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Found 20 results

  1. Hi all. I have just bought a Celestron 18771-CGL power tank to allow me to get out to the dark skies of the South Downs with my Nexstar 8SE. This is a great bit of kit because it's so light and portable and powers the scope for hours no problem. However, I've also been thinking about getting a dew heater and the only downside of the power tank is it's lack of a second 12v output. I was looking on the First Light Optics website and they sell a DC splitter cable to allow two devices to be powered from a single output. I'm not an electrician obviously, but logical tells me if the dew heater controller is also a 12v device there should be no problem running both the scope and the heater at the same time other than draining the battery faster. Is anyone using a splitter cable in this way? Or can anyone confirm my logic is flawed?
  2. 6th December 2015 Equipment: NexStar 8SE Time: 01:00 - 03:45 During the imaging of Barnard33 through the OIII filter using the 80mm refractor, I setup the 8SE on the single arm alt-az mount for observing. Orion Nebula looked great and bright through just the eyepiece but when using the UHC filter it was detailed and awesome. The shape of the nebula was clearly visible, the fishes mouth and the mustache shaped extends were very distinctly brighter than the reminder of the nebula. There was a lot of the nebulosity visible starting to take on the shape of the "flame" as photographed except it was more rounded. The four stars in the trapezium were bright and distinct. The second object I was looking for to observe was the globular cluster 47Toucana. When I located, it was not in the database of the NexStar 8SE hand controller (atleast not as 47Toucana), it looked dimmer that I was expecting. I spend a bit of time looking at the globular through both the 40mm eye piece and the 11mm Nagler... Both showed a dim image of the globular. Through the 11mm I did see some granulation and irregularly speckled stars extending out from the core. I did a "identify object" scan on the hand controller and it come up as NGC362 and the next nearest object was NGC265 in the list. Looking up the objects NGC362 is magnitude 8 and 47Toucana NGC104 is magnitude 5.8. Both of these objects should be a lot brighter in the eyepiece than the object I was observing and struggling, just barely resolving stars around the globular. That point brings me to the next nearest object, NGC265. In StarWalk it's shown to be magnitude 12.5 and when squinting and de focussing my vision on the shown picture it definitely resembles the shape, brighter/denser core and speckled stars at the outer edges. It also makes a lot more sense for it to be so dim in the FOV when looking at it through a telescope with a maximum resolving power of magnitude 14.5. So I think I was actually looking at NGC265, and not 47Tucana or NGC362. The reason why the catalog on the NS8 hand controller shown NGC362 as a first choice if because the object was manually found after locating the constellation Toucana, the three objects are close together, the NS8 has very little objects in this part of the sky in the database and the star alignment might have been a few degrees off. The reason I didn't look up the data and thought the NGC362 was the Globular cluster 47Toucana is because I didn't want to turn on the iPhone or the iPad and destroy my night adapted vision...REMINDER: GET RED FILM FOR IPHONE AND IPAD. 47Toucana needs to be looked for and observed another night.... So does NGC362 for that matter and compare to NGC265 to confirm the above theory. The next object I wanted to find and observe for the first time was the Horsehead nebula. Reading others observation about the Horsehead, some claim to have spotted it in 4" refractors from dark skies, I though that I might have a chance from my semi dark location. I located Alnitak and looked for any hint of the Horsehead or Flame nebulae with no luck, than I spend a few minutes looking for the nebulae using UHC and OIII filters with no luck. I rushed a bit using the UHC and OIII since it's commonly documented that a h-beta filter is the best filter to spot it. Through the h-beta filter Alnitak was still quite bright but the background was a lot darker, but I still couldn't spot either the Flame or the Horsehead nebulae. I've spend a fair bit of time looking for it through both the 40mm and 11mm eyepieces but at the end before I gave up I still couldn't spot any of them. When I brought my head up and looked at the sky toward Orion's Belt, it was quite obvious that my sight was quite dark adapted since the sky was glowing, it was almost milky bright... I put not seeing the Horsehead nebula down to the sky glow being much too bright for it to come through. The hunt will need to continue another night. The last object I observed was The Carina Nebula. As previously the Carina nebula is a sight to behold, it is definitely my favorite nebula to observe along with the Orion Nebula. It looks stunning through the UHC filter and 11mm eyepiece, the detail in the brightest arm was visible clearly, although not as defined as the last time I looked at it, but close. Through the 40mm eyepiece and the f6.3 focal reducer, there was a lot of the nebula visible in the FOV. Not only the brightest arm, but also the other two features that starts to make the "storm trooper face" shape. This is another object that I always spend a considerable time observing through various magnifications. Both the Orion and Carina nebulae have a slight blue-gray color look to them through the UHC filter which gives it a almost painted appearance. Tonight I was not going to get stopped by dew like last time I was observing so I ran a RCA loom from the CGEM and through a gender changer connected the 8SE dew heater strap, seems to have done the trick since there was no dewing of the optics. The seeing was quite still tonight but as dark adaption revealed, the sky glow was quite bright. Toward the end of the observing session some thin cloud patches were coming and going, not interfering with the imaging. Tonight was definitely a great night of observing. MG
