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About AstroFin

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  1. Have you tried changing the power cable? I had severe issues with my Celestron CPC when I bought it, but it turned out all of them were caused by a faulty cable.
  2. Short answer: Yes, you can. Long answer: The hand controllers are not interchangeable straight away, the software inside needs to be changed before one can be used in place of the other. If you plug the hand controller to the telescope and then connect it to your laptop, you are able to switch the EQ software to AZ and vice versa. For the newer Nexstar + (the hc on the right in your image) this is done via Celestron Firmware Manager and for the older, regular Nexstar, it is done via HC update. https://www.nexstarsite.com/OddsNEnds/HCFirmwareUpgradeHowTo.htm Use this link to learn more about how to update the firmware. I hope this helps. Cheers, Tomi
  3. Here's a quick picture of my scope in the snow. The Moon looked great tonight!
  4. Hi Deb! I have purchased a soft case to protect my telescope and a hard case for all accessories. I often transport the scope in my car and always store it in the back seat, usually I even use the seat belt to secure it in its place. I recommend getting a case. It will help you to preserve your telescope in good condition! I haven’t had issues with collimation so far, although my scope is a Schmidt-Cassegrain, not a Newtonian.
  5. If you use the telescope with the build-in wedge, the problem could indeed be polar alignment. I would also make sure that the telescope+camera combination is properly balanced. I recall there is a good video on polar aligning Nexstar 4SE on YouTube, in case you have any issues with the process itself.
  6. Hi! You already seem to have a very nice pair of binoculars, I hope you can get them them back as soon as possible so you can start looking up! If there is one book you should get, it is Turn Left at Orion. It’s a very good observing guidebook for beginners and advanced observers alike, with details on how and when to observe the Moon, Planets and Deep Sky Objects. The book has a lot of drawings which describe quite accurately what you will be able to see with an amateur telescope. I wish I had it when I was observing with my first telescope. As for the telescope, I’d recommend something that is reasonable portable. The best telescope is the one you use most often and being portable definitely helps. Not anything too heavy and bulky. That said, the mount should be stable in order to avoid vibrations. There’s nothing more annoying than an unstable telescope mount. GoTo is a nice feature to have, but at £400-500 price range, buying a scope with a GoTo mount means most of your money are going to the mount, not the optics. Oh and you need to remember that at this bugdet deep sky astrophotography is out of question, however planetary and lunar photography can be done with following setups as well. I have a few suggestions; 1. Skyliner 150P Cost: £188 (FLO) The 150P is a nice telescope on a sturdy Dobsonian mount, it is not as heavy as it’s bigger brothers. Most likely the best telescope for less than £200. 2. Skyliner 200P Cost: £275 (FLO) If you feel that size and weight are not an issue, go for the big brother! It is widely considered the best value for money telescope and many of us here will recommend this scope to you. (Have a look at the reviews of the scope, there are many on the internet). Having used similar telescopes, I have to say they are great value for money. The GoTo version of this scope is available at FLO for £750, not including the power source. 3. Skymax 127 SynScan AZ GoTo + Power Source Total cost: ~£430 (FLO) Here is an example of a compact GoTo telescope with good optics. This scope will track and find objects for you, once you’ve done the initial alignment. My local astronomy club has one of these and it’s a pretty good telescope. The Skyliners will show you brighter images with more detail and are more stable, though. I began my stargazing hobby with this telescope’s little brother, the 102mm Maksutov. I was very pleased with it and it gave me my first glimpse of the rings of Saturn, the cloud bands of Jupiter and the endless craters on the Moon. All of the setups mentioned above will show a good detail of the planets, while also being able to show you some fainter deep sky objects. The “nice to have” accessories might include a red light torch, a Planisphere and Stellarium/SkySafari app on your phone. Eyepieces can be bought later. First try out the ones supplied with the telescope. When the time comes to grab a few extra eyepieces, I highly recommend the Celestron X-Cel LX line.
  7. Hi Andy! Here in northern Europe most observing throughout the year is done in sub-zero temperatures. I regularly use my Celestron CPC in temperatures ranging from -5 to -15 degrees Celsius. The lowest ever temperature I’ve observed in was -30 Celsius with my local astronomy club’s Celestron C11. If your telescope is covered in frost, remember to keep the lens caps off after bringing the scope inside to allow the water to evaporate. If your mount has a hand controller, the display wil most likely slow down significantly. The stock grease in most mounts is not very good in lower temperatures, but for occasional observing below freezing the grease will do ok. I don’t think there is minimum temperature for using a telescope. Usually it is the observer, not the instrument that fails! Tomi
  8. I have had the same scope you have, the Celestron Firstscope. I think it is a decent scope for beginners (considering the price), but I have to say that the 4mm eyepiece is the worst I’ve ever used. The blurry image is most likely due to the eyepiece. If you’d like to have a little upgrade, look for Plossl eyepieces. They provide much, much wider apparent field of view and are more comfortable use than the supplied eyepieces. For a finder scope, I’d go with a Rigel Quickfinder. It is a red dot finder, easy to use, and can be transferred to another scope if you decide to upgrade in the future. Other cheaper alternatives do exist, but I doubt they are as good as Rigel. If you are on a budget, cheaper ones will do fine as well, though. Your telescope is at its best in wide field viewing. Objects such as the Pleiades or Orion Nebula are excellent targets. The supplied 20mm eyepiece is ok for that. If you want something that would give you a higher magnification for planets, try a 5mm Plossl, for example.
