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when do I say "enough is enough"

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Good day, ladies and gents.


I am quite new to the world of stargazing.   On a whim about 2 weeks ago,  I acquired a Celestron LCM 90 refractor scope-- at no cost ( saw it in an airline miles catalog).   As packaged, it included a 25mm and 9mm Kellnar eyepieces and a prism star diagonal.  


Since then, I dove into various forums and websites to read up on my new hobby.  I have seen a plethora of infomation to temper my expectations on the variety and quality of viewing I can expect from my new scope.   Naturally,  I have read  a lot about various designs of telescopes at various price points, and I have also seen tons of info on accessories into which I could pour my money to possibly improve my experience with my current telescope-- eyepieces (plossls and kellnars and orothoscopics of all shapes, sizes, and prices), better star diagonals, filters,  dew guns, mounts, etc. etc. etc.)


Since I acquired my scope, I have had very mediocre seeing conditions, but I have  viewed Mars and Saturn (which was quite exciting even though it was roughly the size of a large pinhead-- with rings, though!).   I have limited hopes of viewing deep space objects.


I would greatly appreciate  your sage advice.   Given the equipment described above,  what should and how much money should I put into my current equipment before I am "putting lipstick on a pig"?    Would moderate or premium eyepieces make a large difference with this scope for planetary and lunar viewing?  What are the "musts" that I might as well buy? 


I have a notion to do some very basic astrophotography-- I don't expect impressive  results-- just some lunar and planetary shots to show some pals.


I alreay picked up a power pack, and a Celestron X-cel 2x barlow.  Should I stop now and give up the astrophotography as a pipe dream?  


Any advice is welcome.  I apologize that topic is so scattershot. 



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Photography is definitely possible provided you choose your targets well. You can pop a webcam in there and do lunar and planetary imaging.

Good eyepieces make a big difference, the stock eyepieces tend not to be the best quality.

The big advantage with an eyepiece is that if you upgrade your scope you can still use the eyepieces in the new one :)

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Too much of a beginner to proffer advice but love the post!


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I usually advise to go to a star party, look through other peoples kit, look at the kit they use to image and process, and look at their images; find out from them about costs, ease of set up and transport, and maintenance. If you have a dslr, take that with you and see how that may work with other peoples kit.

New eye pieces will help, but i suspect the improvements will be small.

So i'd say:

- get out there and get to some star parties, make some local astronomy friends

- get to know the sky better

- put your "spare" money into a safe place so it's available when you decide how best to spend it.

I think that scope looks a good starter scope, but i wouldn't spend any more money pimping it up.

Good luck


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I agree the star party idea (or local astronomy club) is a good one. 

Get a feel for the hobby and see what is possible with different scopes and set up from others is a great way to progress.

Your current scope has a very short focal length so that means targets you look at in the sky appear small with the standard eyepieces (and/or webcam/dslr).

A barlow will help but a x2 barlow will only give you about x150 mag. Ideally x180 to x200ish is best for the planets (dependent on the conditions) so a higher power eyepiece might be an idea to start with.

A 7mm eyepiece with your x2 barlow would give x188 mag which would make the targets appear larger. 

Also if your light pollution is not too bad, try a scan through the milky way at the moment over head using the 25mm. 

The short focal length gives a nice wide field of view and that should make an amazing site of all those stars. 

I started with a small refractor and that first view of Saturn was what got me started, you cannot beat it!!!

However if you like the hobby and really want to progress aperture is usually king so you might find a larger scope (dependent on you circumstances and money) is the best way to "upgrade".

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When Hubble started producing images it was both a good thing for astronomy and a bad thing.

It got a lok of people interested, but a lot thought they would get the same images.

The Celestron LCM 90 actually looks fairly good for a start.

Really better eyepieces will help but as you say not worth going to the extremes.

The scope has a 660mm focal length so it is not one of the short f/5 ones which is nice.

At f/7.3 budget plossl's should be good on it. Retailers like Atronomics, Agena or Eyepieces etc will do

Astonomics do the Astro-Tech Value Line Plossl at $23, Agena do the GSO plossl's at around $31.

Not sure what the prism star diagonal exactly is, if it produces a "correct" view image then that could be a problem. Scopes generally produce an image that is anything but "correct", and adding glass to make the image normal can often result in a poorer image. I recall helping someone see something, the method was easy take out all the bits they had put in. They then kept telling everyone about the moon and how good it was.

The scope is actually fairly good, and the Nexstar is well proven, just take time to get it all set - which I guess you are doing, you have not asked how to enter data or perform the alignment. This leads me to the strange conclusion that you have read the manual. :eek: :eek:

You could try a single plossl from Asronomics for comparison, I would suggest the 9mm for some magnification or the 25mm for wider views.

If they work for you and deliver what you want (within reason) I would not go lower then the 6mm and myself I would likely not get that. However for Saturn a 6mm would deliver 110x and that should show the rings (just).

Plossl at 6mm will have little eye relief, so if you have glasses it would be unusable, you would not be able to get close enough.

There are better plossl's, TV make very good ones, I see Astronominc do an Astro Tech Hi-Grade line, they are $30 but actually seem to have less focal lengths.

So I would get one plossl, see if it does what is wanted and if so build up about 4 of them as a small set to use. I have a half set of eyepieces for a small 70mm (Astro-Tech Paradigms) that I find is a good for general use, you do not need 8 eyepieces to cover a nights viewing, but you do need to choose sensibly.

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The other thing about star parties will be that you can try a range of other peoples eye pieces in your own scope and see how much benefit they individually give.

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Thanks very much for the replies.   

Last night, I viewed the moon for the first time at 73x through my telescope before the clouds rolled in ( I think there must be some physical law that a new telescope or kit means 2 weeks of cloudy nights!).   I was amazed.

My 13 year old daughter had 4 friends over, and they all huddled around the telescope with me.    One commented about the "halo" around the moon, and I tried to look smart, dropping the big words "chromatic aberration" that I just learned from the internet.   Good times.

I see a couple of plossls, and maybe a t-ring / t-adapter so I can bust out the dusty Canon t2I from my closet.  But first, I need to look up the local club...

Thanks again.

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