  3. I have been doing visual observing since I got my 8SE about a year ago, but I've been intrigued by the possibility of seeing a bit more (at least on my laptop screen). I got a 224MC and captured some images of Europa transiting Jupiter last night. The seeing was just average and I was on my back patio in light polluted suburban skies. This hardly matches the amazing images I've seen here on SGL, but I had some fun creating them. I followed the terrific image processing tutorials here: http://planetaryimagingtutorials.com/ I used Firecapture to capture both Jupiter and the globular cluster (M3), stacked in AutoStakkert, then enhanced a little in Registax. I did not use a barlow for Jupiter or my 0.5x reducer for M3. In my eyepiece with the light pollution and neighbor's porch lights, I could barely make out the smudge of M3 to center it in my EP. I was surprised it was so clear in the 224MC.
  4. I finally took the plunge and ordered myself a Really Useful Box 84ltr, it fits the 8SE including the original packaging, with a little room to spare. I quibbled over the price, RRP is £35, but I managed to get one from Amazon Warehouse deals for £16 (currently they are £18.50 new on Amazon). I had to remove my 9x50 finder scope in order to fit the top half of the packing, but that's OK as it's on a quick-release shoe; the red dot finder prevents the top half of the packing from going fully down, I may make a cut-out to allow this to fit snugly. I had to do a small amount of cutting of the packing to allow for my Baader Steeltrack focuser, which is considerably larger than the original back but still fits inside the Really Useful Box with at least an inch to spare. I will need to pack the side gaps (less than two inches with the packing) but otherwise it should be a nice snug and safe transport box. At last, I feel confident enough to take my precious 8SE out in the car with me! This might also accommodate a 9.25 SCT.
  5. Finally, I think I've cracked it. I'd always had some dicky power connection problems with my 8SE mount, and even after replacing the plug on the end of my SkyTron power cable with one that I believed was a better fit, it still showed problems. I ordered matching plug and socket from Maplins, but even then it was all too easy to lose power from just the slightest tug on the cable. While I had the mount apart (the power socket and switch are on a convenient panel which unscrews - it is not necessary to dismantle the whole mount to remove this panel, it is just a couple of screws) I had a closer look at the socket.. no wonder it is so easily disrupted, the main center pin is fine, it's the pathetic small outer contact that is the problem; it doesn't connect to the main metal part of the socket chassis as I expected, but is a small contact right at the bottom of the socket, meaning that the slightest movement could break the contact. This may be fine for most applications of this socket type but where there is a chance that the cable may be snagged it is a terrible choice in my opinion. I had read somewhere about replacing it with a BNC connection, or saw another scope that used one, something like that, so that is exactly what I have done. One order of matching BNC socket and plug from Maplin's later... Maplin parts: http://www.maplin.co...sis-socket-1570 http://www.maplin.co...onnector-476116 (despite the picture on the Maplin website, it is silver in colour and not gold) I needed to make my own hole in the plastic panel but this was easy enough to do with a small drill bit and some needle files to finish it off; I was careful to trim the hole so that it has a flat edge for the BNC socket, otherwise it would be possible to rotate the BNC socket which would make using it more difficult. One trick I missed but got lucky with was marking which wire goes to the center pin (positive), I had to take a guess at their relative positions as I had removed the old socket. If I were to do it again, I would mark the wire with a red marker pen or such as they are fairly nondescript grey ribbon cable wires that disappear into the mechanism. I made sure that I applied heat shrink to all of the connections to prevent any dew droplets from causing a short. A quick test and it all works, the connection is rock solid and I believe should never break under normal conditions. The wire would probably get pulled out of the BNC plug before it broke due to the BNC losing connection! Perhaps that is a slight loss of a 'safety feature', but in my experience if the cable is wrapped around it will be pulling sideways and would not pull the plug out of the socket, if I snag my foot on the cable, well that would be my hard cheese. It should be noted that I am fairly competent with a soldering iron, but if you can solder small wires together neatly then that should be all the skills required. I'll probably plug the hole with something. I'm optimistic that this should be the end of the power problem, only time will tell, the real test will be at 12am on a cold January morning.
  6. From the album: Lunar and Planetary Images

