Hi everyone! A little over a week ago, my gracious mother drove me all the way down to Gainesville, Florida (thanks, Mom!). Why? To pick up my new astronomical instrument- my new telescope! This new telescope is a Celestron C9.25 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope riding atop a Celestron CGEM mount, a beast-of-a-German Equatorial Mount. It came with all kinds of goodies, too. I bought the setup from a gentleman who lives down in Florida. So, here’s a basic overview of it:
First light: First light was a bit, say, disappointing. I set it up the night we arrived back from Gainesville (it was a one day trip there and back). Three factors probably caused this unimpressive performance by the C9.25, namely the terrible atmospheric seeing, tube currents, and a slight miscollimation. I also had a hard time with the mount, as it was the first time using it and being in the dark didn’t help. At this point I left the C9.25 and went over to my fully cooled and collimated 6 inch Newtonian on a nice, simple, manual German Eq mount and did a little observing before packing the whole party up.
Second Light (after improvements): So, first things first. Tackling collimation #1 on the list. I dealt with that (this is in the daytime, thank goodness) by using this technique (bottom of page 2) of using an “artificial star”, as good seeing isn’t the norm down here. The scope was then left in our unheated shed. So later, on Sunday night (a week ago) I pulled it all out. Impressions on the mount- what a beast! The mount head itself (without scope tube, tripod, counterweight and counterweight bar) is 40 pounds! I did a so-so polar alignment via polar alignment scope and went through basic GoTo alignment. Even with the less-than-perfect polar alignment, GoTo performance was impressive, placing object within the view of my 25mm Plossl at 98x and .5° (approx.) field of view. ‘Scope performance was improved, too. The collimation and acclimated temperatures (still with bad seeing, however) gave pleasing views, if magnification was kept low at 98x (due to seeing). Sent the mount slewing over to M42- oh my. What a pretty sight. Have never seen so much nebulosity in the Orion Nebula in my 6″. I’m sure this setup will shine under great seeing and transparency.
One of the main interest in mind when making this purchase was lunar and planetary photography. This scope is fully capable of taking excellent lunar and planetary photographs (and deep sky stuff, too), so I hope in the future to be adding a planetary camera. Stay tuned, I’ll be learning and posting my successes (and probably my more common failures) with “serious” astrophotography!