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please critique my first telescope choice

Beginner Celestron Equipment Software
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#51 teashea

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Posted 09 August 2021 - 09:14 PM

I was just looking at the Vixen Porta II and it is no longer available packaged with a tripod.  I found just the mount head remaining on a couple of sites, but could not find a suitable tripod.

 

Regarding collimation of an 8" or smaller SCT,  this takes just a few minutes and is rarely ever needed unless the OTA is bounced around hard, so I would not use that as a deciding factor. If it's good when new and never travels or ships again, it is likely that collimation may never need adjustment.

 

I find my SkyWatcher GoTo mounts very simple.  I bought my first one earlier this year, I practiced for 30 minutes inside so I knew where all the menu commands were, then was off viewing and finding DSOs.  The GoTo definitely makes my finding of faint DSOs faster and easier. I also like the <<Show me objects visible now>> command and think that's especially valuable for beginners.  I can use the mounts manually too, of course, but the GoTo capability sure is convenient.

I would suggest a Vixen, Svbony or AstroTech refractor on a Vixen Porta II mount, with a Vixen tripod.  You can purchase the Vixen items from another country - not a big deal these days.  



#52 mikemikemike

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 01:03 PM

I'd only be concerned about the payload capacity of the Evolution mount being 25 pounds and the C9.25 going higher than that if you add typical accessories.  Few things worse than a bouncing image at high magnification. 

 

Using a focal reducer and staying with 1-1/4 diagonal / eyepieces will keep the weight down vs. a 2 inch diagonal / eyepiece.  Also if you install a good light weight Rigel quickfinder or similar, you might not need a magnified finder if you use a focal reducer during alignment for the 1.3 degrees eyepiece field of view.  The 6x30 finder shipped with with the OTA is not good and most people want to upgrade it to a RACI or something like that, but that adds weight.  I opened a thread in Cats and Cases a while back to see how many people with GoTo mounts were removing their magnified finders and found that many have done so when they have a 1.3 degree view.  I use a Telrad only now and sold my magnified finders to keep the weight off the top of the OTA.  

 

I suggest opening a thread in Cats and Cases asking for comments from people who own and use the C9.25 on the Evolution mount.  First hand information from them is the best you can get.

 

Good luck and clear dark skies.

Gary

I read 20+ threads on this telescope in the Cats and Cases. Largely people find the mount to be adequate or have no complaint. And people love the scope. I'm going to risk it, recognizing the fact that I may have some regrets in the end, but I'll have to be OK with that possibility. 

 

Thank you all for the thoughtful input. I hope this is as enjoyable as I expect it to be.  



#53 Bigal1817

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 01:17 PM

There’s nothing wrong with spending thousands of dollars on astronomical gear and getting what you want. I ask you, is this what you want?

I started down the path of researching an 8” SCT over 3 years ago. I quickly decided I didn’t know what I want. There’s a lot I didn’t know then and, frankly, there’s a lot I don’t know now. So I gave up on the big purchase in favor of the Meade Infinity 102mm for ~$200. I’ve since bought 2 more telescopes, a mount, upgraded diagonal, eyepieces, covers, chair (yeah a chair dedicated for astronomy!), and other accessories. Add it up and I’m still not sure I’ve spent as much as you’re proposing to spend.

I don’t want to make you feel bad, far from it. I also don’t want you to regret a large purchase. Did you know SCTs need to acclimate their temperature to the outside for optimal viewing? Your SCT is going to have to sit outside for awhile before you’re able to view optimally. Ouray gets cold in the winter, right? Will your SCT’s motor operate in freezing temps?

I’ve learned there’s a time to spend big bucks in this hobby, that time is when you know exactly what you want. If that’s not you, consider a 102mm achromatic refractor for a few hundred bucks. If you like the hobby and want an upgrade, you’ll be able to sell the original for 50-70% of what you paid and use it towards your upgrade. Oh, and save the box, some future buyers may pay a little extra for this. Or, you can keep the scope to compliment a future scope. My $0.02

Good luck!

Edited: when I started my post, your last post didn’t exist. If you’ve already purchased, no reason to regret. SCTs can be great beginner scopes for those who don’t know the night sky. You will enjoy! Be sure to set it up once or twice in your living room and once or twice outside before you share with friends. There’s a leaning curve.

Edited by Bigal1817, 10 August 2021 - 01:28 PM.


#54 mikemikemike

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 01:31 PM

There’s nothing wrong with spending thousands of dollars on astronomical gear and getting what you want. I ask you, is this what you want?

I started down the path of researching an 8” SCT over 3 years ago. I quickly decided I didn’t know what I want. There’s a lot I didn’t know then and, frankly, there’s a lot I don’t know now. So I gave up on the big purchase in favor of the Meade Infinity 102mm for ~$200. I’ve since bought 2 more telescopes, a mount, upgraded diagonal, eyepieces, covers, chair (yeah a chair dedicated for astronomy!), and other accessories. Add it up and I’m still not sure I’ve spent as much as you’re proposing to spend.

I don’t want to make you feel bad, far from it. I also don’t want you to regret a large purchase. Did you know SCTs need to acclimate their temperature to the outside for optimal viewing? Your SCT is going to have to sit outside for awhile before you’re able to view optimally. Ouray gets cold in the winter, right? Will your SCT’s motor operate in freezing temps?