    Jupiter and Io 04.03.2015 using DMK21AU04.AS Monochrome CCD onto Celestron NexStar 8SE. Video stacked in RegiStax6. One of a series of 1-2 minute videos taken on my first imaging attempt of Jupiter.

    © Vicky050373

  7. Hi All, I was lucky to have had a night of particularly clear and crisp seeing. I was planning on doing nothing more than observing tonight but after seeing nice steady and detailed views of Mars and Saturn at a magnification of 406X in my 8SE I was told by missus that I will regret it if I don't image these planets tonight.. I'm glad that I did. I'm stoked with the results so I'm sharing them with you. It does go to show that seeing and collimation are extremely important when imaging. Thanks for looking. Mariusz
  8. Hi all, I thought I'd share my observation from this night. At approximately 22:00 local time I was already setup and ready to image Mars and Saturn. As I'm using a mirror diagonal for framing/searching purposes I looked through it and focused using my 40mm LV eyepiece. What I saw in the eyepiece took my breath away. The disc was massive and detailed. I stack Baader Contrast Booster and Neodymium filters for planetary viewing since it does make a considerable difference in revealing detail and increasing contrast. Mars showed a big disc with two CLEARLY visible patches on both the "north" and "south" (equivalent to earth location polar cap regions). There was a clearly visible dark greenish borders around the white patches. The bottom part was white and crisp with a irregular dark greenish patching bordering it from the pinky orange center of the planet. The equator region showed some dark markings around where, I think, Olympus Mons is located. Now I'm not saying that I spotted Olympus Mons in my 8" SCT but I'm thinking, and hoping, maybe... there was definitely something there along with other more subtle spots and shades. This was hands down the best view of Mars I've ever seen. After Mars I had a look at Saturn, it was big and clear although it was not the clearest I've ever seen. Last year I had a clear view of Saturn's cloud bands and a crisp Cassini division surrounded by 5 of its moons (that was the best view of Saturn I ever experienced). This time the Cassini division was there but not as defined as before and any cloud bands were a struggle to see, and the Cassini division was coming and going. There were 4 moons around it glistening in the dark. I know some of you might be wondering why I have seen such big discs using only a 40mm eyepiece. The magnification was at least 250X-300X judging by the size of Saturn in my past experience near opposition using nothing but eyepieces and a diagonal. The reason why the magnification was so high with the 40mm was because it was a bit of a distance away from the visual back and I was also using a Celestron 2X barlow, due to me being setup to do planetary imaging. The lineup was a 2X barlow, 1.25"-2" adapter, a Vixen flip mirror, on the mirror the 40mm eyepiece, and behind the flip mirror were a filter wheel and a IS 618 CCD as shown in the pic. Does anyone know how to work out the actual focal length in a setup situation like this? The pictures didn't come out as crisp as I though they would after the seeing I was experiencing, I'm thinking that the line up caused a bit too much magnification. When I tried the 2.5X power mate the magnification was less, about 60% of the size with the Celestron 2X barlow, I think the TV 2.5X powermate should be labelled 1.5X. I didn't capture any images through the PM due to Mars moving out of the optimal imaging position, coming down with Bronchitis and starting to freeze through my layers of jumpers so I ended my session. The views I had I will definitely remember for a long time and I'm looking forward to the next Mars opposition since it'll be another 38% closer and again will move through the zenith visible from my location... now thinking about a 16" dob for those views!!! Thanks for reading, Mariusz
  9. Hello, Super newbie here. Clearly I am doing something wrong and I am not sure what it is. I have a new Celestron 8SE. I have been successful conducting the StarAlign. I then use one of the functions to go to Mars or a star in a constellation - the telescope slews over to the location, lands on it, stops.... then rapidly starts slewing away so the telescope ends up inverted. It comes all the way over the top, starts pointing the scope downward and then stops. Help. Scott
  10. From the album: Lunar and Planetary Images

    Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. Taken using QHY5L-II colour planetary camera and 8SE, using a Celestron X-Cel LX 2 x barlow. All AVIs stacked in RegiStax6 and processed in PS Elements 11 (composite image)

    © vicky050373

  11. From the album: DSO, Nebula, Galaxies, Comets etc

    M97 The Owl Nebula in Ursa Major 24.03.2017 Celestron 8SE and Atik 314L monochrome CCD camera 20 x 300 seconds stacked in DSS and processed in PhotoShop CS2

    © vicky050373

  12. Hi all, I have been lucky enough to have been purchased an 8SE for my birthday. Shameful to admit but this was 2 years ago and my competence has not increased much. Partly because I don't get a lot of time to play! Every now and then, I take the scope out in earnest for some star based escapism. The trouble is, my lack of scope skills means that I dont escape very far! I have never got on with the hand control of the 8SE. I have watched a lot of videos and read the instructions and the three star align process fails me most times. I read a post on here about making sure that the two 'index' stickers are aligned when attaching the OTA, which I have done. I have done what I can to make sure that the settings are all correct, including time, location etc. To overcome these frustrations, I purchased the WiFi attachment to be used with the SkyPortal app. This configuration has been a lot more successful! I manage to align the scope using three stars each and every time - progress at last! I have slewed to the ring nebula, hit Andromeda without any problems. I'm finally getting to enjoy the cosmos! However, all is not perfect. I slew to Andromeda, have a 5 minute gander at it and then use the 'best tonight' database to slew to something else. This is where it goes wrong. The scope slews to the earth. The on-screen scope location cross also shows it to be pointing at the earth, yet I told the scope to go to Vega. It tried to slew 360 and I had to stop it before the eyepiece smashed into the aux cable. Why would the scope do this? Handset software out of date? Scope set up incorrectly? If this sounds like a classic dumb dumb error, please let me know. I'm starting to think my scope is faulty and my lack of experience means I have no way of telling. Thanks to any helpful tips in advance. Aaron
  13. I had decent conditions last night and took a few images with my 8SE and 224MC camera. Stacked in AS2, used Photoshop for some enhancement. I added some labels too. Thanks for looking.
  14. I just bought a used Celestron 8 SE (got a great deal) and when I first looked at Saturn with it, it was blurry and there was even a double image. That's probably why the previous owners were able to part with the scope. I tried daytime collimation following this procedure: http://www.mira.org/ascc/pages/lectures/collim.htm But it did not work for me. Tonight I looked at Saturn again and it was still blurry (perhaps slightly better than before). So pointed at Antares, switched to my high power 7mm lens (286x power), brought it out of focus, and noticed the concentric rings were not circular (tell tale sign, of course, of poor collimation). I used my little screw driver to tweak the 3 screws in the center obstruction, and after a little trial and error, my rings were circular. It really wasn't very difficult at all and probably took me about 15 minutes. Many of you know more than I do about collimation, but in case