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Luna-tic

Cannot believe what I saw tonight

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Tonight our club had one of its twice-monthly public viewings; weather was cruddy, didn't figure there would be anything to see, so I almost didn't go. When I got there, just a couple of visitors and four of us members. Two guys were messing at a table with a Celestron Nexstar 8se. Seems one of the two guys (visitor) had just bought it and needed some help with it as he didn't really know much about it. Sound familiar? It gets better....a LOT better. The tube 's secondary mirror was laying inside the tube, where it had fallen out of its holder when someone (not the new owner) had tried installing Bob's Knobs and apparently didn't follow the instructions to do one screw at a time. The new owner didn't know how to remove the corrector to fix things. He also told us he had a bunch more stuff at home that he'd bought with the telescope: a reducer/corrector, a diagonal, four EP's, a 9x50 guide scope and a few items he wasn't sure what they were. The tube had a motorized focuser on it.

The kicker (drumroll, please): he'd bought the whole thing at his local Salvation Army outlet for $20 USD. He said he shopped there frequently for odds and ends, saw this on a table, and decided to buy it, his girlfriend expressed an interest in astronomy. Yes, Twenty dollars. The OTA is silver, not orange; it has the XLT coatings, the smooth back and the alt-az mount has the nexstar controller, the clear plastic film over the display was still there; there were no cable inputs on the top of the azimuth axis cover, just a removable cover with what looked like a battery compartment under it, but no battery connections. Anybody have a guess to its age/era? We couldn't operate the drive, no power pack with him, but it looked to be in great shape. I took the corrector off after marking it for reassembly, got the secondary mirror out and cleaned it, and looked closely at the primary. It had just a couple of small smudges, and a scratch that looked like the secondary might have hit it when it fell out, but nothing bad enough to mar the focus or image. After getting the secondary back in its carrier and cleaning the inside of the corrector, I reassembled it and did a collimation. He's going to bring it to our next outing and we'll help him learn to use it and further collimate it. He was very grateful, and was getting quite excited about his new find after we told him what it was all worth. Given his descriptions of what he had at home, and the condition of what he'd brought, he probably has about $2500 worth of telescope stuff.

For $20.  I'm going to start scouring every Salvation Army store I can find.

Edited by Luna-tic
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What a find!  All I ever see in charity shops are dented reflectors and puny 0.96" diagonal fracs with detailed pictures of Jupiter on the box and a claim of x450 power.

But I shall keep looking!

Doug.

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He really had no idea what he found, he couldn't have told a SCT from a Newt from a refractor. It was just round and had glass in one end, that was about it. While we worked on the scope, we gave him a sort of primer on star-gazing with it, I showed him how to do a simple collimation check (defocusing on a star), and what to do if it was off. We're having a field event in a couple of weeks, weather permitting, he wants to bring it out so we can show him how to better use it. He'll bring all the other stuff he got with the scope so we can better evaluate his find. We think someone had bought it, used it for a while and was doing AP with it, since it had a motorized autofocuser on it, plus the guide scope; but got frustrated when they "broke" it trying to install Bob's Knobs. I suppose it could also have been a donation from a deceased's estate. Hard to say, but what we saw was in great shape, just obvious it had been sitting a while. I told him that once a more experienced viewer could check out the quality of the views, if it was off at all, it would still be well worth his money to return it to Celestron to have everything wrong with it corrected (which won't be much, I think)

We talked about his find for an hour after he left, none of us could get our head around a find like this.

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Being as it has a silver tube it's probably a Nextstar 8i, the forerunner of the 8se, still a very fortunate buy!    :icon_biggrin:

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11 hours ago, Luna-tic said:

The new owner didn't know how to remove the corrector to fix things.

I've owned one of these for nearly 10 years now, and I would not know how to do that.

What a tremendous find! I'm pretty sure, no matter how many SA (or other charity) shops I visit, I will never find a bargain like that.

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