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celestron nexstar 102 slt ?


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HI my sister is looking to buy a telescope and I would also be using it to atatch my camera to for astrophotography. We are looking at the celestron nexstar 102 slt scope. We are looking at a good allrounder scope for the moon,planets and some deep sky. My questions......

1... Is this a good begineers scope? what should I expect to see from it?

2... Is it any good for photographing planets? I understand that it may not be so good for deep sky phptography.

3... For deep sky photography would it be better to piggy back the camera to the scope and just use my 300mm lens?

Thanks.

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1. It's certainly not bad. You should be able to see pretty much all of the Messier objects as well as all of the planets out as far as Saturn. You might be able to see Uranus, but I wouldn't really fancy your chances with Neptune.

2. It should be possible to get images of some of the planets, though I'd not pin your hopes on Saturn for a few years. You'll need a suitable webcam type camera. There are lots of threads about this. The more aperture you have the better, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. You could use it for lunar and solar (with a filter) imaging with your DSLR, too.

3. The mount doesn't really work the right way to allow the kind of exposures you'd need for DSO imaging. I'm not sure I can see a way you could make that work at the moment.

But for the imaging side I'd probably suggest a completely different scope that would cost less, such as the 200P dobsonian, but space for storage, weight, convenience and tracking are also factors that don't necessarily mean it's the right scope for your sister.

James

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Hi,

I recently bought the Nexstar 4se last week as my second scope, my other being a 70az refractor by Celestron. I've only got to use it a couple of times due mainly to the weather however I think this is a perfect telescope to start out on. It's a tad expensive compared to the skywatcher Maks (which are made by the same company). The 127 skymax by skywatcher is actually cheaper than this telescope but from what I hear the mount is not as good. I probably would have purchased the skymax myself had I not come across a deal for the 4se.

From my limited use so far I can say that I am very happy with this scope and have no regrets as yet. I would say your sister should go for it. I've literally just added a new album of some shots I took of the moon using just a point & shoot mounted to an eyepiece. The stock 25mm E/P which comes with this scope is very good indeed.

Hope this helps. I'll try to answer any questions as best I can though bear in mind I've only owned the 4se for about a week!

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Forgot to mention, I was up early last Saturday morning and got a chance to view Jupiter with some clear skies when I was up visiting my parents in Suffolk. I saw 4 of Jupiters moons with the stock 25mm E/P and saw a couple of bands when I doubled up using a 2 x Barlow. I was impressed with the view but that's probably not surprising considering I've only got the 70mm refractor to compare it to.

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Another happy 4SE user here! If your sister has the patience she can try some widefield deep sky stuff with a 4SE: you can tilt the mount so it moves parallel to the earth's axis (equatorially). This lets you get exposures over a minute with lenses up to about 135mm. Take enough of these with the right lenses and you will capture some objects - but the pictures won't compare to those taken with better mounts and equipment.

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I have a Nexstar 102 SLT which I use as my holiday scope for imaging. I would recommend it. I added some skywatcher tube rings so that the balance can be adjusted by sliding the tube up much more than the tiny dovetail it comes with allows. These also have the advantage of having a camera thread on them so you can just mount your camera + lens and do wide field shots. Yes, it is an alt-az mount, so you are limited to about 30s sub-exposures for imaging, but this is fine for most Messier objects.

I have some images here: http://www.dur.ac.uk/nigel.metcalfe/astro/slt_canon.php

Look for the ones labelled SLT, these were taken on the alt-az mount (the other are with the tube on an HEQ5).

NigelM

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Just realised I've been banging on about the 4se when your actually talking about a 102mm refractor. My bad, sorry!

No worries I wondered what was going on! My understanding is that certain scopes are better for certain things.Can you tell me more.What are reflectors,refractors and casgarain scopes good for induvidually?

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I have a Nexstar 102 SLT which I use as my holiday scope for imaging. I would recommend it. I added some skywatcher tube rings so that the balance can be adjusted by sliding the tube up much more than the tiny dovetail it comes with allows. These also have the advantage of having a camera thread on them so you can just mount your camera + lens and do wide field shots. Yes, it is an alt-az mount, so you are limited to about 30s sub-exposures for imaging, but this is fine for most Messier objects.

I have some images here: http://www.dur.ac.uk...o/slt_canon.php

Look for the ones labelled SLT, these were taken on the alt-az mount (the other are with the tube on an HEQ5).

