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Recommendation for Beginner Telescope with Current Nexstar 6SE

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#1 molder

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 11:51 AM

I am looking to upgrade my 6SE to something more powerful.  I love the ease of the Nexstar SE and its goto mount and want something similar.  I recently won $2k in fantasy football and plan on using this to fund this purchase (I would like to stay in this range).  I have read that the Evolution mounts are significantly better for the 8" scopes.  What would you recommend? Thanks in advance!



#2 barbarosa

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 12:37 PM

Your post implies that you favor getting another SCT is that correct? Do you plan to keep the 6 SE or sell it to increase the budget?

 

Are you planning to remain a strictly visual observer, or do you want the option to image, either EAA which can be done on an alt az mount or long exposure- heavy post processing which means an EQ mount? 

 

Personally I started out with a 5" SCT and eventually moved to a CPC1100, then back down to 9.25. Then I added a refractor and ended up with a RASA 8 and a 120mm refractor.  I can do long exposure work but it turns out that EAA is what I like best.

 

I had a lot of enjoyment with the SCTs all of them, but they don't have a very wide field. Now of course you have the option to put a faster wider field refractor on an SCT. The EVO has a payload capacity of 25 pounds. You can easily add a small refractor, a Williams Optics Red Cat or a Sharpstar 61EDPHII 61mm f/5.5 ED Triplet Apo Refractor Telescope with 0.8x Reducer / Flattener for some very nice widefield work

 

Yes, an EVO 8 is a definite step up from the 6 SE.


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#3 the_chemist

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 01:30 PM

I agree with Barbarossa, an SCT or MAK is a great design for a compact, powerful scope, cost effective scope.  an 8" SCT on a fork or other alt-az mount is hard to beat. A smaller one is more portable, and bigger, while giving better views, also get considerably heavier and more expensive. If you are just interested in visual, that would be hard to beat in the price an size category you appear to be looking at.  If you are only interested in visual observing, you only need to consider an alt-az mount, the equatorial mounts are only needed for photography/imaging, and are considerably less convenient for visual work.  If you live in a light polluted area, the GOTO will add considerably to your enjoyment as you can spend more time observing and less time hunting.  If you live out in the country and have an interest in learning the sky "the old fashioned way" an 8 or 10 inch dobsonian mounted reflector also gives very nice views and is fun to use, but it is a less plug and play experience and requires a bit more learning to get the most out of it.  now if you add Digital settings setting circles and a Nexus controller, you can get to the same level of convenience with "push to" as you can with "GOTO", but at that point the expense and set up is probably similar to an equivalent SCT, so its more a matter of personal preference.

 

let us know what you decide!

 

Eric



#4 Bomber Bob

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 01:37 PM

Your post implies that you favor getting another SCT is that correct? Do you plan to keep the 6 SE or sell it to increase the budget?

 

Are you planning to remain a strictly visual observer, or do you want the option to image, either EAA which can be done on an alt az mount or long exposure- heavy post processing which means an EQ mount? 

 

Personally I started out with a 5" SCT and eventually moved to a CPC1100, then back down to 9.25. Then I added a refractor and ended up with a RASA 8 and a 120mm refractor.  I can do long exposure work but it turns out that EAA is what I like best.

 

I had a lot of enjoyment with the SCTs all of them, but they don't have a very wide field. Now of course you have the option to put a faster wider field refractor on an SCT. The EVO has a payload capacity of 25 pounds. You can easily add a small refractor, a Williams Optics Red Cat or a Sharpstar 61EDPHII 61mm f/5.5 ED Triplet Apo Refractor Telescope with 0.8x Reducer / Flattener for some very nice widefield work

 

Yes, an EVO 8 is a definite step up from the 6 SE.

The absolute very Best SCT that I've used was a buddy's 9.25 EdgeHD -- stunning views!  He made some great images with it too of just about every object type.



#5 molder

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 01:41 PM

Your post implies that you favor getting another SCT is that correct? Do you plan to keep the 6 SE or sell it to increase the budget?

