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Difference between a £2000 scope and £1000 scope?


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I've got a Celestron NexStar 4.5" scope that I've had for a couple of years which I'm now thinking of replacing with something more powerful. I've decided on a Schmidt-Cassegrain more than anything else for portability (I go to Spain 4 tmes a year to visit family and the skies are stunning out there in the Alpujarras!)

Anyway, I've decided that i want at least 8" (current 4.5" scope not nearly clear enough) but then i thought why not go the extra mile and get a 11" scope for approx £2,000 (my absolute max budget) Obviously, I don't want to spend money for the sake of it so I'm wondering what would I see with 11" that I'd miss out on if i bought a 8" (all other things being equal)? For observing, I really enjoy planetary viewing, particularly Saturn and Jupiter but with a better scope I can see myself becoming more interested in deeper space objects such as nebulae and galaxies.

I quite like the look of the Celestron Advanced GT series but the 'Goto' on my current model is not great and I also didn't like the way the handset cable gets twisted around the scope as it rotates and it would put me off if the GT on the Advanced series is the same as the NexStar. I would find the Goto far more useful if it worked but I can't really afford the CGE series :D

So, my shortlist is currently:

C8-SGT (XLT) £1300

C91\4-SGT (XLT) £1750

C11-SGT (XLT) £2000

Are there any other scopes that I should be considering? I've not really looked at the Meade range yet (maybe their 'Goto' is better)... (I'm currently favouring the 9 1\4 model as a compromise but not decided)

Jon

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The mount is identical in all 3 of these 'scopes so thats out of the equation. The only difference between the 3 OTA's is the aperture and the portability. Are you planning on driving to Spain or fly? I would agree that the c9.25 is probably your best choice as a compromise between portability and aperture. The C11 is a great 'scope although im not sure about mounting it on the CG5, something like an EQ6 would be a more suitable match (although this stops being a portable setup then).

If you are a visual observer rather than an imager have you considered a truss dob? I just purchased a 12" Lightbridge and am very impressed with it so far.

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Maybe getting another 'scope to leave in Spain would sae a load of hassle. Something like a truss Dob. like Gordon suggested is much cheaper than an 11" SCT and I don't think the word "portable" applies to the C11. It certainly won't be hand luggage so you risk getting it broken / lost each time you travel. Also it might look suspiciuous and end up in bits at customs if they get twitchy. I use an electronic flue gas analyser for work and each time I've flown out of the UK it has been "disabled" as though it were some kind of "device". They usually disconnect a battery lead which is easily fixed but goint into Istanbul they were a little more "thorough".

Captain Chaos

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Thanks for the helpful advice. I had planned (eventually) on getting a second 'scope to leave in Spain but I hadn't looked at truss dob's until I saw your replies. You seem to get a lot of aperture for your money but it looks like the trade-off is no motor and you'd also need some sort of cover to stop ambient light or dirt getting onto the mirrors. Also wondering how painless it is to assemble/disassemble? The big appeal is the cost per apperture inch as 12" is seriously huge for less than £1000 (£589 was the cheapest I've seen) :D The views must be awesome!

My only issue with buying the 12" Lightbridge would be the lack of any 'Goto' as although it doesn't work very well on the NexStar, at least it points you in the general direction and then you can manually find what you are looking for by cross-checking a smaller portion of the sky against sky charts.

Having said that, I'm not sure if the Celestron Advanced Series shares the same 'Goto' as the NexStars. I wouldn't want to pay £2000 for a 'scope and find that it shares components that are also part of a £400 'scope. If that is the case, I may as well go for something like the Lightbridge which second your opinions and has some excellent reviews and forget about the GT.

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The hand controller on all of the Celestron GOTO 'scopes is identical, including the CGE i believe. The only difference is the motors and the firmware. GOTO is a 2 edged sword and some people love it and some people hate it. Personally I would discount it as a reason to buy one scope over another, but the loss of tracking in the dob is a different issue. It depends on what targets you are aiming for. Planetary and other small targets I would go with the C925 for larger DSO style targets I would go with the dob and spend the remaining cash on some naglers

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I like the convenience of Goto (better in theory than practice) but it is obviously just a luxury. The quality of the tracking is also dependant on the accuracy of the motor and maybe this is improved in the Advanced series (especially if the firmware and motor are different.) I'm quite lucky that i have a good telescope shop nearby but it only stocks Celestron so I'll have to find somewhere that sells Meades and get a closer look and then look more closely at the reality of both (I do like the sound of a 12" aperture!)

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I also didn't like the way the handset cable gets twisted around the scope as it rotates and it would put me off if the GT on the Advanced series is the same as the NexStar

I just got hold of a Celestron SLT mount and the handset has an anti cord wrap feature in the menu settings, I'm sure yours will have it too.

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And if my NS8 GPS is anything to go by then you'll find the goto spot on and tracking is superb. I have left it a couple of hours and the object is still dead centre. Also, it's whisper quiet. Slewing doesn't disturb anyone and you can't hear the tracking at all.

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Hi Jon ,And all,hope you dont mind my view's,But if your thinking of meade i would'nt go for a 12" LX90, As the gearing is the same as on the 8" and to my mind should be bigger,also the gearboxes are not as robust as the LX200, And knowing what i know now i would have gone for the LX10" every time. Its also easier to manipulate on your own. Not sure where Alpujarras is located but if its near Arboleas Almeria Spain ,pop down (or is it up?) Clear skies......Jeff.

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