someone is interested in trying this for the first time on their scope, I have some advice: -- turn on tracking so your target star stays centered in the field of view -- make tiny adjustments and then check your progress -- make adjustments symmetrically (i.e., if you are adjusting in the up-down axis and loosen the bottom screw, then tighten the top screw slightly too) -- use your red flashlight and move slowly and deliberately (you don't want to accidentally poke your screw driver somewhere it shouldn't go) -- the seeing does't have to be perfect (it wasn't for me tonight) Once I finished collimating my 8 SE, I set up my 127 SLT (which I am trying to sell) and pointed both scopes at Saturn. The collimation worked and the 8 SE was in sharp focus! The 127 SLT does amazingly well at showing Saturn despite its 5" aperture, but the view in the 8SE was clearly superior. I could see more detail in the cloud belts, could see 4 moons instead of just 2, and also make out the border between the B and C rings. Vibrations in the 8 SE, caused for example by adjusting the focus knob, are still suboptimal but clearly better dampened than they are in the 127 SLT. As for portability, I can carry the 127 SLT back into my house with one hand. You can't beat that in portability! While it does take me two hands to move the 8 SE, it's not heavy. There's no need to separate the mount from the optical tube. I plan just carry the whole thing in and out of the house when I want to observe. So my three takeaways tonight are that collimation isn't difficult, the 127 SLT is a very nice scope for the money, and lastly that I will enjoy the even better 8 SE immensely.
  15. MarsG76

    Skyris Saturn

    From the album: Solar System Objects

    Saturn captured at f20 on 28th July 2015 using Celestron Skyris 618C.

    © Mariusz Goralski

  16. From the album: DSO, Nebula, Galaxies, Comets etc

    M1 The Crab Nebula 30.12.2016 Taken using Atik 314L monochrome CCD and Celestron 8SE SCT telescope 10 x 300 seconds H-alpha, 10 x 300 seconds OIII and 10 x 300 second darks Narrowband data assigned to colour channels to give a bi-colour image and lightly processed in PS

    © vicky050373

  17. From the album: Lunar and Planetary Images

    Had another look at my files and I seem to have got a bit more detail out. Thank you everyone for your advice. Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. Taken using QHY5L-II colour planetary camera and 8SE, using a Celestron X-Cel LX 2 x barlow. All AVIs stacked in RegiStax6 and processed in PS Elements 11 (composite image)

    © vicky050373

  18. Vicky050373

    Saturn 01.05.2016

    From the album: Lunar and Planetary Images

    Using QHY5L-II colour planetary camera and 8SE on NEQ6 Pro SynScan. 4 x 500 frame AVIs, joined and processed in PIPP to centralise image and then stacked in RegiStax6 to select best 25% of frames. It's my first attempt at imaging Saturn, so I'm happy to have an observation for my scrapbook

    © vicky050373

  19. From the album: DSO, Nebula, Galaxies, Comets etc

    M97 The Owl Nebula in Ursa Major 24.03.2017 Celestron 8SE and Atik 314L monochrome CCD camera 20 x 300 seconds stacked in DSS and processed in PhotoShop CS2

    © vicky050373

  20. From the album: Vicky's Astronomy Gear

    Celestron NexStar 8SE OTA with Canon 100D on NEQ6 Pro SynScan mount

    © Vicky050373

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