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Thread: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

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    Russell.Kinder's Avatar
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    Default First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount



    Yay, new telescope! No more telescope envy. OK, this arrived Monday, but Monday night was all clouds. Tuesday night was a little better so I went out.

    Monday night, I set it up in my living room, but i didn't try to power it up. No handy 12v.

    Tuesday night, I set out. The family wanted to go, because they're excited about the new scope, too. I explained that I'd be futzing with the thing for awhile, and be cranky while I was doing it, so they stayed. Except for my older boy who is 12 this month. He had an audio book to entertain himself until I was ready.
    9:00 pm: Clear skies, but high humidity. I can see big dipper, Polaris, all the mag 2 or brighter stars and Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn from my Bortle 6 driveway.

    10:00 pm: Finally finish disassembly, loading into the pickup, and arguing with my family about whether they should come.

    10:15 - 10:40 pm: Found a park about 5 minutes away from my house where, for some reason, the park lights were all turned off. What luck! Scope assembled on site. Northern sky has clouded somewhat, and I can't see Dubhe and Merak to find Polaris, nor do I see Polaris using SkySafari as a guide. I use my iPhone compass to help me guess. Finally, I see a blurry star peeking through, and guess it to be Polaris. I orient using the polar scope. I'm not sure how to orient big dipper and Cassiopeia in the polar scope, so I just unscrew it a bit, which makes it wobbly. Surely I'm doing this wrong, but good enough.

    10:40 - 11:20 pm: Aligning the goto computer. OK, I keep forgetting to re-engage the clutches after aligning the mount to the ascension/declination alignment markers. Why won't it go to Arcturus? Why won't it go to Antares? Oh, because I'm dumb. Another way I'm dumb: I didn't align my finder scope before starting. Around 11:00, I give up, turn off the goto, and align the finder and OTA with a distant yard light. This is easier with an alt/az mount, a red dot, and a 660 mm long refractor. Also, am I suppose to be able to focus the finder on this telescope? I can't figure out how. I guess it's sort of in focus already. I saw where someone used a rifle scope as their finder, and I think that's a great idea. 3.6" eye relief. Also, I think a correct image finder is going to be needed.

    11:20 - 1:00 pm: The goto is aligned, and seems to be finding stars pretty well. I check using Deneb, Altair, and Vega. At some point, I nudged the tripod, and things seem to be off by just about that much. Planets, OTOH, are totally wacked. I'm guessing I mistyped the year when I entered the date. The goto keeps pointing at the wrong place on the ecliptic. Ah, well, it's not like I can't tell where they are. I loosen the clutches and manually point the scope, then reengage and use the motors for fine tuning the view. I use the included 25 mm EP for aiming, and then replace with X-Cel 12 mm or 9 mm EP for viewing. Even with the goto being confused, the mount still tracks the planets, once I've manually located them. It's very nice to not have to keep recentering the view.

    Mars is not red, but gray. It's big and round, however. I'm guessing either the Martian dust storm or the Earthian haze is messing with the color. My son is unimpressed.

    Saturn. Holy cow! Saturn is awesome and clear, and this telescope and mount are rock solid as I center and focus. I can see planetary details, and the Cassini division is starkly visible. My son is very impressed. Speechless, in fact. He finally lets loose with some worthy interjections before I move on.

    Jupiter looks great. I've been looking at Jupiter through my 102/660 refractor on its Mount Wobbly since May 1. In the 8" SCT, it's bigger, brighter, and more detailed, of course. Actual color is quite apparent. 4 moons showing, and I didn't really look for more. I was too agog about seeing the bands in the Jovian atmosphere. The son is also suitably impressed.

    1:00 pm: Dissassembly, pack up, and go home. I'm happy with the scope, but bugged about why the goto lost the planets. Has to be a misstyped date.
    I would have tried to look at nebulae and clusters, but the atmosphere was too hazy for anything but the planets. The whole sky was somewhat nebulous IYKWIMAITTYD.

    Regards,
    Russell
    Celestron Omni 102 mm f/6.5 alt-az, Celestron AVX 8” SCT
    Celestron EP and filter kit, Celestron X-Cel 9 & 12 mm, Gosky smartphone clamp

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  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Russell.Kinder For This Useful Post:

    kingclinton (07-12-2018)

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    Bigzmey's Avatar
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    Default Re: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

    Congrats on the new glass Russell! This is a great scope. It has been my work horse for over 2 years. With sky cooperating and a sharp EP you can push 300-400x on planets for truly amazing views.
    Scopes: Celestron: 8" SCT F10, Omni 150R Achro F5, Onyx 80ED F6.3; ES: 127mm CF F7.5 APO. Mounts: ES Twilight I, Bresser EXOS2, SW SkyTee2, UA MicroStar. Binos: Orion 10x50, Celestron 8x42. EPs: TeleVue: Delites, Plossls & barlows; ES: 82os & 68os; Vixen: SLVs, LVW & NPLs; Baader: BCOs & Aspherics; Meade: UWAs & Plossls; Celestron: X-Cel LXs, Luminos. Filters: Astronomik: UHC; Lumicon: OIII, H-beta, DeepSky; Baader: UHC-S, M&SG, CB; Orion: UltraBlock, SG. DSO tally: 1039 (H400-1: 400, H400-2: 205, H300-3: 67; M110: 110, S110: 73). Doubles: 615, Comets: 8, Asteroids: 42
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    Default Re: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

