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By GiL Young
Hello all. Thank you for taking a moment to read this & offer your suggestions/ advice. I'm sure my basic question has been asked many times: "In your opinion or experience, what are the first, most important, necessary accessories I should add in order to maximize the the use and ease of a newly acquired Celestron Nexstar 127 SLT ? I have a power supply adapter, 9mm,10mm, 25mm eyepieces, 2x Barlow and 90 degree diagonal mirror adaptor. With a modest budget and a 2 week deadline, I've researched numerous reviews and narrowed some choices to additional Plossl eyepieces, an assortment of filters or a dew shield. All of and these can probably be purchased within my budget but I'm even willing to take the plunge on an upgrade to a better mount, which I have no idea where to start. Any and all suggestions, advice and opinions are gladly appreciated. Thank you all, from across the pond in northeastern US.
I have been waiting for this telescope for almost five months. Since May, 19th, to be precise. The day I went to the TS Italia store and saw for the first time the SLD model, model now discontinued. I even missed the last available piece just for a few days, once I finally placed my order, June, 25th. It was to be replaced by a newer model, available at the end of the Summer.
Boy, am I glad I did miss it. The wait was definitely worth it. The new and improved model is simply beautiful. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it on the Tecnosky website a few weeks ago, when they posted the product sheet. But in person, it's even more beautiful.
So, the people from the store emailed me Friday, October the 2nd, telling me that it was finally available for pickup. I read the message only a whole hour later and it was soon going to be closing time. I started calling at 4:30 PM and I finally managed to get my phone call through at around 5:05 PM. The store closes at 6:00 PM and doesn't reopen until Monday. And it's 40 minutes away from where I live. I made it there in 35. There was no way I was going to have to wait till Monday, knowing my scope was only a few minutes away.
So, here's the pre-unboxing picture:
- top left, brown box, behind: Vixen clamp for guide-scope
- top right, white box: 60mm f/4 guide-scope
- top left, white boxes: T2 Nikon ring, 30mm spacer, adjustable spacer
- center, behind white boxes: Optolong L-Pro 2" filter
- right of filter: spacers mounted and already calibrated for 55mm backfocus, for eventual use of the ZWO ASI 224MC camera with the refractor
- top right, Bahtinov mask
- underneath the white boxes, top left: Losmandy bar to attach telescope to my NEQ6 Losmandy saddle
- big box underneath all of the above: Tecnosky 80mm f/6 FPL-53 OWL Triplet, with carrying case and 0.8x 4 elements flattener/reducer
- ZWO black case: ZWO ASI 224MC guide-camera / planetary camera
- front left: Talisker 57° North and two glasses (don't mind the shape of the glasses, they are the closest to Whisky suitable glasses that I currently own...) ready for me and my wife to celebrate the end of the wait
- front right: box for the aforementioned Whisky
I actually waited for yesterday (Saturday, the 3rd) for the unboxing, because I wanted my best friend Omar to be present and help me with filming and taking pictures. We have been friends since we went to kindergarten and we always have had astronomy as a common interest.
It just so happens, to my immense surprise, that my telescope is actually SN. 0001, so I own the first telescope ever produced of this new series. The certificate is also very promising, with a Strehl ratio of 0.974 and a Ronchi test that seems very well behaved. I like a little less the red edges on the lenses, but I guess only time and a proper visual - and astrophotographic - session will be able to tell.
Obviously the "new equipment curse" didn't help, but we got almost a whole hour with clear sky patches and obviously I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I quickly setup with the bare minimum necessities for a visual observation and me, my wife and my best friend Omar - who helped with the staging, recording and directing of the unboxing event - took a quick look at the Moon, Saturn, Mars, M31 and Perseus Double Cluster.
I can definitely understand now, even if the seeing wasn't perfect, and my eyepieces didn't offer enough magnification (25mm and 10mm give me 80x and 200x, with my C8, but with a native focal length of 480mm, even with a Barlow 2x, we could only achieve about 38x and 96x, respectively), what people mean when they say that an apochromatic refractor brings out the objects from the background sky. The contrast was stunning, the stars were absolute points, pinpoint, small and sharp (with my C8 they always have kind of a "blob" feeling), the contrast on the Moon was fantastic and I could see many details, despite it being almost full, and only at 48-96x. I think it passed the visual test with honors. I was also very happy to be able to see the Double Cluster all in the same field of view for the first time. Saturn was well defined, could clearly make out the rings - don't recall, in all the excitement, rush and cycling between me, my wife and my friend, if I saw the Cassini division, but I'll definitely try again next clear sky night. Mars was also beautiful, could clearly see its rusty red color, the polar cap and some darker, black features on the surface.
