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Advice on new SCT/mount

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Returning to astronomy after a few years layoff, I'm looking for a new scope and think I've narrowed down my choice but could do with a little advice.

My only previous scope was a 12" Dob but, frankly, I found it to be very limiting due to portability. I own a large estate and a van so transport is no problem but the hassle involved in lugging such a large piece of kit meant that I used it irregularly, becoming disenchanted with the hobby due to a lack of success in finding many of the objects I was searching for.

With this in mind, I have decided to go for a Mak/Schimdt unit for portability and am very interested in the idea of a Goto system.

I'm considering the Celestron units Nexstar 6 and the C6 SGT but would like to hear any views which existing users may have regarding these. The 6" aperture should allow some reasonable viewing and is within the budget I have allowed myself but I may be tempted by an 8" version if one was available at the right price.

The nexstar mount appeals to me with the 10kg overall weight compared to the 25kg of the GEM mount. However, if I decide that i'd like to purse AP will I regret the purchase of the nexstar? Is this very light mount stable enough for the job?

Your experiences would be greatly appreciated.



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Nice bit of kit but I'm being strict with myself and limiting my total initial expenditure to a little less than that but I need to include a powertank, some eyepieces and the scope/mount, dewshield and anything else that I've forgotten.

The primary concerns I have with the nexstar mount are that it may not be as stable as I would expect and that it cannot be used for long exposure AP, I have read that multiple short exposures can be stacked to get around this issue but this is not an area I am familiar with.

My concern with the GEM mount is simply the weight (I'll need to lug it around quite regularly) and whether it is more complicated to set up.

Edited by Mark S
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The primary concerns I have with the nexstar mount are that it may not be as stable as I would expect and that it cannot be used for long exposure AP,

If you really, really want to do DSO AP then there really isn't any sane alternative to the GEM - the Celestron CGEM is a good size for an 8" tube and the auto align (to refine the polar alignment once you have two or three stars "dialled in") WORKS.

The CPC mount on a wedge is preferable to the SE mount but still isn't up to long exposure imaging. It's also heavier, especially since the tube & mount are wedded together rather than being easily seperable as they are in the SE.

You pays your money & takes your choice. For portable "grab 'n' go", the SE. For serious work other than long exposure imaging, the CPC. For long exposure imaging, a heavy, clumsy GEM....

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