 

Are you planning to remain a strictly visual observer, or do you want the option to image, either EAA which can be done on an alt az mount or long exposure- heavy post processing which means an EQ mount? 

 

Personally I started out with a 5" SCT and eventually moved to a CPC1100, then back down to 9.25. Then I added a refractor and ended up with a RASA 8 and a 120mm refractor.  I can do long exposure work but it turns out that EAA is what I like best.

 

I had a lot of enjoyment with the SCTs all of them, but they don't have a very wide field. Now of course you have the option to put a faster wider field refractor on an SCT. The EVO has a payload capacity of 25 pounds. You can easily add a small refractor, a Williams Optics Red Cat or a Sharpstar 61EDPHII 61mm f/5.5 ED Triplet Apo Refractor Telescope with 0.8x Reducer / Flattener for some very nice widefield work

 

Yes, an EVO 8 is a definite step up from the 6 SE.

I do favor another SCT.  I will be selling my 6SE to increase the budget.  I have tried dabbling in imaging, but predominantly will be using for visual observing.  I still am so enamored looking at Saturn and Jupiter and can do so for hours.  Saturn is really out there with the 6" and would love more light gathering.  I am in a Bortle class 7 location.  Thanks for the input.


Edited by molder, 12 January 2022 - 01:45 PM.


#6 Echolight

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 01:53 PM

It all depends on how easy you want it to be. An Evolution 8 shouldn’t be much more work than a 6SE. And not super expensive.

 

A CPC1100 with Fastar and Hyperstar would be the dream for AP and EAA. For me anyway.

Although it seems from all reports that the 9.25 is consistently the best from purely an optics standpoint.



#7 barbarosa

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 06:54 PM

I've owned both the CPC925 and CPC1100, the 925 was much the newer scope. I had a chance to compare them side by side and in the end I concluded that the 925 had the edge on sharpness, but the 1100 could go deeper. That 1100 eventually ended up on a wedge and pier. What a great setup for planetary work and smaller DSOs. And a pretty nice setup for EAA and it could carry an 85mm refractor piggybacked. The Deluxe version would have been a real treat.

 

If you want to go that route then go for it. You can good a good result with any of the sizes. The CPC925 and 1100 are nicely designed for lifting and carrying which is good as they weigh in at over 60 pounds.

 

if I was to redo it all and not worry about the budget, I would have both a C-11 and a refractor, or a C-925 and a refractor or a C-8 and a refractor or an RC and a refractor. If I could have three, I would add a RASA, a big one.

 

Don't scorn imaging or making room for a refractor. I live near a large city, very near and the Milky Way left town about 20 years ago. Live, real time imaging kept me in the game. If you are using a 30s exposure then your wait 30s for the first image and every 30s after than the image just gets better.  Gray fuzzy targets have form and detail and color. Just keep it in mind, or drop in at https://new.nightskiesnetwork.com/ and if it is clear somewhere in the US or Canada the chances are good for seeing a live EAA type broadcast. The address is for a beta version of https://nightskiesnetwork.com/ but you are more likely to catch a broadcast on the beta version.  You do not have to join in order to participate on the beta channel.


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#8 aeajr

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 09:28 PM

I can't contribute to a discussion of which SCT is best for you as I am more of a Dobsonian/refractor guy.

 

However, I will raise a few points for your consideration.

 

  • Where will you store it?
  • Where will you use it?
  • How will you move it?
  • How much can you lift?

 

A 6SE is a very compact and light weight scope.   As you start getting into these larger scopes, weight and set-up start to be come an issue.   I met a guy who had a Celestron 11".   He set it up at a club event.   I marveled at the scope and asked if he used it often.

 

Oh no, he said.  It is too heavy for me to lift by myself.  I can only use it twice a year when my son visits.   So I went and bought a 6SE and I use that several times a week.

 

So, give some thought to weight and set-up.   Remember you will have to lift this above waist height and maybe chest high.   That can be quite challenging with some of the scopes being discussed.

 

I have a 12" Dob that weights about 95 pounds all up.   But it is easy to use because I have it stored in my garage on a hand truck. So I just roll it out to use it.  No stairs, and no carrying.