NigelM

These are great photos NigelM! Tell me the ones marked SLT are they a series of shotos or one long exposure? Was the camera mounted to the eyepeice or piggybacked?
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Reflectors- cheapest per inch for apparture because of this they make the best dso hunters

achro refractor eg celestron slt 102 generally used for wide field or if long focal length make good planetary scopes they have the advantage of low maintenance but at shorter focal lengths as in the 102 have a fair bit of false colour around bright objects.

Apo refractor - the most expensive type of telescope easy maintenance good for imaging no false colour.

Maks and sct's (catadioptrics) Easy maintenance most portable per inch of apparture no false colour, but very long focal lengths make them difficult to image DSO's with except with reducers and very good mounts. They are however excellent on planets and make very good planetary imaging scopes on alt az mounts. Maks need slightly less maintenance but require a slightly longer cool down time than sct's.

This is a very abbreviated list of pro's and cons,

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Hi,

I have the SLT102 and I think it's a great scope. I haven't tried the planets with a webcam so can't comment on that. I have taken pleasing shots of the moon with a Canon DSLR connected with a T ring adapter. I've also taken some <30s DSO images and they came out ok. As others have said it's not suitable for serious DSO work with te supplied alt-az mount but if you want a scope to have a go with and for great visual observing I'd recommend it.

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I added some skywatcher tube rings so that the balance can be adjusted by sliding the tube up much more than the tiny dovetail it comes with allows. These also have the advantage of having a camera thread on them so you can just mount your camera + lens and do wide field shots.

Nigel - I'm interested to know exactly which tube rings you have and where you got them from as I am currently sliding the SLT dovetail in the mount and only just managing balance with my 2" diagonal :)

Thanks.

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I have a Nexstar 102 SLT which I use as my holiday scope for imaging. I would recommend it. I added some skywatcher tube rings so that the balance can be adjusted by sliding the tube up much more than the tiny dovetail it comes with allows. These also have the advantage of having a camera thread on them so you can just mount your camera + lens and do wide field shots. Yes, it is an alt-az mount, so you are limited to about 30s sub-exposures for imaging, but this is fine for most Messier objects.

I have some images here: http://www.dur.ac.uk...o/slt_canon.php

Look for the ones labelled SLT, these were taken on the alt-az mount (the other are with the tube on an HEQ5).

NigelM

I am amazed you got those images with an alt-az mount. What length exposures were you using and how much longer did you go for on the heq5?

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Nigel - I'm interested to know exactly which tube rings you have and where you got them from as I am currently sliding the SLT dovetail in the mount and only just managing balance with my 2" diagonal

Yes - that was the problem I had. I can't remember where I bought the rings, but everyone sells them. I got the 101mm Skywatcher versions as listed by FLO (others call them 102mm):

http://www.firstligh...tube-rings.html

I also used a longer dovetail. This (and the rings) fit over the existing one (which is fastened to the tube) without any problems.

http://www.firstligh...ing-plates.html

I used the Skywatcher 21cm one (I had one spare, as it happened). This gives you a good range to slide over for balance. The only tedious bit is that you have to remove (one set of) the bolts which attach the dovetail to the tube rings if you want to slide the dovetail on or off the SLT mount (I guess you could just take the tube off and leave the rings attached, but it is easier to transport if you leave the rings on the tube).

The other 'extra' I have fitted is a Skywatcher motor focuser. If you want to do photography this is very handy.

NigelM

Edited by dph1nm
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I am amazed you got those images with an alt-az mount. What length exposures were you using and how much longer did you go for on the heq5?

All the SLT one's are 30s sec subs (with a Canon1000D at prime focus). I do have to throw some subs away which are double images (it happens!) but I tend to ignore any short trailing (of which there can be a lot) and stack anyway. It all seems to average out and give fairly round images at the end. Obviously the final resolution isn't the best the telescope could provide, so it pays to scale down the images a bit and not keep the full camera resolution, but I have always been pleasantly surprised by the results.

With the 102 (plus Canon 1000D) on the HEQ5 I can get maybe 1m 30s or 2min subs before the periodic error gets me (this is without autoguiding), so only 3-4 times as long.

Nigel

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  • 3 years later...

OK - I know this thread is a bit old, but I have an SLT 102, which is my second scope.  Following some of the ideas here, I have added the Skywatcher rings and 8" dovetail, pretty easy to do actually.  However, I am finding it difficult to achieve good balance with a heavy 2" eyepiece in play and in the dark I don't fancy shifting the tube up and down whilst I change eyepieces over.  Also, I am worried this is putting a bit of a strain on the mount motor.  How have others experienced this and is it worth considering a heftier mount? Many thanks.

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