Celestron CG-5 Mount

Recently bit the bullet and ordered a Celestron CG-5 mount. It’s computerized which will allow me to include things like an autoguider for longer exposure images with less chance of star trails.

The mount came in on Monday, February 10. I got it all setup and was able to get out the day after for some practice with star alignment. Looking forward to some more clear skies to give it a full test. Now just waiting for my Orion Starshoot Autoguider to come in along with the guide scope. With this combination I will, hopefully, no longer be limited to my 120 second exposures.

The Celestron CG-5 box

 

All the pieces from the box, mount, tripod, weights, hand controller, eyepiece tray, hand controller mount, CG-5 dovetail bar.

Mount put together with my Celestron Omni XLT 150 reflector.

 

The Celestron Omni XLT 150

On Monday I received my brand new telescope, a Celestron Omni XLT 150. It has a 6 inch mirror (150mm) and is such a beautiful looking scope. Aesthetically pleasing, and also provides some great views of the skies.
When I got the telescope it arrived in two boxes, one containing the tripod, mount, weights, and slow motion control knobs. This box was a bit on the heavy side, which is a good thing. A strong sturdy mount with little to no wobble when in use. I knew this box was going to be heavy, but it still surprised me a bit when I went to pick it up; luckily I didn’t have far to carry it into my house to be assembled. When I opened the boxes inside the main box I was happy to see how well packed it was, I was also happy with UPS for not delivering me boxes with damaged corners or holes poked through it.
In the second box which was quite a bit lighter in comparison was the optical tube assembly, finder scope, 2” eyepiece adapter, 1.25” eyepiece adapter with threads to attach a t-ring (for attaching a DSLR camera for prime focus astrophotography), and the 25mm eyepiece. Again, I was quite happy with the packaging and the fact that the boxes were in good condition when delivered.
I removed all the parts from the first box and laid them out on the floor and checked them over for any damage. I had one damaged piece, but it’s damage was my own fault. When removing the box containing the weights it slipped out of my hand and fell to the floor. It broke a piece off of the tightening screw, but it’s not worth losing any sleep over. It still functions properly and if I really need to I can order or find a replacement screw.
Opened the second box and laid the pieces out to inspect them and make sure everything is ok. I didn’t want to put it all together to find out there is damage to anything. Everything was in great shape, so it was time to attach it all to the mount and tripod.
After setting it all up I collimated the scope to align the mirrors to get the best views I can. Went outside and took a look up – CLEAR! Went to go pick up the telescope and realized that this thing weighs 45.5lb and the Astromaster 114EQ weighed 17lb, but I got it outside just fine.
Polar aligned the telescope real quick just enough where I could track an object. First object I went for was the moon, and I have to say I was amazed by the difference. This telescope is going to be a blast to view with.
I quickly aimed at the constellation Auriga and almost immediately found M37, which was a distinctive cluster of stars which looked like small pin holes.

Took a quick moon shot, but couldn’t get many as the clouds rolled in. Better ones to come in the near future.

December 11, 2011 Viewing Session – The Moon

I took the new Celestron 70mm EQ refractor out tonight for it’s maiden voyage. This is the first good refractor I’ve used and I’m liking it so far. Got a good price on it through craigslist and it is in excellent shape, almost like new. Needed a quick wipe down on the mirror in the diagonal and it was ready to go. I took out both my scopes and set them up, polar aligned them, waited for clouds to clear, and I spent all of the night using the new refractor.
For it’s first light tonight I decided to have some fun with the 100% full moon tonight. I got a few good pictures through the refractor using the 32mm eyepiece, and I also got my favorite picture of the night through the 32mm in the Barlow lens doubling it’s magnification. I ended up getting clouded out before totally getting my technique down tonight. We may have not had the total lunar eclipse that the west coast, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Asia got this morning, but we still got to enjoy a bright full moon.

 
This last shot is my favorite from the night, this is when I took the 32mm and doubled it’s magnification with the Barlow lens. As weird as it may sound I couldn’t get the moon in focus on my camera until I zoomed in a little bit, even then it was a little difficult to frame. This shot came out great, and of course right after I figured it out the clouds came in and left me stranded. I waited an hour and a half just for a chance to get another 5 minutes to get the moon fully in frame. The end cap on the telescope has another cutout in the center to dim a bright object like the moon. I took that cap off, took off moon filters I had on the eyepiece and everything was just about perfect.

Hoping For More Clear Skies

In my last post I had talked about how I got a telescope for Christmas. Well I’ve used it a few times and it is AMAZING! I’ve been doing lots of reading on astronomy and spending a lot of time just learning as much as I can about the hobby. In case you enjoy astronomy or are looking into getting into it here is what I’ve done since I got my telescope, which is an Celestron Astromaster 114EQ (which is the telescope in the picture on the right).
Ever since I was a kid I used to just love staring up into the sky at night and looking at stars. Seeing the occasional meteor, which if you look up long enough you will be bound to catch one in the sky. On top of that if you look up long enough you will see a glowing light going across the night sky. When you’re a kid you like to think it’s a UFO, unfortunately they’re just sattelites reflecting the light… or maybe they are UFO’s (hehe)! I would take a pair of binoculars and look at the moon and see the craters larger than you ever could with the naked eye. Space is an amazing place filled with all types of things, endless views for your eyes to take in.
With a telescope the views become even more beautiful. The last few clear nights I’ve had have been freezing cold but that didn’t stop me from spending an hour or so outside looking at beautiful things like the Orion Nebulae, Sirius, Jupiter and it’s moons, and then just random stars. One of my favorite things has been the Orion Nebula. The gas clouds surrounding stars when viewed through a telescope aren’t the pretty colorful pictures you see when you look at astrophotography. They are actually just shades of gray. This isn’t a dissapointment especially if you know this going into astronomy and viewing through a telescope. It’s still more beautiful to see with your own eye in your backyard than it is to view in a picture, at least it is to me. Having the power in your own hands is wonderful. Now I just need to find a place far far far away from light pollution, which way up here in the North Country shouldn’t be too hard.
You may wonder why you can’t see these colors through a telescope, even if you have a very high powered scope, you still won’t see these colors the way you see them in photos. Well the answer is it’s physiological. Your eye is incapable of detecting color in low light. Since you’re viewing stars and nebula at night time and it’s dark in space you will not see these colors. The colors are a result of multiple pictures stacked and edited in photo editing program, and levels being adjusted. Although you can look at Saturn or Jupiter and see color because they are bright enough objects to reflect enough light into your telescope and to your eye. Galaxies and nebulae are far too dim to reflect enough light for color. Although with a strong enough telescope and the right seeing conditions you may be able to see a slight greenish colors. Below is an example of astrophotography and naked eye viewing of the Orion Nebulae (also known as M42)
Orion Nebulae, Nebula, M42
Borrowed this picture and summed up the information of why you don’t see color in your telescope from Visual Astronomy and Seeing Colors
I’m new to the whole astronomy thing and have been reading up non stop since I got my telescope. It has become extremely interesting to me to the point where, as much as I love snow, I wish the sky would clear up and the temperature would rise so I could spend more time looking into the sky. Would love to take a dive into astrophotography but there is more money and more learning involved in that so I doubt it will happen anytime soon. I will definitely be getting many years of enjoyment from this telescope and the sky above.