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Help me choose right accessories for a new C11 EDGE HD

astrophotography Celestron equipment
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#1 aeneas

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 03:56 AM

Hi,

Our family has for many years playfully observed skies with our "toy" AstroMaster 130EQ and now with kids becoming teenagers we decided the hobby can evolve and we can venture into more serious equipment. I had a wonderful discussion in the "Beginners" forum here and lots of great feedback. Ultimately, I decided we'll go with the C11 EDGE HD scope mounted on CGX-L to make sure we have a very very solid mount that can handle the weight and all accessories we can throw at it.

 

The aim: (a) with kids (and friends) the main purpose will be viewing; (b) I will slowly start learning about AP. I will probably start with my Nikon D750 full-frame DSLR but aiming to upgrade to ZWO ASI camera in the near future. So, we need to pick the right set of accessories that can support both functions with some minor adaptations.

 

Ultimate build: having a Pulsar Observatories dome installed on top of our flat roof (passive house with active cooling located in alpine region of Central Europe, so no major heating issues); the scope would be mounted in the dome most of the time with an occasional transportation to an offsite location. I would therefore like to have the ability to control the scope from the inside of the house via wifi for my AP endeavours.

 

General accessories:

1) Starsense adapter = no brainer

2) Celestron Skyportal Wifi module = some people mentioned this is not that useful? I guess for viewing with kids and controlling the scope via an iPad it might be an added benefit, but probably for overall integration of the scope into a networked environment I would need a more powerful computer controller? I'm still not very clear as to most optimal integration here...

3) Vibration suppression pads = I'm assuming Celestron's own should be a good choice?

4) TEMPest fans from Deep Space Products = I hear great stuff about this one, but since the scope will be mounted in the dome most of the time, I wonder if this is necessary; would it be helpful for AP or is it mainly useful for folks who need to transfer the scope in and out of the house each time?

5) anything to assist with collimation?

 

Accessories to support viewing:

1) 2" diagonal = which one to choose? Celestron's own "Dielectric Star Diagonal" or better to take other brands? Any recommendations?

2) Celestron 0.7x Reducer (also to be used for AP - see below)

3) Eyepieces: I have some from my 130EQ but I guess few of these will be handy so will likely need to upgrade. Any recommendations where to start?

 

Accessories for Astrophotography:

1) ASI2600MC Pro = this will be bought in the 2nd phase, but the camera I will go for is the ZWO ASI2600MC Pro, so I wanted to state this first

2) Starizona Hyperstar C11 V4 adapter = to make the scope f/2?! Expensive, but I think a no brainer.

3) Celestron 0.7x Reducer = gives me even more focal length choices plus can be used for enlarging FOV for viewing purposes vs Hyperstar which would only be used for photography. Am I reasoning this correctly?

3) Off-Axis Guider = Celestron's own OAG - I think the consensus is this one is a good choice to go with?

4) Autoguider camera = ZWO ASI290MM or ASI174MM? From what I've read the 174mm would be more suitable for the large focal length of the C11, but is almost twice the price of 290mm. Any advice here?

5) Motorized autofocuser = this is another tough one: (a) Celestron's Focus Motor attaches to existing focuser and is a very affordable option (~$200); however I see many people raving about Starlight's FeatherTouch focuser... but that one also requires additional stepper motor unit MicroTouch Autofocuser, bringing the total to nearly $1000! I wouldn't go for Moonlight's options as that one would not come handy when using Hyperstar front-end set-up.

6) Controller: something to bring all of this together; is ZWO ASIAIR Pro WiFi Camera Controller also capable of controlling the autofocuser? Not sure what computer equipment will I need to use to bring all of this together yet... but certainly needs to be "user friendly" as I do not know how to write my own code etc. 

 

phew... that is an exhaustive list! I appreciate any input you could give me - although I'm sure I will still make many mistakes, I would like to avoid too many "wrong" purchases and start with a good set-up.

 

Many thanks in advance!


Edited by aeneas, 25 September 2020 - 04:29 AM.


#2 robglinka

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 08:20 AM

Power - Are you planning on plugging into your house power, or DC car power? You can get a portable battery for remote viewing.

 

Time/Location - The WiFi module will use your device's time and GPS, but if you're going to use the hand controller, you'll be inputting that manually every time. Since you're already spending a $zillion on this setup, might as well toss in a GPS module for when you use the hand controller.

 

DLSR camera mount - You'll need a t adapter for the scope to be able to mount the DSLR. They come in two parts, one that is specific to the scope side like this: https://www.celestro...-9-25-11-and-14 and one that's a ring that specific to your camera brand like this: https://smile.amazon.com/Celestron-93402-T-Ring-Camera-Attachment/dp/B0002379UO

 

I've never used the CGX-L, but there's various tools that might help with polar alignment when you get into the photography part.

