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About jonathan

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    Sub Dwarf

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    Scarborough, North Yorkshire
  1. Reminds me of most sessions where I tried to use a goto or do polar alignment. More times than not, I just gave up in frustration at it not working as described in the manual and packed up having not actually seen anything. Since I ditched goto in favour of RA tracking only, just easy plain sailing all the way! Except when I want to find that tiny faint fuzzy, then I'm often out of luck.
  2. I've found my Celestron XCel-LX eyepieces a bit difficult to use with the 8SE, which is very picky about seeing conditions, they appear to work much better in my refractor and reflector telescopes. One eyepiece that does work very well in my 8" SCT is the 8-24 zoom, it's the Baader Hyperion but I'd be willing to bet that the SCT will be just as happy with one of the cheaper zooms mentioned. I originally bought the Baader zoom for use with my solar scope, and it does an excellent job there too. The original Celestron 25mm plossl that came with my 8SE is still my first eyepiece for every session, performs brilliantly in all scopes, SCTs generally get on well with plossls regardless of size. Be sure to treat your eyepieces well, get yourself some proper cleaning fluid and a cloth, I've been using the Baader Optical Wonder Fluid and cloth for years, keeps my eyepieces looking like new. I only use it if they're getting a bit gunky on the top glass so it goes a very long way.
  3. Knowing what I know now, and if I wanted to follow the Celestron route (for an SCT), I'd probably look at this instead of any single arm design: https://www.firstlightoptics.com/advanced-vx-goto/celestron-c6sct-vx-goto.html The 2" tubular steel legs provide excellent stability (better than the 1.75" supplied with HEQ5 Pro), the mount capacity is 30lb compared to the 10lb 6" OTA that's supplied with this bundle, leaving plenty of room to add dew shield, focuser, additional finder, heavy eyepiece or camera, etc. Should be much easier to balance on an EQ mount too - on my original SE mount I found that I couldn't move the OTA any further forwards in the dovetail clamp so with my accessories I wasn't able to correctly balance the scope. It should have exactly the same goto handset although the EQ mount setup will be a bit more involved than with the SE or SLT Alt/Az mounts. So, this to me looks like the same kind of deal as 6SE vs 8SE - same mount used for both, so if C6 is what you're after then it looks like you'll be getting a very capable mount to put it on, with the possibility that you could use it with other scopes as well in the future, e.g. a large refractor (102 or 120 perhaps), or a C8.
  4. We need the Ghost Nebula as well now.
  5. I observed Mars about a month ago, felt like I could see quite a lot of detail compared to usual, that was in my 8" SCT with 8mm eyepiece (Baader Zoom). Last night I pointed my 102 refractor at Mars, the brightness now is almost overpowering, I had to use a moon filter just to see the surface detail, I also tried out my neodymium filter for the first time, I think it did make a significant difference (glare was gone, details seemed more visible) however there was still some colour fringing and it was definitely a pale salmon colour rather than the darker muddy orange we're used to seeing in pictures or most of the time through a telescope. Just looking at Mars with the naked eye, it looks much more like one of the white stars around it than the red planet, probably even less red than Betelgeuse. I'll continue to observe Mars as it moves away and dims, perhaps there will be a sweeter spot where it's not quite as bright and still close enough to reveal the surface detail. I think the view through my refractor was certainly sharper than the SCT, however the brightness and distance meant that it wasn't quite a like-for-like comparison (there was no colour fringing that I could detect through the SCT). Perhaps viewing in another week or two would provide a fairer comparison. I have another filter on the way, the Baader Contrast Booster, which I hope will stack well with the neodymium to further reduce the glare and bring out the details.
  6. Saw them just as I was setting up the scope, managed to look at Jupiter and Saturn before they set. The yellow crescent moon set between some buildings which made it rather more interesting. Cloudy Outside was a much more accurate forecase than the BBC for here last night, I wonder sometimes if they just look out of the BBC building top floor window in Manchester with a big pair of binoculars (might actually be more accurate for the local area there!)