 

How will you handle this larger scope?


Edited by aeajr, 12 January 2022 - 09:28 PM.

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#9 vtornado

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Posted 12 January 2022 - 09:44 PM

Yeah maybe you shouldn't get rid of the C6,  I can set it up with one trip.

Carry bag for tube, eyepieces, and finder.

Tripod in the other hand.

 

You could sell the mount, keep the tube.

 

Anything larger will require more trips.  Both the tube and the mount get bigger.

Also anything larger will have a much longer focal length, decreasing your TFOV.

Although I like my C6, I will not go bigger because of the long FL.

I was down that path once already.



#10 Procyon

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 07:31 AM

CPC 925 XLT. Don't need edge.

#11 molder

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 10:05 AM

I can't contribute to a discussion of which SCT is best for you as I am more of a Dobsonian/refractor guy.

 

However, I will raise a few points for your consideration.

 

  • Where will you store it?
  • Where will you use it?
  • How will you move it?
  • How much can you lift?

 

A 6SE is a very compact and light weight scope.   As you start getting into these larger scopes, weight and set-up start to be come an issue.   I met a guy who had a Celestron 11".   He set it up at a club event.   I marveled at the scope and asked if he used it often.

 

Oh no, he said.  It is too heavy for me to lift by myself.  I can only use it twice a year when my son visits.   So I went and bought a 6SE and I use that several times a week.

 

So, give some thought to weight and set-up.   Remember you will have to lift this above waist height and maybe chest high.   That can be quite challenging with some of the scopes being discussed.

 

I have a 12" Dob that weights about 95 pounds all up.   But it is easy to use because I have it stored in my garage on a hand truck. So I just roll it out to use it.  No stairs, and no carrying.

 

How will you handle this larger scope?

 

Thanks for your insight, I know we touched base a few years ago as I am in Merrick.  I have exclusively used my 6SE in my driveway or backyard and exclusively carry it myself.  I keep it in my garage as well and it is quite light.  I know I will be increasing weight, and the 9.25 just seems impractical for me.  I am 36 and in decent shape, so lifting isn't a huge issue, but I don't want/need to go crazy with size/weight.  Wondering if the 8" may be a good balance for me.  Any suggestions between the various celestron 8" scopes?



#12 PJBilotta

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 12:25 PM

Thanks for your insight, I know we touched base a few years ago as I am in Merrick.  I have exclusively used my 6SE in my driveway or backyard and exclusively carry it myself.  I keep it in my garage as well and it is quite light.  I know I will be increasing weight, and the 9.25 just seems impractical for me.  I am 36 and in decent shape, so lifting isn't a huge issue, but I don't want/need to go crazy with size/weight.  Wondering if the 8" may be a good balance for me.  Any suggestions between the various celestron 8" scopes?

All basic (non-Edge) Celestron C8 optical tube assemblies are essentially the same, with some variation in coatings and paint, depending on when they were made. The current C8 OTA with XLT coatings is exactly the same on all of the various set-ups they currently sell - 8" SE, Evolution, AVX, etc. - just different color paint. The only real difference is the mount and tripod they are sold with.

 

Among the various Celestron 8" scopes, If you like your curret SE mount, I think the 8" Evolution you originally inquire about is probably the best choice. It is compact, sturdy, and portable/lightweight enough that you can move it in one piece (similar to your 6" SE). It is a superior mount compared to the SE - much more sturdy and stable, manual clutches so you can move the mount manually, built-in battery, and passable built-in wifi for use with a phone or tablet. However, you should note that both the SE and Evolution are primarily visual observation mounts and can handle only short exposure photography, like planets or the moon. Real astro-photography requires a very solid equatorial mount, with the AVX mount being a bit under-sized.

