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Help a Beginner Accessorize an SE8

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#1 spm1985

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 01:09 PM

Hello all. First time poster, here. Based on feedback I've seen in this forum, I recently bought a Celestron SE8 and am hoping some of you more seasoned stargazers can help me avoid mistakes as I branch out with accessories. I use my telescope primarily in my backyard, which has a lot of light pollution (DC Suburbs) where I mostly just focus on moon and planet viewing. Approximately twice a year I get out to some true dark skies, and would like to have some "toys" for deep-sky viewing, but cannot justify investing too heavily. 

 

Since buying the scope I have purchased a Baader Zoom Mark IV, and an Orion Shorty 2 Barlow. My addition "wish list" includes the following. I would love to hear advice on specific brands or suggested additions/subtractions:

 

- Better viewfinder: The stock one stinks. Consensus seems to be a Telrad for the SE8. 

- A 32mm Plossl: For the few times a year when I have the skies to do some deep space (or possibly moon viewing) and the 24mm on the Zoom isn't cutting it. The Meade Super 4000 seems to be quality enough for an amateur like me, unless folks have other advise. Consensus on these forums seems to be that a Baader Zoom plus a 32mm plossl should cover nearly everything someone like me would want to do. 

- New Star Diagonal? Some have said that the stock Celestron is lacking. I think I want to keep it at 1 1/4 inch. Should someone like me be worried about upgrading the star diagonal, or does my use not justify the spend?

- Filters? Was thinking about

     a) Light pollution filter for my backyard. Any advice appreciated

     b) Moon filter

     c) Any other filters that would be recommended for Saturn or Jupiter (likely in conjunction with the light pollution filter)

     d) Any "must have" filters recommend for when I venture out to deep sky?

- Anything else? 

 

Thank you, and clear skies! 



#2 sg6

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 01:31 PM

32mm plossl may be the wide item but be careful of the long eye relief, people find they have their head sat in space and not in contact with anything and so kept stable. The ES 24/68 may be a better option.

 

Why a barlow? On an 8SE seems pointless, you already have more focal length then you need. Only other use is for planetary imaging.

 

LP filter - maybe, they seem to rather simply cut out the yellow region and a bit more of the spectrum. Bit like a broad UHC filter.

 

Moon filter maybe, try a 30%, or 20% again not specific just around that region.

Planetary filters - don't think there really are any.

 

Other then a couple of useful eyepieces, 20mm and 15mm region, maybe a 12mm - pick any 2.

 

Rather "unfortunately" you will find out what you want, need or don't  need over time. And after you have bought the items.


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#3 spm1985

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 07:36 AM

32mm plossl may be the wide item but be careful of the long eye relief, people find they have their head sat in space and not in contact with anything and so kept stable. The ES 24/68 may be a better option.

 

Thanks for the thoughtful feedback, sg6! I agree that the Barlow is probably an unnecessary accessory, especially now that I have invested in the Baader Zoom. My aim in asking these questions is to minimize any further unnecessary accessories! ;-P 

 

Would like to dig into your feedback on the wider lenses for deep sky viewing. It seems a key attribute for deep sky eyepeices is a larger FOV, both so you can see the entire object and because they let in more light, leading to more brilliancy in otherwise faint objects -- am I on the right path? 

 

If so, your suggestion of the ES 24/68 seems to make sense over a 32mm (most brands, from TV to Meade, appear to advertise a 52 degree FOV). Do I loose anything by going with the higher magnification of a 24 over a 32 when looking for deep sky stuff? I note that my Baader Zoom goes to 24mm, but the apparent FOV has been reported at only 42-45 degrees. Given that that is the limitation of my Baader, would you go with the larger bump up in FOV at the same mm, or does it make more sense to go with something even wider with a modest increase in FOV (a 32/52)? The latter seems like it would add more versatility to my gear bag, but if I am going for something that is strictly got deep sky, I am leaning towards the ES 24/68. Would appreciate yours or anyone else's feedback. Thank you! 



#4 epee

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 12:18 PM

I would recommend skipping the Moon Filter and buying a 50% Neutral Density filter; it should not be much more expensive and, since it doesn't add color, can double as a filter on planets when their brightness washes out contrast.

 

I would recommend an Orion Ultrablock as a reasonably priced "pollution filter".



#5 alphatripleplus

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 01:14 PM

In the "anything else" category,  I would recommend a dew heating strip for that C8. As we get into cooler temperatures, the corrector will fog up pretty quickly once it cools down.



#6 JGlover

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 01:29 PM

The best investment I ever made was buying a 24mm Panoptic. It replaced a 32mm Televue Plossl. With the 24Pan you get the same FOV as the 32mm but but darker background, better contrast and more magnification. I picked mine up used in the classified and you can find the 24Pan for about the same price as a new ES 24/68. They go fast though when you find one the classifieds so you have to be ready to buy as soon as you see it pop up!

The 24Pan has become my most used eyepiece. To me it’s the perfect combination of power and FOV.

#7 JGlover

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 01:35 PM

One other thing I consider a must have accessory and that’s an observing chair. I have an old BuyAstroStuff chair, but it’s identical to the Vestil CPRO 800, available on Amazon. Star bound chairs are also top notch. The chair makes a huge difference in your comfort and makes you a much better observer. When you’re comfortable and relaxed it’s much easier to concentrate on the eyepiece.

#8 DSOGabe

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 03:04 PM

Filters:

I'd say a polarizing variable lunar filter is the better option. You can adjust the amount of light coming through. Darkest for a full Moon; lighter for other phases. Orion has a pretty good one

A light pollution filter such as Orions Ultrablock or Skyglow are good options and they will also help with DSOs.