  7. I received a reply from Skywatcher yesterday, it took them about ten days so perhaps expect a delay of around that long. It was a good reply though, answered my question.
  8. I received a response from Skywatcher about this. One of their engineers stated that they don't think that the v1.x motor controller board firmware is able to be updated, and that they do not have that firmware available anyway. Suggestion was to upgrade to a v2.x motor controller board so I'll be looking into that next. Any info on good sources of v2.x boards for HEQ5 Pro? Just vanilla, no funky modded firmware or such.
  9. It shouldn't be necessary to collimate a new scope, just check with an out of focus view of a bright star when you first take it out at night. Bob's knobs are a good idea too as PeterCPC suggested, however I owned my 8" SCT for about 8 years before I replaced the three collimation screws - if you take care when handling your scope it shouldn't lose it's collimation easily. When is someone going to release a scope that auto-collimates?
  10. Perhaps you could encourage your kids to write a friendly letter to your neighbours about how they used to enjoy going out in their dark garden to enjoy the night sky, but now they can't see the sky because the new lights are too bright at night. Have them hand-write it if they're able to, signed - some lovely but very disappointed kids. Keep a copy. I don't see why the neighbour couldn't install lights at ground level if their aim is to have a runway for a garden, it's not going to be that difficult to install LED solar lights which would be much lower than your fence and not blinding to look at, or if they must have 5,000 cree lights then run some mains wire in truncing along the edges. Whatever lighting they have, if it's constantly on without PIR sensors then it's not very green of them, using electricity (however little) is never going to be as green as not using electricity. There's also an envirponmental impact on local wildlife, they'll definitely be disturbing the natural habits of insects, birds, predators, prey... I'd laugh if it resulted in an influx of foxes and badgers messing up their garden! I wonder if you could even get the local naturalists involved, as it might well be a nuisance / danger to nature if your gardens back onto wilderness. Maybe someone will take up the cause and get some press involved.
  11. It sounds like the only things missing from your equipment list is eyeball tracking and the Celestron TeasMaid(TM) add-on. Seriously though, if you just take your time to read through and comprehend all of the instructions and assuming it all works as expected, I'm sure you'll have no trouble using it. I'd recommend doing a couple of setup and take-down dry runs indoors or during daylight hours just so that you can familiarise yourself with it fully before going for dark setup, you may find that you want a couple of good quality flight cases with pluck foam for the bits and pieces, you could be window shopping for those but I'd hold off on buying until you know exactly how much space your kit requires, check the 'Show us your eyepiece cases' thread. Standard SCT collimation should apply (no need for a Cheshire collimator, just do what it says in the manual).
  12. Diesel or petrol? I had a bad experience in a diesel car once, the battery drained on us so were unable to use the full beam headlights, had to drive home on sidelights (we bump-started the car to get going). This was an older car which may have had inefficient parts, but draining the battery through use of the headlights without the engine running was the cause of our problems and I dont think even today full headlights can be run purely from an alternator (or today's equivalent). Moral of the story is don't use your car for something which it wasn't designed. I'd always advise on a dedicated power supply, ideally a leisure battery; they may seem pricey but cheaper than a breakdown callout.
  13. I contacted them too regarding a different firmware issue, it's possible they just don't have the staff at the moment (literally).
  14. What if one isn't on facebook? Any other way to contact such repair people?
  15. That does look like quite an array of output voltages, I suppose it might auto-switch depending on the current or voltage demand so personally I'd stick with something simple like a lead-acid or leisure battery (12v), leisure batteries are preferable as they won't take any harm if discharged beyond about 50% capacity, sometimes they are known as 'deep cycle' batteries for this reason. Buy an off-the-shelf adaptor lead to plug your mount power cable into, bob's your uncle. Just make sure there's an inline fuse somewhere in the circuit.
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