 

Another really simple option . . . If you like your SE mount and it is meeting your observing needs, simply purchase a used C8 here and use it on your SE for a while. Your 6" SE mount is exactly the same as the one sold with the 8" SE. It's not as sturdy as the Evolution and doesn't have the battery and wifi, but it is adequate for intermediate observing. Most classic C8s are about $400-$500 here, and a newer one with XLT coatings is typically around $600-$700. It's a pretty modest investment if your budget doesn't allow you to make the leap to a $2,000+ Evolution set-up. Plus, you already know the mount well, and it will be equally portable - just 3 lbs more.


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#13 AJK 547

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 12:33 PM

I am looking to upgrade my 6SE to something more powerful.  I love the ease of the Nexstar SE and its goto mount and want something similar.  I recently won $2k in fantasy football and plan on using this to fund this purchase (I would like to stay in this range).  I have read that the Evolution mounts are significantly better for the 8" scopes.  What would you recommend? Thanks in advance!

Greetings molder,  

 

I have both the Nexstar C6 SE and an Evo C6 and C8-A/XLT.  IMHO, the Evolution mount easily handles the weight of the C6 or C8 with no issues.  My primary observing location is in a 'burb of Chicago where I have ~B7.5 skies.  I gravitate to the C8-A because it truly gathers more light (ex. M13 looks like a fuzzy cotton ball with the C6, but the C8 begins to reveal the beauty of M13 as a true cluster of stars even with the LP skies I have.

 

Now... when I travel to my dark sky home, (B2.5) I keep the Nexstar 6SE there for observation and sky parties.  I've found for planetary, Luna, and bright DSO's like M42, the 6SE is extremely easy to set up and the Bortle 2.5 dark skies really allow the C6 to turn M13 into the wonder it truly is.  So if you can take the C6 SE to a darker site (Montauk Point State park?), let the little C6 have a chance to show you what it can do...

 

Clear, steady nights



#14 aeajr

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Posted 13 January 2022 - 01:22 PM

My friends who have the Nexstar 8SE seem to be able to handle it fairly easily from a weight and packaging point of view.  As mentioned, it uses the same mount as the 6SE.  With the 8" tube there is some settling time when you focus, but not bad.

 

Everything I read says the evolution is a better mount.  If you have the money, pick up the 8" Evolution.  77% more aperture than your 6SE.   If you find you can handle it easily, then sell the SE6 to recover some cash as the Evo 8 is a little over your budget.

 

Field of view - This is something I always bring up.

 

The EVO 8 comes with a 1.25" star diagonal, like the 6SE.   However I believe that one can be upgraded to a 2" visual back which will accept a 2" diagonal and 2" eyepieces.   This can help you recover some of the field of view that you lose when you go from 1500 mm FL to 2032 mm FL.   

 

With a 32 mm Plossl, about as wide as you can go in 1.25", your current FOV is about 1 degree.

 

With the same eyepiece, the 8SE or Evo 8 will give you a field of view of about  .7 degrees.

 

You can go to a .63 focal reducer that will take you to about a 1.1 degree FOV.

 

If you use that reducer with a 2", say a 40 mm 68 degree, then you can get additional FOV.  I believe there are some limitations on these 8" SCTs where you can't fully utilize the 2" and reducer but you still get a much wider FOV than with a 1.25" Diagonal.  Maybe it is closer to 1.7 degrees.  Still pretty good.

 

The SCT experts can further refine these.  I am just raising this as something for you to think about for the future.   All optical systems have compromises.  You just have to decide which ones are important to you. 

 

I find I use my low 2" power wide view eyepieces often, but I am running manual mounts where field of view yields drift time as well as context.  You have tracking on GoTo so it may not be as important to you.   The Moon and planets will do find in .7 degrees or less.   Most DSOs are under 1 degree, but there are some that are wider than that.  

 

Just making sure you know what you are getting. 

 

SCT guys, check my numbers and feel free to refute my comments.  As I said, I am more of a Dob/refractor guy.  But I always look at FOV implications of each scope's architecture. 


Edited by aeajr, 13 January 2022 - 01:25 PM.


#15 jlinsobe

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Posted 14 January 2022 - 11:13 PM

MileHighAstro has 3 new, 9.25” Nexstar EVO in stock. $2849.00 each.

Just too big for me.  I hear it’s real nice! 




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