I really can say it's a beautiful telescope, very well made and machined. The attention to details is really of another level, the paint finish is very nice and matte. Also very lovely all the different red and black anodized surfaces, they really give it a nice finish and personality. The focuser is also the best I have ever had on a telescope. Very smooth, precise, with no backlash. Coming from a C8 where every touch of the focuser throws off the image all over the place and the backlash is quite significant, I really appreciated how easy it was to fine tune focusing with a proper focuser, especially with the 10:1 focusing knob.
I can't wait to be able to take the first pictures of some star field, to check if even photographically the telescope lives up to my expectations. I hope to get pinpoint stars corner to corner and that the backfocus won't be something too hard to make perfect.
Here's some accessories.
Optolong L-Pro 2" filter, Bahtinov mask, Losmandy dovetail to replace the Vixen one the telescope comes with, Nikon T2 ring and spacers to use the ASI 224MC with the correct backfocus directly on the telescope, instead of a guide-camera.
Here's the 60mm f/4 guide-scome, with Vixen clamp.
And the ZWO ASI 224MC guide-camera.
Here's the mandatory celebration beer, at Corte dell'Orso (the Bear's Courtyard).
It's a Belgian sour beer, lambic style. Oudbeitje by Hanssens Artisanaal, with added strawberries. A very nice beer, sour, tart and fruity. Could definitely taste the strawberries.
Here's a couple of pictures of the full setup, with everything mounted on my Sky-Watcher NEQ6 Pro.
The setup is in its astrophotographic configuration: mount, telescope, guide-scope, guide-camera, filter, flattener/reducer and at the end the Nikon D5300 astromodified. All controlled by Astroberry on my Raspberry Pi 4 4GB, conveniently mounted on a bar across the two telescope rings.
And finally a close up of the rig.
I just upgraded my main imaging scope to a Sky-Watcher Esprit 100Ed. I'm currently looking for ideas to attach my 60mm guide scope and mini-PC with Pegasus Powerbox on top of the main scope. Probably an additional plate might help help?
Anyone mind sharing some pictures as a reference?
Many thanks in advance.
By Cliffy Biro
Hello, I have been lurking in the background for the last few months, reading the great posts from many very knowledgable members, I’m now after some personal equipment advice and thought it was time I asked the pros!
I’ve been interested in the stargazing for a long time and have been enjoying casual scanning with tripod mounted binoculars for the past year. Up until now, due to work commitments, I’ve been unable to dedicate much time to my interest. However, I recently changed jobs and now have a lot more free time and the opportunity to really get started.
I’m in Yorkshire, fairly rural and not too much light pollution. I’ll be setup primarily from the garden but I’m only five minutes drive from remote moorland for any local out-of-home viewing. My aim initially is visual viewing and studying with a good quality scope. I worked as a photographer a long time ago so further down the line I’d like to try AP and add a second scope specifically for imaging. I’m thinking long term overall but would like to jump in with a solid core setup I can add to over time. My budget can be up to £2,500.
After much research I’m considering the Sky Watcher AZ-EQ5 or AZ-EQ6 mount - both these seem highly regarded and adaptable to future needs, I believe the EQ6 may be better considering future imaging use? For the OTA I’ve been looking at the Celestron 9.25? It seems to deliver well for planets and lunar but I would welcome personal recommendations of other ideal scopes within budget. I’ve also briefly looked into accessories such as the Baader Hyperion Zoom Eyepiece and William Optics / Baader diagonals but one area I need to know more about is eyepieces.
Thanks for your time, I’d really welcome advice from you all on what I should consider for my aims and budget.
So I'm trying to accessorize [flicks hair], and according to a review of the Nexstar 8SE (which I just got yesterday), the guy and a bunch of other reviewers recommend the Celestron SkySync GPS. From what I understand this device tells your GoTo your coordinates, speeding up the time it takes to align your telescope. Its over $100 US dollars. And it can take up to 10 minutes to locate your coordinates, date and time.
If you're planning a trip or just out on your yard/local park, this can come in handy. But if all it does is give your GoTo your coordinates why can't you simply go to Astronomy.Tools (now known to me thanks to StargazersLounge) and look up the coordinates before hand? Wouldn't it be faster to type in your coordinates than to wait 5-10 minutes for SkySync to work?
I'm bringing this here wondering if I'm missing something? Does SkySync do something else besides give your coordinates? After it gives your coordinates, do you still need it for the rest of the night? Are its coordinates more precise? And if so, does that in any way change your experience as a casual viewer or a hardcore professional astrophotographer? How so? And is it true that it can not work at the same time with the Skyportal Wifi module? ?
The thoughts and insights of this awesome community would be greatly appreciated.