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Celestron Sky Prodigy?


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Does anyone know if this is any good? It's amazingly light, which really attracts me as I have mobility problems and a lot of equipment is impossibly heavy. And it's within my budget, too. But will it really give a good observing experience?

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The Celestron SE scopes are similar in weight but much cheaper. To align the SE you only have to point it at a couple of bright stars and then you can zoom to anything in the sky. It takes three minutes, and you pay hundreds extra with the sky prodigy to avoid this step.

I know a wheelchair user on the forum owns an 8SE and praises it highly.

Edited by Ags
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With a lot of scopes, most of the weight is in the mount, and it appears from reading reviews that the Sky Prodigy mount is perhaps overly light for the goto and tube. I recently bought an ETX125 as I wanted something lighter for occasional viewing and I can carry it fully assembled, unlike my Newtonian which requires a transport system. The ETX has a very good, well sorted and stable tripod which can be set up in seconds, something which may be important for you, so whichever scope you consider, check out the mount for weight, rigidity and ease of assembly as a first priority.

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Thanks for the tip. I have been having a look at them. The very reputable German Astroshop has a Prodigy Schmid-Cassegrain on special offer for 999 Euros and a Maksutoff for 833 euros, both including tripod, Goto, etc. etc. And the S-C only weighs 10kg, whereas the comparable 6SE weighs 18kg and the 8SE weighs 21kg. They're both more expensive than the Prodigy too, even though they're also on special offer - but they have more in the Databank and some extra accessories ... and the 8SE is just overall bigger. I'm not happy about buying 2nd hand - I could only do it on-line, there's no market here in Lux., and there's too much that can go wrong :-( Further advice much appreciated ...

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Sorry, that reply was for Agnes, I got interrupted and didn't see Ken's post until the page refreshed. I will look at the Meade ETX as well, speed of assembly is important obviously, as well as stability, but being able to move the assembled scope and mount would be good too ;-)

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Hi Naomi,

Have a good look at the Meade tripod. It's very well thought out and compared to my EQ mount it's feather-light. Some of the Celestron mounts seem to follow a similar design path. If you have any sort of mobility problem, then this is the sort of system you should be looking at. Minimum effort, maximum rigidity. You don't want every observing session to be an expedition.

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Naomi, as an add-on, I'm not necessarily advocating the ETX, it's the overall set-up that I'm suggesting could work for you. I don't know what sort of mobility problems you have, but a short tube Mak as opposed to a Dob or Newt is going to be easier to handle, and I think you should look at the available systems and compare weight and portability.

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The scopes themselves are pretty good, The system seems very good. it's the price that most people balk at. my guess is if you can afford it you can probably have a bit of fun with it. A similar weight scope that's a lot cheaper is the celestron slt series

Edited by rowan46
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I'm pretty sure the 8SE only weighs 15kgs. The difference in weight relative the the sky prodigy comes from the more stable tripod the SE series uses.

The prices you quote for the sky prodigies are lower than I recall, but isn't the mak a 90mm instrument? That really is very small. As for the 6 inch sky prodigy, that is effectively placing a fairly large instrument on a lightweight SLT mount - I wonder whether the mount is up to the job and how wobbly the views would be.

Edited by Ags
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That really is very small. As for the 6 inch sky prodigy, that is effectively placing a fairly large instrument on a lightweight SLT mount - I wonder whether the mount is up to the job and how wobbly the views would be.

The SE mount that comes with the 6SE is a good solid mount with the 6" SCT on it... I'd shudder to think what it's like on the old SLT tripod :eek:

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Thanks to everyone for the useful information. What's the difference between an SE mount and an SLT mount - what do the letters stand for? (I'm afraid I'm very ignorant!)

About the weight, I'm going on the info in the technical spec pages on the Astroshop web-site - also it might be a different/newer model I suppose? The only thing with 8 SE in the name is "Celestron Schmidt-Casegrain Teleskop SC 203/2032 Nexstar 8 SE GoTo". It costs 50% more than the Sky Prodigy, which is much reduced on special offer, but of course it's 200mm not 150m - I was looking at the Sky Prodigy S-C because as Agnes points out, the Mak is only 90mm, which seems a bit small.

The Meade ETX tripod weighs 5 kg, according to Astroshop. I have mailed them to ask whether "total weight" in the telescope specs includes the tripod where there one offered with it. I have a Triton FGX-1 tripod (from Astroshop) which I use wiith my bins. It weighs 3,7kg and can carry up to 11 kg and is amazingly solid. So theoretically it could carry the 10kg Sky Prodigy. But I'd need a completely different head, I suppose?

Thanks again for your help,

Naomi

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