equipment from my Late father:
- Celestron/Vixen SP-C6 Reflector (150mm f/5) on Super Polaris EQ Mount
- Celestron Skysensor controller
- TeleVue Eyepieces (32.0mm Plossl, 26.0mm Plossl, 17.0mm Plossl, 10.5mm Plossl, 7.4mm Plossl, and 4.8mm Nagler)
- TeleVue Barlow (1.8x)
- Accessories (Cheshire Collimation Eyepiece, Moon Filter, T-Mount for DSLR)
I've taken the scope out over the years in my back patio but NEOWISE restored my interest in the hobby, so I got the equipment in working order and took the family out to some dark sky camping (1-2 hour drives from my light-polluted, often cloudy sky)...making memories!
I cleaned the primary and secondary mirrors recently (scary...but carefully followed instructions found on Cloudy Nights), collimated, and got the Skysensor controller working...fun process!
Once in the field, we've been able to polar align okay (need to learn more about precise placement based on location/time). I say "okay" based on only needing to adjust RA to keep objects centered. With everything in good working order, we viewed the following highlights: NEOWISE, Jupiter w/ 4 moons, Saturn, M57, plenty of double stars, and Moon craters don't get old.
I need to figure out Setting Circles as it is taking me a long time to find Deep Sky Objects, which is what I'm really interested in. The Skysensor got me to M57 but I want to be able to do this manually...hunting is part of the fun for me. Any suggestions there would be greatly appreciated!
Once I found M57, it wasn't nearly as bright/big as I had hoped it would be, which is the same experience I'm having with the planets. Granted we viewed them (01Aug) during near full moon so I'm hoping it will pop more with new moon coming up.
I'm considering purchasing a 10-in Dobsonian to gather more light and provide the opportunity to increase magnification but perhaps I'm not being patient enough with what we have. Does anyone have advice on either jumping up in scope or upgrading eyepieces, adding filters, etc. to improve DSOs with current setup? Eventually I'm interested in taking captures (I enjoy the photography hobby as well).