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Thread: Bright lights session and first light

  1. #1
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    Default Bright lights session and first light



    Even though the moon was short one day of full, and I had to be up early, I couldn't resist taking my new Celestron Omni XLT 120 out for a spin, on the EQ mount, last night. Here's how it went:

    First light: this is a very nice instrument, sadly plagued by a terrible focuser. I have been spoiled with the nice Crayford with fine focuser on my Dob, and the R&P focuser on this tube is just dreadful now. Very stiff, shakes the bejesus out of everything when trying to focus, and the rack has a lot of goo on it that got on my fingers, the diagonal, and everything I touched. I was tempted to change plans on adding the GSO focuser, since it doesn't fit by just under a mm (see my other thread on this), but now I have decided I will have the flange machined down and replace it asap.
    Other than that I think it's nice, but will have to take it out again on a darker night, since I couldn't really check performance on DSOs. Some of the best views of the moon I have ever had though, and nice splitting on doubles.

    Here are the targets:

    Given that I was aiming North after centering everything, I went poking around Cassiopeia and friends. I took a look at Archird, Eta Cas, double star in Cassiopeia, new. Neat little double, big size difference, nicely split at all mags tried but looking quite good at ~150x (Meade HD-60 6.5).
    Then, of course, had to go take a look at M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, required viewing when present Very washed out, because it's low in the LP glare, and oh yes, there is a friggin' full moon up! Showed as large nebulosity, with some structure - more intense elongated core, and fuzz tapering away from there. Can't really tell anything about comparative performance given the conditions.

    The list of objects in light-polluted skies built into SkySafari highlights NGC 7662, the Blue Snowball Nebula, West of there, so I went to take a look - new. Very nice target, way brighter than I thought any planetary had any business being! I also withstood magnification well. It shows as a fuzzy star, I did think it seemed blue-ish, but that may be purely due to the expectation that it would. Slight hint of structure with a brighter center, but hard to tell.

    Then it was planet time. I headed over to Mars, shining beautifully, and strikingly red. Interestingly, less structure was visible than my previous night, but this is likely because a different view was oriented this way. I could just make out the hint of dark line of Terra Cimmeria, with a roughly E-W orientation on the surface.
    I moved over to the other bright planet visible in my spot, Saturn, and this was probably the best view of the night. Very clear and contrasty view, striking Cassini division, hint of atmospheric markings. It felt like a nicer view than in the dob, honestly, but I'm having a hard time dissecting and pinpointing exactly why.

    I hunted unsuccessfully for some DSOs towards the South, but that was silly, with the moon right there. I turned towards zenith and made out Hercules, with the keystone just barely showing naked eye. I had a bit of a hard time locating M13, the Great Hercules Cluster, I guess I lost my touch with equatorial slow motion knobs, and using a RACI on a refractor is new to me. I made it out in the finder, and then took a good look. Clearly visible nebulosity, but couldn't make out structure and individual stars.

    I closed with a nice scan of the moon at ~150x, with a 13% filter in front of the EP. Very nice and contrasty views, quite enjoyable. A lot of the ragged terrain towards the Southern polar region looked spectacular, and in from the terminator Gassendi gave a nice view, as did, farther away, Kepler and especially Copernicus. Aristarchus looked nice and bright, but allowing structure to be discerned - this is a very interesting feature, to me it always looks highlights how different things can look depending on the phase.


    That's it, thanks for reading. I'm happy with the new instrument, but will need to make the improvements I mentioned, and I also need to seriously consider the column attachment for the tripod - near-zenith observation is a neck and low back taxing affair...
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Bright lights session and first light

    Great report! I love mine too I eventually replaced my 1.25" diagonal with a 2" one.

    In regards to the "column attachment" you mentioned, this is the one - https://www.amazon.com/Orion-7393-Sk.../dp/B00020WZC4. Besides saving your neck it'll add more stability as well. With this I never extend my tripod's legs

    Have fun!
    Abb
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    Default Re: Bright lights session and first light

    A nice session roc, I am glad it is working well for you. (other than that focuser filled with Synta goo)
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    Default Re: Bright lights session and first light

    Sounds good to me, Codrin!

    Hopefully, you can get the GSO into play soon enough.

    Next Moon cycle, treat yourself to some excellent views along the terminator pre-quarter phase. You'll enjoy that in the frac quite bit.

    Doubles and carbons make for some great frac viewing when the Moon is bright too.

    A fun list of great color-contrasting doubles to work through is attached.
    Attached Files Attached Files
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    Default Re: Bright lights session and first light

    Congrats on your new Celestron Omni XLT 120, Roc! The Meade LX70 mount looks exactly like the Omni CG4 mount that this scope is paired with. I have the latter mount - it came with an Omni XLT 150 Newtonian as part of the package.

    Hopefully you'll get your focuser issues fixed soon.
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    Default Re: Bright lights session and first light

    Congratulations with your new telescope.
    I think you did some nice observations with it. Deep-sky observation will be better when the Moon is under the horizon, especially M13. I think the upgrade AbbN suggests in post #2 is a very good one.

    There are lots of comments on the focusser, I experienced it too. But after removing the goo/ cleaning you can fine tune it well with this little manual:
    https://teleskop-austria.at/informat...rd_focuser.pdf
    The process is rather subtile, but it worked well in my case. There is little need spending more money on another focusser.

    Thanks for your report, succes ad looking forward to any further reports!
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    Default Re: Bright lights session and first light

    Nice first light report.
    I hope that you manage to sort your focus problem out.
    Thank you.
    Clear skies
    Peter.


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    Default Re: Bright lights session and first light

    Congrats on the new scope Codrin. I hope it provides many excellent views. I have the same impression when viewing planets through the frac as opposed to the Dobs. They just seem a bit clearer and crisper. Nice evening out there and thanks for the report.
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