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.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_beauty_night_skies.thumb.jpg.2711ade15e31d01524e7dc52d15c4217.jpg

Recommended Posts

If you happened to have read my other thread from a couple of months ago, or were one of the several very helpful people who posted in it, you may recall I got re-started with amateur astronomy a couple of months ago with a small Celestron 114, which I quickly returned for an Astromaster 130.  While I think the AstroMaster is a decent telescope for the money, I quickly got frustrated with some of its limitations (especially the shaky mount and tripod) so I started looking for ways to upgrade.  I was close to buying a homemade 10-inch Dobsonian a couple of weeks ago, but someone beat me to it.  Then a few days ago a Celestron NexStar 8SE showed up on Craigslist.   It was described as several years old but hardly ever used and in like-new condition.   For $650.   After chatting with the seller, I was able to get him to go to $600 (he really just wanted to get rid of it).  That alone wasn't too bad of a deal, I thought, but.....he was also including a Celestron hard case, and an accessory kit with some eyepieces (which I probably don't need, I have several now) and planetary filters (which I was considering anyway).   Sold!  The case alone sells for around $300 new. 

The only catch was I needed to drive 2 hours each way to pick it up, which I did last night.   Checked it out, and it seemed to be as-advertised, so I happily packed it up and headed home.   Since I got home really late last night I left everything in the garage until this morning.   When I started putting the telescope together I opened the accessory case and not only was there the accessories previously mentioned....but there was also a Neximage camera in the case!  

The telescope is in excellent condition, the motor drive works, optics look good so far (its still daytime) and the camera works.   I can hardly wait for it to get dark tonight!

Anyone who has any tips on this telescope, please feel free to share.   I'm already planning on getting a power adapter (if I don't already have one, I have a whole box of different ones collected over the years - yes I will be sure the output and polarity are correct!).

Certainly seems like it was worth the drive!  :)

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations. You have got a good bargain there. It's a very nice scope and will give you years of observing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like a cracking deal, hope you enjoy it. look forward to reading some reports in the near future

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all!

Im hoping to try it out tonight, but the weather forecast has changed from clear to partly cloudy, so we will see.  I still have a few hours until dark.  Keeping my fingers crossed.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it cleared up.  Got some really great views of the moon and Jupiter and played around with the Neximage and the software a bit and got some images of the moon.   I had some problems with the slewing, seems like the handheld wouldn't keep time.  I'd get the alignment set up (I just used planetary align since it was early and I didn't have a good line of sight to any stars I can recognize yet).  The first object I had the telescope find was Jupiter, which it got spot on, but after viewing Jupiter for a while I tried for Saturn and Mars and it seemed like it missed both of them.  Checking the alignment again, the time was still at what I had set it at originally.   I tried this a couple of times with the same result.  I suspect I was killing the batteries and that may have been the cause, as after a couple of attempts it seemed like the handheld pretty much would "reboot" and want me to align it again.   I checked the batteries on a tester this morning and they are down to about 1.4v, which can be too low for some equipment.  Definitely going to get a power cord and probably a power tank eventually.

But the views of Jupiter were definitely a great improvement over the AstroMaster.   Missed out on Saturn last night, that's my next target.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations on the new scope! As you say, power could easily be the problem and the first thing to check. Get a cord, power-supply etc or prepare to go bankrupt buying batteries... :happy8:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Putaendo Patrick said:

Congratulations on the new scope! As you say, power could easily be the problem and the first thing to check. Get a cord, power-supply etc or prepare to go bankrupt buying batteries... :happy8:

Ordered the power supply today!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The power cord arrived and I used it two nights ago, that was certainly the problem as the telescope worked great.  I am absolutely thrilled with the views I got of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.  Especially Saturn, the rings were so much more well defined than they are through the AstroMaster.   Such a great difference going from the 6-inch Newtonian to the 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain!  I'm still getting used to the alignment and tracking functions, but I'm learning more every day (for example, now I know where Vega and Spica are).  I was also pleasantly surprised with how well the Starfinder spotter works on this scope.  After the frustration I had with the old one, which lead me to buying a Telrad, I'm impressed with how accurate this one is now that I have it aligned.   I had ordered an extra Telrad base for the new OTA, but now I'm not sure I want to put the Telrad on the NexStar.  Not sure on that yet, because I really like my Telrad too.   

Next step is going to be trying computer control.   I got a USB to Rs-232 adapter today for that purpose.  I'm also thinking I may get a WiFi adapter for Fathers Day....  iPad control would be really cool........

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WiFi control via a tablet is very useful.  It makes alignment quite easy, then GoTo likewise.  

Sometimes I can't see what I want on the screen or in the database, so revert to using the Sky Atlas!

Doug.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you got a fantastic bargain and are making great strides with it. Keep us informed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On June 16, 2016 at 23:33, cloudsweeper said:

WiFi control via a tablet is very useful.  It makes alignment quite easy, then GoTo likewise.  

Sometimes I can't see what I want on the screen or in the database, so revert to using the Sky Atlas!

Doug.

I got the wifi module and tried it out with my iPad.  Turned out to be very frustrating, I tried at least 5 times to get  the Skyportal app to align and it failed every time.   I'm going to try again once this heat wave we're having breaks, it's been over 100 at night even after dark!