  9. Venus and Jupiter are both very bright objects in the sky. They are easy to locate even for a beginner. Both planets are very easily visible to the naked eye. Your telescope will find and track these, but it needs to be calibrated first. This procedure is know as “Skylign” on Celestron scopes. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it yet, but it requires you to center 3 stars in the field of view of the telescope. Any bright stars/objects will do and you don’t need to know their names. This is a fairly easy task. After the calibration you can choose objects in the hand controller database and the scope will find them for you with a push of a button. Using the “solar system align” is great if you need to be observing the planets quickly and only need tracking. There does exist a fully automatical system called StarSense Autoalign, which will do this alignment process for you, however it is quite expensive and I believe it might not be compatible with your 4SE. Personally I’d recommend you to learn the night sky a little. A Goto telescope is a great tool but it doesn’t replace the knowledge of the night sky. Learning a few constellations isn’t very difficult and it will greatly benefit you in this hobby.
  10. An outstanding image! You’re lucky to have access to the southern skies.
  11. This might very well be the case, Stu! The 15x50 must have been fantastic. However, I wonder if Canon makes so small (36mm) lens caps? After receiving the bins, I did a quick Google search which didn't bring up anything, so I assumed there was no commercial solution available. I really like my 3D-printed caps, though and I think I'm going to stick with them. I can PM the stl-file if someone is interested in printing their own caps.
  12. Oh my. The scope is beginning to sound more unconvincing the more I read your experiences. A loose primary is definitely not something I want to be dealing with. My C8 had a loose secondary due to poor design of the gasket between the secondary mirror and corrector plate, I had to order a new gasket all the way from Starizona in the U.S. Thank you all for your replies! This might be steering me to take a look on some other scopes.
  13. Canon has a wide range of IS binoculars, up to 18x50, I recall. If your budget can allow the price, go for it. You wouldn’t believe how much more detail can be seen when the image isn´t shaking all the time. Besides image stabilisation, the optical quality itself is also good. It is not ED-glass, but still provides very sharp views. These are also excellent for daytime observing, birding, for instance. Oh and the bins are made in Japan. Many camera shops have a pair in stock, I recommend you go and try them to see it yourself.
  14. Here are some pictures of my pair of binoculars. They are Canon 10x30 IS II and I got to say that I couldn’t be more pleased with them. Despite their small aperture they have already showed me many things I had never seen with a handheld binocular. Albireo is an easy split, as is many other double star. Wide field stargazing is simply awesome. M33, M81, and many other deep sky objects are within reach. The amount of detail seen on the Moon seems endless. Saturn can be seen as an ellipsoid. I’ve never seen the rings with 10x magnification before! The image stabilisation really makes a difference! There’s no going back for me Storing the Canons in a small Pelican case (colored yellow so you won’t lose it in the dark) makes them a great go-anywhere no-excuses grab and go setup. The only downside I can think of is the lack of objective lens caps. I had to 3D print my own.
  15. Thank you all for the replies! It really seems like a mixed bag. I might be inclined to go for the 1/4th wave Standard version, due to the more reasonable price. I understand that this would be somewhere near “Sky-Watcher -level” in terms of optical quality. At this price point I’d expect the UK-made OMC to be mechanically superior to Chinese made Skymax etc. but from your comments it seems that this might not be the case after all? Alan, was any of your scopes a CF version? If so, what are your thoughts on image stability and cool down? John, I am concerned that the CF tube might cause a lot more thermal issues compared to an aluminium tube. This combined with the behaviour you described wouldn’t be a good combination. I have experienced the same issue on much larger catadioptrics, such as C11, though. How long was the cool down time on your scope? Peter, how do you find the focuser knob placement awkward? Is it too close to the visual back? Stu, thanks for the advice on collimation. I’ve never needed to collimate a Mak before. Having read a few articles on the issue I know it requires quite a bit of accuracy to get it right. Where I live, the used market for such scopes is very narrow or even non-existent, so the only choice for me would be buying a new one.
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