Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

stargazine_ep3_banner.thumb.jpg.5533fb830ae914798f4dbbdd2c8a5853.jpg

tekkydave

Celestron Starsense on Nexstar 127 MAK

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I have posted in another thread that I have purchased a Celestron StarSense autoalign accessory so I thought I would create a dedicated topic to review it and feed back how I get on with it.

I got it from Rother Valley Optics for £295 although I think the price has now gone up to the RRP of £329. There was a slight delay in delivery due to low stock in the UK but to RVO's credit it was only a week which I thought was pretty good.

On unboxing I was suprised how much bigger it was than expected. It is very solidly built from good quality plastic and metal - no movement or flexing of the case when gripped or squeezed. In fact if you handle it with your eyes closed you would swear it was solid metal.

It is supplied with 2 mounting brackets. The one it comes fitted with is the larger of the two. You may need to change it to the smaller one depending on your scope.

According to the manual use the large bracket with:

  • All Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrains
  • All Celestron EdgeHDs
  • NexStar 4SE Maksutov-Cassegrain

and the small bracket with:

  • Celestron 6” f/8.3 Refractor
  • NexStar 102SLT Refractor
  • NexStar 127SLT Maksutov-Cassegrain
  • NexStar 130SLT Reflector
  • All Celestron Reflectors and Refractors Packaged with the Advanced VX Mount
  • All NexStar GT optical tube assemblies
  • Several other optical tubes from other manufacturers which use a similar finder dovetail base.

I have a NexStar 127SLT Maksutov-Cassegrain so needed to fit the smaller bracket.

The supplied manual gives very clear instructions with photographs that show you how to change the bracket. You need to loosen the allen screw holding the bracket in place and remove the lens shroud by unscrewing it in order to slide the bracket off but it is very simple. Just make sure you put the two large orange washers back either side of the small bracket when you slide it on. Then the lens shroud is screwed back on. It doesn't mention tightening up the allen screw once you have changed the bracket - hopefully most people would work that out for themselves. I wasn't sure what orientation to leave it in but assumed it would need to match the view the scope sees so I rotated it to match once it was attached to the OTA then tightened the screw.

There is also a replacement hand control which has the extra functionality to control the StarSense - this replaces the existing NexStar+ hand control and plugs into the same socket on the mount. A new cable is also supplied.

That's about it - here are some pictures showing how I changed the bracket and the StarSense mounted on my scope.

I'm waiting for a clear evening to try it out now. I'm hoping to video it in action as it aligns itself and if I manage I'll post the results in this topic.

I'd also be interested to hear from anyone else who has used it on the Nexstar 127 and especially what orientation they set the device to in it's bracket - perpendicular to the OTA or level with the horizon (so the logo on the back is horizontal). I'm not sure if it makes any difference - maybe the device adjusts for that when it solves the images it takes of the stars.

The StarSense as supplied with the large bracket fitted. (AA battery included for scale).

post-28249-0-53852100-1385823260_thumb.j

With the lens shroud and bracket removed.

post-28249-0-45819500-1385823350_thumb.j

With the small bracket fitted and lens shroud replaced. Note orange washers either side of bracket.

post-28249-0-64646400-1385823376_thumb.j

Attached to the OTA (The CDs are not part of my setup - just there to stop it rolling :grin: )

post-28249-0-65422400-1385823385_thumb.j

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My word, that thing looks huge on the 127 mak.

Good write up.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got one on order as well, didn't realise it was that big as its going on an 80mm, not that I'm bothered

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great piece, Dave. Will look forward to your review and thoughts once you have it up and running.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes me too, I look forward to reading how you find it. :smiley:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just waiting for some clear sky at the mo.

Sent from my Samsung G4S using Tapatalk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Managed to get out in the garden this evening to try out the StarSense accessory. I deliberately started out whilst it was still light to find out at what point the SS would start to see stars. I tried a few times between 16:30 and 17:00 with no luck. The new hand control has a 4-line display and takes about 20s to start up after powering on as it checks and initializes the SS before allowing the alignment. The alignment procedure is similar to the old HC - it asks you to enter your location and the time before setting off on its auto alignment procedure. It starts slewing to different areas of the sky then acquiring an image, sensing for stars and counting how many it could see. After 3 images it was just reporting "Not enough stars". At about 17:15 I could see 2 or 3 stars pricking through so I set it going again. This time it was locating about 50-100 stars in each image. After taking 3 images with sufficient stars it sat for about 30 seconds while it solved the images and finally reported the alignment was successful. The whole process took about 4 minutes. I then carried out the calibration step which only needs to be done once. This involves asking the mount to goto a star and checking if it is centred in the eyepiece. If not you simply adjust it to be centred then press Align again. The SS then knows the difference between the centre of its fov and the scope's. It stores this so in future it can correct for the difference. You then do a complete auto alignment process again and double check. This time I asked it to goto Capella and it was dead-centre of the eyepiece when I peered through. Pretty amazing really.

On the whole I'm very pleased with the SS. It does what it says on the tin with no fuss. If you can see a few of the brightest stars with the naked eye it will certainly see enough to be able to align. If I have any criticism it would be that on my scope it sticks out over the rear a bit - it can get in the way of your head when you look through the eyepiece. I got round this by rotating the diagonal clockwise so I was looking from the side slightly. This won't be an issue if I'm just using my DSLR on the back as I intend to. I tried taking some video of the alignment process but the light was very poor so it might be a bit rubbish. I'll post it up if it's half-decent and not just a grainy mess.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Came indoors cos I'm freezing. Still pretty good visibility out there folks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spot on, good write up.

