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Celestron fork mounted C8 - what’s old is new

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#1 vkhastro1

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Posted 26 September 2021 - 09:43 PM

My first commercial telescope was a Celestron orange fork mounted C8 - purchased new in 1981.

I remembered looking through Sky and Telescope at U of T (University of Toronto) library for 7 long years (undergrad and graduate schools).

I was finally able to afford purchasing my “dream scope” a year after graduating.

Joined the Ottawa RASC centre that same year.

My trusty C8 was my introduction to deep sky observing (my main passion).

After 7-8 years later the inevitable “aperture fever” struck and my C8 was off to a new owner.

 

I have owned and currently own more astronomical equipment over the ensuing decades.

 

Fast forward 40 years to 2021.

In my basement there are several Celestron C8 fork mounts (3 in fact), 2 C8 wedges and 3 C8 tripods all by there lonely - no C8 OTA.

I have a vintage Tuthill polar alignment scope, C8 kydex dewshield (with orange Celestron logo) and Celestron digital setting circles (encoders and DSC computer) all not being used.

I thought to myself why not locate a Celestron C8 that would fit my fork mount(s), always liked using a fork mounted scope.

I have an amazing Celestron C8 XLT orange tube with excellent optics but the newer OTAs have different mounting hole patterns and could not be mounted in my existing vintage fork mounts.

 

I placed a want Ad in Canada (Astrobuysell.com) and shortly located a black tube Celestron C8 OTA with Starbright coatings (I think a Celestron Super C8 version).

Made arrangements for shipping and payment.

It arrived a few days ago (super well packed - no shipping damage).

The optics look brand new !

 

Mounted it up in a Celestron fork mount (hefty version with Byers gear drive, PEC electronics, Motorized DEC motor, not sure of the version but it is not the Ultima version).

Tonight was first light - Clear Clock - transparency 3/5 and seeing 2/5 - not great but I take it. 1-2 hour window before the clouds rolled.

 

Used a heavy duty Celestron Ultima tripod, standard wedge with both Alt and az adjustment.

Used a Stellarvue 2” mirror dielectric diagonal.

Eye balled Polaris for polar alignment and I was good to go.

 

This OTA was supposed to be really nice (that is what the seller said)

First object - of course - the “Double Cluster” - fit perfectly in my vintage 2” TV 32mm Wide Field eyepiece at 64X.

Snap focus with really nice contrast.

Next up was Jupiter - excellent detail (4-6 bands) with Celestron 22mm Ultima LX (93X). The seeing wasn’t great due to its low altitude and had to wait to a few seconds for the atmosphere to briefly stabilize.

 

On to M13 (much higher elevation) to see how good the optics were.

Centered with the 32mm - perfectly resolved, then 22mm - excellent,  then onto the heavy weights APM/Lunt XWA 100 HDC 2” versions.

13mm (156X) stunningly beautiful ! Best view by far !

9mm (226X) - nice easy snap focus, let’s keep going

7mm (290X) - exact focus achieved - no problem, let’s go for broke

5mm (actually 4.77mm) (426X) - M13 was getting very dim but I achieved perfect focus, the collimation is dead on !

 

This scope really rocks !

My preferred Deepsky viewing will be up to 290X with 156X being my “go to” magnification.

This specific OTA didn’t disappoint - sure brought back the memories from 40 years ago.

An optically excellent fork mounted C8 sure has a lot of potential - this specific one is a “keeper”.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 Rick-T137

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Posted 27 September 2021 - 06:52 AM

That is awesome that you not only got an excellent scope, but you also got to put to good use some languishing equipment. 

 

I went through something similar - I bought a Meade 8" SCT that was on the original LX fork mount. I immediately deforked it and put it onto an EQ5. That worked fine, but soon I had pangs of nostalgia for my first "big" scope which was a fork-mounted C8. I went on astrobuysell.com and found an LX6 mount that included RA and Dec motors and a working hand controller. I put it all together and that's the scope that I've been now using for 5 years. I got a 2nd Meade 8" OTA and put it on the EQ5 and gave it to my youngest to use.

 

For me, nothing beats an SCT on a fork mount. I have a drum stool that I sit on (height adjustable) and it is just so comfortable. When I'm sitting at my scope, I refer to it as being "in my office"... similar to how Wayne Gretzky had his "office" - the spot he was most comfortable on the ice.

 

Meade 2080 with 70mm finder
 
Clear skies!

Rick

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#3 Benschop

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Posted 28 September 2021 - 08:01 PM

That's great to hear - glad it worked out. Always a gamble - some OTAs were good and some were mushy.

Sounds like this one is a keeper.

Cheers




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