    Congratulations on some nice views
    Just in case you did not realize, once alignment is done if you undo the clutches to move the telescope you have lost alignment.
    Just use the hand controller to move the telescope if wanting to maintain alignment.
    Refractors: Antares 105 f/15, Bresser 102XL f/13.2, Celestron 102 f/6.5, 2-150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNG 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, Vixen SD115s f/7.7
    Mounts: Manfrotto 055PRO, Celestron SLT, Celestron CG-5/ Argo Navis, Vixen SXP Binoculars: Celestron Eyepieces: A-Z

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    The weakest link in the optical chain is the large nut located directly behind the eyepiece/ camera. - Gabrielle
    Ya gotta keep this Apo/Achro thing in some balance of perspective. Apos are awesome, but long focus Achros aren't that far behind them - Siriusandthepup (CN)

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    Peter802's Avatar
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    Default Re: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

    Nice first light report.
    Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Clear skies
    Russell.Kinder likes this.
    Peter.

    Scopes: Bresser AR-127S 635mm. Celestron Travel Scope 70. Mount: Bresser EXOS - 2 modified to belt drive and AstroEQ mount controller.
    Cameras: Un modded Canon 450D.
    Bino's: Nikon Aculon A211. 16x50 4.2 degs.

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    Default Re: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

    About the polar scope:
    After RTFM, I now know that you don't unscrew the polar scope, but unclutch the right ascension and rotate the mount until the big dipper and Cassiopeia patterns match the sky. Seems obvious, now that I know. Also, I didn't bother aligning the polar scope with the mount, which will certainly make the goto and tracking more accurate.

    About the finder scope focus:
    I don't think the focus of the finderscope is adjustable. What the heck? This is the first necessary upgrade, because I'm slightly nearsighted, and always have to adjust the focus to correct my own eyesight. Or take glasses on and off while going back forth between finder and EP. Not gonna happen.
    Celestron Omni 102 mm f/6.5 alt-az, Celestron AVX 8” SCT
    Celestron EP and filter kit, Celestron X-Cel 9 & 12 mm, Gosky smartphone clamp

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    Default Re: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

    You should be able to loosen the dewshield on the finder and adjust the focus then lock it in place again.
    Russell.Kinder likes this.
    Refractors: Antares 105 f/15, Bresser 102XL f/13.2, Celestron 102 f/6.5, 2-150 f/8, Stellarvue NHNG 80 f/6.9, TAL 100RS f/10, TS 102 f/11, Vixen SD115s f/7.7
    Mounts: Manfrotto 055PRO, Celestron SLT, Celestron CG-5/ Argo Navis, Vixen SXP Binoculars: Celestron Eyepieces: A-Z

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    The weakest link in the optical chain is the large nut located directly behind the eyepiece/ camera. - Gabrielle
    Ya gotta keep this Apo/Achro thing in some balance of perspective. Apos are awesome, but long focus Achros aren't that far behind them - Siriusandthepup (CN)

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    Russell.Kinder's Avatar
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    Default Re: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

    Thanks, Gabby. I'll try that.
    Celestron Omni 102 mm f/6.5 alt-az, Celestron AVX 8” SCT
    Celestron EP and filter kit, Celestron X-Cel 9 & 12 mm, Gosky smartphone clamp

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    camaro's Avatar
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    Default Re: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

    Congratulations on your new telescope, Russel! I'm very close to ordering an 8" SCT as well and looking forward to the excitement of first light myself! It was nice to read about how solid your AVX mount is. Were you set up on bare ground?

    Dave in SK

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    Russell.Kinder's Avatar
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    Default Re: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

    Dave,
    I was set up on asphalt in the parking space next to my pickup truck. Solid, but it let the legs scoot a little if I bumped them. I don't think being on ground or grass will change the stability. The whole setup weighs about 80 lbs, so it can't help but be stable. My point of reference is my 102 mm f/6.5 refractor on a light weight alt/az mount. That setup weighs 14 lbs.


    Quote Originally Posted by camaro View Post
    Congratulations on your new telescope, Russel! I'm very close to ordering an 8" SCT as well and looking forward to the excitement of first light myself! It was nice to read about how solid your AVX mount is. Were you set up on bare ground?

    Dave in SK
    Celestron Omni 102 mm f/6.5 alt-az, Celestron AVX 8” SCT
    Celestron EP and filter kit, Celestron X-Cel 9 & 12 mm, Gosky smartphone clamp

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    Russell.Kinder's Avatar
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    Default Re: First light with 8" SCT with Advanced VX mount

    I forgot to mention: the next time I took the telescope out, I found I had set the year to 2016. So, the mystery of the lost planets is solved.
    --Russell
    quincy likes this.
    Celestron Omni 102 mm f/6.5 alt-az, Celestron AVX 8” SCT
    Celestron EP and filter kit, Celestron X-Cel 9 & 12 mm, Gosky smartphone clamp

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