Anything else:

Red flashlight

Star charts-either book format or an app for navigating the night sky



#9 Starman1

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 03:08 PM

Hello all. First time poster, here. Based on feedback I've seen in this forum, I recently bought a Celestron SE8 and am hoping some of you more seasoned stargazers can help me avoid mistakes as I branch out with accessories. I use my telescope primarily in my backyard, which has a lot of light pollution (DC Suburbs) where I mostly just focus on moon and planet viewing. Approximately twice a year I get out to some true dark skies, and would like to have some "toys" for deep-sky viewing, but cannot justify investing too heavily. 

 

Since buying the scope I have purchased a Baader Zoom Mark IV, and an Orion Shorty 2 Barlow. My addition "wish list" includes the following. I would love to hear advice on specific brands or suggested additions/subtractions:

 

- Better viewfinder: The stock one stinks. Consensus seems to be a Telrad for the SE8. 

- A 32mm Plossl: For the few times a year when I have the skies to do some deep space (or possibly moon viewing) and the 24mm on the Zoom isn't cutting it. The Meade Super 4000 seems to be quality enough for an amateur like me, unless folks have other advise. Consensus on these forums seems to be that a Baader Zoom plus a 32mm plossl should cover nearly everything someone like me would want to do. 

- New Star Diagonal? Some have said that the stock Celestron is lacking. I think I want to keep it at 1 1/4 inch. Should someone like me be worried about upgrading the star diagonal, or does my use not justify the spend?

- Filters? Was thinking about

     a) Light pollution filter for my backyard. Any advice appreciated

     b) Moon filter

     c) Any other filters that would be recommended for Saturn or Jupiter (likely in conjunction with the light pollution filter)

     d) Any "must have" filters recommend for when I venture out to deep sky?

- Anything else? 

 

Thank you, and clear skies! 

This is on a defunct website, but definitely apropos to you query:

http://www.scopecity...RECOMMENDATIONS

You could use almost everything there.



#10 PowerM3

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Posted 02 October 2020 - 03:57 PM

Great choice on the Baader Zoom! You will love it. Skip the barlow unless you live in a known area of very good seeing. I would recommend a dew shield and a valuable polarizing filter. Also an eyepiece that is around 32-40mm thats around 68* for those wide fields or as a finder eyepiece.



#11 Sky_LO

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Posted 03 October 2020 - 09:35 AM

spm 1985 defiinitely pass on the barlow 

 

The se8 is heavy for the mount. 

I tried adding a 2 inch visual back to my SE6 and the go-to and tracking became instantly unreliable.

I had no forward adjustment available to correct the balance for the exrtra rear weight, so sticking to 1 1/4 is a good idea.  

 

Are you running on batteries in the mount?  More important than any lenses or filter is the power.  Get a power pack per Michael Swanson's recommendations.   The AA batteries will let you down and mess up your slews and tracking in no time flat. 

 

https://www.nexstars...owerSources.htm

 

Go slow at the start is a good idea.  Things can get upgraded as you go and discover what you need or want.

I ended up investing a lot more than I thought I would. 

 

That's naturally going to happen if you find you really like astronomy !

 

-Lauren  



#12 Fool

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Posted 04 October 2020 - 01:22 PM

spm1985,

                  Will you be using the standard 1.25" eyepieces or will you go with the 2" barrels? I'm kind of curious to hear the pros and cons on that.



#13 RefstarsTX

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 03:29 PM

I'd second (or third) the recommendation to go with an eyepiece around 24mm and 68 degrees, especially if most of your viewing will be from less than dark skies. It's a common misconception that low surface-brightness deep space objects look best or are most visible at the lowest possible power. The extra magnification of the 24mm will actually make the background sky look darker and make fainter objects easier to see than the 32mm. Of course, you can get a 32mm plossl for a cheaper price than a 24/68, unless you find a good deal on a used eyepiece. The f/10 of your SE8 makes reasonably good eyepieces very good bargains, as the focal ratio is a little more forgiving than faster scopes. I use my Evolution (and previous C8) mostly in the 100-200x range; I have an ES 14/82 that hits the sweet spot for much of my viewing. I have an old Meade 24 SWA that I picked up for $100 and it is quite acceptable, but even that gives me a brighter sky background from my yard than I really like. So for now, I'd recommend a less expensive 24mm for your widest field for your usual sky conditions but realize you may not use it as often as you'd think, especially with a go-to scope.

 

I love an excellent 2" widefield on a dob, but to be honest, I find that an f/6.3 focal reducer on an 8" SCT, for those times I want nearly the widest possible field, is a better choice. But that's really just a personal preference to keep my usual gear at 1.25" instead of 2", since the field in the now f/6.3 scope with the 24mm is just about the same as the widest field with a 2". (8" SCTs can't quite make use of the full 2", while larger SCTs can; I'd probably make a different choice with a 9.25" or 11" SCT.)

 

As far as filters, I've never found color filters useful, but in darker skies, I do use an Orion Ultrablock and an Antares Oxygen 3 occasionally on nebulae. The Ultrablock can make something bright like M42 look much better in poor skies, but it's not as much of a "fix" for light polluted skies as you might imagine. For the moon, you can see from the other comments that there are many personal choices. I use a binoviewer for lunar viewing, which I find lessens the need for a filter until close to full phase, probably due both to increased magnification and the splitting of the light into two eyepieces, but I do use a ND 0.9 (13%) once in a blue moon without the binoviewer when the moon is past a quarter. I had originally bought a ND 0.6 but found it let in too much light after first quarter. The adjustability of a polarizer avoids that problem, of course.




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