Anyone have any tips on using that app?  I tried both planetary alignment and star alignment and they both failed over and over.  Should I unplug the handheld controller?  I saw some online info that hinted at that but didn't come right out and say so.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check in tablet settings that it's communicating with the module. Then tap connect and align. You then line up carefully with 3 bright objects, and you're away. Just ignore the hand controller.

Doug.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, cloudsweeper said:

Check in tablet settings that it's communicating with the module. Then tap connect and align. You then line up carefully with 3 bright objects, and you're away. Just ignore the hand controller.

Doug.

Yeah, that's what I did.  Every time, after the third alignment, it would wait a few seconds then give me a failure message (I don't recall the exact wording).  I never touched the handheld.   I'm wondering if the telescope might not be reporting its position accurately to the app somehow, but that's just a guess.  Before I got the wifi adapter,  alignment with the handheld works and it slews to objects with the handheld, so that seems fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, JohnP292 said:

Yeah, that's what I did.  Every time, after the third alignment, it would wait a few seconds then give me a failure message (I don't recall the exact wording).  I never touched the handheld.   I'm wondering if the telescope might not be reporting its position accurately to the app somehow, but that's just a guess.  Before I got the wifi adapter,  alignment with the handheld works and it slews to objects with the handheld, so that seems fine.

I have had just one or two "fail" messages, then got it to work after another try.  

All I can suggest is that you make sure you get the objects well centred, and that you choose three good, bright ones.  

Doug.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By MarsG76
      Hi All,
      If anyone is looking for a great telescope, I'm selling my NexStar 8SE. It's in great condition, Optics are immaculate and there is only some signs of use on the dovetail bar and the black rim that has faded a bit on one side. The reason that I'm selling is that I'm looking to upgrade.
      I had some amazing views of planets and DSO through this scope.... it really is a performer in quite a compact package.
      This scope was on a CGEM most of it life so the NexStar Alt-Az mount was hardly used.
      I prefer to have this scope local pickup or I'm happy to deliver and even give a tutorial and demonstration of how to use it.. for that reason I'm targeting a buyer around Sydney Australia.
      The price I'm asking is $1650AUD.
       
      Clear Skies.








    • By MarsG76
      Hi All,
      I came across the knowledge of NGC1055 galaxy in Cetus by accident while looking at some Hubble images and thought that this Galaxy was possibly a rarely imaged object since I didn't see any images posted of it. Googling this galaxy there are a few amateur images, but still not as many as other galaxies or objects and seems very unpopular.
      This galaxy was not in my "Star Walk" app so I thought that perhaps its not in the simpler star map programs that people use? or due to the fat that it is quite faint... it is in Cartes Du Ciel and Star Map HD. 
      Enough of my google babble, tech specs time... this was imaged using my NexStar 8SE on the CGEM mount at F10 (2032mm) through my unmodded DSLRs. I initially started imaging the galaxy using my Canon 7D to try to get a higher resolution but realised that the 7D is not only as sensitive as my 40D, modded or unmodded, but a 600 second sub heated up the sensor to 43 degrees as reported by APT. Surely this would generate more noise but I decided to allow the rest of this and next night to image using the 7D.
      I was curious about the difference between the sub quality between my 40D and 7D so I changed the DSLR used to the stock 40D and the difference was staggering... the 40D only heated up to 21-23 degrees, there was more of the galaxy visible in the 600 second sub but the subs had a noticeable less noise.  
      Each night conditions were very similar, seeing, temperature etc, so I figure that the reason for higher sensitivity was the fact that the 40D has physically bigger pixels and so more photos hit each of the receptors...
      Total Exposure time was:
      57 x 600 sec subs (20 subs through the 7D and 37 subs on the 40D)
      23 x 150 sec subs (all 40D)
      12 x 60 sec subs (all 40D)
       
      The galaxy was mid height in my northern sky and I always started imaging 10-15 degrees east of the meridian until sunrise, so I only really had about 3 hours per night of imaging it before the galaxy was obscured... that includes finding the guide star, calibrating and start the process which took about 30 minutes.
       
      It's not anywhere near the hubble image or most of the amateur images but I hope you like it, thanks for looking...


    • By Badweather
      I had just acquired my new 8 SE and realized very quickly that I needed an observing chair.

      So I built one.
      I'll show you the important modifications I made in subsequent images
    • By MarsG76
      While waiting for the Tarantula to get into imaging position to grab some Ha and OIII subs to add to the previous posted image, I decided to do a quick 47Tuc image. Unfortunately when centered, there was no guide star in the OAG at the current setup, and I did not want to alter the position of the OAG since it was still setup from a previous session to continue on NGC2070... so some unguided subs of the glob had to suffice... it's only 15 x 60sec, 15 x 30sec and 15 x 10sec subs in ISO800 at F10 using the modded Canon 40D.
      Seeing wasn't the best but surprisingly being unguided the stars were round, fat but round... I guess it's only 60 seconds at longest sub and PA was quite accurate.
       
    • By MarsG76
      This is the first Saturn imaged since I moved. Seeing was above average, but not the best I have ever experienced.
      The most I could manage decent data is through a 2X barlow max.. 3X was staring to go a little soft.
      Imaged using Imaging Source 21au618 using standard R, G & B filters and a IR Cut filter through the 8SE on 29th May 2016.
      3000 frames IR Cut Luma.
      2000 frames R & G filters.
      750 frames B filter.
      Used best 25% frames.
      Color balanced in PS.
       
       
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

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