this is my first post here, and excuse me if it's a long one!
I am freshly (but quite strongly) fallen in love with backyard astronomy but I have an equipment dilemma for which advice would be welcome. The story: Grampa bought my son (8 yo) a Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ. I was designated as the guy who should set it up etc etc… and ended up becoming the main if not sole user of the object!
Now it's broken (already!) and I am wondering whether to fix it and keep it, or to try to return it. Here's the detailed story of the good and bad with the telescope:
The good. I've spent delightful if cold hours gazing at the sky. When not, most of my spare time has been spent reading on astronomy, consulting star-charts, planning little "missions", and understanding how telescopes and EQ mounts work. Two weeks in, I am familiar with at least the biggest landmarks of the northern winter sky; I managed polar alignment, and getting visible objects in my eyepiece and tracking them; I've seen great views of the Moon, beautiful views of the Plaeiads (better still with binoculars…) and bad views of Mars (but it could be the conditions, not the scope). I have attempted but failed to locate or see Andromeda Galaxy (not visible naked eye in my urban sky), won't give up, and I burn to see my first Nebula. I am hooked for life. My son has been following through, not with the same passion perhaps but with great curiosity and fun.
The bad. If I had read this thread before (https://www.cloudyni...s/?fromsearch=1) I have would chosen a different scope! My experience so far is the following:
-- Inexperienced me could not really find fault with the scope from an optical standpoint. I got me a Cheshire eyepiece and as far as I can see the mirrors are perfectly collimated. Ditto when I look at a star out of focus: the "donut" has its hole right in the center. The sight of the moon seemed astonishingly sharp, and even though I haven't been able to see any challenging DSOs – in Milano, mind you! – nor have yet tried seriously to resolve a double star, when I get stars in my eyepiece they look like bright shiny dots of light, not blurry stuff, even with 4 mm eyepiece.
-- Even inexperienced me can see that the mount and tripod aren't great – but more importantly, the mount broke 2 weeks into its use: two nights ago the RA shaft simply gave the ghost. Even with the clutch clamped down, the scope moves freely on the RA axis, while at the same time the slow motion cable does nothing to it.
I wrote to Celestron tech support and await answers, but meanwhile I am considering options.
1. Fix it and keep it/upgrade it. Maybe I got lucky and got a well-set up Jones-Bird from factory, which only needs to be fixed, used, and perhaps upgraded in time (better tripod, a couple new eyepieces…)? I quite like the "portability" factor, and the specs (aperture…) look very good on paper for a beginner scope. I am even willing to do some more in-depth set-up work, though not even remotely on the scale of the epic rebuild by Sky Muse (https://www.cloudyni...owerseeker 127).
2. Use the opportunity to try and return it. Still, if you think that there are much better alternatives at the price (or a little higher) I could perhaps return it owing to the factory flaw and get something else instead. It will be a mega-hassle (like an idiot, I've thrown away the box…) but I might manage it. If possible, would you do that and buy another scope? If so which one? I am willing to spend a little more on it, if there are substantial gains to be had.
All I want is "good first scope", possibly with a (better) EQ mount, that allows me to see the usual suspects well: moon, planets, Messier objects… I am not afraid of turning screws and am patient enough (I think) for collimation, so Newt scopes are more than welcome. And for wide-field views, I am starting to understand that binoculars might be easier and very effective, so I'd like to have something that gives me good magnification.
Thanks in advance for any advice you may have! Clear skies to you all!
Edited by radiofm74, 18 January 2021 - 07:16 AM.