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Cjg

First and Second Light with a Nexstar 5 SE

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A month or so ago I was fortunate enough to acquire a Celestron 5SE from the FLO clearance thread.

Have delayed posting the first / second light because I'd hoped to have had more "eyepiece time" - sadly the skies have had other ideas, so here's my thoughts from 1st and second light.

Been stargazing for just over a year. I chose this scope to replace a 10” dobsonian that was physically too large to take in the car on holiday with family.

I also own a Skywatcher 102 short tube on the AZ GoTo mount

Wanted something with similar magnification to the Dob, but more portable, am not (yet) proficient at star hopping, so GoTo was a must. I also assist on Public Open evenings with my local Astro Society, so the tracking facility is highly useful as you can talk to the visitors without constantly having to nudge the scope back into position.

My garden at home has a fair amount of light pollution from neighbouring houses and two sodium-discharge streetlights that make it difficult to spot DSO.

It’s very easy to assemble the tripod and mount, attaching the mount to the top of the tripod takes a little practice to find the “sweet spot” in the dusk, but easily done.

Attaching the eyepiece tray which also braces the tripod legs is a bit of a faff; some Celestron images show the spring above the tray, but the instructions suggest fitting the spring (with steel washer) underneath the tray – which is how I assembled it.

Once set up, Venus was very bright in the sky and the only object visible, so powered up the scope and used solar align to put Venus in the centre of the supplied 25mm Plossi. Have never really seen Venus at a decent magnification, but was able to clearly view the crescent phase – unlike my refractor, there was no false colour.

Swapped eyepieces with the 8mm Celestron so at 156 times magnification, the image was perhaps a little “mushy” but great to view.

Once it had darkened enough to see Mars, I used the GoTo function, selected Mars and found the scope out by quite a bit once it had slewed. Think here that the Solar Align will be great for tracking one object on those evening when we start earlier and have just the one object visible until skies darken, but would not use it for anything else.

Once the skies had darkened sufficiently I used the Sky Align and chose Regulus, Procyon and Capella – this time the GoTo worked perfectly and I spent a few minutes going to various objects and getting acquainted with the handset menu options.

Once I could see Saturn above the roofline, I spent most of the rest of the evening with the 8mm eyepiece admiring the view, even at 156 x magnification, the system kept Saturn centred even whilst I went indoors to make a cup of tea and feed the cat!

I've had one truly epic evening at Seething where the skies played ball and saw The Wild Duck Cluster and the Swan Nebula. From a dark sky site, the 5SE is great, it's portable enough to carry in one go and yet has the magnification needed, with a reasonable amount of light gathering power.

I'd recommend buying the Lowepro type backpack to store and carry the scope, mine came from WEX and was £90 but am very happy knowing that it is well protected whilst stored and being carried from any bumps and scrapes.

The scope dews up very quickly, so you'll need a dew shied almost immediately.

Likes

Ease of set up, accuracy of GoTo and the magnification provided and portability.

Like less

The lens cap – it falls off too easily and leaves the front glass exposed – should bayonet or screw on perhaps.

The brace bolt / spring / washer - I can just see at the end of a long cold evening me undoing the bolt and hearing the spring ping off never to be seen again – tempted to paint it a bright yellow – what have other Nexstar users done?

Very pleased, great views, no colour fringing, decent sized objects in the eyepiece, am going to enjoy looking at the Globular Clusters when the nights are darker.post-13811-0-37109000-1340262455_thumb.j

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Solar align ?

pat

Not quite sure what you mean, but yes there is a "Solar Align" - useful in the early evening when there is perhaps just the moon or Venus visible to track.

You can also delve into the menu and activate a setting to allow you to align on the sun too.

HTH?

Chris

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Nice report - it's sounds like it will be a very useful and versatile scope for you and ideal for community use - big enough to show the sights!

andrew

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Thanks Andrew, yes I think so, and it's just about able to be backpacked so I can walk it to a darker site. Just waiting for the clear skies now, if they will ever arrive.

Chris

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Nice extensive report, well written.

Great little scopes these. :)

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Thanks for a nice report! I have had my 5SE for half a year now but have never taken it out to a really dark site. It performs really well on the planets and the moon from the city - not as well as an 8" dob but not far from. Good to hear that the views of the DSOs are good if you find a dark place. I really have to try that out once we get the dark nights back up here. It's certainly easier to carry around than my dob.

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Thanks for the replies - the scope does need updating in that I cannot find the "Repel Clouds" option from the menus on the handset!

Bring on the good whether purlease.

Chris

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So the 5SE has been my scope of choice for nearly two years now.

Has had countless people of all ages look through it. Last week at the dark(er) skies of Fairhaven Star Part and last night from the very bright grounds of the UEA at their Astrofest.

Seen the supernova in M82, and with averted vision a planetary nebula in M46, at high power.

One feature that makes this goto stand out over my skywatcher is the Precise GoTo. After aligning the scope, you can choose the precise goto function, to hunt down the harder to spot objects.

The power board failed, probably as a result of the damp conditions, combined with a case of duracells leaking.n (Sorted promptly by FLO.)

At Seething, I run it from a mains supply built into the pads, or use a power tank and rarely have alignment issues. The scope design is a dew magnet, a dew shield is a must have. I try to mount the tube and leave it pointing downwards with the rear cap off, to allow warm air to escape for a few minutes before you use.

If I were to have my time again, perhaps I'd go for the 6", but at the time they was a bigger price difference.

Chris

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Have you tried to use the included wedge to take short photos, if so how did it go?

Hi TrixieLoyalist,

No, not attempted any imaging with the scope; I don't think that the 5SE has good enough tracking for deep space objects (it's 1250mm focal length remember) perhaps for planetary imaging with a webcam, but not yet been tempted. Am still enjoying every minute as a visual observer. Might be worth asking on the imaging section to see if anyone else has?

Good luck.

Chris

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Thinking of the 5SE for my first scope, for the built in wedge alone - pity its not available on the 6/8SE.

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Thinking of the 5SE for my first scope, for the built in wedge alone - pity its not available on the 6/8SE.

Hi ER Man, before you buy this, may I suggest that you post a question on the astro imaging forum to see who is using it for astro photography?

The reason for my suggestion is that even with the wedge, I do not think that the mount is capable enough for deep sky imaging with such a relatively long focal length...happy to be corrected and it may be great for planetary imaging.

Good luck,

Chris

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Thanks for the great review , nice little scopes for sure .

On the cap falling off a couple of pieces of sticky back felt from a hardware store on the inside of the cap will fix that right up .

Brian.

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