 

For visual, with such a large scope, it will be difficult to get a lot of the larger DSO's in it's field of view. Take a look at some of the wider angle 2" eyepieces like the 82 degree Explore Scientific, the TeleVue Nagers, or even go up to some of the 100 degree+ eyepieces. That'll get you a better viewing experience. You can use the tools built into several websites to see what you'd see with various setups

 

You can put your equipment into the Stellarium desktop app, or https://telescopius.com/ to see what fits and what you could potentially see, but keep in mind that it won't be in vivid color with your eyes, just use them as a reference for what would be able to fit in the various field of view with your setup.


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#3 bikerdib

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Posted 25 September 2020 - 08:52 AM

I may have missed it if you already have it but you will probably want to add a dew shield and possibly a dew prevention heat strap as well.



#4 aeneas

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 02:38 PM

I agree @bikerdib, I already had a heated AstroZap in my "shopping list" but forgot to add it here.

 

Thank you @robglinka for suggestions around eyepieces... reading more into that I'm realising that my Plossl collection I have for the 130EQ will not do justice to this new set-up. If I already decide to invest into a serious OTA, it would do justice to make sure I accompany that with decent line of eyepieces. Based on what I've read so far it seems best options would be something like:

 

(A) TV Ethos line: 8mm + 13mm + 21mm combined with Celestron's 0,7X recucer and a 2X Barlow

 

(B) Nikon NAV HW 12.5mm (10mm) + 17mm (14mm) combined with Celestron's 0,7X recucer and a 2X Barlow

 

I wasn't able to find any real data on Nikon NAV HW eyepieces on Nikon's official site... so strange. Everything that can be found on these eyepieces is via resellers. Why is that? Are they discontinued?

 

For C11 EDGE HD: would either of these be more appropriate purchases considering the particular optics of the scope?

 

I have friends in Japan so I could purchase Nikon NAVs at a similar price as I would by locally here the TV Ethos - so to me they would come at a similar end-price. If we ignore price difference... should I go for Nikon?

 

...to add some extra background: we live in a suburban area with Bortle 4 and frequently go for weekends to Bortle 2 area.


Edited by aeneas, 26 September 2020 - 03:27 PM.


#5 aeneas

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 04:08 PM

Further to complement the eyepieces, what kind of diagonal / prism would you recommend to pair in this set-up? I was reading up on it and it seems there are several decent options, such as Baader T2 Zeiss / Celestron / TeleVue Everbrite / AstroPhysics MaxBright / William Optics.

If I am leaning on Nikon or TV Ethos for the eyepieces, what would be a suitable diagonal that would not do unjustice connecting the eyepiece to the scope?



#6 Linwood

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 04:56 PM

2) Starizona Hyperstar C11 V4 adapter = to make the scope f/2?! Expensive, but I think a no brainer.

 

I have a new C11, and wondering why you consider Hyperstar a no brainer.  It's a cool concept, but I also understand it to be a bit difficult to use and kind of specialized.  

I'm curious whether I'm missing something.

 

Other thoughts: I detest the way the visual back is set up, it's very constrained.  I ended up buying a few things there, one is a Baeder Click-lock 3.28 adapter.  This lets you directly put a 2" drawtube into the back without screwing things in/out, and with less vignetting.  For some imaging you could use this directly.

 

I also got a 3.28 to OAG adapter for full frame.  Celestron makes one, but I had one made to match the back focus I need.  If you are doing photography especially wide frame, be aware the backfocus requirement is very strict.  You need to be within a millimeter or few, so do the math before you work out the whole imaging train.  A related aspect on the OAG is how much of the 146.5mm you put in front and behind the OAG also determines where the OAG camera will go -- I needed to buy an extension so it could focus.  I like the Celestron OAG but it is thick, so it does complicate the backfocus a bit.  But it has a nice big prism, so I like it.

 

I also just replaced the included Celestron diagonal, not so much because it was bad, but because I fell in love with the Clicklock, so I got a Baader Diagonal with Clicklock.  For visual use the combination of the clicklock on the back and the diagonal makes it really, really fast and easy to set up for visual and to swap eyepieces.

 

I hate the straight through finder.  If you are plate solving and not doing work visually it's moot, but if you plan to actually use the finder, consider replacing it with one with a diagonal so  you don't have to lie on the floor to align something near the zenith.  I just got a cheap RACI and it was much better.  It's not exactly good optically but it is MUCH nicely to use.


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#7 skybsd

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 05:05 PM

Hello, 

Ummmm.., Do you actually have the equipment yet? 

 

If not, then I'd suggest you do not buy a single item other than that which is absolutely necessary to operate the equipment - in order to ascertain: - 

  • That this set up is actually what you expected
  • That everything actually works as they should
  • That this is really what you want do own / use going forward 

Best.., 

 

skybsd 


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