Can't wait to get mine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was considering getting a SkySync accessory as well. Would I need to get a port splitter too as the StarSense is occupying the AUX port on the mount?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think so, if that is the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's nearly as big as the scope we was out the other night a guy had one it sort of took a bit of getting going took 3 attempts at the dark site but got there in the end ,people with out this system was up and running quicker but ,I see other people are loving the system am pier mounted at home so do not see the need for one how have you got on with yours ?

Pat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really impressed with it. It can see a lot more in the twilight than is possible with the naked eye. Now I have calibrated it I'm hoping in future all I will need to do is level the scope and it will align itself in a few minutes. I'm planning to control it from inside via cable and use my Canon DSLR to have a go at some imaging. Hopefully this will minimize the time spent setting up.

I'm also in the process of writing a program to set the date/time and location from the laptop so I may not need the SkySync after all. It is a tad expensive for what it is. The parts probably cost in the region of £20 to the manufacturer.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave,

I noticed you said the unit sticks out and gets in the way a tad, you can mount it the other way around so everything faces inward :smiley:

I posted a pic In my earlier thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really impressed with it. It can see a lot more in the twilight than is possible with the naked eye. Now I have calibrated it I'm hoping in future all I will need to do is level the scope and it will align itself in a few minutes. I'm planning to control it from inside via cable and use my Canon DSLR to have a go at some imaging. Hopefully this will minimize the time spent setting up.

I'm also in the process of writing a program to set the date/time and location from the laptop so I may not need the SkySync after all. It is a tad expensive for what it is. The parts probably cost in the region of £20 to the manufacturer.

Great to hear, I have the gps unit as you say a lot of niche market stuff is of the wall with the prices ,

Pat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brilliant write-up, Dave. Looks like the Starsense is a really useful tool and not just some gimmick. I am moving closer to getting one myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess it will look more in proportion on my C9.25 than my 127 SLT though. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave,

you can mount it the other way around so everything faces inward

It may just be me but I don't quite get what you mean.  :embarassed:

I have been trying to think about what you mean for a while now and I have given up as I can't quite visualize it.  :huh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hobsey. I understand. As you look at the starsense from the side fully assembled the mounting bracket is facing backwards, thus moving the camera unit backwards as well. If you remove the front of the camera and loosen the camera bracket then slide the bracket off and turn it around it will move the camera unit forwards when it is attached to the scope mounting shoe, so it wont get in the way when looking down your star diagonal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I see, I think.

Cheers for that, I will just have to have a play about when it arrives.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The small dovetail bracket is designed to only fit on the OTA one way round.  If you are determined it should be possible to turn the holder round on the OTA.

It's not been an issue for me, but scopes will vary.

It's my opinion that in a few years peering into finders and scopes to do an alignment will be seen as quaint and old fashioned.  More so than choosing not to use goto at all.

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By AstroMuni
      Hi,
      I have a Motor drive for the 130EQ and when I attach and switch it on it drives the RA axis. But once its attached its very difficult to move the OTA in the RA axis manually. Am I missing something? Is there a way to easily couple & decouple the motor so the OTA can be moved manually?
      Is there someone who uses one of these motors who can help me pls.
    • By jamesj01
      Hi everyone - juts purchased my first telescope and am asking for advice on what is best to be seen through this telescope as a starter - have already seen the moon and some distant stars and am comfortable with using all of the eye pieces included. What would anyone recommend?
    • By Matt1981g
      Hi 
      I’m attempting to get back into astronomy, previously owned a 150pl reflector but parted company with it several years ago, I like the idea of a Cassegrain style as one of the big factors Of letting the 150pl go. was storage and transportation of It! I am interested in mostly visual observations but would look to take a few pictures here and there OF planets and easy nebula/DSO., I feel that a Schmidt-Cassegrain would be the best suited, my main stumbling point is should I get the 5 or 6 version. Is the 6 under mounted? And is it worth the extra cash, obviously there’s a higher light gathering power on the 6 but would it be much better than the 5, I see that the % of lens obstruction on the seems high! As the secondary mirror looks to be the same size on both 40% vs 14%! Obstruction by area. Any guidance would be very appreciated. I’m not against the idea of upgrading the mount in the future to a eq5 maybe? But want in usable to start with.
       
    • By Vortex
      Hello all!
      A question for all you Starsense users out there ...
      When I do an auto align with Starsense, it duly goes through it's routine of moving the scope to different star targets and resolves each one fine (5 targets I believe).  Then it displays on the handset "StarSense Ready".
      At this point the telescope tube is always pointing in some random direction - is this how yours behaves after it finishes alignment ?  Just pointing at the last star it used as a target reference ?
       
      At this point I usually set my scope to go to it's "HOME" position, but whenever I "GOTO" a target it is never in the scopes eyepiece and I have to manually hunt around for it.  (Using a wide angled eyepiece).
      Should I just "GOTO" a target without going to "HOME" position first, or should it not matter ?
       
      NB - All this after precise Polar Alignment using Polemaster.
       
      Grateful for your input
       
      Many thanks
       
      Kind Regards
       
      V.
       
       
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.