I’ve learned there’s a time to spend big bucks in this hobby, that time is when you know exactly what you want. If that’s not you, consider a 102mm achromatic refractor for a few hundred bucks. If you like the hobby and want an upgrade, you’ll be able to sell the original for 50-70% of what you paid and use it towards your upgrade. Oh, and save the box, some future buyers may pay a little extra for this. Or, you can keep the scope to compliment a future scope. My $0.02

Good luck!

Haha, yes, you are totally correct. I have no idea what I want, beyond what I've expressed in this thread.  

 

I will store the scope in an unheated garage, does that address the temperature consideration? No idea about the motor though. 

 

As far as the regrets or progression, in other pursuits I've been happy with the "buy the best, cry once" idea, but I realize that may not be what's actually operating here, since we're talking about different tools, not a better version of the same tool? 



#55 Bigal1817

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 01:35 PM

Haha, yes, you are totally correct. I have no idea what I want, beyond what I've expressed in this thread.

I will store the scope in an unheated garage, does that address the temperature consideration? No idea about the motor though.

As far as the regrets or progression, in other pursuits I've been happy with the "buy the best, cry once" idea, but I realize that may not be what's actually operating here, since we're talking about different tools, not a better version of the same tool?


I edited my post. Sorry, when I started my post, your last post didn’t exist. Have a look at my edit.

I think the unheated garage should help quite a bit. Wnjoy that dark sky and enjoy Ouray. I know you will, I’m jealous!

#56 Jeff Struve

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 01:37 PM

As usual, I'm kinda contrary to the masses... 

 

My experience has caused me to believe in not buying until you can buy what you want in at least better than average quality... not sure how to say that... and if ya don't know what ya want, not enough research has been done, and this includes hands on with club gear or gear you've checked out at star parties... and if ya can't afford it, I'd save up, wait, or live vicariously through others.

 

It is easier to learn on great gear than it is to learn on poor gear... it is easier to enjoy and grow in the hobby when your results of your efforts produce great results rather than poor... 

 

For me, a small scope, supposedly easier to use and therefore would be the 'scope I used' was a total flop compared to getting a larger one that was harder to transport, but did the job, and did it well.


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#57 Notdarkenough

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 01:46 PM

I asked Celestron a question recently about my rig regarding storage vs use temperature differences. I live with temperature extremes, both high and low, and very low humidity and regularly observe below freezing. The Reply Email contained the following specifications:

 

Usage: -5C - 40C (+23 to +104F). Maybe as low as -10 C (+14 F) with a heater on the HC. Below that the grease in the gears may congeal and the user risks damage to the motors.
Storage: -20C - 50C (-4F to +122F) as long as humidity does not rise above 85%. Frost or moisture can kill electronics easier than extreme temps.

 

Not sure if it helps or not. Just more information for the mill to grind on.

Good Luck- Mike



#58 GGK

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 02:32 PM

I read 20+ threads on this telescope in the Cats and Cases. Largely people find the mount to be adequate or have no complaint. And people love the scope. I'm going to risk it, recognizing the fact that I may have some regrets in the end, but I'll have to be OK with that possibility. 

 

Thank you all for the thoughtful input. I hope this is as enjoyable as I expect it to be.  

 

Well, congratulations!   I have the C9.25 now so have no doubt that you will love the scope. I entered this hobby with a C8 SCT on a CG5 manual GEM and it was my only scope for more than 20 years.  You won't have any regrets.  You'll use the equipment, decide what you like and don't like, and modify or upgrade later if you want to. 

 

There is one cheap accessory I will recommend that helps remove some frustration from my viewing -- 

 

This description is for a tripod stone bag I use that's on Amazon for under $14.

 

"Selens Tripod Stone Bag Black Universal Heavy Duty Durable Tripod Boom Stand Stabilizer Stone Sandbag for Photography Accessory,Grey"

 

It's real purpose is to hold stones to weight down and stabilize a lightweight camera tripod in the field.  However, it's also an excellent set of pockets for holding lens caps, filters, a red light, eyeglasses, etc., while viewing.  I believe the Evolution mount has a small eyepiece tray area, but there is never enough space to set stuff.  This was the best $14 piece of "astro gear" I've ever purchased.

 

Gary



#59 glancey

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Posted 10 August 2021 - 03:29 PM

You are getting a lot of advice from people talking up their favorites and not really connecting with a real newbie such as yourself, IMHO. You can go crazy with all the accessories and scope types folks tell you would be best. But stick with the Celestron C8SE package. It has everything you need to start enjoying your new hobby without breaking the bank or confusing you with this or that must-have.

 

The C8 is a perfect beginner setup and comes with lots of help from users here and on the Celestron forums. You won't be disappointed.

 

Glenn



#60 mikemikemike

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Posted 25 August 2021 - 06:42 PM

All,
Many thanks for the advice and input. In the end, I purchased an Evolution 9.25. I know it's not the recommended move, but that's how it unfolded for me, with some degree of impulse at the end. 

After one evening of setting it up, and poking around, I'm utterly amazed. 

Pointed it at the moon, and jaw dropped (although I think I seared a hole through my retina doing this, because I could not tear myself away, I'll get a moon filter ASAP). Then at Jupiter, and couldn't believe it. And almost shat my pants looking at Saturn. It is astounding and I haven't even gotten started yet. 

 

Of course, the mount came with a defective Az motor, so my goto fantasies have yet to materialize. And the red dot pointer seems to have some defect. At least it gives me a chance to see how Celestron's customer service does when I ship it back. I suppose I'll report back in a couple weeks, but for now much gratitude. 

Mike 




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