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  1. #1
    Neil Head's Avatar
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    Default Computerized telescopes...good ...bad?!



    Wondering about these computerized telescopes. I am a skeptic as I fear more effort has gone into building the computer than the actual telescope. I am a novice as well but keen to get into this.

    As an example - Celestron - 114 LCM - computerized

    Thoughts...recommendations??

  2. #2
    Neil Head's Avatar
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    Default

    Not really wanting to spend more than 2-300 CAD... to get started at least!

  3. #3
    Joe Lalumia's Avatar
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    OK go ahead an start an argument! Ha!

    It depends on which goto scope you are discussing. OR on what Pushto DOb.

    Many of the lower cost gotos are not built very welll. Gotos are suspect.

    However an ETX 90 or ETX 125, or a Celestron 6SE or 8SE, the 5 inch MAK Celestron, LX90s and LX200 and others all have good gotos and are usually very dependable. For example, using MyLX90-- I can goto numerous objects in just an hour or two. This scope is GREAT at public observing events where you must quicly find new objects for the crowd.

    Also I am an old guy with cataracts--- I can only see 6 or 7 stars in the sky on a clear night. If I did not have an accurate GOTO I would stop doing the Astronomy hobby. Look at my equipment list below-- everything is computer driven except the 80mm Stellarvue refractor which I mostly use for solar viewing and grab and go.

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  4. #4
    MLaferriere's Avatar
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    Default

    @Joe, don't some of the newer Goto scops allow you aim and setup without having a view of Polaris? IE, align by any star as well? Thats something I may look for in a future mount as north is mostly blocked by numerous tree's.
    Explore Scientific 102mm apo,
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  5. #5
    cawilliams1983's Avatar
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    Hey Neil. Computerized telescopes have a database with many celestial objects cataloged in them and are usually motorized to take you to them (once you align the telescope and enter your time, date, and location into the computer). This makes finding objects fast and easy. They also, usually, have guided tours that will take you to different objects and describe them via the handset. Autostar (meades GOTO software), for example, has the "Best of Tonight" tour that takes you to the most viewable objects at the time and "A Star's Life" that shows you different objects in different stages of a star's life.

    You're right in that most of what you're paying for is the computer and motor. The Celestron you linked to looks exactly like my Meade DS 2114 and if it is, then there is a barlow lens built into the focuser to correct spherical aberration (from the spherical primary mirror) and to make up for focal length that the short tube doesn't accommodate. So again, at least in my case, most of the price went straight to the computer and mount.

    Don't get me wrong, I love my little Meade and am out enjoying the views it provides nightly, but I was not informed when I bought it and, granted, the GOTO has been a lot of help but nothing I couldn't have done just by consulting Stellarium. If you feel that the slight edge of convenience that a computerized scope will give you (merely as an observer) is worth more than the quality/quantity of images you can view, than go for it. If not, go for the quality optics of a Zhumell or Orion dob...

    Hope all this rambling helped... Clear skies and good luck.
    Corey

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  6. #6
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    Woa... did I really just spend 20 some minutes typing that out? lol.. when I started, nobody had replied. I should've known Joe would rush in for the rescue...
    Corey

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  7. #7
    Joe Lalumia's Avatar
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    Yes-- my LX90 LNT (Level North Technology)-- keeps the tim, date, and site.

    Finds True North, levels itself and calculates tilt. All you do is turn it on and select Automatic ---

    You must still center 2 alignment stars but there are some TRICKS you can do to align the scope during the daytime.
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  8. #8
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    Celestron's LCM and Meade's DS series goto telescopes are entry level but certainly are not toys. They are inexpensively built but can show many wonders of the night skies. Celestron's SLT series telescopes are a mix optically with some excellent combinations and value, notably their 130SLT Newtonian and 127SLT MAK. Both Meade's ETX and Celestron's SE series telescope are excellent and used by novices and advanced observers alike. SkyWatcher's entry level telescopes on their SynScan AZ goto mount are excellent telescopes optically and IMO the best of the entry level goto telescopes quality optics plus a rugged reliable mount. Unlike Meade, Celestron SLT and SkyWatcher's SynScan AZ goto mounts are not so fussy about being level and pointing toward true north; in fact, the Skywatcher can be pointed an any direction you want and the Celestron, you just point it at three bright stars ,,, no knowledge of names required.

    Next is the discussion about to have goto or not to have goto. This is more an emotional argument where personal preferences come into play more than anything else. Given the number of goto telescopes sold each year, a lot of people must think that there must be something to them.
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  9. #9
    Bob327's Avatar
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    My thoughts on this subject since my 1st GoTo scope was a Celestron 114 GT that I purchased for 50 bucks at a Pawn shop just killing time waiting for my wife to get out of a Doctors Office...

    GoTo's were acceptable...almost always put the object somewhere
    in the FOV of a medium powered eyepiece...and honestly that was good enough, tracking was also good enough to keep the object in the FOV for 20 minutes or so..which was also good enough ...

    Alignment required the scope be level BUT my eyeballs were accurate enough to get the above mentioned results and yes I had to point it North but again a simple cheap compass was good enough...

    This scope was a Bird-Jones design with a corrector (barlow) lens in the focus tube and to this day I HONESTLY do not see anything wrong with this set up...collimation can be a pain BUT if one simply removes this lens then collimates the scope then replace the lens you can get very very close to perfect results and I never had to collimate the scope all that often...

    The price range of these scope does mean you are paying mostly for the electronics and the Goto Mount and yes the gears and such used in the mount are definitely not the best and will have plenty of slop. BUT the optics are generally good enough for any beginner
    or even good enough for me (50+ years in the hobby and owneing several 1000 of dollars worth of telescopes to pick up the scope today and just relax poolside without bending my self out of shape because the optics just do not cut it...

    That said I would not expect them to work as good as a scope costing 10 to 20 times the price like Joe L Lx90 or my 8i or CPC
    mechanically nor electronically but they work ...

    Bob G.
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  10. #10
    Joe Lalumia's Avatar
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    To answer one of your questions-- Yes certain Celestron GEM mounts have what is called "ALL STAR" alignment. You can polar align on any star.

    This is a feature WORTH having!

    You can read about it on the Nexstar web site:

    http://www.nexstarsite.com/ full instructions and manuals available here.
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